Hey guys! Happy Thursday! I hope everyone is doing great. I’m gonna be honest, this has been a rather stressful finals week before Christmas break. If any of y’all are doing finals or about to do them, I send many prayers your way! *crossing fingers
Anyways, I thought sharing my favorite books with you guys would make for a super fun post. Seriously, these are my favorites for a reason. I believe every single book on this list should be read by everyone at least once in your life – if I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t include them! Yes, these tales absolutely MUST be read RIGHT NOW. I promise, you won’t regret it!
There are mostly fiction books on this list, but a couple nonfiction for those of you who like those. And even if you’re not usually into nonfiction, I still totally think you should read the ones on this list. They really are life-changing, no matter what genre you usually read.
These are not listed in any specific order – they are all AMAZING! Anyway, let’s get right into it!
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This novel is one of my absolute favorites of all time. It really changed my life – changed the way I view racism and the human race as a whole. This is a book that will stay with you for the rest of your life. I mean, I have NEVER read a book as powerful as this one, and none have moved me more or impacted me more. I was literally SOBBING through it. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a timeless classic for a reason. Anyone who knows me knows I talk about it WAAAAY too often, but seriously, it’s THAT good!!
The novel is set in the small town of Maycomb, during the time of Jim Crowe when blacks were treated in horrific ways. It is the story of a Southern lawyer who defends an innocent black man from a rape charge. The narrator is the lawyer’s little daughter, Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, who starts the story at age six and ends it at age nine.
The novel has sold more than forty million copies worldwide, been translated into more than forty languages, been made into a motion picture (which I also totally recommend), and won the Pulitzer Prize.
2. The Two from Galilee Trilogy by Marjorie Holmes
No book series has transformed my life as much as this one. I’m telling you, it’s INCREDIBLE. It completely changed the way I see Jesus. Before reading this, the events of the Bible seemed very distant to me, and I NEVER thought of Jesus as a real person like the rest of us. This trilogy made me realize for the first time that He DID come to earth with actual human feelings. Holmes makes Jesus, his family, and his friends come alive on the page and completely relatable to us. She changed my view of the Bible forever. In fact, it is because of Marjorie Holmes that I decided I wanted to write Biblical fiction, too.
The first book in the series, Two from Galilee, is Mary and Joseph’s love story, from the time they met to the birth of Jesus. It is thrilling and VERY emotional. (I’m going to read it again during Christmas break. It’s such an awesome read anytime, but I make it a tradition to read it each Advent because it really reminds me of the true significance of Christmas.) The second novel, Three from Galilee, explores Christ’s childhood and young manhood, which is not discussed in the Bible aside from the incident of his debating elders in the Temple. Finally, the third novel, The Messiah, retells the three years of Jesus’ public ministry. Warning: You will cry, especially at the crucifixion scene. Well, if you’re anything like me, you’ll cry at the entire series. I would recommend these to anyone!
3. The Anne of Green Gables Series by L.M. Montgomery
The Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery are books that will never grow old. I first read all eight books at around the age of eight, and seriously, they are each unique and moving in their own way. You can purchase the book set HERE. I know a lot of people who have read only the first book, but I’m telling you, you MUST read them all! This series is near and dear to my heart, and I still can’t go very long without rereading them. Here is a quick summary for each:
- Anne of Green Gables – Anne, a redheaded orphan with an overactive imagination, comes to live with unmarried siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert in the cozy town of Avonlea.
- Anne of Avonlea – Anne is a schoolteacher and nearly grown up, but not finished getting herself into all sorts of silly adventures.
- Anne of the Island – College brings huge problems for Anne, especially romantic ones, with the eyes of childhood friend/nemesis Gilbert Blythe on her.
- Anne of Windy Poplars – Anne faces new challenges and makes new friends as the principal of Summerside High School.
- Anne’s House of Dreams – Anne finally marries Dr. Gilbert Blythe and settles down with him in Four Winds Harbor, where many triumphs and heartbreaks are in store for her. (This book is where most of my favorite characters are introduced.)
- Anne of Ingleside – Focuses mostly on the shenanigans of Anne’s six children: Jem; Walter; twins Nan and Diana; Shirley; and Rilla.
- Rainbow Valley – Anne’s children befriend the children of the new pastor in the village of Glen St. Mary. They form a club, where their duties involve saving runaway Mary Vance from the orphanage; protecting a pet rooster from the soup pot; and helping the lonely pastor find happiness. (This book is my second favorite in the series. It’s hilarious and moving, and will make you cry both sad and happy tears!)
- Rilla of Ingleside – Focuses on Anne’s youngest daughter Bertha Marilla “Rilla” Blythe, who is growing up during the horrors of World War I. (This book is my personal favorite in the series – it is the funniest, most heartfelt, and greatest tearjerker of all the books.)
If you’ve ever read the series, I would love to know which book is your favorite! Tell me in the comments. Maybe I’ll do a detailed post ranking them each from my favorite to least favorite. Let me know if you guys would be interested in that post. (Beware, if I do it, there will be spoilers!)
4. The Autobiography of the Pioneer Missionary to the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) by John G. Paton
Missionary John G. Paton’s crazy experiences seem almost unbelievable, which makes it even more incredible to know that they are ABSOLUTELY TRUE. Yes, the events in his autobiography actually happened, unbelievable as they sound.
This book changed my life from the very first page… no, from the very first sentence… no, from the very first WORD. It reads like a THRILLER. In it, Paton tells about his experiences as a missionary to the New Hebrides.
The New Hebrides are a group of islands, which, in Paton’s time, were inhabited by savages and cannibals. He was warned by his friends in these very words: “You will be eaten by cannibals!” (Paton 56). But despite the horrifying danger (previous missionaries only 19 years prior had been clubbed and devoured within minutes of stepping foot on the islands), Paton went to the New Hebrides. On literally every page, the cannibals are murdering his friends and trying desperately to murder him. His hardships were made even more unbearable when he lost his wife and newborn son to fever within months of their arrival. But despite his suffering and the terrible treatment he received, Paton continued to witness to the cannibals, and, even more incredibly, he LOVED them. As a result, he saw many of them become Christians.
This autobiography will make you cry and laugh at the same time. It’s sad and scary and beautiful – I mean, Paton even had a retriever dog who protected him from death many times and terrified the cannibals. If that doesn’t convince you it’s a worthwhile read, I don’t know what will! You can purchase it HERE.
5. The Life and Diary of David Brainerd: With Notes and Reflections by David Brainerd and Jonathan Edwards
The Life and Diary of David Brainerd changed my life in such a way that it’s indescribable for me. Once you read it, you’ll definitely understand what I mean. This true thriller is powerful, gripping, and incredibly moving in a way that no other tale can be. Tears were literally streaming down my face as I read. It’s impossible not to be a different person after reading David Brainerd’s diary, edited by the great Puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards. The diary is the most popular book Edwards ever published, for obvious reasons.
I am just IN AWE of David Brainerd and want to be exactly like him. His was the first missionary story I ever read, and he built in me a strong desire to devote myself to ministry and missions. Brainerd was one of America’s first circuit riding preachers to the Indians, and he suffered horribly. Not a minute went by that he was not in agonizing pain from the tuberculosis that was always by his side and killed him at the extremely early age of 29. Despite his relentless, unspeakable suffering, he kept going in love to the Indians, trying to turn them from paganism to Christianity. In addition to his terrible illness, he suffered from depression, and the threat of imprisonment and martyrdom was close by him. But through everything, he remained faithful to his calling.
Brainerd’s diary is intense, deeply personal, and VERY touching. It is completely worthwhile to read. I promise, you won’t be sorry you did!
So… what are YOUR favorites?
Those are my five recommendations for books you MUST read! What are your thoughts? Are there any books on my list that you’ve read or are planning on reading?
Now that you’ve heard my list, I’d love to hear from you. What are YOUR favorite books? I’m always searching for new reading material, so I’m eager to hear your faves! Definitely share in the comments! I’m looking forward to hearing from you all.
You know the drill – eat, pray, write, repeat!