The book you wish everyone would read

We all have favorite books. Some of us love the classics. Others can’t get enough of contemporary reads, like Harry Potter and A Song of Ice and Fire. When it comes to giving books as gifts, we try to imagine what the recipient would like — fiction or nonfiction, romance or mystery, sci-fi or fantasy? But sometimes, we choose to give a book that holds personal meaning to us.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le GuinFor me, that book is A Wizard of Earthsea (and how are these covers for Awesome Book Cover Friday nominees?) — and all of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea books, really. I can’t overstate how much I adore her fantasy writing and the tales she tells.

I’m actually not so hot on her sci-fi, but the Earthsea books? Amazing. (Just don’t judge it by the movies.) Once, someone gave one of the books to me, and my obsession with them began. Since then, I’ve given copies to people I know, or urged them to read the series if they ever came across it. If they found the time.

A Wizard of Earthsea altThe books we hold dearest in our hearts say a lot about us, and taking the time to read someone else’s favorite brings us closer to the people in our lives. It helps us understand them better, and it makes them feel good that someone else read the book they so cherish.

So if you can, make a little room in your reading schedule this year and ask a family member or friend, “What’s your absolute favorite book?” The answer might surprise you. Then, read that book and share your thoughts with them. They’ll appreciate the gesture, but tread carefully. A negative reaction could disappoint them — so even if you’re not crazy about the book, try to think of something you did like. Maybe a character or the language. Let that person know. It means more to them than you might think.

So … what’s your favorite book of all time?