This week’s challenge contains no sweat nor hammer and nails — just good old fashioned page turning. The challenge: re-read your favorite book.
Table of Contents
What’s your favorite book and why?
Drop the title and author in the comments section below. Defining what makes a book good or great (to you) is subjective. Basic ingredients aside, the recipe for whether a book speaks to you in a powerful way depends on a number of factors. While I’ve read plenty of good books in my life, there’s one that sticks out.
If you don’t have a copy of your favorite book:
- Visit Amazon and download the e-book for Kindle. Don’t have a Kindle? There’s an app for that (free).
- Order the paperback or hardcopy.
- Check out a copy at your local library.
There’s only one book I’ve read more than twice. Each year, without fail, I pick up my favorite book and start anew on page 1. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read it at this point. But I’ll never forget the first time, back in 2007. It was shortly after my good friend Jeremiah died.
The first two pages did what David Foster Wallace described when he said the purpose of good fiction is to make us feel less alone inside — and prior to reading this novel, I felt very much alone and isolated. I was a hundred miles or more away from any close friends, who, like me, now dealt with, or avoided, the grief of losing a friend at too young an age.
As I was navigating a new normal, I received a copy of what would become my favorite book of all-time from the publisher in exchange for a review.
From pages one and two of Attention.Deficit.Disorder.: A Novel, by Brad Listi:
Horvak didn’t really know Amanda. He knew her peripherally through me, but he didn’t know her well enough to mourn her. Nothing about her death was debilitating to him; none of it really affected him. Beyond the kind of standard empathy that occurs in decent people, nothing much would transpire within him on account of her passing.
My head was swimming. I’d come to the conclusion that I had very little understanding of what anything actually meant. That right there was the extent of my knowledge.
Sometime after midnight, I stubbed out another cigarette and rose from the couch. I walked over to the window and pulled back the curtain. Down below, life was happening. Cars were rolling by, rattling and coughing exhaust […] Streetlights were shining. The fog was moving in. People were walking along the sidewalks, wrapped in hats and scarves. I wondered who they were, where they were going, what they did. I wondered what their stories were. I wondered what would happen to them. I watched them disappearing, one by one and two by two, lost in the direction of wherever it was that they were headed. And none of them even knew I was there.
From the opening scene, I felt myself identifying with the protagonist Wayne Fencer. Suddenly, I no longer felt alone. Here was a character, roughly my age at the time I read this, trying to make sense of life in the wake of death. The novel was published four days after Jeremiah died and couldn’t have come at a better time in my life.
When I asked Brad Listi why he wrote this book in the way he did, mixing humor in all the while tackling heavy subject matter, he said in our interview: “It was important to me to write a novel that isn’t a terrible bummer. While working on it, I was attempting to find a way to strike a balance between pathos and comedy, heavy and light […] In my experience, life is sometimes brutal and terrifying and horrible and painful. It is also beautiful and light-hearted and magical and funny. Often, it is brutal and terrifying and beautiful and funny all at the same time. This is how I see the world, and I wanted the book to reflect that odd truth.”
Three reasons to re-read your favorite book
- Comfort and nostalgia: You know that friend from childhood you used to try to make laugh as soon as he took a sip of his milk at the lunch table? For me, that friend is Andy. Reading your favorite book is like visiting an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time and venturing down memory lane. It provides comfort and nostalgia, and can be an energizing force.
- Summon your inner child: If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a parent it’s that if a kid enjoys something, they are going to find a way to enjoy it again and again. My kids will read the same book over and over like it’s a brand new experience. Adults aren’t too shabby about this when it comes to movies or music. I mean, look, I know exactly what’s going to happen in Goonies, but I root for Mikey and the gang to avoid the clutches of the Fratellis and save their town from greedy property developers in 2023 like I did in 1985. So why not do the same with your favorite book?
- Gain deeper insights and discover new meanings: There’s a reason your favorite book is the cream that rises to the top for you. Re-reading it, perhaps after years away, can help you gain deeper insights into the characters, themes, and messages of the story. You may notice things you missed the first time around or gain a new perspective on the story you didn’t have before.
Sharing your weekend challenge
If you do this challenge, snap a photo of your favorite book and share it on social media as #weekendchallenge and link to this post. You can even preemptively share the challenge on social media and invite others to join you.
There are none. Your favorite book may be fiction or nonfiction. It could be a coming-of-age story or a cozy mystery — whatever floats your boat.
I hope this challenge is a fun one for you. If you missed the previous challenges and want to partake, visit Weekend Challenges. Now, go grab your favorite book tucked away on your bookshelf and open to page one. Happy reading.
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