My favorite book. How does a person even decide that? It’s like asking a mother which of her children she loves the most.
Okay, maybe it’s not exactly like that. But it’s tough. It is one tough call.
My knee-jerk reaction is to answer with Stephen King’s The Stand, which held the number-one spot in my heart for a very, very long time.
In addition to it being a really well-written, well thought-out novel, I was always amazed by the sheer length of the thing. The complete and uncut edition is 1,200 freaking pages. Writing a book that long is daunting enough, but to keep it fresh and compelling and interesting from cover to cover is a truly Herculean feat.
So yes, The Stand was my favorite book for a good long while. But then I discovered JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
And everything changed.
Now, Harry Potter fans will no doubt ask why not The Goblet of Fire or The Deathly Hallows. Those are both excellent books, but here’s why I chose Sorcerer’s Stone.
First, it’s how I discovered it. By the time I got around to reading it, I believe Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was already on the shelves. Pottermania was already in full swing, but I had no interest. Zero. None. I thought it was nothing more than a very popular children’s book.
Then one day I was in Boston at the Prudential Center, intending to meet an old friend for lunch. She was delayed, so I wandered into Barnes & Noble and saw Sorcerer’s Stone sitting on the shelf. There was nothing else that really interested me, and it was cheap, so I thought: What the hell. I’ll buy it.
As I waited for my delayed friend, I started reading it, and immediately fell in love with the simple, straightforward prose. I had never been drawn into a story so quickly, so easily, so deeply before. I understood in a flash why this book was so popular. As it turned out, my friend was delayed indefinitely and couldn’t make lunch, but I couldn’t have been happier. I had much better things to do.
So yes, I have a very fond memory of the discovery process. But that doesn’t explain why Sorcerer’s Stone was never supplanted by other Potter books, which are arguably better written. It’s because Sorcerer’s Stone was the beginning of the journey. It was the very first peek into that glorious wizarding world, and like your first kiss or your first love, nothing will ever be quite that level of sweet.
I hope that someday I find another book that makes me feel the same way I did when I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. But if that never happens, I can always crouch down into that cupboard under the stairs at Number 4, Privet Drive and relive it all over again.
About Stephen Lomer
Stephen Lomer has been writing books, novellas, short stories, and scripts for nearly a decade, and one or two of them are actually pretty good. A grammar nerd, Star Trek fan, and other things that chicks dig, Stephen is the creator, owner, and a regular contributor to the website Television Woodshed. He’s a hardcore fan of the Houston Texans, despite living in the Hub of the Universe his whole life, and believes Mark Twain was correct about pretty much everything.
Stephen lives on Boston’s North Shore with his wife, Teresa. Stargazer Lilies or Nothing at All is his first published work.
Stargazer Lilies or Nothing at All is a collection of short stories that has a little something for everyone. See what life is like for the poor mother of an insufferable perfectionist in the title story. Find out what’s to be done to save the hipsters in “So Ten Minutes Ago.” Enjoy an updated take on the Goldilocks story in “Trouble Bruin.” Ponder how our choices define our lives in “The Haunting of Flattop Harris.” Stand in the shoes of a young nurse trying to save the tiniest of lives from a city’s destruction in “Wallflower and Casanova.” PLUS! “Royally Screwed,” the story that serves as a prequel to the upcoming novel Typo Squad. >>AVAILABLE through KINDLE UNLIMITED<<<