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Do you have a list of favorite books that you recommend time and time again? It’s possible that the pages of your favorite books are well worn, thumbed through, highlighted and dog eared from constantly picking them up and re-reading your favorite passages. I know that mine are. Favorite books are like the best of friends – we know their stories inside and out and after any length of time away we are able to pick up right where we left off.

Because people like to ask for recommendations, I thought I would make it easier. Here is a list of my favorite books that I am likely to recommend at any time:

The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger

             I picked this book up in an airport bookshop after overhearing rave reviews from one nearby shopper to her friend. It was a long flight from Seattle to Dallas and nothing else had caught my eye, so I awkwardly waited for the two ladies to move on and picked up The Time Traveler’s Wife and bought it. Seriously, how many times have you overheard someone in the bookshop talk about a book and then end up just randomly buying it? Or is that just me? Anyway, I fell in love with the characters and the concept of Henry’s gene mutation that leads to his spontaneous time traveling incidents. What really sold me on this was the love story that the main characters had and how their lives intertwined throughout different periods in time. I finished it a day after getting off the plane and it has been one of my favorite novels ever since.


The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

             A magical circus that appears and disappears without warning? A Romeo & Juliet-esque romance that spans a life time? What is not to like?! Erin Morgenstern’s novel, The Night Circus, follows a pair of dueling magicians pitted to complete against each other through a mysterious challenge from childhood through adulthood. With the circus acting as a catalyst for a competition where there can only be one winner, the lives of all who are involved hang in the balance. I absolutely loved all of the characters in this novel and the varying storylines. The Night Circus is full of depth and the intricately woven storylines that form a magical and spellbinding story. Read it.

             The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah

             The WWII historical fiction genre is crammed full of amazing books. It’s a popular time period for writers and readers alike. The Nightingale has to be one of my favorite novels in this genre, it’s just a beautiful story about sisterhood, family, love, loss, courage and fearlessness during one of the darkest times in world history. I absolutely fell in love with Isabelle and Vianne’s perspectives of two very different sides of the same war. It’s beautifully written – and I dare you not to love it.

  Coming Home, Rosamude Pilcher

              Coming Home was released in 1995 – and I think I picked it up a few years later. I’ve been a tenacious reader since I was 6, so being thirteen or fourteen and taking this on was really not a big deal. I have read and re-read Coming Home at least a half dozen times since then, and it’s truly one of my favorite books (as evidenced by the missing back cover to my grocery store paperback). This is a coming of age novel is about Judith Dunbar, who at age fourteen is left to attend boarding school while her mother and baby sister leave to join her father who is a foreign diplomat in Singapore. While at school Judith befriends Loveday Carey-Lewis, the young and free spirited daughter of wealthy Cornwall socialites that will serve to become the closest thing she has to a family. The novel spans from Judith’s teenage years in 1935 through the end of WWII. It’s a wonderful story about friendship, family, love and self-discovery. And please don’t be turned off by the length of the book (approx. 990 pages). It goes by fast.

              Far From the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy

             Of all the Victorian novels in the world, Far From the Madding Crowd is my absolute favorite. I adore this story’s characters and themes. If you’ve never read this – I’m going to warn you, it’s wordy. Hardy really has a way with words and this is classic Brit lit so it’s not a quick read. But it is a wonderful story about a strong woman, the mistakes she makes and the three men who love her. It is equal parts tragedy and romance, with a great supporting cast and characters who you just want to root for. Also – as far as I’m concerned Gabriel Oak is the greatest literary hero there ever was. If I had a book husband, it would be him.

             The Light Between Oceans, M.L. Stedman

             A lighthouse keeper and his wife find a baby and a dead man in a lifeboat when it washes up on the shores of their small, secluded island off the coast of Australia. Tom Sherbourne, wants to report the foundling child – but Isabel his wife, wracked with grief after multiple miscarriages and a stillborn child, convinces him to consent to keep the child and raise her as their own. But two years later on a return trip to the mainland they learn that their decision has had devastating consequences. The Light Between Oceans is one of my all-time favorite novels for the beautiful prose, and heart wrenching decisions the characters make. You’ll probably enjoy this if you liked The Nightingale or All the Light We Cannot See. It’s a wonderful novel and I highly recommend it.

              Where’d You Go Bernadette, Maria Semple

             Disclaimer: Only three out of the four people I’ve recommended this book to, loved it. So although it’s a super quirky book that has a unique narrative structure which doesn’t appeal to all readers – I’m adding it to this list.

I love Bernadette. She’s a nut – and I always love eccentric characters. Bernadette is a brilliant architect turned recluse who has gone missing, seemingly swept from the face of the Earth with no clue as to where she’s gone. By piecing together email messages, letters, and other documents, Bernadette’s daughter Bee embarks on a mission to find her lost mother. I found this novel to be hilarious, quirky, heart-warming and unique. So naturally it’s one of my favorites.

For the Love, Jen Hatmaker

I am not typically a fan of the Christian nonfiction/fiction/literature genre. I tend to find these types of books trite, cliché or frustrating. I am happy to say that Jen Hatmaker’s book, For the Love is none of the above and offers hilarious insight in a series of essays whose topics span from fashion tips and homework help to general advice for “balancing it all”. Because aren’t we all just superhuman, freak show unicorns that can bake gluten free, vegan, non GMO, carob chip cookies for the peewee soccer team, maintain a size two dress size after having kids, always have perfectly coiffed, camera ready hair and makeup, a house that Martha Stewart would envy and kids who are brilliant and perfect in every possible way? Oh that’s not you? Me either. I find that in the day of bloggers, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook it’s too easy to set unrealistic standards for ourselves as moms and wives – or let’s just say it how it is: as HUMAN BEINGS. Jen’s take on this is humbling, funny and real. I promise, you’ll love her book.

So there you have it - my favorite books of all time. Happy reading!

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