If somebody asked me what my favourite book was, I would have some serious issues trying to answer it; there are simply too many wonderful stories out there to pick one. If they narrowed it down a little, asking 'What's the funniest book you every read?' or 'Which book can you read endlessly?' or 'Which interesting book have you read lately?' I would find it much easier. If they asked me which books have been able to make me cry, there would only be one or two.
The book I finished this morning (One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey) made me cry. I'd been intending to read it for quite a while, because it's been sitting on my bookshelf for god knows how long. In fact, I think the copy I read was published over 30 years ago, and has been read plenty of times, as you can tell it by its condition:
Halfway through reading, the back cover fell off. When my aunt bought this book, it cost 95 cents; I can't really think of a better way she could have spent it.
Obviously, this is a very acclaimed book and so I wasn't particularly surprised that I loved it so much (if you haven't read it - I urge you go read it now!) but it did get me thinking about what it is that makes a certain story 'speak' to you. Is it simply a very well-written novel? Or are there certain elements which make it more likely that the book will become my favourite book?
One thing which struck me is that in the past I have also loved (enjoyed is not the right word) books where the words themselves are beautiful. I would love to be able to read every language in the world, simply so that I could read stories in the language written by their author. How tough would it be to translate a book like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?! Another thing is that the stories that always stay with me are the ones that made me cry - and as I said they are very rare. So it is co-incidence that the passage which made me cry in this book is also the most poetical? Sadder things definitely occur in the course of this story, but Chief Bromden's post-shock ramblings were what moved me to tears.
Ting. Tingle, tingle tremble toes, she's a good fisherman, catches hens, puts 'em inna pens . . . wire blier, limber lock, three geese in a flock . . . one flew east, one flew west, one flew over the cuckoo's nest . . . O-U-T spells out . . . goose swoops down and plucks you out.
In the recent spirit of question-asking, which elements are what make you love a book?