Day Four: Favourite Book
Hm. How does one actually measure “favorite” book? For music, I went with “I listen to this probably more than anything else”. For actor, I went with “Body of work is that which I find most enjoyable”. For movie, I went with “That which I have seen the most and would gladly see again”.
It’s hard to judge literature on any of those sorts of guides. I’m a re-reader (I’ve read virtually every fiction book I own at least twice, some a dozen times or more), but re-reading isn’t the same as reading every day. This isn’t “favourite author”, either, so I can’t go off of a body of work.
People often talk about their favorite book using something along the lines of “It changed their lives”. In my case, however, it’s uncommon for any single piece of literature to change my life in any very “monumental” way, and those that have are often wildly different and in some cases contradictory effects. I liked “The Republic” as much as “The Wealth of Nations”, “Beyond Good and Evil”, “The Sickness Unto Death”, and “Summa Theologica”, just to name a few. It’s difficult to find people who like Nietzsche or Kierkegaard or Plato or Aquinas without having a very strong negative opinion about one of the others.
AH! I have it. Thank you, gray matter, for making a jump. There is one overall class of literature that deserves significant note in my brainpan; the heroic epic. In the framework of appealing to the baser notions of entertainment that attract everybody, the writer of the heroic epic often manages to have his or her protagonist engage in the same philosophical struggles discussed more formally by those mentioned in the previous paragraph. Plus they throw in …fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles! Rargh!
In that case, I shall cheat outrageously and use The Iliad and The Odyssey (not really cheating, the category is “book”, not “literary work”, and you typically buy them together!)
The Odyssey is the actual heroic epic of the two, but you can’t pass up on adding in the Iliad if you can add it for free…