My All-Time Book Faves

I missed the big wave of 2014 book roundup blog posts.  And it’s really okay, because I am not sure what I even read last year anyway.  (New Year’s Resolution: Keep up with Goodreads!)  So I thought I’d come late to the party with a little twist on the top books post and do my favorite books OF ALL TIME.

With the exception of the first category, here is how I selected the featured titles: I’ve read each one more than once (preferably more than five times, because as you know, a great book gets better with every reading).  Each book stands out in my mind due to some combination of excellence, sentimental value, and the mysterious x factor. And so, without further ado:

The Greatest Books of All Time

Special Category: Recent Contenders These are books I’ve met for the first time in the past few months. Only time will tell if they have the staying power to be added to this elite list, but I enjoyed them so much that I want to give them a mention here.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Somehow this was the right book at the right time for me.  Although it is most definitely, in the words of Shauna Niequist, “a little nutty,” it’s motivated me to make some major changes in my home routines and organizational systems.  It might actually be LIFE CHANGING…stay tuned.

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

I read this while Leah was in the NICU and it was a totally engrossing work of fiction.  I don’t know if I’ll read this exact title again (much of the enjoyment of this book is dying of suspense to see how all the pieces are going to fit together), but I’m definitely going to be checking out more books by this author.

Delancey by Molly Wisenberg

A charming memoir about a husband and wife as they open a gourmet pizza restaurant in Seattle.  It’s simple and charming and full of recipes that I will never make, but enjoyed reading nonetheless.  (Side note: it pairs nicely with the author’s first book, A Homemade Life, which I also read in the NICU, and which is another fun food and cooking memoir.)

Fiction

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

I get the shivers every time I get to that twist, even when I know it’s coming.  Please don’t judge this book by the first 50 pages.

The Hawk and the Dove by Penelope Wilcock

Quiet, evocative imagery. Deeply inspiring.  Expect to cry through the entire last book in the trilogy.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The sweet, funny, powerful coming-of-age story that contains some of the most memorable characters of all time (Atticus, Scout, Boo, Miss Maudie, Dill, and, of course, the original Jem.)

The Chosen by Chaim Potok

An unlikely friendship between two Jewish boys growing up in New York City in the 1940s.

The Zion Covenant series by Bodie Thoene

Several intersecting storylines crisscrossing Europe as World War II unfolds.  I’m pretty sure this is where I first loved the name Leah.  (I also love the Shiloh Legacy series and the Zion Chronicles series by this same author, but NONE of her others, for reasons I can’t quite understand.)

Lighthouse by Eugenia Price

An epic historical novel based on a true story.  The paperback cover makes it look like a trashy romance, but don’t be deceived.  (There are two sequels that are worth reading but the first story is my favorite.)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

It’s everyone’s favorite for a reason.  (And if you say you already know the story because you saw the Kiera Knightley version, please know that you are LITERALLY killing me.)

Memoir

Almost French by Sarah Turnbull

An Australian journalist goes through major culture shock when she takes up residence in Paris.

Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? And Other Concerns by Mindy Kaling

IMHO, the best of the celebrity memoirs

Forever, Erma by Erma Bombeck

A best-of collection.  She is basically the original mom blogger, except she wrote before the internet was a thing.

Right Turns by Michael Medved

I just love him.  This is the story of Medved’s transition from Democratic activist to conservative writer and talk show host.

Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott  

I’ve already talked about this one: my favorite account of life with a newborn.  (There’s a sequel, too, which is a sweet  and funny read as well.)

Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

The hilarious, true tale of an efficiency expert, a psychologist, and their twelve children.  (Also, having nothing in common with the ridiculous Steve Martin movie with the same title.)

Spiritual Topics
(I feel like I need to explain: I do read a lot in this category, but it’s out of my comfort zone. I hardly ever read a spiritual book more than once. But after seeing this teeny little list, I’m resolved to do better here!)

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

It all comes back to gratitude.  This book was hugely influential for me the year that our son Sam died.

Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung

My favorite in the “discerning God’s will” category

Voices from the Past: Puritan Devotional Readings ed. Richard Rushing

Great Puritan writings distilled into daily readings

Young Adult Fiction
(Not just books that I enjoyed as a child,
but ones that I still read now for my own pleasure.)

The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Obviously.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Not a very nice portrayal of the aforementioned Puritans, but otherwise a charming and sweet story of a young girl struggling to find her place in colonial New England

Emily of New Moon Trilogy by L.M. Montgomery

I like the first Anne book pretty well, but this lesser-known series by the same author has always been my favorite.

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Nothing really new to say here…With the exception of book 5, each one gets better.

The Cay by Theodore Taylor

A young boy and an old man are stranded on an island.  A sweet story of unlikely friendship.  I was introduced to this title in the fifth grade and then read it four years in a row when I taught fourth graders.

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4 responses to “My All-Time Book Faves

  1. I just passed my House at Riverton along (I’m working on not hoarding books). I agree — a very intriguing story. Though I think so much of the enjoyment came from the story meandering along the path I had already created and hoped for. This author is definitely on my radar now!
    And in every category, was excited to see some of my faves!

    • I’m delighted, but not at all surprised that we’re still enjoying the same things. 🙂 I’m interested to read more of Morton, too…several of the blurbs for her other books sound very similar, so I’m curious to see if I enjoy all of her work or if I get tired of it.

  2. First, I really wanted to comment on your Third Child post–I’ve written that one a million times in my head. 🙂 Loved it! Just the other day our Third was playing with a butter knife at the table (I KNOW!) and I looked at my Hubby and said, “is he the third child or what?” (Now you know how crazy I *really* am. ;o) )

    I just love your book list. I read another book by DeYoung–Crazy Busy–and loved it. Have you read it? I got a lot out of that book and also really like the way he writes. I’m going to put Just Do Something on hold. 🙂

    I’m pretty sure I’m the only person on the planet who hasn’t read Harry Potter. Sacrilege! Maybe someday I’ll get around to it. It’s just been built up too much, you know?! If it doesn’t totally BLOW MY MIND, I’m going to be disappointed.

    This comment is already too long, so I’m stopping now. Thanks for sharing your list! Lots of good stuff here!

    • 1. If it was just a butter knife, you are totally not crazy! Any sharper of one, and maybe I’d worry. 😉
      2. I haven’t read Crazy Busy but I think I would like it. I have read a few other things by DeYoung and I have liked them all- deep thoughts but pretty easy reads: just my style!
      3. I do think you should check out HP at some point. Start at Book 1, of course, but know that they get better as they go. Happy reading!

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