Is there a preference to change, so to have the rectangle selection tool, in Inkscape, to behave "a-la-Illustrator", i.e. to select objects/paths/etc even if the selection rectangle intersect part of them, without completely framing them?
Inkscape has another way of selecting things which might interest you. In my opinion, it's actually better than using the tool like in Illustrator. It's very good for making tricky selections.
Hold down Alt, as you use the Select tool S
Draw with it like a pen, and it will select every object it touches.