Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly blog linkup hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week is a freebie week which means we can choose our own topic. Normally that sends me into apoplexy as ideas either come at me all at once or not at all. But this week, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
The books I’m talking about today are those books that I consider eternal favorites. Many are from childhood or adolescence, some I acquired in adulthood, but all are books that have stuck with me and refuse to leave my heart. They are also all books that I reread often.
In no particular order, I give you my all-time favorite books 🙂
I first read The Hiding Place in elementary school and was struck then by the Ten Booms’ courage (even when they were afraid) and their faith (even when they doubted) and most especially their protection (even at the cost of their own freedom) of those who couldn’t at the time protect themselves. It’s nonfiction but reads as a story, one that becomes very difficult to put down.
“There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.”
This book. I still can’t even find the words to really describe it. It touched spots in my heart I didn’t even know I had. As many times as I’ve read Safely Home over the last ten years, I still can’t read it without crying. I even tried reading it aloud to my husband once & finally just had to hand him the book at a certain point because I was too choked up to speak (which makes reading aloud a bit difficult lol). Safely Home changed me – it changed my career path, it helped break long-held patterns of fear, and it made me a bit of rogue Christian as far as American Christians go 😉 Not bad for fiction.
“Never forget Yesu is King. Never forget your home is in another world. Never forget your father will be waiting to see you again.”
I know The Shack‘s controversial but I’m a big girl in my faith and I can take the controversy with a grain of salt. I also became a bit of a rogue after reading Safely Home (see above) so I don’t have patience for a lot of the controversy anyway lol. I am 100% sure God isn’t a black woman but I also know He will do whatever He needs to do to reach someone. The way this allegory deals with gut wrenching tragedy and suffering in the life of a believer made more sense to me than anything else – including nonfiction – I’ve ever read on the subject.
“Does that mean,” asked Mack, “that all roads will lead to you?”
“Not at all,” smiled Jesus as he reached for the door handle to the shop. “Most roads don’t lead anywhere. What it does mean is that I will travel any road to find you.”
I’ve always liked studying the Underground Railroad and the Civil War. The entire Refiner’s Fire trilogy helped me see these aspects of history from different points of view. The impossible situation Caroline faces in Candle in the Darkness – her father, her cousin, and her fiance fighting for the Confederacy while her heart remains true to the Union and the rights of the slaves she calls her friends – particularly stood out to me.
“If she could begin again and not become so entangled in this long, horrible war, would she watch from the sidelines as a spectator this time? Would she choose differently, take fewer risks?”
i am not but i know I AM is another book that changed my perspective on life. The concept that I could waste my life starring in my own small story or spend it supporting THE Story resonated deeply with me in my late 20s. I began seeing people as part of a story already in progress, a story I was stepping into for a brief moment in time. For a person who reads and reviews stories as a passion, this concept – though written in nonfiction – lodged in my heart to stay.
“We can choose to cling to starring roles in the little-bitty stories of us, or we can exchange our fleeting moment in the spotlight for a supporting role in the eternally beautiful epic that is the Story of God.“
I know I know, Cinderella is just a fairy tale. But it’s my favorite one and has been since before I could read it for myself. I had it memorized and knew when my parents ‘kipped a page! It was the first time – to my recollection – that I fell in love with falling in love. As I’ve gotten older, it’s still my favorite fairy tale but I appreciate it in new ways too. For one, I think it’s a beautiful reflection of The Story. I am also drawn to how many people love Cinderella and collect different versions of it (from other countries, cultures, authors, etc.)
“She left behind one of her glass slippers, which the prince picked up most carefully. She reached home, but quite out of breath, and in her nasty old clothes, having nothing left of all her finery but one of the little slippers, the mate to the one that she had dropped.”
Way back when I first discovered this series, I was in third grade and my social studies teacher Mr. Lohrenz read them to us after recess every day. That was also back when The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe was considered the first in the series, so… when the order of the books was correct 🙂 The beauty and magic of the story mesmerized me, but the allegory woven quietly through the pages sealed this as one of my all-time faves.
“Safe? … Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
The Harry Potter series is currently tied with The Chronicles of Narnia as my all-time favorite series. J.K. Rowling’s creativity knows no bounds, and I remain in awe of her ability to craft such a powerful story across seven books. Honor, friendship, redemption, sacrificial love – these are all themes that come together in the series to reflect The Story in a way reminiscent of Lewis and Tolkien.
“But…” Harry raised his hand instinctively toward the lightning scar. It did not seem to be there. “But I should have died—I didn’t defend myself! I meant to let him kill me!”
“And that,” said Dumbledore, “will, I think, have made all the difference.”
While this is a children’s book, it can be- like all the great children’s books – enjoyed by adults. I discovered Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair and its author Patricia Polacco in college, in my fondly named “Kiddie Lit” class required for all elementary ed majors. It’s a beautiful & fun parable on the importance of reading and what can happen to a culture who forgets this. Polacco’s trademark unique illustrations make the story all the better.
“Now I said that a great many stories are true, though some may not have happened. You’ll have to judge for yourself about this one. But next time you hear about a library being closed, you’ll know that there will be consequences. And if you hear folks say that there won’t be, just have them read this-here book.”
They’ve got new updated covers for the entire O’Malley series now, but I’ve had mine since it came out in 1999 and it looks like a well-read copy of the above. So I’m rather fond of this one 🙂 Danger in the Shadows may have been my first foray into romantic suspense but it certainly has not been my last. In fact, it basically set the standard for my love of the genre.
“Her coping skills were failing when she needed them most. Her hand clenched in the darkness, nails digging into her palm. She could do this. She had no choice. It was only darkness.”
Well, that’s my list of my top ten all-time favorite books! A pretty diverse mix, actually. Nonfiction, historical fiction, a fairy tale, children’s books, allegories, fantasy, contemporary fiction, romantic suspense.
What are some of YOUR all-time favorite books? Do we share any faves?