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?