I can’t believe I’m just four days away from turning another year older! To help celebrate, I’ve decided to give away one of my very favorite books to one of you. Since not everyone’s reading tastes are the same, I’ll give you three choices:

2011 Birthday Giveaway Choices

One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni was my favorite novel of 2010. It’s a wonderful story with a beautiful and thought-provoking message, and I loved it! The title links to my original review, where you’ll find a plot summary and an elaboration of my love for this book.

The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby was my favorite nonfiction title of 2010. It’s a collection of Hornby’s essays for Believer magazine in which he chronicles the books he’s purchased and the books he’s read each month. It’s delightfully witty and absorbing. Again, the title will take you to my original review for more.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is my favorite young adult novel, possibly ever. I read it before Erin Reads existed, so I have no review to provide you (the title links to GoodReads). It’s a story narrated by Death about a young girl living in Nazi Germany. The narration is genius, the story is wonderful, and I read the final pages with tears streaming down my face. Though it’s been several years since I read The Book Thief, the characters and story have stayed with me in a way few books have.

To enter, just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite book is and why. Make sure the email address you provide WordPress when filling out the comment is the one at which I should contact you if you win! The giveaway will close at 9pm EST on Monday, January 17th, and the winner will be announced and contacted via email on my birthday, January 18th, 2011. If I don’t hear back from the winner in 48 hours, I’ll pick a new winner. The winner will have his or her choice of one book from the three listed above. I’ll be ordering the chosen book (paperback) from The Book Depository, so as long as they ship to your country, you’re welcome to enter! Only one entry per person, and no extra entries will be awarded. Good luck!

Join the Conversation


  1. We, readers of your blog, should be the ones to offer you birthday gifts. It’s so kind you to offer sharing your favorite readings. I won’t be participate this time, as I live far from you, but will probably read “An amazing thing” later in the year.

    1. That’s a kind sentiment, Virginie, but sharing your favorite book is gift enough! It’s my pleasure to occasionally give away a book.

  2. Happy Birthday in four days! Wow my favourite book…..that’s a hard call. I think I’m gonna go with Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. Not because it’s the best written or the best story or anything like that, it’s purely for sentimental reasons. It is the first book I ever bought for myself once I started earning money from a part time job as a teenager. It’s like the moment at which I became a self-funded reader (I’ve never looked back…) and so it will always have a special place in my heart πŸ™‚

    My email address is mummazappa@hotmail.com

    1. That’s cool you still remember what the first book you bought was! I like your take on favorite — not necessarily “best,” but the one that’s most important in terms of a kind of turning point in your reading habits. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Well first and foremost – happy birthday just a few days early! Second, I was not around your blog when you reviewed that first book, I don’t think! I went back and read your review and it sounds very interesting. If I win, that’s the one I’d like to get. I’m afraid I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Book Thief (don’t hate me!) and I’m still scared of the nonfiction book. πŸ˜€

    1. Though of course I forgot to answer your question required for the giveaway. It’s 6:30am here…sigh. My favorite book ever is Possession by AS Byatt. It’s been my favorite for almost a decade now. There’s something about the inner story of the two poets being magnetically attracted to each other by words, not romantically, but so strongly that it has no choice but to crash into romance that burns and destroys…oh it’s just so wonderful!

      1. I’m impressed…you’re up and being productive long before I am! I love your description of Possession — makes me want to read it even more πŸ˜€

    2. Thanks! I think I reviewed One Amazing Thing just before BBAW last fall, before I had any regular readers. I’m hoping more people will see it this time around, because it really is a wonderful book! I don’t hate you for not loving The Book Thief. I don’t think there’s a single book out there that is universally loved. That’s why I gave you options πŸ™‚

  4. My favorite book of all time is The Lord of the Ringsβ€”it’s got everything. (If I’m forced out of my favorite genre, then I go for The Count of Monte Cristo, which has revenge, duels, revenge, girls in love, revenge, betrayal, aaaaaand more revenge.)

    I just added The Polysyllabic Spree to my reading listβ€”I’d love to win it!

    1. I’ve read Lord of the Rings (and really liked it!), but not The Count of Monte Cristo, though I have a copy. If it’s not on my classics project list, I’m adding it! All the revenge sounds fun.

  5. Happy birthday (in a few days)! I hope you get many books. My favorite book is Kartography by Kamila Shamsie. Not many people have heard of it. It is about two families and they way their relationships change around the war in 1971 when East Pakistan became Bangladesh, and the current violence in Karachi. It is hard to describe, but definitely one of the most beautiful books I have ever read!

    I think I’m going to have to read both One Amazing Thing and The Polysyllabic spree (I already own The Book Thief) but the one I like BEST is One Amazing Thing. πŸ™‚ Hope you have a wonderful birthday!

    1. Thanks! If I get too many books, I’m going to need a book shelf to go along with them! Kartography sounds wonderful. I’ve heard of Shamsie but not read anything by her. I’d like to read more novels set in that area of the world, so I’m happy to have your recommendation!

  6. I won’t enter because of my resolve not to accrue new books (though the Hornby really tempted me!), but I just wanted to wish you a happy happy birthday! Hope you get everything you want and have a wonderful day!

    1. The Hornby really is a slender little volume, so, you know, it wouldn’t take up much shelf space. And it’s totally worth it. You have a few days left in which to change your mind πŸ™‚ Thank you for the birthday wishes!

  7. Happy Birthday! My birthday is the end of January! Great month! It’s very generous of you to offer a giveaway in celebration! Thank you!
    I’d love to win The Book Thief as I have wanted to read it for quite some time.

    My favorite book is Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner.

    ~ Amy
    Aimala127 (at) gmail (dot) com

    1. Happy early birthday! My mom’s is earlier in January. It’s a good month πŸ™‚ It’s my pleasure to offer a giveaway! I get all kinds of lovely book suggestions in return. I actually now have a copy of Crossing to Safety, so I’m happy to see you say you love it!

  8. Happy Birthday to you!! I hope that you have a great celebration and enjoy yourself very much! I also think it’s incredibly generous for you to be giving out a book on your birthday. I would love to enter and would have to say my favorite book is called Self-Help, by Lorrie Moore. It is a collection of short stories that are so raw and powerful that I read them at least once a year. Now, I am not usually a lover of short fiction, so for this to be my favorite book speaks volumes of Moore’s talent in this book. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, it makes me ponder. You should really check it out!

    1. Thank you! I’ll do my best πŸ™‚

      Self-Help sounds wonderful. I’ve not yet read Moore, but I’ve wanted to give her a try. I don’t usually love short stories either, so the fact that Moore’s collection affects you so deeply really intrigues me. Thank you for the recommendation!

  9. Erin,

    Happy birthday! My son and I celebrated our birthdays on January 3rd. I received a number of books for my birthday and I am most excited to read “One Hundred Years of Solitude”.

    My favorite book of all time is Ender’s Game. I am not sure why this book impacted me as much as it did and still does but it may have been because I read it during a very formative period in my own life and while I was away from home at a boarding school. I was able to identify with Ender in many ways.

    There are so many great books out there that I rarely ever read the same book twice but I have read Ender’s Game at least 5 times. Enjoy your birthday and good reading!

    1. Happy belated birthday, Matt (and son)! My mother and grandfather have January birthdays, too. It’s a good month! One Hundred Years of Solitude is one I’m not yet brave enough to tackle. I hope you enjoy it!

      Ender’s Game is one I’ve always meant to read, so thank you for the reminder. I’m not much of a rereader either; I know if I’d read a book 5+ times, it would have to be good! I will have to find a copy of Ender’s Game and give it a shot.

  10. My favorite book is The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. It is hilarious and actually incredible detailed and smart. Everytime I reread it I find something new and interesting and it always brings back memories of previous reads. It is one I can always turn back to and I have copies all over the place!

    Happy Birthday!

    1. Oh, that’s a great one! I read the all-in-one edition years ago and should definitely revisit it. I love that you have copies all over the place — very clever!

  11. A very happy birthday to you! I find it almost impossible to choose a favorite book of all time, but one of my very favorite books is Flight by Sherman Alexie. “One Amazing Thing” is the only of the three I haven’t read, but I’ve also been planning on buying The Polysyllabic Spree, soooo….hmm. If by some odd chance I win, I’ll have to choose then. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you! I’ve still only read the one Alexie (Absolutely True Diary). I have to figure out where to go next. Maybe I’ll go with Flight!

  12. My favourite book is the picture of Dorian gray, I love love Oscar Wilde and it’s just so beautiful. I’ve read 2/3 of these so I’d definitely be most interested in receiving the third, “One Amazing Thing”- best novel of 2010 is quite a designation! Happy birthday and thanks so much for your awesome giveaway.


    1. I just read that one and really liked it! It was my first (and only) Wilde, but I’d like to read more of what he’s written. Thank you for the birthday wishes!

  13. Happy Birthday. Shouldn’t we be giving you presents? I hope you get a shelfful of exactly the books you would wish for. An ex-partner once asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said that book tokens would be great so that I could just wander round our local bookshop and buy without worrying. He bought me an electric toothbrush! You don’t have to ask why he’s ex, do you!

    1. Oh dear! Some people don’t get it, do they? I knew that my bf was a keeper when his very first present to me was a copy of The House on Moon Lake, for which he’d spent months searching (see below for my comment: re my favourite book) πŸ™‚

    2. Don’t worry about me…my presents are all the fabulous books being recommended here and the stories being told! Wow…an electric toothbrush instead of books? Somebody wasn’t much of a listener, eh?

  14. Oooh! Happy almost your birthday!

    Can I pick a few favorite books? I love love love “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie, “Millions of Cats” by Wanda Gag, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Thurston, and “Kindred” by Octavia Butler.

    I haven’t read the new Chitra Bannerjee Divakruni book – will need to check that one out!

    1. Thank you! You can absolutely pick multiple favorites! I’ve read two of your four, but I haven’t even heard of the others. I love the title Millions of Cats! One Amazing Thing is really beautiful — I hope you do get to check it out πŸ™‚

  15. Happy birthday! I won’t enter because I was lucky enough to win your last giveaway, but thought that I’d throw my favourite book in the ring just for fun. πŸ™‚ It’s The House on Moon Lake by Francesca Duranti, and it’s this wonderful meandering read about a writer becoming obsessed with tracking down an obscure novel, which he’s only seen vaguely referenced once before. Funnily enough, I read about this novel in an academic journal, and spent years trying to hunt it down, so my own journey paralleled that of the book! Highly recommended. Read it alongside If On a Winter’s Night a Traveller. πŸ™‚


    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes and sharing your favorite book anyway! The House on Moon Lake sounds wonderful — I’ve never even heard of it! How cool that your experience with the book was the same story going on in the book. That’s a nice personal tie to have to the novel, too!

  16. Happy Birthday!

    One of my favorite books (I have many. I can’t narrow it down) is The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. I just love the power of the story and the emotional pull I feel every time I read it. I also want to give a nod to The Odyssey. So. good.

    If I win, I would love a copy of the first book. It looks wonderful!

    And I love The Book Thief. I bought it when it was a new release on a whim and fell in love. I got to meet Zusak a couple years ago at a signing and my hardback has a pretty message in it from him. It makes me swoon when I read it…because, you know, he’s cute and all. And I can remember him speaking in his Aussie accent.

    Now that I have thoroughly embarrassed myself, I’ll end this rambling comment. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you! I’m excited because I have House of Mirth waiting for me. I’m happy to hear it mentioned as a favorite! I’m so jealous you got to meet Zusak — I’d looooove that. Totally not something to be embarrassed about!! Every once in a while I check his website, but I have a feeling he won’t be doing much until another book comes out. Oh well!

  17. Ooohhh…how generous of you! And what fantastic choices. If I won, I would definitely choose the Hornby book. I have “One Amazing Thing” already waiting to be read, and I share your love of “The Book Thief.” In fact, The Book Thief would be one of my choices for my favorite book … I was so blown away by having Death as the Narrator and the poetic and unique way the book was written. I actually bought myself a copy after reading it on my Kindle because I know I’ll read it again and I wanted to have my very own paper copy. (I never do that.)

    1. I agree, I thought Death as narrator was fascinating and ingenious. I bought myself a copy after reading a copy from the library!!

  18. Yay for birthdays! Yay for giveaways! πŸ˜€

    It’s so very difficult to choose, but I would have to say that at this moment my favorite book is The Painted Veil by W Somerset Maugham. It is just so subtle and deeply written without going overboard on the verbiage. It’s perfect for where my life is right now, and it made me cry which awards it with extra points.

    I would love the chance to win The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby!

    1. Oh, that sounds wonderful! I’ve only read Of Human Bondage by Maugham. The Painted Veil will work for my classics project, so I’ll add it to the list. Thanks!

  19. Happy Birthday!!! Hope you celebrate with family and friends. Hmm… my favourite book… This is a tough one but I think I would have to say it is Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald. She is a fellow Canadian and her story is captivating. It is a bit dark but it really makes you appreciate what you have.

    1. Thanks! I’ve heard of Fall on Your Knees, but I don’t know anything about it. I’ll take a look πŸ™‚

  20. Happy birthday, Erin! It’s so nice of you to offer up a book for your birthday to your readers, and I would love to try a book that you love. I do share your love of The Book Thief.

    Favoirte book? Do I have to pick just one? But that’s so difficult.

    Normally I would say Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, but I also love Tess of the d’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy. The former is my favorite classic ever and I continue to read sequels to the book written by other people in an attempt to capture that same feeling I had when I finished it for the first time. The later is a classic that I love because it’s one of the few classics I found to confronts attacks against women and who they immediately use their reputations even when the men in their lives do what they please without repercussions.

    1. Thank you! Pride and Prejudice and Tess of the d’Ubervilles are both on my classics list, so I’m really looking forward to them now. Thanks for the recommendations!

  21. Happy birthday!

    I completely loved The Book Thief. I was bawling by the time I finished it. Oh, Rudy. Btw, do you think Liesel and Max ended up together? I kind of had this feeling in the epilogue…

    On a different note, great giveaway. I would love to win The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby. Count me in. πŸ™‚

    My favorite book of all time is Pride and Prejudice. I love Jane Austen’s dry, sarcastic humor, and, of course, Mr. Darcy.

    1. Thanks! Re: Max & Liesel, I wondered the same thing! I kind of wanted them to, in some way. Having just finished Northanger Abbey, I think Pride and Prejudice will be my next Austen!

  22. Happy, happy birthday! I have such a hard time naming my favorite book. It might be Greensleeves, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, which I have to love on behalf of the whole world because nobody but me has ever read it. :p I’d love to win the Nick Hornby book, after hearing so many of my favorite bloggers rave about his essays. bastet57 AT gmail DOT com.

    1. Thank you! I like hearing about obscure but wonderful books, so thanks for bringing Greensleeves to my attention πŸ™‚

  23. A very happy birthday in advance! What a kind thing to do on your birthday! Already your post does a lot (I discovered three new-to-me appealing books, especially Nick Hornby!). It’s terribly hard to list one favorite book, but recently (in 2010), my favorite read was “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I suppose I’m a sucker for atmosphere, especially a sort of classic gothic mystery-oriented feel that really draws the reader in, and “The Shadow…” definitely did that and more! Set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, we observe the city of Barcelona through the eyes of a bookseller’s young son who learns, via quite an adventure, what love (love of reading, love of family, love of life and culture) truly is. Did I mention it’s also a story within a story turned on it’s head? πŸ™‚ Best wishes for a great birthday year!

    1. Thank you! I have The Shadow of the Wind on my shelf but don’t know much about it. After reading your description, I’m glad I have it and would like to read it soon! Thanks for the push πŸ™‚

  24. No need to enter me (I really need to cut back on acquisitions), but I wanted to wish you a very happy birthday!

  25. Happy Birthday (a bit early)! I won’t enter to win because I am trying really hard to be good and keep the incoming books down to a serious minimum. But you are awesome for having a bday giveaway!

  26. My favorite book (not necessarily of all time, but close enough) is Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs. It’s not a novel and it’s not fiction, but rather a memoir of his so-called dysfuntional childhood. I don’t know why exactly, but his honesty in writing about his life just got to me, and I’ve been worshipping him ever since. πŸ˜€

    1. I’ve heard of Running with Scissors, but I’ve never read it. I do like memoirs, so I’ll have to look this one up. Thanks!

  27. Happy Birthday Erin!! The 18th if my math is correct? Hope it’s a lovely day for you.

    I don’t know that I have a favorite book. Is that weird? I just can’t list one book. Several that I really love and several that I absolutely adore. If I had to pick, I’d say Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close but just because it’s so immediate to me having just read it.

    Tempted to throw my name in for Hornby but I know it would sit on the shelf for too long. πŸ™

    1. Thanks, Trish! Yep, the 18th. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close awaits me on my shelf. I was leafing through it the other day and noticing all the interesting things Foer did to the text. I’ve heard the audio is good, but I think the print version looks kind of fascinating!

  28. Happy, happy birthday!

    It’s tough for me to answer the “favorite book” question, but as of now, my favorite book is Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. I love the history of Detroit and Greek-American families, and it gives a new light on intersexed children.

    After reading your review and boasting about it, I would love to win One Amazing Thing.

    1. Thank you! I’m excited to hear you mention Middlesex, as I have a copy and have every intention of reading it in 2011. It seems to encompass a lot of interesting things.

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