Joining up with Emily at Jones Design…

what i'm reading


Growing up, I was an avid reader—the kind of obsessive lover of books that had my mom in despair that I would ever come out of my room some days (even after repeat warnings to get my tushy out there to help with the dishes or else).

Which is why I almost can’t believe that I haven’t written this post yet. Seriously? I’ve never talked about my favorite books and asked you yours? How is that even possible?

Now, granted, my reading is considerably sparser these days. I haven’t finished a book since last summer and am currently doing well just to get my daily Bible reading done.

But I still love books.

And, so, today, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite books. (the part where I ask you yours is coming).


Every Jane Austen book ever written…except Mansfield Park. I never even finished it. I don’t know why, but for me, it lacked the vivid characters, clever wit, and gentle humor of her other books. I plan to give it another shot…someday. But for now, I’ll stick with rereading Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasion (my four faves).


(I have this gorgeous Barnes and Noble leather bound version, and I really like it).


The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis


(I have this gorgeous Barnes and Noble leather bound version, and I really like it…sensing a theme? : ))

Yes, I know it’s supposed to be a children’s series, but it’s just so creative and well-written and full of multi-layered symbolism that I think it’s actually possible to get more out of it as an adult (we’re two chapters away from finishing The Horse and His Boy, and my 5-year-old is struggling a bit with the high-brow vocabulary, but my 6 1/2-year-old is tracking perfectly). We actually listened to the entire series with this audiobook version during our honeymoon (we did lots of driving), and it is so well done.


Possession by A.S. Byatt


This book is such a clever, complicated mishmash of fiction and history and uses so many different methods—diaries, letters, poetry—to tell the story that the narrative never gets stale.


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


What can I say? I’m a sucker for classics.


The Bible {by God}

holy bible


Maybe I should have started with this one, but I chose to end with it because no other book affects the way I view the world and my interactions with it and everyone in it more than this one. It is my standard for truth and the lamp that lights my daily path.  It is not always my “favorite” book (because it challenges, pushes, and convicts me in ways that are not always comfortable). But it is my most important book. And that is better.

So, now I have to know…what are your favorite books? Please don’t be shy in the comments today, folks. I am in a book DESERT these days and feel like I don’t have the energy to track down good ones on my own.

Help a sister out!

P.S. I have a SUPER fun giveaway for you tomorrow that you won’t want to miss!

Runners-up: Magic for Marigold by L.M. Montgomery, The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern (did you know it was a book too?), Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Cheney Duvall M.D. series by Gilbert Morris (total, brainless read from my teenage years, but I loved it then), The Harry Potter series (although, I will not be reading them with my children), The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (another holdover from my younger days), Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers, The Shiloh Legacy, The Zion Covenant, and The Zion Chronicles—all by Brock and Bodie Thoene, Atonement by Ian McEwan, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Eliot, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, the complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


  1. I make a point to read To Kill a Mockingbird each summer. As a Special Education teacher and Southern gal, the story is incredibly relatable even decades later! Great list…we have similar taste!

  2. Thank you for your input! If I decide to read more of the books in the series, I think I’ll definitely proceed with caution.

  3. I’ve read many of them, and yes, in one of her books (I think it’s in the Austin series, but I confess I don’t remember completely because it’s been many years ago now and I’ve since avoided any but a select few) the girl has sex as a teenager, with a boyfriend, and it’s supposed to be perfectly OK. And it’s fairly graphic, too, with the description…I was appalled. So I don’t let my own teenagers read any but Wrinkle in Time/Wind in the Door and Meet the Austins (just the one book from that series, and only because we happen to have a copy and when they are looking for something to read it’s convenient). I’m just afraid if she’s got that sort of thing in one book, that she’ll have it in another, and I don’t feel like going mining for it… HTH!

  4. What a great post and I love you even more now that I know you are a Thoene fan! For a long time, I had thought if I had a girl I would have named her Elisa.

  5. anything by gene stratton porter, swoon. many are free in ibooks. stories of love, nature, agrarian life with strong moral characters. i fell in love with freckles and went from there …
    just finished agnes grey by anne bronte (also free), i will read more of the bronte sister, their story fascinates me!
    if you like cs lewis, and are familiar with tolkein, reading george macdonald is enlightening to where they got their inspirations for their fantasy writing.
    have you ever read the wonderful wizard of oz? so much better than the movie, i know that’s almost blasphemy to say out loud (or type).
    killing lincoln by o’reilly is a GREAT BOOK.

    have fun!

  6. I’m totally going to cheat, because I grew up a bookworm, too. I don’t have favorite books–I have favorite series/authors.

    1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (& The Hobbit)
    2. Anything by Jane Austen! I have read all of her books, and although Sense and Sensibility is my all-time favorite, I still love all of her books.
    3. Out of the Silent Plant series by C.S. Lewis. I’m a sucker for sci-fi, and he did a pretty good job with his sci-fi series!
    4. Anything by Ted Dekker. ANYTHING. I don’t always agree with his theology, but he knows how to write a page-turner!
    5. And I’ll end with the Bible, as well, although it’s truly #1. 🙂 I appreciate what you wrote about it–it’s very true!

    Even though I grew up reading and I majored in English in college, reading now makes me very, very sleepy. This makes me sad, as I do very little reading these days as a result. Hazards of getting older, I guess.

  7. We’re in agreement on several! The Bible…duh! Mark of the Lion series, Redeeming Love…I can read them over and over! The Help…my word….LOVE!!! Ok, so I must admit I’m one of “those”…a Twi-hard, Twilight fan, but have you read Stephenie Meyer’s other book The Host? It is a COMPLETELY different kind of book. I cried…like actual tears reading it. From your post, it might not be your type of book, but maybe worth a shot out of your comfort zone. Another all time fave of mine is The Mummy or Ramses the Damned (that’s the whole title) by Anne Rice. It’s not a horror book like most of her books. Its really a love story/mystery/history/adventure book. I read it in high school and have read it every few years ever since!!!!

  8. I love the Blue Castle by LM Montgomery, say with the Anne of Green Gables books but I have never read Magic for Marigold… I more have favorite authors than favorite books, Ken Follett, Michael Crichton, Margaret Atwood, Amy Tan and Diana Gabaldon come to mind. Oh, but Ferney by James Long (it kind of bends time in the story not in a time travel way per se… it’s fantastic though) and The Time Traveller’s Wife! Sigh, I love books.

  9. To Kill a Mockingbird is definitely one of my favorites. Others are The Giver, The Help, The Notebook (I know, it’s cheesy, but I love Cheese sometimes). I’m also a sucker for James Patterson books and Mary Higgins Clark, murder suspense mystery, gets me good.

  10. I am an avid reader as well. I am sad to say that my children have not followed in my footsteps, no matter how hard I try or what books I find for them.

    If you really like to read (cause these books are super long but oh so good) I would suggest the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. Definitely for grown ups as there is a bit of adult content (a little bit of language and some adult bed action, but it is very tastefully done….). Diana always draws me into her books and I hate having to wait for a new one.

  11. My all-time favorites are childhood classics – The Secret Garden, Heidi, Little Women, the entire Anne of Green Gables series (I’m nearly 30 and I still read those frequently!). I also love anything by Frank Peretti. He’s probably my favorite Christian author. I also love Francine Rivers. My favorite books basically fall into two categories – those that tickle my imagination and emotions with great stories, and stories of mystery and intrigue and action that I can’t put down and stay up until three in the morning reading. 🙂

    I read the Zion books by the Thoene’s while I was in high school and LOVED them. They had both series in the school library and I burned through them like crazy! The librarians all knew me pretty quickly – I’d walk in to return one book and borrow another and they would just wave and say “You know where they are!” LOL

  12. It seems we have similar tastes in literature. I agree with you on 4 out of your 5 books. I’ve never heard of “Possession,” so it seems I’m due a trip to the bookstore.

    I love “Pride & Prejudice.” It’s my traveling book. Anytime I go on a trip, it’s my book of choice. Have you ever read “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier? If not, you should.

    I love anything by Jen Lancaster. She is hysterical. I end up crying because I’m laughing so hard! But, I should warn you, she curses quite a bit.

  13. I am in my first trimester of my first pregnancy, and feeling quite sick…but the upside is that I have so much time for reading now! You know, since I’m considering it my job to lie on the couch. I like your picks. Also I love Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, anything by Elisabeth Elliot, Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton, The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, and a tiny book called Henreitta’s War by Joyce Dennys. A little picture of domestic British life during WWII. So funny!

  14. I love the Chronicles of Narnia! I also love the Hobbit, anything by Mitch Albom (the Five People You Meet in Heaven is my favorite, though) anything by Aldous Huxley, Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, and The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. Out of those, I always recommend The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time to anyone and everyone. It is hilarious.

  15. I love several of your choices, so now I have a fresh list for the library. Yay! I’ve just read some of Alan Bradley’s Flavia deLuce mystery series and loved them. The Mitford books by Jan Karon are my all-time favorites; I reread them every few years. Mary Stewart’s Merlin trilogy and anything by Rosamunde Pilcher are fun as well, for completely different reasons.

  16. Seems like all the other commenters really love the classics…I must not have very sophisticated taste because I’m drawn to newer books. Not that I dislike the classics, they just aren’t my favorites. And being an elementary librarian I’m surrounded by young adult lit 🙂 I also really, really love Christian romance books…especially if they also have a mystery. So here goes:

    Harry Potter Series
    Hunger Games Series
    Percy Jackson Series
    Little House on the Prairie
    Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (SO powerful!)
    Anything by Dee Henderson or Colleen Coble (Cont. Christian mystery/romance)
    Anything by Lori Wick (Contemporary and Historical Christian romance)
    Hannah Swenson series by Joanne Fluke

    Jodi Picoult’s books (kinda heavy material but are good at making you look at both sides of a story)

    That’s just the tip of the iceberg, but that’s all I can think of right now.

  17. My favorite novels of all time are Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. The plots are good and the dialogue and writing are fun, but my favorite aspect of the series is her characters, the way they develop and change, as well as the philosophical types of discussions that work their way into the pages. Also, the 1920s and 1930s British settings make me swoon! If you’re interested in reading these, I like the final four books in the series, in which Lord Peter meets a lady and the plots turn more romantic than before. 😉

    As far as classics, my two favorite are The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (it’s a great time to brush up on this one, because a new movie version is set to be released next summer) and The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I can’t say either book is particularly happy (looks like you go for happy endings, from your favorites list!), but I find them both very thought-provoking and extremely well-written. Highly recommended. 🙂

  18. I discovered the Belgariad series this summer and consumed all 12 books (Belgariad + Malloreon + Belgarath and Polgara) before autumn rolled around. It really got me out of a reading rut. I LOVED it!! I’m familiar with your first two picks, but I’ll have to look into your latter two since it sounds like I like your taste. 🙂

  19. I just did the same sort of post on my blog – The Bookinista. My five favorite are 1. Jane Eyre 2. Harry Potter 3. The Belgariad series 4. Dangerous Liaisons 5. Beloved. I think knowing what people love to read is one of the best ways to know more about them. Thanks for sharing!

    p.s. I really enjoy your blog and you have totally inspired me to start shopping at Goodwill. On my first trip I scored a plaid flannel shirt (which is what I was actually looking for!) for $4. Love the GW.

  20. We have such similar taste in stories! But I will absolutely be sharing Harry Potter with my kids, along with Narnia and the Lord of the Rings – when we decide they’re ready for the intensity. Such rich fodder for discussion and learning discernment! So many different ways to come at this stuff, isn’t there? I’d add the Little House books and Anne of Green Gables series (despite their being for kids, I revisit them every five years or so). And Little Women. And Two from Galilee by Marjorie Holmes. And Fifteen by Beverly Cleary. Lately, my husband and I have been reading all of John Green’s young adult novels. They have some “adult” content, but are full of such good insight into how people work and think. Anything by Madeleine L’Engle. And the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander (but most especially the High King).

  21. I wrote a short blog about favorite kid books and books a couple weeks back. Have you ever read Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard? It is an amazing little story. I love To Kill a Mockingbird, too, and Jane Austin’s stories. We have that same big book edition from Barnes and Noble:) Kathy (

  22. My all-time favorite is the Anne of Green Gables series. Thanks for inspiring me to re-read some of my favorites! And love your list by the way! We have similar taste in books! : )

  23. I wish I was was a bookie like you 🙂

    I used to be until pharmacy school, that pretty much killed my love of reading for a LOOOONg time. Then shortly thereafter……kids which gave it another blow….haha!

    I am usually drawn to more non-fiction, but I did love Redeeming Love too. And of course the Bible!!

    I have read great things about “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” so I really wanna read it next.

    On our recent trip sans kids I read “The Birthright: Out of the Servant’s Quarters Into the Father’s House” by John Sheasby. It was a quick read….2hr flight, and it really helped me think about God in a different way. I am not a servant….I’m a Daughter! Loved it!

  24. Yes on anything by L.M. Montgomery, I must’ve read them all at least 15 times each…also Louisa May Alcott (although I particularly like Old-Fashioned Girl). On the more adult side, I love Georgette Heyer for escape reading (regency romance but witty and complicated and clean like Jane–not sappy), Dee Henderson for Christian suspense, and one of my personal all-time favorites for spiritual encouragement in the guise of fiction is Stepping Heavenward, by Elizabeth Prentiss (who also wrote the words to the hymn More Love to Thee)–I think you would like that one. I could go on (and on and on!!), but I’ll stop there. 🙂

  25. I have a question about Madeleine L’Engle. I read her most of her Austin and Murray-O’Keefe books as a kid and loved them. I’ve read them over and over. However, I stopped reading as the series progressed because my mom told me some of the books had adult content inappropriate for a younger person. Recently I thought I’d read the ones she suggested I avoid as a kid, but I ran into some troubling reviews on Amazon, referring to dark themes and unmoral behavior in titles such as A Severed Wasp. I can handle darker themes just fine, but it seems some people draw a real divide between L’Engle’s more child-oriented books and her adult-themed ones. I haven’t run into any L’Engle fans before whose brains I can pick, so I thought I’d ask you. 😉 Have you read all her books? Any insights or advice to give me? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  26. My favorites fromwhen I was little were the little house books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. They Lways left me feeling so happy. I just started reading them to my daughter. It’s fun sharing them with her.

  27. I was going to say anything Francine Rivers. I kind of found her by accident but now I own a majority of everything she ever wrote (Christian stuff anyway. She actually has a few from before still floating around). I have the large one book version of the lineage of grace series (love this set!) and sons of encouragement series (haven’t read yet and I think the one book version is only available internationally through amazon or something).

    Also, non fiction I recommend this book to anyone because it’s an easy enjoyable and encouraging read. Stumbling into Grace by Lisa Harper. It’s so funny you’ll be shaking with laughter but so down to earth you won’t miss her point.

    Otherwise, I’ve been on a reading break too so I haven’t discovered anything new and exciting. I’m currently working on reading all the books that are on the shelf before getting more. There’s a challenge for people! Our collection is relatively small but then my husband owns nearly all of Max Lucado’s stuff so that could take a while.

  28. Love this! I was the kid who had a book in my bedroom, one in the bathroom, one in the kitchen and one in the car and would read whichever was closest. I just about wore out my library card every summer!

    A couple of my favorites are “A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving and anything written by Wally Lamb. I’m also pretty much a sucker for anything that might be on a high school reading list (they tend to be “the classics”).

    Another idea is You put in the name of a book you like and it gives you several suggestions on what to read next 🙂

    Hope you find something!!


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