Now and again, those name your favourite whatever posts crops up on Facebook. I ignore them, or brush aside a request to list such things as my favourite colour, TV show, food, film, book, etc.
What is a favourite? By definition, it is something preferred to all others of the same kind. Kind of what? Do I compare a horror film to a comedy? Are they the same kind? One scares me, the other cheers me up. I might favour one at a particular time, but not the other. How long does a favourite last? Forever? I’m growing old, what I liked in my youth is not my choice today, or likely to be in the future.
I can’t even pick a colour. If I’m decorating, I’m not going to pick bright purple, but I might choose to wear the colour. I had a penchant for black as a teenager, black finger nails, black clothes. It wasn’t my favourite colour, it was an act of rebellion. My piano teacher wanted me to cut my fingernails every week, so I grew them long and painted them black.
I have holiday destinations I adore, but I don’t hanker to go back to them year after year. I would say they are my favourites, but does that mean I’m stuck with them, unprepared to venture into new territory.
Music. Call me eclectic. My playlists look like a lottery selection. I flit from one genre to the next, from classical, to jazz, to rock. Today I’m mellow, tomorrow it’s a sing-along day. I have no concept of favourite. I gave up voting on ClassicFM’s Hall of Fame, because each second I hovered, ready to type in a piece of music, I changed my mind. I had no favourites to pick, nothing I am prepared to rate as better than something else.
I have the same issue with books. When my friends visit the house, they peruse my private library and ask for advice. I pick something, remark on what I liked about it, then I select another, and so on. They listen and choose what they want to read. I don’t list my favourites. There was a time I would only buy a book (printed) if I really liked the author, had a recommendation or couldn’t put it down in the bookshop. Now I have ebook devices, I don’t feel the book in my hand, or the smell, or see the print face. I make a judgement based on words, nothing else. Once finished, it vanishes into my electronic library, which means it is hidden, unless I go looking for it. I miss the wrinkles in the spine, the thumbed pages, the odd tea stain on a page. What will happen if the subscription model, pushed by Amazon etc. becomes popular? You are only allowed to keep up to ten books at a time. Where will I remember my books, re-read a few passages chosen at random, pick a quote.
I have a Goodreads page. I’m required to star rate books I’ve read. Why? What does it all mean to stick 5 stars on one, and not another. If I like a book, do I have to fine tune that like to a rating? If I don’t like a book, I simply don’t add it to the list. I’m not going to batter a poor author with a 1 star. My tastes are my own, nobody else’s and shouldn’t influence other people’s choices. In any case, what I see as 5 one day, might change. I’m not fickle. I’m evolving.
Having had my rant, I have decided to share some books and music on this blog. I’m not going to call them my favourites. They are creations that impacted me at different times in my life. They stayed on my shelves, survived the clear outs to charity shops, because they fascinated me, entertained, made me cry, laugh, sit up and think, whatever. I will just call them One of Many.