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)
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!