Sunday, December 7, 2014

Book Project ~ Participation Request!


I’m working on a major book list project. It’s a combination of my own must-read suggestions and a “best books to read” challenge for myself this coming year—something similar to Amazon's 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime.

So give me your top 5-10 must-read books.

Classics. Modern fiction. Non-fiction. Historical fiction. Children’s books. Poetry. Short stories. The best of the best.

My book list includes books I loved, obscure (The Little French Girl) or well-known (To Kill a Mockingbird), books I hated but everyone should read anyway (1984), and books that made me think (Hamlet).

Help me create my “best books to read” 2015 Challenge!


Share your best books. Tell me what genre. And give me a reason.


Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker said...

The Red Keep. It's the fiction book I got my husband to read that turned him into a fiction reader. Now he understand my desire for more fiction books and takes a turn reading most all of the fiction books that the children read.

Christy Murphy said...

I loved Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale by Ian Morgan Cron. I've read it twice now and want to read it again and take notes. Thanks for all your book posts. I love them!

Missy Robinson said...

White Oleander – Janet Fitch
Financial Peace – Dave Ramsey
The Two Sides of Love – Gary Smalley & John Trent
The Signature of All Things – Elizabeth Gilbert
The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
New York – Edward Rutherford
In the Sanctuary of Outcasts – Neil White
Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness – Liz Murray
A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini

Anonymous said...

Oh...I love book lists and recommendations! I have read quite a bit but I am only listing those that I feel are worthwhile. The Odyssey - Homer (Robert Fagles), The Red Tent - Anita Diamanti, Bloodroot - Amy Greene, The Signature of All Things - Elizabeth Gilbert, The Winter Sea - Susanna Kearsley, 3:16 The Numbers of Hope - Max Lucado, Bitter Sweet & Bread and Wine - both by Shauna Niequist, and 1000 Gifts - Ann Voskamp. I started Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis but I am taking it very slow. So far I am liking it! I believe that is it although I have a suspicion that I am forgetting some.
Thank you, Gretchen

Skeller said...

Anne of Green Gables (sweetest story ever)
To Kill a Mockingbird (favorite novel ever)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (slice of life, a way to “walk in someone else’s shoes”)
Night (holocaust autobiography. Must read)
Davita’s Harp (and really any book by Chaim Potok – deeply contemplative novels about the ways religion &/or ideology shape our life)
Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis breaking Christianity down to its most important bits in an understandable way, must read)
Animal Farm (political dystopia, must read)
Warriors Don’t Cry (autobiography/memoir of integration experience following Brown v. Board of Education, must read)
The Little French Girl (simply a beautiful novel)
The Glass Castle (fascinating modern autobiography)
Mallory’s Oracle (whole series, actually, by Carol O’Connell – my favorite mystery-suspense-pulp-fiction series of all time)
The Giver (dystopian novel, cautionary tale warning against giving up freedom/independence/individuality as a trade for safety & presumably pain-avoidance)

Windhover Farm said...

Love that you're doing this and asking us to contribute. Most challenging for sure. In no particular order but trying to be broad with poetry, fiction, theology, spirituality and some I just loved:
Island of the World by M. O'Brien Gilead by M. Robinson
Til We Have Faces by CS Lewis
Godric by Fredrick Buechener
Reversed Thunder by E. Peterson
The Everlasting Man by GK Chesterton
Prayer by Hans Urs ron Balthasar
Poems by GM Hopkins
The Power and the Glory by G. Greene
The Brothers K by DJ Duncan (a must read for you as you are from Oregon!!)

Meghan said...

Gilead (of course)
The Violent Bear It Away (Flannery O'Connor)
The Ragamuffin Gospel and Ruthless Trust (both by Brennan Manning)
Peace Like a River
Anna Karenina
Jane Eyre
East of Eden (Steinbeck)
Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner
The Jesus Storybook Bible

Unknown said...

I am convicted that I own, but have yet to actually read many of the best books. Nevertheless, here are my favorites that I think would better anyone:
The Bible
Angela's Ashes
Grimm and Anderson's Fairy Tales
The Chronicles of Narnia
A Tale of Two Cities
Jayber Crow
Gone With the Wind
I think adults can tend to overlook classic works written for children and we should not. There is much to be gained.

Kate said...

I second Anne of Green Gables, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Brothers K (my current read--maybe a little premature to recommend, but it is the most wonderful blend so far of family drama, humor, and deep theological musings. It may even inspire me to read The Brothers Karamazov, which is nothing short of miraculous! )

Other favorites:
Understood Betsy ( right up there with Anne, plus a lot to chew on as a parent)
Pride and Prejudice
The Shallows (well-written, thought-provoking nonfiction about technology)

What a fun project!

Danielle said...

Wow, this is hard!

You've read a lot of books I'd put on here, so I'll try to put some on that I've not noticed if you've read or not:

Walking on Water by Madeline L'Engle
The Prodigal God by Tim Keller
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Middlemarch by George Eliot
The Maytrees by Annie Dillard
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Possession: A Romance – A. S. Byatt
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Heidi said...

I'm loving all the suggestions so far! Keep them coming! :D

Anonymous said...

The impossible chore. 5-10 only?! :)

Someone beat me to one of my absolute favorite novels--
Godric by Buechener.

I second
Til We Have Faces (Lewis)
and Gerard Manley Hopkins

and add
-Tinkers (Paul Harding; a quiet, moving book that won the Pulitzer)
-One Foot in Eden (Ron Rash; another that quietly pries one's heart wide open)
-all of Nobel winner Par Lagervist's novels I've read [The Dwarf, Barabbas, The Eternal Smile, The Sibyl, and more.]
-Gene Wolfe's Book of the Short Sun books (and more by Wolfe, a wonderful writer)
-R.A. Lafferty's novels (for the glorious and rollicking use of language above as well as the layers of thought beneath)

-Chesterton anything

-Billy Collins

-Wendell Berry (I prefer his poetry to the novels)

I have dozens upon dozens more (Tolkien/Karamazov/Tolstoy/SO many children's titles), but those are all names and titles with which you're likely already quite chummy. I tried to add a few to the mix that I don't imagine would be common fare in your literary circles but are oh-so-worthy, and the split second I get off the computer, I'm sure to smack my head and remember 20 more ESSENTIALS that slipped my mind in this mad dash of typing. :)

Angie said...

Ahh! I love the previous comments so much! I'm trying not to over think it, but just toss out 5 books not yet listed that still haunt me years after reading them.

The Sparrow - Mary Doria Russell
Orthodoxy - G. K. Chesterton
A Wrinkle in Time - Madeliene L'Engle
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
The Best Short Stories of O'Henry - O'Henry

Can't wait to see the final list!

Kim said...

A Christmas Carol - Dickens
All the Light We Cannot See - Doerr
Walking on Water - Engle
Falling Upwards - Richard Rohr
The Gifts of Imperfection - Brene Brown

Looking forward to this list!

Windhover Farm said...

In case those of us who recommend "Godric" are not emphatic enough--- I'd sort of fallen out of the habit of recommending the book to anyone who crossed my path but now my MUST READ IT is once again ignited and backed up well by:

Abigail said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie said...

Oh, I do hope you'll share all the results and what you have on your list. I'm trying to answer without looking at what everyone else has said. : )

-Christy by Catherine Marshall (and Julie, but Christy is my favorite)
-Anne of Green Gables, et al (and I would include her Story Girl books and Jane of Lantern Hill. Not so much Emily or her short story books though I own them all.)
-Betsy-Tacy series and most definitely Emily of Deep Valley - my favorite of them all
-Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss
-The Jesus Storybook Bible

Anonymous said...

Uncle Tom's Cabin (the original and the Young Folk's Edition for kids)
Little Pilgrim's Progress by Helen Taylor

Heather said...

Books that have stuck with me.

Michael Phillips/George MacDonald editions

Emma- Jane Austen

Miss Read

P.G. Wodehouse

Children's Fiction, childhood favorites

Oh What a Busy Day!- Gyo Fujikawa
What's For Lunch, Charley? -Margaret Hodges
Cars and Trucks and Things That Go- Richard Scarry


Let Me Be a Woman(Thoughts for my Daughter)- Elisabeth Elliot

Rachel Jankovic books on parenting

Story of Amy Carmichael

Faithful Women and the Extraordinary God- Noel Piper

Anonymous said...

So many good books but I'll just post the ones I keep going back to.

Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell Why: because I find her characters more relatable than J. Austen's and I love them all, good-ish and bad-ish.

Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen. Why: transporting, colorful, atmospheric, witty, insightful.

Lake Wobegon Days, Garrison Keillor. Why: read it for the first time as a very young adult and enjoyed the peek into a different US culture than my own. I felt at the time that the author helped me to understand some things that helped me to grow up. And I have read it at least once every two years ever since. It ages well. I know it's not great literature but I love it anyway.

The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri. Why: Beautiful. The three main characters made my soul ache...that's a good thing.

Persuasion, Jane Austen. Why: the only JA I really enjoy reading over and over. Perhaps it's because in it, as one of her later novels, she shows a bit more maturity in her writing and characterization.

Bonhoeffer, Eric Metaxas. Why: Amazing person whom I felt that I knew after reading the book the first time.

Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy. Why: life does not always turn out well even when we do what we believe to be right. It's a sobering thought, though I draw conclusions about that from a different worldview than Mr. Hardy.

Any books of ancient Britain (except the King Arthur books) by Rosemary Sutcliff. Why: wonderful young adult, well-researched books from which I have learned much history in an engaging way.

Grace For the Good Girl, Emily Freeman. Why: I'm still wondering how she got inside my head and helped me to understand myself!

Short Stories, Leo Tolstoy. Why: I'm a big Tolstoy fan and adore anything he penned. But I believe that his short stories will be less daunting to readers today and yet are equal in quality to the longer works and might lead to them being read, too.

Meghan said...

I forgot to say Great Expectations!!

Tara said...

I'm excited for your list! Two off the top of my head are East of Eden and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.