This week’s post is all about the books we love to read and re-read again. I’ll also share info about the free downloadable English Garden Summer Book Walk & Activity Guide I designed for your summer reading adventures.
Okay, I admit it: I’m a repeat reader. While some readers prefer new books, I’m continually torn between starting a new book and re-reading an old one. To me, tried-and-true books feel a bit like old friends, always there, always waiting. I know I can pick up where I left off with them, anytime, anywhere.
While new books mean new adventure, there’s always the “what if it’s not good?” risk. With favorite books, you always know what you’re getting. Re-reading a good book is like re-living a cherished memory. Old favorites always deliver the goods.
Inside the front flap of my copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, my grandmother wrote these words: “For Rachel, a book I read at least every year, if not more. I hope you do, too. Love from Grandma Dee.” I guess it’s a genetic thing, this re-reading.
So, in honor of summer and the stacks of books I brought home from the library, found in my parents’ or grandparents’ bookshelves, or that were given to me by a teacher or parent, these are (some of) the books I come back to over and over again:
Favorite Youthful Books:
- Lucy Maud Montgomery books: Anne of Green Gables is probably my all-time favorite series. I love the language, the stories, the characters. The books make me laugh and cry for all the right reasons. I read every Montgomery book I could find growing up, and I’ve discovered a few new-to-me books of hers as an adult. (If you’ve never read The Blue Castle, it’s our June read-along book!)
- Louisa May Alcott books: I loved Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys, Jack and Jill, and Eight Cousins as a girl. When I was old enough, Rose in Bloom and Old-Fashioned Girl and all the rest joined the ranks.
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: I read this book so many times growing up that the cover of my original edition is held together with tape. It’s an illustrated edition that my grandmother sent to me in the mail in the 4th grade. I remember the day it came in the mail. I’d never read anything so wonderful before.
- Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder: My mom read these books to us all the time. We were always in the middle of a “Laura” book. We read them in the doctor’s office, before bedtime, and on long car trips. I now read them to my children on repeat.
- All the rest: I also love The Witch of Blackbird Pond and Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare, Heidi by Johanna Spiri, and A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. (I’m sure I’m leaving out several dozen here.)
Favorite Grown-Up Books:
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: When I first read this book, I knew I was reading something powerful and important. I was fascinated by Scout, Atticus, Calpurnia, and Boo Radely. Jem will always be my boy-hero.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: When I found this book in my grandmother’s bookshelves, I hid behind the couch to finish it, so my mom wouldn’t ask me to help with dinner!
- Jane Austen’s novels (of course!): I can’t leave her out, even if she’s obvious! If you’ve never read anything by Austen, start with Pride and Prejudice, then Sense and Sensibility, then Emma, then Persuasion, then Mansfield Park, then Northanger Abbey. Agh, who can decide? They’re all so good!
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: This book is perfectly lovely. It’s our July read-along book, and the movie is coming to Netflix in August!
- The Mitford Series by Jan Karon: If you want to step into the small-town life of a preacher, his funny dog, and the zany people in his parish, you’ll love this series.
- Gene Stratton-Porter books: I didn’t discover these until a few years ago, and they were a treat! I love Girl of the Limberlost, Freckles, The Harvester, Keeper of the Beees, and Daughter of the Land. (Girl of the Limberlost is our August read-along!)
- Grace Livingston Hill books: Known as the pioneer of Christian fiction, she wrote over 90 books in her lifetime! If you want a clean, romantic, old-fashioned, gospel-centered story, then these books are for you.
- Janette Oke books: These are the first Christian books I read as a new Christian. They are sweet, old-fashioned, and full of inspirational characters and stories.
It’s Your Turn:
There are many other books and genres I could mention, but I’ll stop there for now. These are the books I cherish the most and revisit most often.
Now that you know a bit about me as a reader, I’d like to hear about you! What are your favorite books to read over again and again?
Please post your favorite book titles in the comment section below.
Kindred Spirit Book Club Facebook group: If you love to gab about favorite books with other book-lovers, please join us on Facebook for weekly discussions!
Free Download: To download the super cute English Garden Summer Book Walk and printable reading map and activity guide my husband and I created, click here. I’m so excited to share it with you! I designed it to give you some fun book-inspired activities to try and share this summer.
This week’s Bookish Activity to consider: Give a favorite book to a favorite person.
Subscribe & Enter: When you subscribe to my blog by June 15th at 11:59 p.m. PDT, you’ll also be entered in a drawing for the chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card!
If you missed the other articles in this summer series, you can catch up here.