Our favorite book is always the book that speaks most directly to us at a particular stage in our lives. And our lives change. We have other favorites that give us what we most need at that particular time. -Lloyd Alexander
Yeah, I've used part of that quote before. I have something else to say about favorites speaking to us at important times of our lives.
I complain about Christian fiction a lot (and someone should, how else can they improve?), but one of my exceptions is Cathy Marie Hake. I love her work. She's pretty humorous in some of her Bethany House books, which is something I always look for in fiction.
Last year, I read one of of her Heartsong Presents, The Restoration. Right around that time, I was in spiritual-breakdown mode.
I knew what the character was going through. I was just as rebellious about my faith--among other things--as this character was. That book became one of my favorites as soon as I was done with it.
That is one of those rare times when I can relate to it and like it.
I also can't relate to many romance books though, having little (okay, no) dating history. But I still like them. ::shrugg::
Also, I used to hate reading children's/YA when I was younger. I find I read it more now in college than I did when it was actually considered age-appropriate for me. Even though I'm only 18, slowly approaching 19, since I'm in college, I feel like I'm reading underneath my reading level when reading "teen" books. Not that I let that stop me, because I've read a lot of teen books this year.
A lot of the books I looked at back when "teen books" were okay were about outcasts and geeky kids like I was--still am. If it hit too close to home since I'm for the most part an escapist, I didn't want to read it. I would read a lot of fantasy and go off into la la land where anything was possible.
I couldn't relate to them in many ways, and it didn't bug me to read it.
Defeating the Ultimate Evil Overlord was much more appealing than a girl getting the boy of her dreams then. It was less painful for me. Even when my favorite character died--and my favorite always died if it was a Stephen R. Lawhead book. Durwin, Taliesin, Angharad, Nettles.... ::sniffle sniffle::
And to think, that's my favorite author. ;-P
I love when I read books that I relate to the characters without the intention of relating to them. It always makes for a good feeling about the book after the end. It's a pleasant surprise.
But I still avoid books/music/movies that look like they'll hit close to home with me. Ironically.