Today is a special day around here. It’s my birthday and in our family we treat birthdays as a pretty big deal.
I have a fun day planned including several hours alone in a coffee shop writing, time with the kiddos in the afternoon followed by a date night with my husband as we gorge on pasta, cheesecake and then stroll through a bookstore where a few books
may probably will end up being purchased. 😉
Plus we will be periodically checking into the Royals game because they could possible make it back into the World’s Series tonight!!!!
So today in honor of my favorite day of the year I’d thought I do something different. I contemplated sharing something clever, like 33 Lessons I Have Learned in 33 Years but couldn’t really think of 33 earth shattering things 🙂
Instead I’m going to share 33 of my absolute favorite books of all time which seems fitting because outside of God and my family, books are my passion.
Some books below are classics, some are popular modern books, some are fiction, some are children’s books and some aren’t just one book but part of a series that makes it a whole story.
Some of these books have shaped my faith, molded me into the woman God created me to be and guided me to becoming the wife and mother I’m called to be. Other books served as pure enjoyment and allowed me to get lost in the pages.
Without further ado, these are 33 of my favorite books to date (because let’s be honest, as long as more great books are being written this list will probably be forever changing)
33 Favorite Books You Absolutely Should Read
The Bible :: I had to start the list with the Bible because it is the single most impactful book in my life. I read it every single day, it guides me through the seasons and it shapes my entire faith.
The Jesus Storybook Bible :: A Bible meant for kids that I read aloud from almost every single day and apart from sharing the basic Bible stories with my kids, it truly touches my heart as well. I have gain a deeper understanding of the stores and accounts through reading this storybook Bible several times.
Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God :: Noel Piper (wife of John Piper) shares the stories of faithful women who followed hard after God no matter the cost. It’s a biography that reads like a beautiful story of faith in almost impossible circumstances.
Grace for the Good Girl :: I’m pretty sure Emily Freeman read my mind when she wrote her first book but her words changed the way I viewed my testimony. I’ve always been a “good girl” and at times I felt my faith might not have been enough but that is a lie pure and simple.
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life :: A guide through each of the spiritual disciplines written in a challenging, encouraging yet easy to understand and apply kind of way. I wish I would have read this book earlier in my faith journey but it’s a modern classic that has greatly impacted my faith. It’s a book I know I will refer to time after time.
The Shaping of a Christian Family :: I know Elisabeth Elliot is probably best known for Passion and Purity but this is probably my favorite book of hers. She recounts her childhood and growing up in a family of faith. If you love Elisabeth Elliot you will love her biography of her years growing into the woman she became.
The Forgotten Garden :: My favorite novel I have read in recent years, I still think back to this haunting story of strange family, secrets, adventure and a mystery that took two generations to solve. As a birthday present to me, I’m sure, Kate Morton’s newest book just released this week and I’ve heard it’s her best yet.
A Mother’s Heart :: I read this when I first become a mother then re-read it a year later and keep referring back to it time and time again. Jean Fleming shares so much wisdom and truth into our roles as mothers who want to share the heart of Jesus with our children and embrace our calling.
A Place of Quiet Rest :: The first book I ever read on why it’s important to have a daily quiet time with God and practical steps on how to have one. My relationship with Jesus grew deeper through Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ words and truths on the importance of spending time in His presence daily.
Love Does :: You know how some people just live an interesting life full of compelling stories that enchant, encourage, challenge and draw you in? Bob Goff does just that. Through his storytelling he challenges you to live with the believe that when Love Does, life gets interesting.
Choosing Gratitude :: Practicing daily thanksgiving through keeping a gratitude log has become all the rage in recent years but I would dare to say this is the BEST book, not to mention the most Biblical, on the subject of choosing joy every single day. It’s one of those books where pretty much the whole thing is underlined.
Little House on the Prairie Series :: I fell in love with these books when I was a little girl, enjoyed reading them aloud as an adult to my students during our Missouri history period when I taught fourth grade and absolutely CAN NOT wait to read them with my kids.
Love Comes Softly Series :: To piggyback off the previous series mention, I love pioneer fiction. I discovered this series as an adult and devoured them, along with a few spin-off series written by the same author. To be clear, the books are much better than the Hallmark made-for-TV movies. In fact other than character names, the movies are vastly different than the books, and personally I believe the books are so much better!.
The Mission of Motherhood :: Perhaps the most influential book on motherhood as a mission I have ever read. This book will change your entire heart and outlook on mothering your children, especially on the hard days when you would rather be doing just about anything other than parenting your children.
The Excellent Wife :: I first read this as a naive college student who hoped to be married one day, then again as a tired, stressed out wife who longed to be the wife God created me to be to my husband. Based in Scripture, this book leads your through God’s Word on the truths of Biblical womanhood, going deeper into the misused passage of Proverbs 31.
The Happiness Project :: I was leery to first read because I didn’t know if it was going to one of those new age books about how to fund happiness within but I loved Gretchen Rubin’s storytelling through her year long journey of working through projects to create an atmosphere of joy and happiness. Yes, some things were a little borderline for me but overall this one of my favorite reads of 2013.
The Help :: I saw the movie first before I read it but this was one of those extremely rare occurrences where I loved both the movie and the book equally. In true book form, the story goes deeper into the characters’ lives sharing their stories and injustices of the time. I loved the actors they cast and felt they perfectly encompassed the characters.
Pride and Prejudice :: It’s not a favorite book list without Jane Austin! It’s the first book I read of hers, and still my favorite. I love the characters and I think Meg Ryan’s Kathleen Kelly character from my favorite movie, You’ve Got Mail, perfectly describes it by voicing her concern as to whether Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy ever get together.
To Kill a Mockingbird :: I remember reading this for the first time in my high school senior literature class, then again on my own later that summer. I read it for a third time in college and I again a few years ago. I can’t bring myself to read the newly released sequel because I love the classic so much. And the movie version is still one of my all time favorite movies.
Mark of the Lion Series :: I’ve never read a trilogy more engaging, more historically telling and completely compelling then these three books my Francine Rivers. I remember reading late into the night finishing up the first book and sat up in bed and screamed, “No!” when it ended. I had to get my hands on the next one ASAP. All three of these books still sit on my bookshelf waiting to be re-read again.
Charlotte’s Web :: The one and only time I have ever loved and cried over a spider! 🙂 Along with this being a beloved book of my childhood, every single year when I would read it aloud to my fourth grade students, I cried. I love this story of friendship and courage. I also loved the cartoon movie when I was a kid, and the newer version too.
A Million Little Ways :: When I felt the desire to start writing again, I felt a little silly. Was God really calling me to write? Aren’t there other things I should be doing, like raising a family? Many woman struggle with these questions when God places a dream and desire to create art in our lives. I’m secretly stalking Emily Freeman because after this being the second book of hers on my favorite list, I’m pretty sure we where made to be BFFs 😉 Her newly released 3rd book is still sitting on my night stand but I’m sure if I had already read it, it would be on the list too.
Romana Quimby Age 8 :: Romana and I were first introduced when I was 8 years old too and in first grade. She was the first literal character who became my friend. I completely related to just about every emotion and activity of hers, and I devoured all of Beverly Cleary’s much loved books based on Ramona’s quirky antics.
Honey for a Child’s Heart :: A resource to introduce your children to great, quality literature and an inspirational source of practical and encouraging ways to read aloud, read along and foster the love of reading with your children. Perhaps the best things about this book is the HUGE collection of reading lists broken up my genre, age, and interest in the back of the book. I refer to this list often.
Desiring God :: It took me several years to read through this book when I was in college but it’s one of the first books I read that shaped my faith, challenged me and equipped me outside of the Bible. John Piper is one of the greatest Bible teachers of our day and he write in a way to draw us close to the heart of God. It’s definitely not light reading by any stretch of the imagination.
Women of the Word :: This was the first book I read this year, which was probably poor timing since I just had my 3rd baby, but this is by far my favorite book of the year. It has been on my heart more than ever just how important it is to be in the Word every single day but we, as a society, are becoming more and more Bible illeriate. Jen breaks down how to get in your Bible, read it and studying it every day. And we aren’t talking about advanced Bible study fit for a theology student, we are talking about basic principles designed for everyday women, busy wives and mothers, to know and fall in love with God’s Word.
The Fringe Hours :: Another recent read that really spoke to my heart. As a woman who loves my family more than anything, I feel overwhelmed, scattered and stressed when I don’t get some “me-time” but I used to feel guilty for needing that alone time. Not anymore! Jessica Turner’s inspiring message to put the oxygen mask on for yourself so you can fully invest into your family’s needs was such a breath of fresh air.
Love and Respect :: Probably one of the best marriage books my husband and I have read together to help us understand the different ways we desire to be loved. He needs respect and I need to feel loved. This book helped us early in our marriage overcome a few conflicts and continues to equip us today.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing :: Peter Hatcher, and his entire family, was another beloved character of my youth. I loved this book, along with the classic Superfudge and the other books in the series. Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary where, and still are, two of the greatest young adult authors.
Anne of Green Gables :: I was introduced to Anne later in my teen years but once I met her, she never left my heart. I loved these books and actually plan to re-read through the series again soon. I also can’t wait to introduce the books, along with the epic movie on a cold, snowy, sick day, to my kids when they are older.
Sarah Snow’s Fresh Living :: This was the first book that introduced me to natural and “green” living. She focuses on baby steps versus a complete lifestyle overhaul to make safer and healthier choices. This book is still on my bookshelf and still flip through it when I need a simple reminder of why I want to make natural choices for me and my family.
Letters to a Young Teacher :: This book impacted my life as a public school teacher and gave me a heart for teaching in a lower socioeconomic school setting. I’d be interested in re-reading this today as I’m about to send my oldest off to school next year amidst all the new “changes” in education these days.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever :: Every single year I read this aloud to my fourth grade students and you know what? Every single year I was able to share the true story of Christmas and the Gospel in the public school. And every single year I would also get teary eye as I read it. I can’t wait to read this aloud with my kids.