discussions · shanti

Are favourite books a static thing?

Hi Virtually Readers! It’s discussion day, and the topic is something which I personally think is really interesting—once a book becomes a ‘favourite’ book of yours, does it have to stay there? I don’t think so, but I thought it’d be a fun thing to talk about. Keep reading for more (oh no, that makes me sound like one of those clickbait facebook ads… anyway)

favourites

So until recently, I’d had a list of ‘five favourite series’ in my head that I could pull out whenever people asked what my favourite books were. The list had been the same for about two years, and it included The Old Kingdom Chronicles, The Lunar Chronicles, The Protector of the Small, Harry Potter and The Montmaray Journals. These weren’t in any order, but they were my favourites, because somehow a standalone had never stolen my heart in quite the same way.

But I realised over the holidays (in the last two months) that those books were no longer ALL my favourites. Specifically Harry Potter. I started reading the series when I was seven, stopped for a bit, then finished when I was ten. I’ve reread the books—or some of them—quite a few times since then. But I was thinking about it (at a bookshop of course, where all these things come to the surface) and I just realised that I didn’t like Harry Potter as much anymore. In fact, it had been replaced—by the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy on some days and the Chanda’s Secrets books on others.

But why did it change? And should it change? Like, once a book becomes your favourite, should it stay there forever? I mean, I think I still have a lot of fondness in my heart for Harry and the gang, but maybe Harry Potter has served its purpose in my life. For a few years I was enchanted with the stories of wizards and magic… but now not as much. I still think that Harry Potter is an example of really good storytelling, but I’ve grown away from it. I always loved to read, but Harry Potter showed me a lot of things I like in books now—detail and adventure and magic and resilient characters—and maybe it shaped my reading as I grew into Artemis Fowl and Percy Jackson and Protector of the Small as I got older. But why is it no longer my favourite? Should books exist with purposes? (which can obviously be different for different people). I think they can, and maybe Harry Potter has fulfilled it’s purpose in my life. I no longer need that story to remind me that high school is survivable, or that I will find many good friends (when I started reading Harry Potter I was living in an isolated area and home-schooled). That doesn’t mean that I won’t come back to it in the future though.

Harry Potter has done what it needed to in my life. I don’t believe that books find you, like some kind of fate thing, but for the moment it’s no longer my favourite. That’s still subject to change. As you get older, you change yourself, and that means that the books you like, the stories you’re drawn to change too.

Ultimately, when you think about favourites—and this applies to more than books, it could be TV shows or perfume or clothing—you are the person who gets to decide. Your favourite things define a little bit of your identity—and heaven knows that’s constantly evolving. (or is it just me?) So I say: don’t feel beholden to stick to a certain list of what is your favourite, because honestly the books/clothing/TV shows don’t care. It’s about deciding who you are. And that’s allowed to change. (that was really deep. I know)

So what do you think? Agree or disagree? Have your favourites ever changed? Tell me in the comments!

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22 thoughts on “Are favourite books a static thing?

  1. This is why I’m scared of rereading my childhood favorites actually. I’m afraid they won’t be favorites if I reread them as an adult and I want to keep my nice memories with them 😀

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  2. I don’t think favorite books (or movies or music) has to be static at all. I had a favorite band in high school, and while I may still listen to their music nowadays, I hardly consider them my favorite. However, it just so happens that my favorite book(s) are pretty static. And those books are the Harry Potter books. That being said, I can totally understand how people favorite books can shift as they get older or experience new things or read new books, yes even if those books are Harry Potter.

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    1. Yeah, we change over time and it makes sense that our favourites will too. But maybe you’ll feel differently in five years? It’s okay to have favourites though, and you sort of feel a sense of allegiance to them– at least, I do. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. *nods and applauds* This post is so great! I know that I always feel a little sad, almost unfaithful, when I realize that a book or TV show is no longer one of my favorites, but that is allowed to change. Especially when I’m a teenager and everything is changing so fast for me anyway. It’s totally okay to remember the purpose it served in my life with fondness, without feeling like I have to stay attached to it forever. *nods*

    Again, great post!

    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbositybookreviews.wordpress.com

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    1. yeah, it’s a complicated thing, because what you love is so often how you define yourself. Never let it be said that being a teenager is easy. Exactly :). Favourites are important .

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  4. Oh, totally. Totally totally totally. To be honest, I’m a huge advocate for this—in so many ways. I don’t think it’s weird at all to “grow out” of a book series. As we keep getting older our context keeps expanding as people and as readers. It only makes sense that we’ll find books that apply and resonate with our most current context rather than something we loved ten years ago. We’re different, and that’s okay. Plus, just because something isn’t your favorite doesn’t mean it isn’t good, nor does it mean that you suddenly hate or disrespect the book that used to mean a lot to you. Your book just takes a new role in your life, and that is so important, and meaningful, and everything.

    Yes to all this post.

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    1. Thanks for this excellent comment Heather. I’m so glad you appreciated this post. We change and our opinions change and it’s really important to internalise that. That’s why I love reading different review for the same book– of course, some books are objectively ‘better’ than others, but it’s individual response to them that really are different, because different people love different things. Thanks for this comment ❤

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  5. I was nodding the entire time reading this post!. I loved Harry Potter when I was in second grade but while I’d consider it a great series, I don’t think it would make my top five favorites anymore. The funny thing for me is sometimes, depending on my mood, I have different favorite books. Like if someone asks me to recommend them books I love, it would entirely depend on how I felt at that time, if I just finished a mind-blowing book or series then I’d recommend it over my usual favorites (Legend, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, and Throne of Glass) 😀

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    1. I’m glad you could identify! Yeah, I think Harry Potter hadn’t been my favourite for quite a while, but I just hadn’t accepted it yet. Mood certainly makes a difference– and that’s why I have a top five list instead of a top one. It’s impossible to choose! Those books are all really good (you have great taste XD)

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  6. OOOH YES. Favourite books absolutely do change. Like my childhood favourite is A Series of Unfortunate Events but I’ve found ones more to my taste now. Or A Song of Ice and Fire was at one point my go-to reread series but now I have fallen out of love with it. Currently my fav read is VICIOUS (for around a year now?) but I’m sure that will change with time too!

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    1. Thanks for saying this, Alyssa! I love reading comments on discussion posts. Yeah, there are books that are really special to me as they meant so much in my childhood, or a few years ago, but now they aren’t my favourites, and I gotta accept that. I really need to read Vicious!

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  7. Ooh, this is an excellent question. *nods* And ultimately I do think you can (and should?!) change your favourite books as you grow because…cHANGE. We all do it. But some books will always have a very very special place in my heart. ❤ Like I would pick Maggie Stiefvater in an INSTANT over Narnia…but I grew up reading Narnia and it is just so … my CHILDHOOD. You know?! So I will always call it my "favourite" even though I've definitely grown out of it and if I re-read them now, I doubt they'd excite or move or just engross me like my newer favourites do now. So it's a hard one. xD But I definitely am all in favour of changing favourites as we change. ;D

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    1. It is important to think about for sure! Change is part of life, and that can extend to books. I know what you mean– like your old favourites still mean something to you because of what they represent of who you used to be. Thanks for commenting!

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  8. I love a good book series, but I totally agree with you that favorites are not set in stone, they change when we change. Reading your thoughts on Harry Potter was a relief because I couldn’t have said it better myself and some of my bookish friends are like “What you are not obsessed with Harry Potter!!!” like it is a sin or something. Loved them when I read them and then loved them for years after, but now as I’ve gotten older they just don’t speak to me like they did in my youth. Still love the characters and watch the movies once a year in a weekend binge watch but I don’t think I would re-read the series. Thanks for writing this!

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    1. I’m glad someone else agrees with me on the Harry Potter thing! I was a little bit nervous about posting that actually. They’re good books, but I no longer need to read them all the time to feel happy or whatever. Thanks for commenting!

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  9. I totally agree with you–favorite books, for me, are NEVER static. In fact, you could ask me two days in a row what my faves are…and get totally different answers, because my personal list of “favorites” (and this extends to things like movies, music, and colors as well) change ALL THE TIME depending on my mood and the day!

    Great discussion post idea! Thanks so much for posting, and sharing your thoughts!

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    1. I definitely don’t have a single favourite books, just a list of them that is all relatively my favourites. Different things definitely appeal to you depending on your mood– that does happen to me as well!. Thanks for commenting!

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  10. What a great idea, and actually, I never thought about this until just now. I think my favourite books have changed with time, indeed. We’re growing up, and what seems magical in some books, just lose a few of their glitters when we grow up, that’s sad, but it happens, and we fall in love with other books afterwards, and that’s pretty awesome, too! 🙂 I remember LOVING The Princess Diaries series for instance, and I think if I re-read it now, I would enjoy it, but probably not as much, because I’ve grown older, sadly.

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    1. Thanks Marie! It makes sense that at different times in your life different things would appeal to you and consequently the old things lose their ‘glitter’. I do love discovering new books (and also new friends and places and talents etc.), and that is worthwhile even if we do lose the things we used to love. Yeah, a lot of kids books just seem different when you’re older.

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