Though I don’t discuss this often, “reading your destiny” may be just as important as writing your destiny for some of us. In one of her recent posts, Jenni Corrigan of News of the Times, asked the question what are your five favorite books. That’s one of those questions most writers have been asked at one time or another in their life.
Another question that I remember being asked on college and graduate school applications has been what books influenced you the most and why. These have always been tough questions for me because I love to read so many different kinds of books.
You can tell I’m a little uptight about our upcoming move to a new home, because I was up from midnight to 2pm trying to answer this question of my favorite books.
It seems so arbitrary to choose only 5 books, though there were three books that I kept coming back to — The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran and the Tao Te Ching and the Bible. Spiritual wisdom has always been compelling to me.
Yet, there are so many other kinds of books that I have loved at different periods of my life everything from Dune by Frank Herbert in high school to Introduction to Quantum Physics in college to Candide by Voltaire in my thirties and more recently Eaarth by Bill McKibben.
So, having insomnia last night, I started writing lists of all the books that I’ve ever loved, and creating all kinds of ways to narrow the books down to only the top five. I still ended up failing to find only five favorites. Still, it ended up being a great exercise that I would recommend to you, especially if you’re having trouble going to sleep.
What are your favorite books?
Why do they mean so much to you?
If you have some time, enjoy this exercise as a path to self-appreciation for the literary road you have travelled.
Look at the most important/influential books in the different decades or periods of your life.
Alternatively, or in addition, choose books by categories of interest. In my case, my favorite categories of books are Spiritual wisdom, Magical novels (not necessarily pure fantasy), Classics (a broad category for me that ranges from Les Miserables to Middlesex), Questing Books, Philosophy and Earth-Loving.