My Favorite Books, For Now

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A couple months ago Jessica Turner asked me to participate in a “best books” series on her blog. I loved being a part of it, but I’ll have to say, it’s not easy picking my 10 best books of all time. The way I see it, I’ve been reading books for 35 years and to find the best 10 out of all of that? Not an easy feat.

So these aren’t my favorites of all of the years, but these are the best ones I like for now. Ask me in 12 months and I might have a different list.

(Originally published on The Mom Creative)

Non Fiction

Bird By Bird – Anne Lamott

I read this book on writing at least once a year and have done so for the last four or five years.  You should too. I promise. It will help your writing and remind you why you write in the first place. If you have ever heard me speak on writing I’m sure I mentioned it once or eleven times.

On Writing – Stephen King

This is actually my current read (as a Christmas gift from a friend) and I’m not finished but including it on this list anyway. I’m convinced it will be a go-to, and a go-back-to for a long time. Plus I’m a big King fan (as you will be able to tell).

 A Million Miles in a Thousand Years – Don Miller

Reading this book about 3 years ago gave me the courage to try to live a good story, to push through some fears I’d been wallowing in and to see my future as a grand adventure that I can’t wait to live. I kinda love anything Don Miller writes but this is my favorite of his. 

A Circle of Quiet – Madeline L’Engle

I’m not a huge fan of nonfiction in general, but I do love a good memoir. L’Engle wrote her more famous children’s series including A Wrinkle in Time but this book is simply marvelous. And if you have a chance, pick up the other ones in the Crosswicks Journals series: The Irrational Season, The Summer of the Great Grandmother and The Two-Part Invention.

Devil in the White City – Erik Larson

I’m putting this under non-fiction, but it reads like a novel. Erik Larson does such an amazing job of telling a true story so that you don’t know its non-fiction. It’s two stories, actually, the story of the building of the 1893 Columbian Expostion in Chicago as well as the story of America’s 1st real serial killer, H. H. Holmes. It’s a little chilling in places, but Larson’s descriptions of the World’s Fair makes anyone want to travel back 120 years just to see it. But please if you do, do all that you can to avoid HH. 

 

Fiction 

11/22/63 – Stephen King

I’m a huge fan of Stephen King and on my wish-list-bucket-list would be to have lunch with him someday. I was never allowed to read him growing up (and maybe for good reason) but a few years ago I began moving through his most popular books because I was on a journey to become a better storyteller. And his 11/22/63 (about time travel and the assassination of JFK – right, I know) is brilliant and surprisingly, my favorite of his novels.

My Antonia – Willa Cather

I don’t know how to explain this book or my love of it, but it is simply beauty. One of the best American novels ever written, in my opinion, and now that I flip through it again, I wonder (I really wonder) if Cather influenced me as a writer. Oh I hope she has. I’m going to re-read this very soon.

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

You know how a book gets into your soul when you are in your forming years and stays there? That’s this book for me. It may be different for you, but for me it’s Jane Eyre. Even if I wanted to I can’t get it out of my soul.

The Paris Wife – Paula McLain

Loved loved loved this book. I’m a novel girl and when a well-written novel juxtaposes with history and literature both, I’m hooked. It’s the fictionalized story of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley.  Summer read. Or winter read. Either. Or both.

The Meaning of Night – Michael Cox

Another Victorian setting (Devil in the White City is too) and it reads a little slow in the beginning. But give it a chance. The author wrote one more book (The Glass of Time) which is loosely tied to the story in Night, but then Cox died. I fell in love with this author and then was devastated to realize that the author would be writing no more.

 

There are so many more that I love: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, Elie Wiesel’s Night are a few and of course the Dark Tower series by King (but that is not for the faint of heart). I’m also pretty much a fan of anything my friends write: Sarah Bessey’s Jesus Feminist rocks. Emily Freeman, Rebekah Lyons, and Tsh Oxenrider have done well lately too, so check them out if you haven’t.

What are a few of your favorites, for now?

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