Ask the Readers: What’s Your Favourite Book?

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them. 

– Ray Bradbury 

As a person who wrote one of the most beautiful books of all times, the late Mr. Bradbury knew what he was talking about. If you haven’t read Fahrenheit 451, do it now. Seriously. Go and get it from the library, or better yet buy a copy. Today.

It’s not just a great story and beautiful writing, but it shows the importance of books in our society. It doesn’t matter how high-tech we get. It doesn’t matter how much our culture advances. We need books. We need to read them. We need to make sure that new generations read them. Because books do one amazing thing that is essential for individual growth. They make us think.

The sum of individual growth = Society’s growth
So books make a society think, which is a very good think.

No, you don’t have to be restricted to non-fiction books only, or “serious” books. You don’t have to be limited to classics or high-brow literature. Well written books in any genre can give you food for thought. They enhance your imagination. They enhance your perception. They make you consider possibilities. And as a bonus….they entertain you.

What’s your all time favourite book? Feel free to name several, if you can’t pick one.  Tell me in the comments below.

My all time favourites (because I definitely can’t pick one)

  • The Blood Jewels Trilogy – Anne Bishop
  • The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  • Persuasion – Jane Austen
  • The Fountains of Paradise – Arthur C. Clarke
  • A Writer’s Diary – Virginia Woolf
  • The Great Gatsby – Scott F. Fitzgerald
  • Proust was a Neuroscientist – Jonah Lehrer


Go read a book. Either re-read something that you love, or pick something completely new, and then journal about how it makes you think.


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29 thoughts on “Ask the Readers: What’s Your Favourite Book?

  1. Oh, Dolly, this is too hard! There are so many books I love. But I’ll just jot some down off the top of my head:

    Watership Down – Richard Adams
    The Earthsea Trilogy – Ursula K. LeGuin
    The Illustrated Man – Ray Bradbury
    Tear Soup – Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen
    The Book of Awakening – Mark Nepo
    The Gifts of Imperfection – Brene Brown

    And oh so many more!

  2. Hello.. I love books. My all-time favorite is the I-Ching (Wilhelm-Baynes version).

    After that… well, here are some novels I love…

    Earth Abides by George Stewart
    Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

  3. I have loved books for my entire life. When my mom would take my brother and me to the library every other week, I would come back with a huge stack. And the librarian would ask if I really thought I could finish all those books in just two weeks. I would invariably look up from the book I had open at the top of the stack (because I was reading it), nod, and get back to reading.

    Like you, there is no possible way I could pick just one book as my all time favorite. But there are a number (mostly Science Fiction) that I come back to again and again.

    Friday by Robert Heinlein – I first read this in high school, she kept me company in the Peace Corps, and I just re-read it again a couple months ago.

    Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – This is another I first read in high school. The book is inspiring to me and I love thinking about the kids at Battle School and how this must have affected their lives.

    Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes – This is the first book I remember crying during and after reading it. It’s so sad, but I’ve read it numerous times.

    Dreamsnake by Vonda McIntyre – One of the first science fiction novels I ever read, this book was intense and the ideas behind it very gripping. I only regret that the author died without writing any more about those characters (at least that I could find).

    The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin – this was one of the first books that I read that I realized could have politics behind it. I was fascinated by the ideas behind the society.

    Old Man’s War by John Scalzi – I found this book by accident about a week after it came out, and decided to read it on a whim. I have been a massive Scalzi fan ever since.

    The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum – Actually I should clarify to say that I count ALL the Oz books as my favorites. My dad and I read them as a kid, and I look forward to reading them with my son.

    I could go on for ages about the books that I love, so I’ll stop here at seven. But I completely agree with you that books are important. I read to my son every night and I read him both new children’s books and ones that my parents read to me when I was a kid.

  4. Hey Dolly, a few that have had a big impact on me are ~

    • The Dream Giver, by Bruce Wilkinson

    • The 4-Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferriss

    • The Tao of Leadership, by John Heider

    • The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

    • The Way of the Superior Man, by David Deida

    • The Moses Code, by James Twyman

    Lovin’ your work by the way !!

  5. Dolly~ that is one of my all time favorite books! I have loved books… since before I could read. (My folks have said that I would sit holding a book, when I was very small, and go through it page by page, as if I was reading.) Dr. Seuss captured my attention!

    There are too many great books on my list to mention… more of Mr. Bradbury’s, the Martian Chronicles. One and The bridge across forever by Richard Bach.( Just about all of his books too)

    Books by Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma.
    Early books by Sharon Sala.

    Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein.

    Are you there God? It’s me Margaret., Tales of the fourth grade nothing, by Judy Blume.

    Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte.
    Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.

    I will think of more in a minute….
    Interesting to see the other lists!

  6. Number one on my list is The Woodwife, by Terri Windling

    Moonheart, Spirits in the Wires, Memory and Dream, Someplace to Be Flying, Forests of the Heart, and anything else written by Charles de Lint.

    Lynsay Sands’ Argeneau series

    The Darkover series by Marion Zimmer Bradley

    The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock

    The Saga of the Pliocene Exile by Julian May

    I could go on, but those are just the first ones that come to mind. :-)

  7. Hmmm… “Favorite” is a tough thing to define.

    “Most Influential” goes to Robert Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers.” It was a key factor in getting me into the Air Force; expectations it created were also key to getting me -out-.

    “Most Fun” was definitely “The Hitchiker’s Guide” series by Douglas Adams, surely one of the smartest, funniest people who ever put words to paper.

    “Sheer Awesomeness” goes to “Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m still astonished at the man’s ability to create an entire genre. Though William Gibson’s “Neuromancer” comes close, for similar reasons.

    “Most Re-Read” is “The Art of War” by Sun-Tzu. I re-read that one every couple years, sometimes in different transalations. I’m not sure exactly why I like it so much, but there it is.

    “Most Changed My Outlook” goes to Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast and Slow.” It’s set off a chain of insights into the way people (including me) think. I finished it months ago, and find that I’m still realizing new ways to apply and understand what was in the book. “Mistakes Were Made, But Not by Me” (Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson) is a close second, for similar reasons.

    So, not “favorites” exactly, except in the sense of “important to me for various reasons.

  8. Bobbi,

    I know. It;s one of the most difficult questions ever! I’ve actually read only one book from your list (The Earthsea Trilogy) and I read a lot! So new books for my list.

    Thank you for sharing.

  9. Linda,

    I love books too. I buy them, and then I keep them all, so the books are pretty much taking over :-)

    I love Gone with the Wind. Book and the movie!

  10. Jennifer,

    Childhood library trips (well, any age library trips) are awesome. It’s really impossible to pick favourites. I pick them based on the books I’ve read, and the ones that at the time of reading had a huge impact and I would re-read them. There are some that remains there permanently, and others that change from time to time.

    Ender’s Game is absolutely incredible. Sheer amount of issues that book covers is amazing. We are questioning the whole society, the children, and the sign of amazing writing is that we would find most areas to be grey, rather than black and white.

  11. Matt,

    Thank you :-) Glad you are enjoying it. I checked out your website and you are doing some awesome stuff. I look forward to reading more.

    I liked The 4-Hour Work Week, but it didn’t have that life changing impact on me that it seems to have on many people.

    The Alchemist on the other hand is a different story. That’s the book that I’m going to try and re-read every year. Maybe even couple of times a year.

  12. Sheila,

    I loved Fahrenheit 451. I need to re-read it.

    I like all of Jane Austen’s books (except Northanger Abbey), but Persuasion is my absolute favourite. That letter from Captain Wentworth does it, I think :-)

    Then it would have to be Pride and Prejudice & Mansfield Park and then Emma & Sense and Sensibility.

  13. Carol,

    Yes, us book lovers could go on forever :-)) I’ve bought The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock but haven’t read it. Looking forward to it.

  14. Doug,

    I love the way you’ve described your books. You are right….different books are important for different reasons.

    I listed favourite in a sense that these are the books that sort of blew me away when I read them, they’ve remained favourites since then, and I have or would re-read them again and again.

    But if I were to get into the list like the one you made, I will have a lot more :-)

    Yeah I would say Starship Troopers was influential if it had such major impact on your life.

    I love The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy. I was bit apprehensive when I started reading it, because I’d seen the movie first and absolutely hated it. However, I was happy to see that the book was totally different. Brilliant, funny, engaging.

    I’ve read J. R. R. Tolkien’s letters which covers decades and the creation of Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s absolutely fascinating.

    Thinking Fast and Slow sounds intriguing. I will check it out.

  15. The Alchemist is one of those books I read at least 2 times year. It literally changed my life and put me on the path I am now. Every time I feel off I read it again and since it is such a quick read I can usually get through it in a day or so. Definitely a must read book for anyone who dreams

    This is a great post – I am adding books to my must read list just by reading the comments :)

  16. I saw that Ray Bradbury quote recently too. I dig it!

    My all-time favorites are really just the favorites from the past couple of years. For some reason, for the first three decades of my life, I didn’t appreciate books like they’re meant to be loved. Now I do of course but think of all that wasted time not reading all the great books the world has produced.

    Here’s my top of the top 4 from the past couple of years.

    1) The 4-Hour Workweek
    2) Letters from a Stoic
    3) Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life
    4) Never Eat Alone

    Does anyone share these books at the top of their list?

  17. I love to read, and i passed that love onto my daughter. Books are my ticket to another land, another time.
    Long list of favorites:

    The Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
    Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
    The Time Machine by H G Wells
    The O’Malley series by Dee Henderson
    The Stand by Stephen King
    Who moved my cheese?

  18. Ooh, Dolly, so many books, so little time! I’ve always been an avid reader – I remember when I was little being told that if there was nothing to read, I’d read the cornflakes packet!

    I hardly ever read fiction, must be my passion for learning that pushes me into non-fiction and mainly self help. I also read a lot of health books. I have 3 huge bookcases absolutely full and have just bought a kindle app for my laptop which is a new experience again!

    You can conquer cancer by Ian Gawler
    The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge and
    Change Anything
    would have to be right up there.

    I’ve heard a lot about influence by Robert Cialdini so that is on my list to read as well

    Thanks for starting such a great discussion, Dolly! It has been great to read people’s lists

  19. Hm… so I super rarely re-read books, so I’ll just assume those that I’ve re-read (I’ve never read a book 3 times) are my favorite:

    Ender’s War (+ some of the books that came after)
    The Happiness Hypothesis
    Dune (the books after were terrible in comparison)
    The Way of Kings

  20. I always love this question and love getting ideas of what to read next from others.

    My favorites are……

    The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
    Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
    Open (Andre Agassi)
    The Joy of Living – Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
    The Life of Pi – Yann Martel

    Chaos to Control – Ciara Conlon (had to get that in!)

  21. Joel,

    It’s always like that with books. I, too, think about the time I wasted. But it’s never too late.

    I think few people have mentioned The 4-Hour Work Week in their favourites. I have read it, and I liked some of it ideas, but it didn’t create that much impact for me as it seems to have done for millions of people.

    I haven’t read Never Eat Alone yet, but it’s on my list. I have heard a lot of good stuff about it.

  22. Teresa,

    I like The Time Machine too :-) Stephen Baxter wrote Time Ships which sort of takes over after The Time Machine. That was fascinating too. Have you read it?

  23. Claire,

    I like both Fiction and Non-Fiction, and I’m a firm believer that Fiction teaches almost as much as non-fiction, depending on what lessons you take from it.

    I love paper books, and I have hundreds of them. I keep them all too. I do have a kindle, and while I think it’s great for travelling and convenience, I still love my paper books :-))

  24. Amit,

    I’ve got Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy, though haven’t read it yet. Looking forward to it. I’ve high hopes for that!

  25. Ciara,

    Yes, I love reading people’s book lists too :-))

    Okay, I’m going to tell you something which will probably outrage you as most people find that with their favourite books. I read The Life of Pi, and absolutely disliked it. I still can’t understand why so many people love it.

    If you would like to share your view of that, that would be great. Maybe you guys are all looking at something that I’m just missing.

  26. I have a terrible memory that leaves me scratching my head at this one…Seriously, I read a book and 2 weeks later couldn’t tell ya what it was about. =\ BUT I can tell you a few that really stuck out for me:

    “Zen and the art of falling in love” – sounds cheesy, I know, but it totally changed the way I look at and show up for relationships (and not just romantic ones). Fantastic book.

    “The power of decision” and “The power of now” – pretty self-explanatory, very eye opening.

  27. My favourite book is “The Master and Margarita” by Bulgakov.
    A wonderful, strange book – the context in which it was written needs to be understood (1930s Russia) to “access” all levels of the narrative.

    “Hawksmoor” by Peter Ackroyd is also a fantastic read.

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