Just ONE all-time favorite? That would be hard. Alright, I'll just pick one random favorite of mine.
J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is easily at the top of my list of all-time favorite reads. Of all my faves, I've loved it the longest.
Okay, wait - I know that the instructions at Beauty Queen Gene said ONE BOOK ONLY. Well here's a bit of trivia: The Lord of the Rings is actually one whole novel published in three volumes, each volume further separated into two books each. So I'm not cheating. ^_^ This is still actually one book.
I first discovered LOTR when I was ten years old; I spotted a copy of the first volume in the Grade School Library. I borrowed it thinking my brother would like to take a look at it, and then I ended up falling in love with it. I was lucky to find the two other volumes in the same library; at that time no one as interested in them (I was the only one) so it was an easy task. They're not exactly easy reading for a ten year-old, but even if I didn't completely appreciate everything at that age, I developed an affinity with LOTR. It was for me a profound secret that hardly anyone else knew about, like it was something exclusive for the brilliant and special.
I re-read the books when I was older of course, and it was much easier to navigate through Midde-Earth with an adult vocabulary. ^_^
When the movies came out I sort of had mixed sentiments. It was definitely exciting to see my favorite fantasy lore incarnated on the big-screen, but a lot of director Peter Jackson's work - though impressive - turned out to be quite disappointing for lovers of the novel like myself (So while LOTR is one of my favorite books, the LOTR trilogy is not in my list of favorite movies. Furthermore, I felt like Peter Jackson just opened my exclusive little club to the whole world. I found it disgusting that fangirls watched the movie just to see Orlando Bloom, and not to appreciate the amazingly-crafted story. Har har, I'm a prick that way. :D ). Thankfully, the fuss over the LOTR movies eventually died down, and LOTR movie fans have moved on to new fixations.
But as for myself, I'm still a huge fan of Tolkien and his books.
And here's another trivia tidbit: J.R.R. stands for John Ronald Reuel.
So yeah, I'm a geek. ^_^ I'm not the type that goes around in costume or spews Elvish words, but I suppose I can ace a test on Arda-lore.