Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Unsolicited Advice: Books You Should Read

There are a lot of really great books out there.  So, so many things that are worth reading.  In my opinion, here is a list of fiction that is MOST worth reading.  These are my favorite books, in no particular order, except the first one.  It's my all time favorite book.  Everyone should read it at least twice.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I first read this while staying with my Aunt Jean for a few days in the summer.  It was the shortest of the classics on her shelf and the only one I thought I could finish in the allotted time.  I think I was in the eighth grade.  I stayed up all night reading and cried more than once.  I reread it in high school English class and again in college.  I've picked it up a few more times since then and it never fails to move something inside of me.  The old black and white movie starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch is very much worth seeing.  (*I wanted to name one of our boys Atticus, but Vance vetoed it every time.)

2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Vance recommended this to me when I was in college.  I remember that I literally laughed out loud and cried like a baby within a few pages.

3. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
My first introduction to the Enderverse was this book on CD.  I happened to pick it up at the library when I was looking for books to keep me entertained on my hour and a half commute.  I'm pretty sure I drove around extra and sat in the garage with the car off just to hear a few more minutes.  OSC had me from the first few lines.  There are about a million sequels, some of which I love and others that I couldn't make myself finish.  The best of them are the Shadow books, which are about Bean and Petra.

4. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
Just fabulous.  A great read aloud for kids.  When you finish it, you should go ahead and read The Lord of the Rings.   Entire fandoms have been created around these great works.  Read them and find out why.  And no matter how great the movies are (and they really are amazing!) the books are better.

5. The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis (all of them)
These are also great read alouds.  They make for great discussion of sacrifice and the love Christ has for his people.

6. Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck
This one will make you laugh until you cry. I read it with fourth and fifth graders and my own kids when they were 8 and 10.  Grandma's antics will leave you with a stitch in your side from laughing so hard. Bonus, it gives kids an idea of what life was like during the Great Depression.

7. Charlotte's Web by EB White
It's a classic.  Kids love it.

8. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
Ms. Ritter read this to my class in fifth grade.  I bawled like a baby.  So did all the other girls.  The boys tried to be tough, but I remember seeing many of them wiping their eyes as well.  The love story between the boy and his dogs and his family is well worth reading.

9. You Are Special by Max Lucado
Every kid should know that he is loved by his maker and that alone is enough to make him special.  We love this book so much that we named our oldest son after the woodcarver in it.

10.  Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
If you want to know just how much God would do to prove his love for his people, read this book.  There's a good chance that it will change your life.

11. The Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers
My mom introduced me to these books.  Reading them was the first time I was able to really picture what the world looked like around the time of Christ.  The courage of the central characters makes this more than a romance, but an epic tale of adventure.


  1. You should add A Year Down Under and Fair Weather both by Richard Peck.

  2. I love A Year Down Yonder. I think I have read Fair Weather but am not remembering the plot. Peck is such a fun author!

  3. Peck is a fun author. I also enjoyed "Here Lies the Librarian". We started getting Peck's audio books from the library for long trips and all the kids liked them, even at their different ages. "Secrets at Sea" wasn't *as* good, IMHO.

    Thanks for some new recommendations. I hadn't even heard of some of these.