Someone on Twitter asked me for my favourite books and I, like most other readers, was left speechless. Which ones were my favourite books? I had to check my Goodreads ‘Favourite’ shelf as a reminder. I noticed that not every book I love love loved has five stars. Why is that? Can you absolutely love a book and not give it five stars? Can you rate a book five stars and not love it?
I’ve been a perfectionist until my teens. After that I learned to see the beauty of imperfection. Something doesn’t have to perfect to be beautiful. That goes for people, media, and objects. Sometimes it’s the imperfections that make something more beautiful. I’m not looking for the perfectly crafted sentence. Most times I don’t even enjoy it. Characters shouldn’t be perfect; they’re the least interesting people. Their journeys are also more interesting if there are obstacles and failure. But letting your character fail three time before they succeed also feels too much like a formula.
Most of my favourite books are the ones I enjoyed, regardless of how good it is. Yes, good books have a better chance to become a favourite, but I’ve read critically acclaimed books that just didn’t click. I didn’t like Dracula, or The World According to Garp. I’ve read the Twilight saga multiple times. People hate them with a passion, but it’s still one of my feel good books and I’ve taken a lot from them.
A book doesn’t have to be perfect to be good or enjoyable. I loved Harry Potter, but rereading them now, I see they weren’t perfectly written. There might be plot holes in some of my favourite books, I don’t know. Maybe the character doesn’t experience the growth he would’ve had in a ‘good’ book. But it’s the things that we connect with, no matter how small, or insignificant to others, that we love a book. Just like with humans.
Feelings can’t be measured in rating
I often can’t express my feelings well. They’re as irrational as can be. I can love or hate something without being able to describe why. That still doesn’t invalidate my feelings. Maybe it also has something to do with the fact that love blinds us. That doesn’t just happen when someone falls in love with a person. We fall in love with books or movies and we’re blind (or more willing to accept) the flaws it has. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is a great movie, but not a masterpiece. I still love it.
Maybe it’s been years since I read the book and I forgot all of the bad points while remembering all the good, the romanticizing of a book. It happens. Some of my childhood favourites aren’t as good as I remember (like Harry Potter, while others just get better as I get older and understand them more (The Night Circus or American Gods. There are so many reasons to love a book, even if they’re not perfect.
What about you? Are all your favourites five star books? Do you have a favourite read without a five star rating? Leave the titles in the comments below!