By Autumn Hutson
For someone as indecisive as me, it was always tough to say with confidence what my favorite movie was. And forget about choosing a favorite song, it’s impossible. However, naming my favorite book was surprisingly simple.
Picking a book to give that coveted title to wasn’t hard because a lot more time went into consuming it. Books stay with you longer, and if they’re good ones, you establish a special bond with them.
It feels like an accomplishment to have a no-doubt-go-to book that you can refer to when asked the question, “What is your favorite book?” It’s set in stone—until it’s not.
Like most things in life, nothing is forever, especially nostalgia. Not even that seemingly sacred book with the prime spot in your bookshelf is untouchable. So what does it mean when your favorite book is no longer No. 1?
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When the Favorite Book Doesn’t Resonate Anymore – A teenage perspective
My favorite book was Eleanor & Park, a young adult novel by Rainbow Rowell. It was a teenage love story set in the 80’s and I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed high school freshman with her own dreams of romance. That book and I were a match made in heaven. And because it brought me so much joy, it immediately became my favorite book.
It held that title throughout my high school days as I was forced to read less inspiring novels for class every year. But in a moment of nostalgia during my senior year of high school, I decided to read it again and realized that I no longer felt moved by the story.
I wasn’t as easily swayed by the characters like I had been before (at one point I found myself becoming irritated with one of the main characters). I even skimmed through parts that I had once been so entranced by.
While I was disappointed by the lack of sparks I felt after closing the book for the second time in my life, I did find it interesting. The passages I starred and underlined, the pages with dog-eared corners…they don’t hold much meaning for me now as an adult. But at one point in the past, when I was a teenager, I was so sure they would.
Why Books Are Like Old Friends
Books are inanimate objects but they can hold the same kind of magic that you feel with a best friend. You spent time with it, became invested in its story, and vowed to come back one day with the same amount of love as before.
But as many of us know, despite the promises we make with our friends, some things just simply change. You lose touch or your lives take on new directions. Soon you realize just how much time has gone by and that you are completely different people. But even so, you try to keep the relationship running off nostalgia alone.
Growing out of a cherished book can feel like growing apart from a good friend. You didn’t mean for it to happen, but the fact that it did doesn’t quite come as a surprise.
But unlike a living, breathing person, books act as markers of time and of change, much like a time capsule. The most change a book will go through is the yellowing of pages, a settled layer of dust.
The story inside is exactly the same and it won’t ever change. But you will. That’s how this works.
Time to Turn the Page
It is easier to rotate your top five songs in a mental ranking system than it is to find a book to call your favorite. But that journey can be fun because the discovery of great books is endless.
There is always something inspiring and beautiful to read being put out into the world. So, take your time in reigniting that love for the next story. Peruse the stacks in your favorite bookstore and wait for that serendipitous moment when you meet your new No.1.
Finding a new favorite book is not a betrayal to your old favorite book. The place it held in your heart still means something, even if your heart has grown up a little bit.
And if anything understands what it means to properly end an old chapter, it’s a book.