Parallel Tuesdays

Novel Memories – What is Your All Time Favorite Novel?


For a book-addict, trying to pick an all-time favorite novel is a little like choosing a favorite child. I have loved so very many books over the years. How can I pick just one? But…if you twisted my arm, I’d pick Frank Herbert’s Dune.

Arrakis Dune

No other book before or since has captured my heart so completely. Herbert created a living breathing world. I believed it and I fell in love. Not just with the story but with Paul Atreides…and a little with Duncan Idaho too. I memorized the Litany Against Fear. I wasn’t so keen on the stillsuits but I wanted to ride the sandworms and have the blue within-blue eyes of a Fremen. And I really, really wanted to learn the weirding way.

I read and reread Dune and all the original Dune novels. I composed my own stories in the Dune universe before I knew what fan fiction was. I still sigh a little and smile when I think of those novels, like remembering a first love. It’s been a long time since I’ve fallen into that world…I’m due for a visit.


What is your all-time favorite book?


Photo Credit
Sarah sand dune sunset by David Rosen, on Flickr | CC BY 2.0

45 thoughts on “Novel Memories – What is Your All Time Favorite Novel?

  1. My favorite book ever is Jodi Picoult’s “Nineteen Minutes” I think it is. It got so to the heart of every character that when things happened you REALLY felt them. I cried while reading it and that NEVER happens to me!

  2. I don’t know that I have a favorite, but I do have a book I have loved for years. “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte is the first book I read multiple times and would gladly read again.

  3. It’s so hard for me to pick a favorite because there are so many books that are special to my heart for different reasons. I will have to give you a list. It’s the best I can do.

    My favorite all time book, no matter what: THE WIZARD OF OZ by L. Frank Baum. It was probably the first story that captured the magic of reading and getting lost in another world for me. It was also the first that demonstrated how different a book and a movie can be (even though I love the movie too).

    WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS by Wilson Rawls will always, always have a special place in my heart. I was so emotionally wrapped in the story. I remember asking my teacher if I could leave the room to cry because in 4th grade I was embarrassed to do it in front of my peers, LOL.

    Finally, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO by Alexandre Dumas. The relationships of all the characters and how they were woven into the plot and adventure hooked me. Who said you can’t find your favorite book in a high school English class?

    1. Omg, you are the only person I’ve ever encountered who has the same passion for L. Frank Baum and the Wizard of Oz that I have. I credit that book and the others that followed with giving me that sense of delight with magic and the magic that is possible in the world. It is also what turned me on to writing fantasy. I firmly believe in real magic. One day I will find my magical kingdom. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone 😀

  4. Frank Herbert ranks in my top 5 authors, but Isaac Asimov is #1. Asimov’s Foundation and Earth is my favorite novel of all time.

    While some of the earlier Foundation novels are magnificent, I have to put this one above the rest for one reason: continuity. This one novel ties in almost every other series Asimov wrote but at the same time can be read as a stand-alone piece. To be able to close the loop in a Grand Unified Epic like this is the ultimate masterstroke.

    This piece solidified my obsession with both sci-fi and my passion for writing. It’s my life’s goal to be able to create something as epic and infinite as Asimov’s unified future history.

  5. Its a complete beast of a book, but Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables is my all time fav. The way he slowly develops his characters (He could do this well as he had almost 1100 pages to work with) so that by the end you feel for them more than I have for any other fictional character.

    In addition, there are very few people in the book that you don’t feel sympathy for, and so many times you have two characters who yo

  6. Sorry, accidently submitted mid sentence

    Who you don’t feel some sympathy towards

    The end of the novel had me crying literally uncontrollably for half an hour before I could read the last page.

  7. Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan universe – poor abused Barrayar, ultra-open Beta Colony, conquered Komarr…
    I love the worlds almost as much as I love the characters. Her work is where I find my favorite worlds, favorite characters, favorite stories, favorite style.

    The first universe I fell in true love with? Technically comics not novels, but ElfQuest. I learned to draw just because I wanted to draw those characters.

  8. What is your all-time favorite book?

    Well, since it says “book”, I get to say, The Morgaine Saga by C. J. Cherryh, even though the book is an omnibus edition that has three novels of a series 🙂

    Morgaine is the most complex, strong, and mysterious female protagonist I’ve ever loved…

  9. Dune is awesome both as a series and as a movie.

    Oddly, I just answered this question on Jess Witkins’ site a few days ago. While I have many favorites across quite a few genres my all time favorite is The Hobbit (JRR Tolkein). This was the first novel I ever read. It inspired me to read more, to write, to adventure in my mind and see places and things in a new light. It taught me that dragons can be slain and that even the smallest voice can make a difference.

  10. I don’t have one over the others. One of the books that really captured my attention was Narnia by C. S. Lewis. The reason why it was captivating was because he created the world from scratch, and you felt like you were part of that creation. Then he goes on to explain where the evil came from and how it began. Topping it off with how the protagonists arrived in this new world. The movies, although they have great special effects don’t do it justice. I would have loved to have seen the movie begin with book 1 in the series. Since it didn’t I hope it at least inspires people to read the entire story.

  11. Piss off my wife good enough and she’ll teach you the weirding way for sure!

    Lord of the Flies and Lost Horizon have a special place in my memories. The book(s) I remember getting the most lost in where R.A. Salvatore’s Legend of Drizzt series. And The Stand is the only book I’ve ever read twice from cover to cover, OK the second time it was the special edition with added chapters but still…

    Overall I’d have to say Lost Horizon is my all time favorite, I guess I just identify with Conway.

  12. My all-time favorite book is Sunglasses after Dark by Nancy A. Collins. I read it in 1989, the year it was published. It was the first time I had seen that type of worldbuilding, the secret, forbidden world existing within our world.

    There wasn’t even such a genre as Urban Fantasy back in those days. War of the Oaks by Emma Bull had already been published, and it is good. Sunglasses After Dark, though, is the Urban Fantasy novel to me.

    I have lurid tastes, and I think that’s part of the draw. Collins puts this extra sleaziness in her world. Her characters aren’t your average Buffy or Rachel Morgan. They’re dark, sometimes in irredeemable ways. It’s like a train wreck, and I just look away. 😀

    Good topic!

  13. Wow – what a tough decision. I guess I could answer differently each day! But one book that would keep recurring is Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake. It changed the way I understood storytelling in a beautiful, soul expanding manner.

  14. Going to sound a bit odd here but I loved reading Shakespeare at a really young age and absolutely treasure my two or three copies of his complete works.

    I could never truly pick a favourite book though!

  15. I’ve been doing a series on my blog the last couple of weeks on my favorite books according to various categories. I love talking books! My all-time favorite fiction is A Prayer for Owen Meany. Absolutely superb.

  16. Definitely the NEED novels by Carrie Jones, specifially CAPTIVATE–the second book. I can’t remember a time when I loved a book so much that it left me entirely breathless upon turning the last page. I literally thought I would die of anticipation just waiting for the third book!

  17. Damn, you can’t make me pick just one!!! All right, absolutely the BEST novel I ever read was “Lolita”. It was just the most beautifully-written novel I’ve ever read in my entire life. If I live to be 150 I will never write a novel that beautiful.

    (And yes, I know the content is in a lot of ways utterly disgusting and contributes to the notion that little girls preyed upon by much older men are “asking for it.” I don’t believe Nabokov was a pervert, but he didn’t have the benefit of living in the early 21st century when we know a lot better.)

  18. Probably The Pillars of the Earth. by Ken Follett. Or maybe Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell. Or Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolff. Or maybe Interview with a Vampire, by Anne Rice? No, it’s Jerusalem, by Cecelia Holland.
    Gosh, it’s impossible to say!!! LOL!

  19. This is a tuffy, Sonia. As a child it was “A Wrinkle in Time”/ Madeleine L’Engle. Loved fantasy from a very young age. But today, I think it’s The Talisman/Stephen King. Could change tomorrow though!

  20. I love The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which is a true story. I don’t know if I have a favorite fiction novel. I got really excited reading Water for Elephants this month. And when I was younger, I liked The Moorchild a lot.

  21. See…my secret agenda was to add to my reading list. 😀 So many great books here that I’ve read and loved and so many books that I haven’t read yet but are now on my list.

    The Red Fern made me cry so hard! And Jane Eyre! There’s a movie coming out too. So exciting! The Stand…oh yeah! To that I’d add It…read that in maybe 2 or 3 sittings because I couldn’t it down…images from that one still haunt me. Lolita was brilliant…lyrical…Nabakov made you feel for the protagonist even though he was rephrensible…and the phrasing.

    Shakespeare…that’s really all you need to say. My 8 year old daughter is reading Romeo and Julilet. She doesn’t understand a lot of it, but she like the way the words flow. Last night, she told me she had figured out what “a rose by any other name” meant…that Juliet would still be Romeo’s love if she changed her name. Pretty darn good for an 8 year old. 😀

    I also loved, loved, loved Portrait or the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. That was the first time I’d seen stream-of-consiousness in a novel. It was amazing.

  22. The once and Future King by TH White a classic Arthurian legend that eventually led me to study the origins of the stories in England.

    1. Love Arthurian legend! I will read pretty much anything I can get my hands on that’s about Arthur. I have read The Once and Future King, but it’s been awhile. I need to add all the books I want to read again to my reading list. LOL. It’s a looooong list. 😀

  23. I’ve already mentioned The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum in Erin Brambilla’s reply thread. However, in amongst a cornucopia of wonderful books, fantasy, sci fi, historic and contemporary, the one that has thrilled me the most is a plain old adventure epic…David Eddings…loved that man and his clear, humorous, compelling writing. I fell in love with Garion, his aunt Polgara, and grandfather Belgarath. Eddings developed each character in action with a lot of humor and bantering between them as well. His world was well developed too and I knew how to get from Riva to anywhere in the Kingdoms of the West or East if I had to 🙂

    Sony, sorry it has taken me so long to get to your site. I’ve been meaning to for a long time, but it took a holiday weekend for me to finally get here. I’ll be back 🙂

  24. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960) is my favorite book. Nothing comes close to it, for me. I read it again last summer in celebration of the 50th anniversary of its writing. The story is riveting and deals with a tragic time in American history. Simply a masterpiece of writing. And I must say that the movie is superb. Harper Lee even loved it. Please, please add this book to your reading list, Sonia!

  25. Hum, I love fact based. Devine Wind and For Whom the Bell Tolls
    Also self help. The Magic of Think Big

  26. This is a tough question. The first book that popped into my head was Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. Then The Grapes of Wrath came to mind. And if I couldn’t choose a Steinbeck work I would select either Candide or All Quiet on the Western Front. Ask me this question in a few days, I bet my answers would change somewhat.

  27. What a great question . . . . . . Animal Farm – George Orwell. I have yet read a book which gave me more of an insight into the political word we live in, than Animal Farm. Right up to last weeks discovery of Bin Laden, this book is still a clear template for contemporary world politics and echoes the events which lead to it his capture – it shocked me to read it again. I believe the book you list here should have changed your life – whether it be, the way you write, what you think of your life, how you feel about the people around you. The list goes on. I genuinely believe that literature should change your perspective in someway.

  28. @50yearproject: I love The Grapes of Wrath too!

    @Bayley: I’m thoroughly embarassed to say that I can’t remember if I’ve read Animal Farm. Oh the shame! I did read 1984 and it’s one of my favorites. I’ll have to remedy the Animal Farm thing immediately.

  29. I love the fact that almost everyone here is reluctant to be pinned down to one book. This is a question that has dogged me for years – the whole “Which book would you have with you on a desert island?” thing. I feel like the Cat from Red Dwarf “If I cut off my leg, can I take two?” Of course, he was talking about suits….
    After twenty years of nomadic life, we’ve ended up here in Canada with what I consider to be the bare minimum of our library – just the five bookcases. Those are the books we cannot bear to be without, the ones we’re not happy to pick up from the library or the charity shop. Sometimes it can take twenty minutes of browsing to find a book I want to read NOW, but I never fail to find one. Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Stephen King, Bill Bryson, Ann McAffrey, Phillip Reeve, Janet Evanovitch, JK Rowling….Nope, can’t leave it at one, sorry!

    1. So true! Moving is so fun for us with all the boxes of “my” books. The children seem to be following in my footsteps. My daughter keeps a huge stack of books by her bed.

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