This is an updated version of my previous book lists with new additions at the beginning of each category. The links in this post are Amazon affiliate links, and when you make a purchase through any of them we earn a small percentage. Thank you!
I read my first Agatha Christie this year! And Then There were None was a page-turner.
I also read the epic Middlemarch and loved it.
The Remains of the Day was very good.
I finished reading the Mitford books this year. I’ve talked about them before. I tried reading them in my early thirties and couldn’t get into them. I’ve loved them in my early forties. They are easy, light reads with loveable characters. Sometimes that’s just what you need.
Christmas with Miss Read is lovely.
My Aunt Genie sent me a copy of Book Girl, and I think it’s a great resource and fun read. (Not fiction, but about fiction so I’m putting it in this category!)
I haven’t read The Yearling in many years, but listened to it on audiobook last year, and it’s definitely in my top three favorite books, possibly number one. (The other two being, My Antonia and Kristin Lavransdatter.) I think it’s one that many of us read too early (and dismiss). it’s really not a children’s book in my opinion.
Peace Like a River was incredibly good. I know people reread this one.
Rebecca is another really good one!
So Big was one of my favorite reads in 2015.
I would love to own this Black Dog Opera Library box set. I own the Black Dog Opera La Traviata and appreciate having background on the composer, the story of the opera, along with the complete Libretto (text of the opera itself–yes, I had to look that up!), commentary, and the opera on CDs.
I love Rumer Godden, and especially In This House of Brede and Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy. Another favorite is An Episode of Sparrows (New York Review Children’s Collection).
Willa Cather is probably my favorite author and I love these two volumes of her novels: Early Novels and Stories and Later Novels. I read Shadows on the Rock (Vintage Classics) last year and it is one of my favorites of hers, after My Antonia, one of the very few books I have read more than once (three times!) I recently purchased this volume of her short stories, and think it would make a lovely gift.
And Wilkie Collins! The best of his that I’ve read is The Woman in White .
And finally, epic and beautiful if not rather long, The Betrothed: I Promessi Sposi (Penguin Classics). I will re-read it someday.
All My Patients Are Under the Bed is a fun read for the cat lover in your life.
Favorite’s of his and our older boys are:
One Man’s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey, In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, and Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage (Seth and Keats read this one as well).
I was given a copy of Ruth Chou Simons’ Gracelaced this year and I LOVE it. This is the book that will be my go-to gift. It is full of the most beautiful art and photography along with seasonally themed devotions that I have found very relatable.
The same kind person who gave me Gracelaced, also gave me a copy of Tattoos on the Heart. I read it. Jonny read it. Gabe read it. I’m about to pass it to someone I think would appreciate it as well. It’s wonderful.
I read Bread in the Wilderness last year and it gave me a new appreciation for the Psalms.
Made for This: The Catholic Mom’s Guide to Birth, is just that, a guide to childbirth rooted in the Catholic faith. It’s a beautiful book, one I wish I had many years ago. If you enjoy birth stories, there are quite a few of them included in the book. I contributed the story of Mabel’s birth via planned c-section, so if you are interested, it’s there!
Something Other than God. I loved this one, and I’ve given several copies as gifts.
I finally read The Diary of a Country Priest and I’m so glad that I did.
Silence is incredibly intense. Shook me up for a long time. It made for a great book group discussion, but I probably won’t ever see the movie.
I gave my sister, Abby, A Year with the Church Fathers for her birthday.
For the kids, Dear Pope Francis is priceless.
I really loved My Sisters the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir.
The Reed of God is the perfect Advent reading. This year for Advent I’m reading Come Lord Jesus, Meditations on the Art of Waiting. It’s very good.
I find Mother Theresa’s writings to be very encouraging and recommend No Greater Love and Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta.
I also love St. Therese and while I have read her own Story of a Soul, I also really liked this little book: The Love That Keeps Us Sane: Living the Little Way of St. Therese of Lisieux (Illuminationbooks.).
Health and Special Diet Cookbooks:
I read so many books about Hashimoto’s last year. There are many good ones, but I think this was my favorite. For leaky gut information I read Eat Dirt and it really jumpstarted my healing journey. I highly recommend it.
Capture the Moment is full of inspiration!
I am often asked for camera and photography advice. The book I always recommend, and the one I used to learn how to shoot in manual mode from is Understanding Exposure. That book would make a great gift for someone wanting to learn. A similar book by the same author, that I also recommend (and possibly prefer) is Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Photography Field Guide: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera. Along those same lines, though not a book, this is the lens that is on my Nikon D750 camera 95% of the time. (And btw, when I linked to the camera it was cheaper for a new body than I paid for mine used!)
Nature and field guides:
For the Nature Lover in your life, Great Possessions is lovely.
Nature Anatomy is so fun! I think it would make a great gift.
Some of our most used field guides include: North American Wildlife: An Illustrated Guide to 2,000 Plants and Animals (we’re on our 3rd copy), Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia (Southern Gateways Guides), Caterpillars of Eastern North America, Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, and A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guides). I don’t have a favorite tree identification field guide, but have Native Trees of the Southeast: An Identification Guide on my wishlist.
Homesteading and Beekeeping:
My top read in this category in 2018 was The Shepherd’s Life. Well worth reading-I loved it.
Sylvia’s Farm: The Journal of an Improbable Shepherd and Goat Song are other favorites.
Jonny enjoyed Adventures in Yarn Farming.
The Heirloom Life Gardener: The Baker Creek Way of Growing Your Own Food Easily and Naturally, Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening, and The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers.
Larkspur loves her copy of Gardening with Chickens.
The Practical Beekeeper: Beekeeping Naturally is our favorite beekeeping resource, though my favorite book about beekeeping, in general, is A Book of Bees: And How to Keep Them. The Backyard Beekeeper is a good beginner’s guide. And here’s a great book with ideas of what to make with your beeswax:
Anything by Elizabeth Zimmerman is probably a good choice. I have and love Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac, Knitting Without Tears: Basic Techniques and Easy-to-Follow Directions for Garments to Fit All Sizes, and The Opinionated Knitter.
Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book really is a great resource.
And finally, my favorite Stephanie Pearl-McPhee book is Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot’s Bag of Knitting Tricks.
For the children:
Jonny just started reading Little Britches to Silas and Job. We love this series so much and are excited to be reading them again! Little Pear and Little Pear and his Friends are another couple of books that I couldn’t wait to read again after reading them to our older kids when they were little.
My girls received these for Christmas last year. Not so much books you read, as books you make. This probably would have been more appropriate on my other gift list!
I read the Julie of the Wolves trilogy to my older girls this year and we loved them.
Larkspur read The Doll People series a few years ago and loved them. They were the first chapter books that she got really excited about.
The Sophie Mouse books are great early reader chapter books.
We have a dozen or more collections of poetry for children, and I occasionally add a new title. Most recently I added A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children to our collection.
We have read several of the books in Tomie DePaola’s 26 Fairmount Avenue Series and I highly recommend them. Endearing stories of family life with a nice bit of humor, they make great read-alouds that will span a wide range of ages as far as interest goes. I also think they would make great first chapter books for young readers. I just ordered a few more of them to put under the tree this year.
We have really enjoyed this Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales for years. You can’t go wrong with Beatrix Potter!
James Herriot is another favorite. This volume for children looks lovely: James Herriot’s Treasury for Children: Warm and Joyful Tales by the Author of All Creatures Great and Small (we have an older version of it.)
Do you have any other suggestions for my wishlist?
My 2019 good gifts list is here.