I am a bit of a bibliophile so narrowing down a list to my top ten favorite books was a huge challenge for me. And then once I had a list, I broke it down into categories because I love categorizing things. Like, I’m the girl that is sad we no longer use card catalogs. (I’m also the girl that used to make her own card catalog for the books in my closet and make people check them out with fake library cards that I issued them. I have no idea why no one wanted to date me.) Anyhow, here are a few of my favorite books!
Books That Changed My Life
1.) Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller – This was the first book that I read that sort of met me where I was in my faith, questioning where the strict southern baptist religion I was brought up in met the all-encompassing grace of the God who’s glory I believed in. It gave me the freedom to see God as Love, and in that to love other people as God intended, without agenda. It’s a beautiful narrative that really helped to guide me as I searched for truth. (Random Fact: I took my wedding vows directly from this book.)
2.) 7 by Jen Hatmaker – I write about this book all the time because I can’t ever find anything. I blame this on Jen Hatmaker, because I read the book 7 and then donated everything I own and then summertime came and I discovered that I no longer owned any shorts on account of my overzealous purging. I love Jen Hatmaker’s writing, she is witty but deeply thoughtful and this hard look at excess in our lives caused me to make a huge change in how I live. Seriously, we read this book a couple of years ago now and the changes that we made after the convictions found in it’s pages have stuck. I think the premise is great and it laid a good foundation for the way we want to live and raise our daughter.
3.) Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver – Following the theme above, this is one book that caused me to create some permanent changes in my life. We have a garden, y’all. And I grow stuff and eat it. From the ground. I mean, when I got married I burnt a can of microwaveable Easy Mac. It’s a pretty huge difference to go from that to baking your own bread (here’s my favorite honey white bread recipe, by the way.) What happened was, my husband made me watch Food Inc. which basically meant that I had a neurotic freak out about the food that we eat and started reading everything I could about it. This book came highly recommended to me and I am so glad that I took the time to read it because it really delved into the topic, from the whys to the hows, through storytelling. I found it incredibly intriguing and helpful.
4.) The Mission Of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson – I really feel as though this book helped to shape who I want to be a mother. Not just in my parenting practices but in my heart’s purpose, to be intentional and spirit-led in my interactions with my daughter. This is how I want to raise her, it’s not a strict “how-to” format to follow or anything but it is a great guidebook for the journey. (Unfortunately, we don’t live in England and thus I have been unsuccessful thus far in my attempts to convince my husband to partake of high-tea every day.)
Books That I Loved As A Child And So Get Awkwardly Nostalgic About Them
5.) Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein – Who doesn’t like Shel Silverstein? (Don’t tell me if you don’t like Shel Silverstein.) I still love this classic collection of his poetry. I enjoyed it as a child because of it’s unique creativity and I enjoy it now as an adult because I think it is a great read-along book to share with my daughter.
6.) Silver by Norma Fox Mazer - This coming-of-age book about a young girl is a story that I read over and over again as a teen. I related a lot to the main character back then and so I think that might be why. But as an adult I still think it is a great read (especially if you have teens) because it’s such a well-told story of a girl who thinks she has this Big Problem of starting over at a new school and ends up confronting an actual Big Problem. I still have my well-worn hardback copy.
7.) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – I loved this story so much as a kid that I read it over and over. I also attempted to create my own secret garden in the woods behind our house, an undertaking that involved stumbling into a nest of spiders and resulted in my intense arachnophobia today. And even that didn’t kill my love of this book, which is a total honor (it’s basically the same thing as a Newbury award.) I read this book to Scarlette in the NICU, because it is a great read-aloud book but also for it’s allegory of the healing power of love and faith. (Random fact: I collect copies of this book with interesting covers and have them on display in Scarlette’s room. I’m fairly emotionally attached to it.)
Books That Are Not Amish Fiction But Still Fiction That I Like
8.) Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers – Last week I had a discussion about this book with a random stranger as I stood in line at the bank. And so I figure that meant it probably belonged on this list. Before this, I had read the book of Hosea and I had seen the story of Hosea and Gomer played out on stage. But never had I seen it depicted so beautifully and so realistically. I lack the words to describe how emotionally moving this book is, I’ve never read a better love story. Biblical reference aside, it is just a great love story.
9.) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – First of all, if you’ve only seen the movie version with Keira Knightly then head straight to your library and rent the six hour long version with Colin Firth. It’s worth the entire day to see him sort of half smile at the end. And if you haven’t read it, go do that right now. I read this to Scarlette in the NICU because I figured that if she just had to lie there and listen to me, Pride and Prejudice was a much better read than The Cat In The Hat. I mean, not that I have anything against Dr. Suess or anything but Pride and Prejudice is such a great story. It has humor and love and drama and all of the things that make a good Austen book. Besides, I’m pretty sure that instilling a love of Jane Austen novels in your kids is biblical.
10.) Can You Keep A Secret by Sophie Kinsella – Oh y’all, this is just flat out chick lit. Sophie Kinsella is my favorite chick-lit author. I love basically anything she writes for easy, light, humorous reading. This book is my favorite of everything I have read of hers. I don’t know why. It’s just a great story and it is hilarious.
Have you read any of these? I’d love to know your thoughts on my faves!
A twenty-something not-so-newlywed and southern girl through and through, Kayla Aimee (you can call her KA) likes scrapbooking, Macy’s at Christmas time, and really good fitting jeans. By day she is a stay at home mom but by night she is a blogger, amateur photographer, wii ping pong player, and teacher of online scrapbooking classes. KA and her husband Jeff reside in a charming little country town in the south. After years of infertility, they welcomed their daughter Scarlette Vonne on November 7, 2010, fifteen weeks before her due date and weighing just 1lb 9oz.