30 Day Book Challenge Day 30 – My favourite book of all time

Well, here we are, Day 30. It’s been a long 30 days (well, for me), but finally we have arrived at the big one, the ultimate book question – the book that takes the title of being my favourite of all time. And whereas many of the days in this challenge have been difficult to pick, this answer I knew before I even started the challenge. I suspect this is also the one answer unlikely to change any time soon, or maybe ever.

So, without further ado, my favourite book of all time is…*drumroll*…

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. That’s right, the same book which happens to be the only book to move me to tears (as discussed in yesterday’s blog) is also my all time favourite book. I have mentioned it several times throughout the challenge, and have painstakingly tried not to reveal that it was my favourite. To my regular readers who have seen many of my posts for this challenge – did you manage to guess this was my favourite?

The reasons why it takes top spot I have also already discussed in some detail. After having fallen out of the habits of both reading and writing a few years ago in my early 20s, Catch-22 was the book that pulled me back, and gave me a new love for literature and storytelling. It simply blew me away, it made me realise just how powerful writing can be. It pushed and pulled me through the full array of emotions – I laughed, I cried, it angered me, it broke my heart, and ultimately, it inspired me. It is cleverly calculated so as to reel you in with humour for much of the first part of the book, leaving you, as a reader, disarmed, before it slowly delivers a number of devastating blows that leave you utterly reeling and shocked.

It took Heller eight years to write this book, and frankly, I can see why. He was also accused, much later in his life, of having “never written anything else as good as Catch-22,” to which he cleverly responded “nobody has.” But jokes aside, I think no other book, for me at least, has ever captured the madness of war, and the horrors that those faced with this madness had to deal with, as powerfully and poignantly as this novel.  I have read it three times now, and each time I find it hasn’t lost any of this power it has over me, and I finish it with renewed vigour for reading and writing.

What’s your favourite book of all time? Is there a particular reason why it means so much to you – a reason which perhaps transcends the story within the book?

14 thoughts on “30 Day Book Challenge Day 30 – My favourite book of all time

  1. I think I would have to say, my favourite book of all time would be James Calvell’s ‘Shogun’. It impressed me so much, I researched it for a literary project in University. Although Clavell had changed the names of his characters, a lot of the major players in the book represented real people of the time. Not only that, he made the time period come alive. It was the ultimate historical fiction book for me and inspired me to write historical fiction, myself. Mind you, I doubt I could do it as well as him!

    • Oh really? Awesome, I will have to find that show and listen to it, I imagine it would be very interesting! 🙂
      And thanks, I thought it was a good choice! Certainly not one to be ashamed of, and a book I am always encouraging others to read.

  2. I must confess to not having read Catch 22. What can I say, I have it on my shelf and I know instinctively I’ll like it when I finally read it, but it just never seems the right time…if that makes any sense.

    My favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I have yet to come across a book that is so profound and simply written at the same time. Boo, Scout, Atticus…all unforgettable and carved indelibly onto my mind. Like Catch 22 does for you, this is the book that makes me cry, laugh, despair, hope, get angry, believe in the human spirit, and ultimately inspires me, every time I read it. I used to wonder why Lee never wrote another book, but I don’t anymore…she obviously said everything worth saying in this one!

    • I do know what you mean, I have some books like that, that I seem to be waiting for the right moment to sit down and read them. Hopefully you will enjoy Catch-22 when you get to it, it is quite an amazing book.
      Ah yes, To Kill A Mockingbird is a great book as well! It’s funny how you mention that Lee never wrote another book almost because she didn’t need to…Joseph Heller did write about 5 more books, but none of them even remotely compared to Catch-22. Some of them are a bit boring, the best one he wrote was called Closing Time, which was interesting – he wrote it as an old man, thirty or forty years after Catch-22, and it was a sequel, with the survivors of Catch-22 being the main characters, only forty years later. It was a very bitter, scathing attack on society, but was easily the best book out of everything else he wrote.

  3. I kinda noticed Catch-22 was one of your top favourites! 🙂 Anyway, I have nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger and Versatile Blogger Awards. Check it out here: http://roshrulez.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-kreativ-blogger-and-versatile-blogger-award/
    About my all-time favourite book… it would be a tie between The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. And if I’m given the chance to rant on, I could name a few more that are definitely at the top of my list!

    • Hahahaha, glad you could notice!
      And wow, thank you, that’s very kind of you! I will blog about it tomorrow night (so this time, as it’s nighttime now for me here), and nominate it onwards. But thank you, that means a lot! 🙂
      And interesting picks for your favourite book. I love The Alchemist, it is a great book! Definitely one of my favourites…

  4. First and foremost, congrats on reaching day 30! I have really enjoyed following you throughout – you have a real talent! Thank you for spending all those hours putting your thoughts down, I really enjoyed your posts! I hope you keep up with it, after a well deserved break I would say.

    For me, my favorite book is always changing. I suppose that I am impressionalbe, when I read a book that I enjoy I tend to really enjoy it! If I had to pick – it would be On the Road, by Jack Keroauc. A close second is The Alchemist, while the second runner up is Catcher in the Rye (it had a huge impact on me when I read it as an adolecent).

    • Thank you so much for the kind words, and I’m glad you enjoyed reading all the posts! It was harder than I expected, but oddly cathartic in some ways, and I learned things about myself and my reading habits along the way that I had not previously acknowledged. But I will definitely keep up with it, I have really enjoyed writing these blogs so far, and to know other people are enjoying reading them definitely helps motivate me. I might slow down a little, maybe to 4 to 5 posts a week – I need to let myself have a day or two off every now and then, I think.

      Yeah, I must admit, while my favourite book is unlikely to change, if I were to write a top 10 list of sorts, most of the books on that list would probably change quite a lot. I have been meaning to read both On The Road and Catcher in the Rye (I have both, but just haven’t got around to reading them yet). But I love The Alchemist, and am pleasantly surprised to see so many other people love it too!

  5. Hello, I’ve been reading through your blog and I find it most interesting (and amusing too) and I just wanted to congratulate you for it. I must say that I usually don’t think in terms of favorites but if I had to choose I’d probably go with Orwell’s 1984 or Animal Farm or maybe Kafka’s The Trial, but Catch-22, I love this book and I keep forgetting about it! I bought it along with other 4 or 5 books and it was the first one of those that I read, and I just could not put it down. It’s funny, it’s tragic, then it’s tragic and funny at the same time and the thing I liked the most was how it was ordered and how nicely everything fitted at the end. It is certainly one of the funniest I read (along with The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).

    • Thank you for the kind compliments – I’m glad you enjoyed my ramblings strewn throughout my blog! 🙂
      I love both those books by Orwell, but I must confess I am yet to read The Trial by Kafka, though what little Kafka I have read I have thoroughly enjoyed.
      Catch 22 is a great book like that – it just strikes that balance between hilarity and tragedy so well. I don’t think any book has ever moved me as much as this one did (and perhaps no book ever will again?). I didn’t mind the sequel to it either, Closing Time (which was written when Heller was older, and was set several decades after the war when the survivors such as Yossarian were old men).

    • Ah awesome – I’d love to hear what you think of it when you do read it! Most people I know love it, but every now and then I hear of somebody actually disliking it (but it’s rare). Hopefully you’ll enjoy it when you do read it 🙂

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