Book Lists – Part 1- Updated 7/10/19

Several of you have reached out to me over the past few weeks and asked for lists of my favorite titles. This week I’m including a few. In the coming months, I’ll share contemporary fiction, classics and more.


Constantly changing favorite memoirs!
  • The Elephant in the Room (Tommy Tomlinson)
  • The Glass Castle (Jeanette Walls)
  • The Color of Water (James McBride)
  • When Breath Becomes Air (Dr. Paul Kalanithi)
  • It Was Me All Along (Andie Mitchell)
  • Before You Wake (Erick Erickson)
  • Infidel (Ayaan Hirsi Ali)
  • Hillbilly Elegy (J. D. Vance)
  • Rabbit (Patricia Williams)
  • Call Me American (Abdi Nor Iftin)
  • All the Pretty Things (Edie Wadsworth)
  • The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food and Love (Kristin Kimball)
  • Together – A Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap (Judy Goldman)
  • Save Me the Plums – My Gourmet Memoir (Ruth Reichl)
  • Inheritance – A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love (Dani Shapiro)

Inspirational Books

“‘inspire” – (verb) – motivate, encourage, influence

“Inspirational” is how I describe books which have been life-changing for me in terms of altering the way I think or behave. (Note: The Bible is not included because it is a collection of 66 individual books which are worthy of a separate blog post.)

  • One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (Ann Voskamp)
  • Same Kind of Different As Me (Ron Hall and Denver Moore)
  • 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (Jen Hatmaker)
  • Better Than Before (Gretchen Rubin)
  • Deep Work – Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (Cal Newport)
  • Tell Me More (Kelly Corrigan)
  • My Reading Life (Pat Conroy)
  • The Art of Work (Jeff Goins)
  • A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live (Emily P. Freeman)
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey)
  • Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Greg McKeown)
  • The War of Art – Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles (Steven Pressfield)

Young Adult Favorites

Published in 1961 and it’s STILL beloved!
  • Where the Red Fern Grows (Wilson Rawls)
  • A Wrinkle In Time (Madeline L’Engle)
  • The entire Little House series (Laura Ingalls Wilder)
  • Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
  • Frog and Toad (Arnold Lobel)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis)
  • Ribsy and Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary
  • The Summer of the Swans (Betsy Byars)
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins (Scott O’Dell)
This 1960 novel is about a 12-year old girl stranded alone on an island for many years.

Historic Fiction

“historic” – adj – consequential, memorable, remarkable
  • “The Librarian of Auschwitz” (Antonio Iturbe)
  • “All the Light We Cannot See” (Anthony Doerr)
  • “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” (Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer)
  • “The Book Thief” (Markus Zusak)
  • “The Nightingale” (Kristin Hannah)
  • “The Alice Network” (Kate Quinn)
  • “The Lilac Girls” (Martha Hall Kelly)
  • “Becoming Mrs. Lewis (Patti Callahan)
  • “Irena’s Children” (Tilar Mazzeo)
  • “Secrets of a Charmed Life” (Susan Meissner)
  • “Before We Were Yours” (Lisa Wingate)
  • “Sarah’s Key” (Tatiana de Rosnay)
  • “America’s First Daughter (Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie)
  • “The Huntress” (Kate Quinn)
  • “The Lost Girls of Paris” (Pam Jenoff)
  • “We Were the Lucky Ones” (Georgia Hunter”)
  • “The Gown” (Jennifer Robson)

Picture Books

Need a baby gift? Pick one or ten!
  • Blueberries for Sal (Robert McCloskey)
  • Time for Bed (Mem Fox)
  • Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak)
  • Goodnight Moon (Margaret Wise Brown)
  • Pat the Bunny (Dorothy Kunhardt)
  • Oh, the Places You’ll Go (Dr. Seuss)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle)
  • Curious George (H A. Rey)
  • The Velveteen Rabbit (Margery Williams)
  • Miss Fannie’s Hat (Jan Karon)
  • Can You Spot the Spotted Dog (John Rowe)
  • Love You Forever (Robert Munsch)
  • The Little Engine That Could (Watty Piper)
  • The Story of Ping (Marjorie Flack)
  • Ernestine’s Milky Way (Kerry Madden-Lunsford)

It’s no surprise this list is constantly changing and being updated. Every day new, wonderful books are published so this is a snapshot of my favorites as of today. In February 2019 I read over 40 picture books, none of which are even on this list and I adored about 35 of them. (Maybe I should have a “Modern Picture Book” list!) Please take a moment to read a picture book the next time you’re in a book store and you’ll see what I mean!

Brandi appreciates my Target impulse purchase – Author is Lava record producer Jason Flom and his daughter Allison

Have a great weekend!

Happy World Book Day! #whoknew?

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