What’s Your All-Time Favorite Book? Here's Why It Matters!

Ponderings: What is Your Favorite Book and Why?

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Hey there, fabulous bookworms! I'm absolutely obsessed with reading—no surprise there. It's like finding a soulmate when I bump into friends who are also passionate about the literary world. Is there anything better than talking about your favorite book over coffee?

From the moment I could read at age five, I was a voracious reader—no kidding! I used to march to the local library and haul home a stack of books so high it was like my own personal tower of literary joy. I even read the children's picture book section alphabetically—true story! So, let's dive into why your all-time favorite book is more than just a collection of pages; it's a window into your soul, values, and even your life goals.

This article is part of a series of Pondering posts where I asked people the same question and shared their thoughts along with mine.

I know this is an unfair pondering question as picking one book as a favorite is impossible; however, I will say Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse for my one-book recommendation.  I learned much from this book; I researched Buddhism, symbolism, and Carl Jung. The book is a spiritual journey by the main character, Siddhartha, and covers many themes: family, friendship, love, and finding yourself. I get something new from this book every time I read it; a new message finds me as I think about my life, Hesse's writing, and Siddhartha's growth.

I first read this as an assignment when I returned to college when my youngest was about one year old. I was worried that I wouldn't fit in or have anything intelligent to say after years of being home with my children – let's face it, watching too much children's television can kill brain cells.  When the unit was over, the professor asked me to present my research, and I was teaching the class about Buddhism, the four noble truths, and the eightfold path, and I was on my journey of growth and enlightenment.

Another insightful book is The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz. It's simple and powerful, with striking lessons on love and communication.

Why Your Go-To Book is a Window Into Your Soul

When it comes to revealing the depths of your soul, your go-to book is like your personal mirror, reflecting your hopes, dreams, fears, and so much more. Think about it: the stories that captivate us often touch on themes and experiences that resonate with us on a deeply personal level. Maybe it's a tale of epic adventure that fuels your wanderlust, or perhaps it's a coming-of-age story that reminds you of your journey. Elizabeth Gilbert put it perfectly in her book Big Magic: “The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”

The key takeaway is that your favorite book often intersects with your life's narrative. It may highlight your aspirations, echo your dilemmas, or even offer solutions that feel almost tailor-made for you. The next time you pick up that well-thumbed copy of your all-time favorite book, take a moment to ponder what it truly reveals about you. You might discover a gem of insight that's been there all along, waiting for you to unearth it.

Incorporating these elements enriches the content and makes it more relatable and insightful. You're not just talking about books but life, the universe, and everything in between. And isn't that what great storytelling is all about?

The Impact of Your Favorite Book on Your Life

Understanding the impact of your favorite book on your life is like unlocking a treasure chest of self-awareness. It's not just about the narrative, characters, or plot twists; it's about the book's influence on shaping your perspectives, values, and choices. For some, a favorite book might catalyze change, inspiring new ventures or pivots in career paths. For others, it serves as a comforting emotional anchor, a dependable source of wisdom to revisit in times of chaos or uncertainty.

The incredible part is that this book—or set of books, because hey, who can pick just one?—can be both a mirror and a compass. It reflects who you are while pointing to who you could become. This fascinating dynamic transforms your reading experience from a mere pastime into a lifelong companion that enriches your journey in ways you may not have even realized. The intrigue lies in identifying your favorite book and exploring its long-lasting imprint on your story.

“I have always thirsted for knowledge. I have always been full of questions.” Hermann Hesse

What is Your Favorite Book?

Thoughts from Carol Quinn, author of Follow My Lead

My favorite book is usually the one I happen to be reading. At the moment, I’m rereading the History of Love by Nicole Krauss.  It’s a lyrical story about love and loss—beautifully written. For me, this book is a reminder of why I love to write: to touch hearts, to shine the light on the parts of our humanity that we hide from one another, and to give a picture of our struggles.

“Most people…are like a falling leaf that drifts and turns in the air, flutters, and falls to the ground. But a few others are like stars which travel one defined path: no wind reaches them, they have their guide and path within themselves.” Hermann Hesse

Thoughts from Shannon Fitzpatrick:

My favorite book is My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. I remember hearing all about it in sixth grade, but my mom told me I wasn't old enough to read it. I had to wait three long years until I was given the nod of approval. It was right after Christmas, and my brother took me to Borders, and I bought my copy even though my mom had one.

I believe that books have memories from when you read them, and I wanted this one to be filled with memories. I sat down and read it all in one day. It was the first book to make me cry. All these things make the book unique: waiting, having it be mine, and making me cry, which is not easy.

Thoughts from Rheda Wilson-Duff:

“So many on my list, but my favorite book of all time is Approval Addiction by Joyce Meyer. In my not-too-distant past, I had a severe need for everyone to like me. I would do anything for approval. This book gave me insight, hope, and solutions.”

Here are some other favorite books to add to your “to-be-read” (TBR) pile:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Practical Magic (and the whole series) by Alice Hoffman

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

What is your favorite book and why? Share with me – I'd love to hear what you think!

Find my current favorite reads here.

Let's connect on Goodreads, too!

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  1. My favorite book is Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett. It was made into an okay mini-series. In fact, I’d optioned it shortly after it came out and tried to make it myself but it was during a dormant period for mini-series when they were ONLY making 4-hour mini’s and Pillars needed at least 8.

    The story of Pillars isn’t one you’d immediately think of as involving as it centers around the building of a church in the Middle Ages. But, what I loved so much was being transported to a time and place with such vivid characters and intrigue.

    I have so little “free reading” time these days. I loved when I read great series of books like “The Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance,” when I read aloud the first four Harry Potter books to my boys, and so many others!

    1. I have’t read that Bruce, it sounds interesting. Have you read Brunelleschi’s Dome about the building of the Dome in Florence? You might really like it. I love historical reading and being transported to another time and place. I will definitely check out your book suggestion.

      I don’t have as much free reading time either but I am trying to carve it back into my schedule. It is worth the effort.
      Thanks for sharing with me!

      1. No, but I’ll have to read those! I filmed ON the Dome – a pilot for a series. We did a chase across the top, at night, with thousands of Italians watching! Very cool…but not quite as cool as when we continued the chase on the Tower of Pisa!

  2. I love “Little Women” I have read this book seven times and can always find something new in its language or story that I missed. I believe it has everything a book should have. Love, family, sadness, togetherness, even a bit of suspense a few times.

    1. I read the Little Women series with my Mom and sister so long ago. I need to re-read that as well. I really respect Louisa May Alcott for having to work so hard as a women writer.

      Thanks for sharing Debbie!

    2. Ah great memories of reading Little Women with my mom and sister. I need to re-read that again. I always admired Louisa May Alcott for forging the way for women writers when it was so difficult. Truly a great American author.

  3. Hard to pick an absolute favorite, but I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb really resonates with me.  Great story about brothers, family history, trials of life.  My favorite new book is Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes.  It’s a fictional Vietnam war novel based on the true experiences of the author. It is a war book that really brings out the humanity of the young men involved in the war.  

    1. Hi Curtis,
      I agree – it is hard to pick just one favorite book. I have not read Wally Lamb yet but his books are popular. I will have to check it out!

  4. “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follette.  It is just one of those epic reads that you cannot put down.  I have gifted the book to countless friends and family…all with very different tastes and interests.  100% gave the same feedback.  They could not put the book down, read it straight through and were emotionally spent at the end.

    I met my wife over a conversation about “On The Road” by Jack Kerouac.  So goes without saying that is also epic in a number of ways! 

    Great post Peg.  Appreciate you! 


    PS – Wonderful photos!

  5. “Desperaux” by Kate DiCamillo. A book which depicts human nature using fun and wise characters from a children point of view.

  6. Mines probably The Book Thief by Marcus Zuzack. Its about a girl living in Nazi, Germany during World War 2 but its in the perspective of Death. Its a magnificent story filled with lyrical prose and beautiful characters. 

  7. It’s very hard to choose just one, but I would say my favorite book is “Love in the Time of Cholera,” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I loved most of Marquez’s books and my favorite genre remains magical realism, which is so common in South-American literature. I often read Isabel Allende, Mario Vargas Llosa or Julio Cortazar, they are all great.
    I’ve only read “Steppenwolf” by Hesse and “Siddhartha” is on my list, too!

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