The other day, I had another enlightening conversation with my husband about books.  One of these days, I’ll learn my lesson.

My husband and I are not the type of couple that leads very separate lives.  In fact, we are kind of sickly inseparable.  And I know everything about him (or so I thought):

  • I know his favorite TV show (Breaking Bad).
  • I know his favorite food (pizza).
  • I know his favorite hotel (The Wynn Las Vegas).
  • I know his favorite restaurant (Blue Hill at Stone Barns).
  • I know his favorite sport (golf).
  • I know his favorite soda (Diet Sundrop).
  • I know his favorite beer (Sweetwater 420).
  • I know his favorite video game (Grand Theft Auto).
  • I know his favorite color (orange).
  • I know his favorite brand of shoes (Onitsuka Tigers).
  • I know his favorite holiday (Christmas).
  • I know his favorite song (“One and Only” by Teitur).

But I realized the other day that, after all these years, I didn’t know his favorite book.  So I asked.

He said, “I don’t have one.”

Now, let me clarify.  He didn’t say, “I don’t have one” to mean, “I’ve read so many amazing books; I couldn’t choose just one.”  He meant, “I haven’t read a book that I liked enough to call it my favorite.”

I was dumbstruck.  I just kind of stared at him with a confused look on my face.

“Well, remember?  I don’t read,” he said.  And he winked (he has said this to me approximately 12 million times since I posted this).

And it’s true.  He doesn’t read.  I know this.  I keep telling myself this.  But it is still kind of mind-boggling to me.

It doesn’t make sense that he doesn’t read.  We are two peas in a quirky, little pod:

  • We like playing with Legos.  Together.
  • We’re both allergic to cats, but we still like them (mostly because they’re unapologetic assholes).
  • We enjoy eating cold cereal for breakfast, but will only allow ourselves such an extravagance on weekends (on those days when we don’t walk to our favorite hipster doughnut shop or go to Empire State South for their amazing farm egg with crispy rice).
  • We like to go on adventures (and document them with silly photos).
  • We run frequently in an effort to maintain some modicum of cardiovascular health.  But we both hate it, and we’re not afraid to admit it.
  • We love vodka, pinot noir, and bubbly.
  • We find this hilarious:

I could go on and on and on.  But you’d get bored (and maybe a little sick to your stomach).  My point is this: I like to read, so he should like to read!  For two people who are so similar in so many (odd) ways, how are we so different in this one important way?

If you were to ask me what my favorite book is, my answer would actually be similar to his.  But I would be saying, “I don’t have one” to mean, “I don’t have just one.”  I’d give you a list:

  • My favorite book in translation: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Marquez
  • My favorite girly book: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  • My favorite book about carnies: Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (unless, of course, you’d consider The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern to be a book about carnies . . . in which case, it might be a draw).
  • My favorite non-fiction book: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
  • My favorite YA book: George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl
  • My favorite depressing book: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

I can’t pledge my love to just one book!  There are too many that are great. Not to mention, my favorites are often tied to memories that can’t be ranked.  For example, I know that, objectively speaking, George’s Marvelous Medicine is not the best young-adult book ever written.  In fact, it’s not even the best Roald Dahl book ever written (this is).  But it’s my favorite, because I read it aloud to my first-ever class of fifth graders, and I have great memories of the kids laughing hysterically when I used different voices for George and his grandmother.  They always begged me to read just one more chapter.

I get a little sad thinking my husband doesn’t have a favorite book.  It means he doesn’t have the same kinds of memories and associations with books that I have.  I feel like he’s missing out.

I don’t want him to miss out.

So, I’m on a mission to find him a favorite book.  Perhaps you could help?  Please tell me about YOUR favorite book (or books) below. If I haven’t read it, and it looks good, I’ll add it to my reading list and blog about it later.  If it’s a book that looks like something Bryan would enjoy, I may just buy a copy and leave it lying conspicuously around the house (in his bathroom, in the refrigerator, next to the remote control).  We’ll find him a favorite yet . . .

One final note about favorites: Stay tuned for IKWYSR’s new FAVORITES SERIES beginning at the end of September! Guest bloggers will be posting about some of their favorite books. If you’re interested in participating in the series as a guest blogger, please check out the details here.


11 thoughts on “Favorites

  1. Some of my fave books: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Lorax, Ovid’s Metamorphoses (the Arthur Golding translation), One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Tempest, Arcadia, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Kissing in Manhattan, Geek Love, The Hunger Games (whole trilogy), Harry Potter (whole series), Heat, Rats, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, The Fault in Our Stars, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again

    I would recommend only Geek Love and maybe The Hunger Games (and the title essay of A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again) to Bryan. And Heat and Harry Potter, but I know for a fact he’s read those.

    Books Bryan might like (none of these would be a potential favorite for him, though):
    Bringing Down the House and Busting Vegas—the ultimate plane reads for a trip to Vegas. I don’t know if you’d like them: They’re fun stories, but they’re not particularly well-written. And they can be almost laughably misogynistic.
    Jurassic Park, if he can read it without picturing the movie in his head.
    Garlic and Sapphires, which I think you’ve read—and which reminds me to recommend Frank Bruni’s Born Round to you if I haven’t already.
    Pig Perfect.
    Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

    Did I ever recommend Bernardo and the Virgin (by Silvio Sirias) to you? You might enjoy it. And Making the Grades (by Todd Farley).

    • We have a lot of overlapping favorites. No surprise.

      Bryan read the first two Hunger Games books. He has been “reading” Mockingjay since our trip to the Panama Canal. That is to say, he has been reading that book for nearly two years.

      I think he would like the title essay of A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. Don’t be surprised if, when you visit next week, you find it in the refrigerator.

      Do you still have copies of Bernardo and the Virgin and Making the Grades? Neither is available on Kindle. If you have them, bring them down with you when you visit, please!

  2. First, poker has not been the same since you guys left town.

    My favorites? So hard to narrow it down.

    Naghuib Mahfouz’s Cairo Trilogy left me thinking I could actually smell and sense the streets and alleys of mid 20th-century Cairo.

    Vasily Grossman’s Everything Flows is a tremendous, fictional account of a man returning home from the Gulag in the 1950s and his response to the world around him. My review is here: http://www.amazon.com/Everything-Flows-Review-Books-Classics/dp/1590173287

    Bohumil Hrabl’s Too Loud a Solitude should be loved by anyone who loves books and cringes at the idea that this Czech worker’s life is spent at a recycyling facility putting banned literature through a shredder. (Hrabl is a treasure and any of his work is worth a glance.) My review is here: http://www.amazon.com/Too-Loud-Solitude-Bohumil-Hrabal/dp/0156904586/ref=pd_sim_b_1

  3. As to Bryan, that’s a hard one since I have no idea what might capture his interest. My first thought turns to a couple of Terry Pratchett’s stand-alone Discworld books, the ones where you don’t have to read the entire series to know who the characters are. I’m thinking Small Goods and Thud are my favorites. It is fun, witty and actually has some depth buried in it. http://www.amazon.com/Small-Gods-Terry-Pratchett/dp/0061092177/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377785294&sr=1-1&keywords=small+gods
    And http://www.amazon.com/Small-Gods-Terry-Pratchett/dp/0061092177/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377785294&sr=1-1&keywords=small+gods

    On the mysery side, I like Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano series. Set in Sicily, they are a hoot. Good stories, good characters, ‘interesting’ murders in a eally cool setting. First one in the series is here: http://www.amazon.com/Shape-Water-Inspector-Montalbano-Book/dp/0142004715/ref=cm_lmf_tit_17

    Last, you can’t go wrong with Dashiell Hammett. His Maltese Falcon, Thin Man and other hard boiled stories (with R Chandler) created the genre and still have that staccatto pace that keeps you turning the page.

    • Well, hello, Mr. Pseudonym! What a nice surprise! First of all, I have to tell you that I appreciate very much that my blog takes precedence over the important lawyering you should be doing at 10:00 on a Thursday morning.

      Thank you for all of these delightful suggestions! I haven’t read any of them, but I have now added Too Loud a Solitude to my reading list.

      As for Bryan . . . well, let’s just say: I’m not holding my breath.

      • Oh, I’m billing this as pro bono work.
        Been thinking about mystery and ‘spy’ stories because those, more than the standard summer reading list sent home from school every summer, made me want to read more and more.

        Lately I’ve been into Eric Ambler. “Ambler was to the modern British spy novel what Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett were to the American detective novel. Typically, Ambler would take an unassuming, unsuspecting spectator and immerse him in a world of mystery and intrigue in pre and post-World War II Europe. The result was a series of highly entertaining and satisfying books that many believe set the stage for the likes of le Carre, Deighton, and, most recently, Alan Furst.” So if Bryan likes that sort of WWII intrque or Spy Who Came in from the COld type stuff, he might get a kick out of these. Recently republished by Vintage (whose book list is pretty good for this sort of stuff) they should be easily found.

  4. You know, I was just thinking… has he ever read Miracle in the Andes? It’s the book that the movie Alive is based on. I know, images of Ethan Hawke eating dead people are dancing in your head. But it’s way, way better than the movie. And has some interesting insights about religion along the way. I thought it was fascinating.

  5. Pingback: I Know What You Should Read | Shorts: Review of Short Story Collections by Holly Goddard Jones, Junot Díaz, and Alice Mattison

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