Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, a fun way to get yourself thinking and sharing about books and bookish things.
April 21: Top ten all-time favorite authors
Great (and TOUGH) topic! What are the qualifications, the number of their books you’ve read? Maybe you’ve only read one book, but it was totally amazing and you can’t wait for their next? An author you will buy and read everything they’ve written? What about their public persona, do you agree with their views and statements? I made this list based on a little bit of all of these. In alphabetical order by last name:
Couple of childhood favorites: Roald Dahl, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Honorable mentions: Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, Cormac McCarthy, Stewart O’Nan, Lionel Shriver, Colm Tóibín… errgh and others!
Who are your all-time favorite authors?
[Author photos from Goodreads, except Gay and Winstead]
Are “best” and “favorite” the same thing? If someone asked you “What’s the best book you ever read?” would the answer be the same as for “What’s your favorite?”
I think that both concepts of “best” and “favorite” are so, so subjective. Okay, so let’s say a particular book is written well, character development, story arch, etc. … all signs of a greatness. But who can honestly say it’s the “best” one? Maybe the author is qualified and has the right to say “this is my best work.” But still—critics and readers may find it NOT to be the best. Or is the author just favoring this particular book, their latest? It’s such a fine line!
Whether it’s books, art, music, or anything else in the arts, quantifiers for “best” and “favorite” are all in the eye of the beholder, I think. Also, are we talking about BEST EVER?? Or just that individual author’s best work? Who really has the right and qualifications to declare something “the best” (without adding, “in my opinion”)? Do rave reviews count? Published critics? Community consensus? We all certainly have the right to have our own favorites, though. People will debate what’s “the best” for all of human history, but no one can take your favorite away from you.
As for the second part of this week’s question, I can’t say I have any ONE book that I consider “the best.” I like lots of different books for lots of different reasons, and my favorites are all very different. And of course, over time tastes and interests change, and something you may have loved in your 20s isn’t quite so appealing in your 30s (or whatever). So I’m usually pretty careful about what I declare as the best (in my opinion!) or a favorite (of mine!) because I’m pretty sure I’ll change my mind in a few years 🙂
Would you say there are differences between “best” and “favorite”? What do you think?