In response to a prompt via Facebook: ten books that have stuck with me over the years, either due to emotional impact, practical application, or both.
1. The Bible
Wait! This isn’t just a filler answer. I wasn’t raised in church, and when I became a Christian late in my teens I immediately read the bible cover to cover as a basis for my decisions and beliefs. Then I rebuked the church I had heard about Christianity from in the first place for being completely off the mark from Biblical teaching. The only people I hit over the head with this book are other Christians, and it usually involves a strongly worded letter and adjectives like Pharisaical. I include it here not for evangelistic or any other purposes but because I do consider it a valuable, active guide in my life.
2. Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend
I almost never re-read books, but I revisit this one regularly. It’s a guide for how to relate to others- friends, family, coworkers, anyone- in a healthy, wise, and appropriate manner.
3. Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
Whenever I recommend this book to counseling clients, I begin by asking them to excuse the pop-psychology-sounding title, so I’ll ask y’all to do the same. This book is a MUST read for anyone whose life has been affected by another person’s addiction, dependence, or codependent tendencies.
4. Pride and Prejudice*
I read this in my early twenties, and I identified so closely with Elizabeth Bennett’s stubborn independence that I followed right along with her emotional maturation on the subject of marriage throughout the book. For years before reading it I was skeptical about marriage and maybe even opposed to the idea, but I got married within a year of reading this book.
5. Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
I would be embarrassed if time spent reading 11,916 pages didn’t make a lasting impact on me. I am in awe of what Jordan created. It makes me conscious of how greatly I underestimate others when I realize some stranger I see in the grocery store could possess the potential to create a dizzyingly intricate world and character set and also have the talent to communicate it so skillfully. (What did people assume about Jordan when they crossed paths with him in the grocery store?)
6. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
I loved all of L’Engle’s fiction books as a kid. I identified with the wonder of learning and discovering the unknown, and the isolation and risk inherent in adventure seeking.
7. Girls Just Want to Have Funds by Susannah Goodman
This classic tome….wait, no. Well this book impacted my life because it was marketed to and written for young women, and it motivated me to begin retirement planning and investing in my late teens. That early start is invaluable. But- I don’t necessarily *recommend* this book for everyone’s personal finance needs. It’s outdated now economically and the title is done in hot pink and purple block letters. But it was the right book at the right time for me 10+ years ago.
8. Sophie’s World by Gaarder
A philosophy text book presented as an intriguing novel. Very sneaky. I loved this in high school.
9. Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Weschler
I only read this a few years ago, and I was astounded that I didn’t know this information already. I’d recommend this book to any woman whether you want kids, or don’t want them, or just for the sake of understanding the basics about your health and well-being.
10. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Weissbluth
This helped me understand my children’s sleep more fully, optimize their chance for napping and sleeping well, and to address problems when they arose. The kids sleeping well is a HUGE component of our maintaining a low(er) stress, healthy home.
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne
Walden by Thoreau
Becoming Myself by Stasi Eldridge
Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel
*Anyone know where my copy of Pride and Prejudice went? I used Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters as a stand-in for the picture. And the last two on the list I don’t have a physical copy of.