- Mouse Soup by Arnold Lobel - one of the first books I ever owned, given to me in 1981 by my great-grandmother. I still have that copy, and a new copy that I read to my kids all the time.
- Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl - I still love this book. Last time I read it I picked up some great marriage advise on the importance of complimenting your husband in front of your children:
Mrs. Fox said to her children, "I should like you to know that if it wasn't for your father we should all be dead by now. Your father is a fantastic fox."
Mr. Fox looked at his wife and she smiled. He loved her more than ever when she said things like that.
- The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken - My 5th grade teacher read this book to us and I couldn't wait to read it to Grace. Kids books should always be entertaining and enthralling to the adults who read them out loud.
- Winnie-the-Pooh (and others) by A. A. Milne - I didn't start reading the Pooh books until I was almost out of my teens and I thought they were delightful! My two favorite stories are "In Which Eeyore Has a Birthday and Gets Two Presents" and "In Which Kanga and Baby Roo Come to the Forest, and Piglet Gets a Bath." A. A. Milne's poetry books are wonderful, too, and Ernest Shepard's illustrations sweet and whimsical. Disney ruined Pooh, just for the record.
- The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis - This is my favorite of the Narnia books, but I love them all! (except Prince Caspian which I don't like much.) The Narnia books are the best example of children's stories that are deep enough and funny enough and thrilling enough for adults to really love too. They were read to us and by us as children, but I had an amazing experience when reading them again in college, seeing truths in them I had never seen before! Make sure you read the books to your kids before you let them see the movies!
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle - I read this first in my late teens and have always enjoyed reading it again. Another one I'm excited for Grace to be old enough to read!
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - I remember asking my mom for a book one day when I was bored and she handed me this one. I thought it sounded horribly dull, but fell in love with it as soon as I started reading. My first and favorite Jane Austen, although Sense and Sensibility is a strong second. (The A&E mini-series is awesome Even Richard likes it - "Mr. Darcy is a stud!")
- Watership Down by Richard Adams- when my best friend in 6th grade told me to read this wonderful book about rabbits I think I laughed out loud. But actually, it's one of the best adventures I've ever read, despite the fact that the characters are all rabbits! I have re-read this one many, many times.
- Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis - The first time I got done reading this book I couldn't believe how much I loved it or how little I understood it. I still don't think I really "get" everything he's saying in it, but it's a beautiful story!
- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - Another book my mom gave me one winter day that I didn't think I would like, but then devoured! It's long, but an incredibly intricate, thrilling, nail-biter of a story. Way better than the movie(s).
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - My mom read a Reader's Digest condensed version of this book to me and my siblings one year and I had a hard time not reading ahead on my own! This book I would rate in my top 5 favorites. I absolutely love it.
- Lord Peter: The Complete Lord Peter Wimsey Stories by Dorothy L. Sayers - Outstanding short-story mysteries starring the aristocratic amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. Who could resist such tales as "The Undignified Melodrama of the Bone of Contention," "The Piscatorial Farce of the Stolen Stomach," and "The Fantastic Horror of the Cat in the Bag"? Even though I know the ending to all the mysteries, I love reading them again and again.
- The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien - Okay, I know this is technically three books, but I'm going to count them all together as one and call it the best made-up story I've ever read. I will never forget the mix of fear, suspense and excitement I felt listening to my dad reading the part about the Black Riders to us kids! The movies are good, but not as good as the books. I've lost track of how many times I've read them!
- A Godward Life: Book Two by John Piper - We own more books by Piper than any other author (mostly because of getting free copies of his new books by attending his church!) and this is one of my favorites. With 120 daily readings, it is just the right bite-sized portions of incredible truth about God to fill my mind and heart throughout the day. I love "God is Love, God is God: Balancing the Complexity and Simplicity of the Bible" and "Augustine on What It Means to Love God: Thoughts on Love as Delighting, Not Just Acting and Willing"
- Women and the Word of God: A Response to Biblical Feminism by Susan T. Foh - I seriously just picked this book up at a garage sale one year without even really looking at it. A few years later when I actually read it, I was surprised and pleased by her writing style and the content of the book. I know that Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem is supposed to be the be-all end-all resource on complimentarianism, but it makes me sad that there's only TWO woman contributers in 26 chapters! I love reading a woman on women.
- The Cross-Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney - This is a very small, short book, and incredibly dense with the beauty of Christ what it means to live each day IN HIM. It changes me and renews me each time I pick it up.
- Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones - Not just "theology", but a beautiful insight into Jesus and His teachings.
- As For Me And My House: Crafting Your Marriage To Last by Walter Wangerin - My favorite book on marriage.
- The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God by John Piper - These poems were originally Advent poems written and read by Piper to his congregation. I listened to an audio recording of them just days before Matthias was born and died and they have ministered to me many times since.
- These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge? by Elisabeth Elliot - this book about Elizabeth Elliot's first year as a missionary in Equador (before she was married to Jim) is a beautiful picture of the joys that God gives us in our losses.
- Home by Choice: Raising Emotionally Secure Children in an Insecure World by Dr. Brenda Hunter - Incredibly formative for me in understanding and loving my role as a full-time mother. An outstanding book for any stay-at-home mom.
- Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel - my favorite parenting book.
- A Piece of My Heart: Living Through the Grief of Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death by Molly Fumia - Although not from a Christian perspective, this book really ministered to me after Matthias' death.
- The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two by Dr. William Sears & Martha Sears - My favorite book on childcare. It really is everything you could possibly need to know about taking care of your baby!
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International - The best breastfeeding book ever! A classic for many years that is the only resource you need for happy, healthy breastfeeding.
- The Vital Touch: How Intimate Contact With Your Baby Leads To Happier, Healthier Development by Sharon Heller - Very formative for me in understanding how babies need to be cared for and how many American parenting practices don't give parents and babies the intimate contact they need.
- Giving Birth: A Journey Into the World of Mothers and Midwives by Catherine Taylor - A colorful, anecdotal, and research-supported narrative filled with observations on the working lives of midwives and the women who have depended on their skills and strength to help bring their children into the world. One of my favorite books on childbirth!
- Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style by Harvey Bluedorn, Laurie Bluedorn - the first book I ever read on homeschooling. Reading it convinced Richard and I that we should homeschool, even though we were planning on sending Grace to a private school. God used this book to lead us to homeschooling and it has been a valuable resource every year that we continue.
- The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise - Another incredibly valuable resource, but also fun to read and very helpful in forming my own views about educating my children.
- A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola - The perfect complimentary book on homeschooling to go along with the other two. It has given my homeschooling philosophy just the right amount of freedom and gentleness to add to the structure of Classical education.
So there it is! I know I've missed a shelf-full of wonderful books that I love, but in order to work I had to go with only 30. I'd love to read a list of your favorite books, too!
Oh, and I just wanted to add that the BIBLE is very obviously missing from my list. Not because it isn't one I love, but just because I didn't feel like it belonged in this list. The Bible isn't one book in a list of favorites for me. It belongs all to itself as the most beautiful, most thrilling, most lovely and truest Book ever written. And it is my FAVORITE. Everything else ever written pales in comparison.