I’m a writer, who loves to read. I think it may be a requirement. I love to be swept away to different places and times, following beloved characters. I’ve read everything from classics to books on nutrition, and so many different types in between. Currently I am re-reading Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley, the 1991 sequel to the 1936 novel Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.
I am also reading Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach, and Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food by Megan Kimble.
Sound like a lot all at once? There have been times when I was juggling reading seven books at a time. These are my favorite books of all-time:
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
My most favorite of all books. I think I’ve read it a half a dozen times, three of those times were before I encountered Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley. Gone with the Wind follows Scarlett O’Hara from her older teenage life at Tara – her family’s plantation – to her adult life with through multiple husbands. My favorite relationship was between her and Rhett Butler; one that took some time to grow. Scarlett learns a lot during that relationship. It makes me think about how we would all change things that we have done in the past, if only we had the chance.
One of the things I admire most about Scarlett, despite her childishness in some ways, is her ability to adapt to what is going on around her. Scarlett is a very smart woman who goes from having everything handed to her, to having nothing at all as a result of the happenings during the Civil War, to working herself back up in a world where not many women were successful in their own right. She comes out the other side stronger than ever.
I must watch the movie three or four times a year, especially when I need to feel strength because I am feeling less than worthy.
Roots by Alex Haley
An excellent rendering of life during slave days. Written in 1976, this book begins with Kunta Kinte, later known as Toby, coming into manhood in Africa, walks us through how the slaves were stolen from there and brought here, and gives a look at how they were treated by different kinds of owners. The book brings to light the harshness and humiliation brought onto the slaves, giving readers a real glimpse into what life was like for them, and shows how, after generations of slavery, this one family brought themselves out of it.
I have seen the original television series, considered one of the most important works of it’s time. I’ve watched it every February since my daughters were little. Let me just say that if all you have done is watched the newer series, you are really missing out. The new one does not do justice to the book or the original series.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
This is an amazing book. I’ve read it twice, so far. Published in 1939, this book takes place during the great depression. In this book, the Joad family is forced to leave their home because of problems like severe drought and bank foreclosures. The whole family travels in (and on) on a vehicle overflowing with what worldly possessions they could fit in (and on) it, from Oklahoma to California.
The book focuses on what the Joad family has to do to survive the trip, how they made their money, and the places they had to stay. It brings forth their feelings, their emotions, during this time. It makes you think about what you might have to endure if similar circumstances were to take place now. Would you be a strong enough family unit to survive? Especially when earning more money to finish the trip is not a given. What would you be willing to give up? To do?
Again, there is a movie that goes along with this – and it is a good one. But movies are never exactly like the books, so reading a book first is the way to go.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
My daughter adores the Jane Austen books, and I love them as well. They are so well written, and paint pictures of days past. Published in 1813, Pride and Prejudice is considered a romantic novel. Elizabeth Bennett has lessons to learn, given her knack for hasty judgements and decisions. She has a lot to learn about different situations, and about the people around her.
I love the television series for this book as well, though there is more than one. Being one of the more popular books, there have been many adaptations for television and film.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
I homeschooled my daughters throughout most of their school years and, during their teen years, I had them read many, many classics. During that time, I was reading them as well. I had graduated from Shakespeare and the Little House books to books about the slave days, and this was one that I read.
Published in 1852, it is said that this book helped to lay the groundwork for the Civil War. Written back in the days of serials, this book started its debut divided onto 40 parts that were incredibly popular. Later, when turned into a book, it was even more popular for a time; and again in later years.
The book is anti-slavery and, while it does have to do with the selling and treatment of slaves, it also has to do with Christian faith and love. With helping people to escape slavery because of that faith, and how a man dies because he refuses to give in. It shows what you can take when standing up for what is right.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Published in 1847, this book depicts the life of Jane Eyre. Imagine a small child, living with her uncles family after her parents die. When her uncle passes, her aunt and cousins are abusive, and she ends up going to live at school for orphans where there is much cruelty. But here she also finds a few people she can trust, until she grows up and leaves. Jane procures a position as a governess of a little girl whose border wants educated.
Jane sees past all the gruffness of this man, and eventually comes to care for him, but things do not work out as planned and she finds she must leave the home and venture out on her own.
A family takes her in, but things get out of hand with the brother and she leaves there as well – heading back to the man she originally fell for. Though things have much changed, she follows her heart in the end.
The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I’ve read these books many times myself. I’ve read the first nine books to my daughters, and to my nephew, and I want to read them to my grandchildren. I love them so. I love reading about the adventures of Laura, Mary, Carry, Ma, and Pa. I’ve read the rest myself. This pioneer family remains in the hearts of so many of us.
While those are my all-time favorites, there are other books I adore as well. As a teenager I read the Sweet Valley High books by Francine Pascal, and I started reading the Fear Street books by R. L. Stine. I love Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, and her witch series. And I am just amazed by Stephen King’s works, especially It, The Stand, and Pet Sematary. I very much enjoyed the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling as well.
What are your favorite books?