17 Nov My Favorite Books of All Time
As I shared in a video on Facebook last week, life has been very full. Todd has been in California for the past eleven days, but who’s counting? I’ve been wearing thin. Flying solo takes its toll on me! But I serve a good Father. He has truly renewed my strength today, reminding me how much I have to be grateful for.
In an effort to lighten up, I’m going to share some of my favorite books with you today. I’m calling this list “My Favorite Books of All Time,” but I reserve the right to edit it in the future. I wanted to limit myself, so I chose the number ten, even though there were a few others I wanted to include. Here we go . . .
My Top Ten Favorite Books of All Time (aside from the Bible):
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Let’s start at the very beginning, shall we? Montgomery was a brilliant storyteller, and her character Anne Shirley won my heart at a young age. I went on to read the entire series. As a teenager, I also loved Emily of New Moon. But I had to keep this list to ten, right?
A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle
It’s no secret that L’Engle is my favorite author. As a teen, I felt her young adult books had an endearing depth to them that other books lacked. Vicky Austin was that ugly duckling kid that made me feel like there was someone else in the world as odd as I was (even if she was just a character in a book). I read this novel every time I went to the ocean.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .” Dickens’ opening lines echo in my mind during different stages of life, putting words to my observations. The timelessness of his assessment perhaps explains the timeless appeal of this tale. The Christ-figure of Sydney Carton makes it even more worthwhile. This is arguably the best Dickens novel. And one I’m due to reread.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Aside from the Bible, there is no book more important to understanding the fundamentals of Christian faith. Let me quote from the end, “The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up your self, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing . . . But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”
The Chosen by Chaim Potok
A beautiful, raw, coming-of-age story about two boys in 1940’s Brooklyn. The boys come from different sects of the Jewish faith, and the story encompasses their relationships with their fathers. This is especially poignant given the backdrop of World War II and the holocaust.
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Although I also loved Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, this novel was even better. It takes place during “my” period of history. The author uses the real life Sarah Grimke as a main character, and intertwines her story with the story of the slave girl she is given for her eleventh birthday. Riveting.
The Other Side of the Sun by Madeleine L’Engle
The first time I read this book, I was drawn to Stella’s connection with her new husband, despite their separation. At the time, I was enjoying the fresh young love of new marriage myself. I read it for the second time when I was pregnant with my youngest. I was so sick, all I could manage to do was lie on the couch reading novels. It reminded me how much I love L’Engle’s books. There are so many I could add to this list, but this one may be the best. The story moved me so thoroughly, I almost named our child Stella. Almost.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Brilliant prose. This is a beautiful book. Even though I sometimes feel we have an overabundance of World War II novels in the world, this one was well worth the read.
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
A fictional story of conjoined twins born to a nun and a surgeon in Ethiopia. I listened to this book and was blown away by the stunning writing. Verghese’s descriptions transported me to Addis Ababa. In addition to that, as all good books ought, this story cut to the heart, bringing out deep truths tucked within the plot. Take this gem, for example: “Subconsciously, in entering the profession [of medicine], we must believe that ministering to others will heal our woundedness. And it can. But it can also deepen the wound.” I’d expand that statement—it’s true not only for doctors, but for all of us who minister. We minister, at least in part, to help heal our own woundedness.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
This book was a lovely surprise. In general, I don’t like nonfiction. Unless it’s a well-written story, I find it very difficult to stay interested. This book, though, is fascinating. It tells the story of a dying black woman whose cells were taken without her knowledge in the 1940’s. These cells became one of the most important tools in scientific research and discovery, but her family didn’t know anything about it until 20 years later. Rebecca Skloot is a master at her craft. She brought the Lacks family to life and intertwined the scientific information in such an interesting and thought-provoking way.