I wish I actually had read all four of these books in a row, but the scheduling just didn't work out. Still, I've never read all four within a few months during one year, so that's close enough for me.
The good news is that I still love The Catcher in the Rye and The Scarlet Letter. It's such a cliche to love Catcher, but now that I've read it more recently I'm confident about it again. It's just plain good, I don't care what anyone else says. As for The Scarlet Letter, over one hundred and fifty years in the cultural consciousness can't be wrong, and what a treat it is.
I still have complicated feelings about how to pick favourites, though. I think that I have to take A Clockwork Orange and Good Omens off the list. I think the list has to evolve. I hate change, so that's scary, but I think it's a good thing, too. I think I'm just more reluctant to pick a favourite now than I was as a teenager. How can I say whether a book is a favourite that I'll want to revisit again, or that really meant something to me, when maybe it's something that I just finished and I'm on a reading high, or something? I realize the absurdity of that, of course, but it's still much easier for me to say something is the "best book I read this year," in comparison to "one of my favourites."
Maybe I should expand my four favourites to ten? I've been gushing about The Long Walk and The Haunting of Hill House to anyone who would listen for the past three or four years; maybe I should put those on the list. I've read Jane Eyre more times than any other book; maybe it's finally time that I admit that that one is a favourite, instead of being coy about how much it means to me for no reason. I recommend The Tenant of Wildfell Hall to anyone at all who reads 19th century literature, so it might deserve a place too.
I guess for me, the hardest thing about favourites is that naming a favourite seems to necessitate dethroning another one. That hurts. Loving a new book doesn't mean that I stop loving the old ones, but that's what favourites seem to imply.
So I suppose for the moment I have two favourites, and I'm considering some new candidates for the position.