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I really can’t remember not being able to read. And I really can’t remember not loving to read. As a kid and a teenager, reading and especially reading fiction were an escape into another world. It was magical or historical or romantic or just plain old a whole lot of fun. It was like living another life and the library was my favorite place to be. The second place was the bookstore.
As I’ve grown up, I’ve found myself more and more drawn to non-fiction because I have found that I love learning new things. But even so, a great story is still captivating. And I have a treasure trove of books that I love that I read time and time again. Some are from my teenage years and still amazing stories to read as an adult, but most are newer finds. Yes, there are a couple of non-fiction books on this list, but they read so much like novels that I’ve included them here.
“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”– Groucho Marx
My top 10 favorite books of all time
Eat, Pray, Love
Who wasn’t in love with Eat, Pray, Love when it came out? It was an amazing adventure that I think many of us 30somethings would love to have traveled on. It was also where I learned one of my favorite life lessons: the difference between wanting something and wanting to want something. I think it’s okay just to want to want something, but it’s important to know the difference.
The Time Traveler’s Wife
This book makes me cry every damn time I read it. Every damn time. Clare and Henry’s love story is so profound. It is the story of two people whose lives are so intertwined, whose love is so deep, so fathomless. Their complete devotion to each other in spite of fate is thrilling.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
This book makes me want to move to the hills of Virginia and live off the land. I love the story of how their family lives with the seasons and eats locally and seasonally for an entire year. I kind of also want to learn how to breed turkeys.
I hope you have been watching Outlander, the TV series because it is beautiful and heartbreaking and romantic. I have read all of the books of the Outlander series (so far) and this book is my one true favorite.
I don’t own even own the others. But I have read and reread Outlander because the meeting and mating of Claire and Jamie are really just an amazing love story that does not shy away from the realities and difficulties of life in the Scottish highlands.
I read this book as a teenager and it felt like my first “real grown-up relationship” book I ever read. Mrs. Mike is based on the true story of Katherine Mary and her Mountie husband, the love of her life. It’s the story of a marriage and a family trying to survive in the Northwest Territories of Canada. It is also a love story of epic proportions in which love survives even the harshest of tests.
And Both Were Young
You’ve probably heard of Madeleine L’Engle as the author of A Wrinkle in Time, which is also one of my all-time favorite books, basically, anything Madeleine L’Engle wrote is fabulous and definitely worth your time, but And Both Were Young is the only one that I just keep reading in adulthood.
It’s a teenage romance set against the backdrop of a Swiss boarding school just after World War II. Honestly, my favorite thing about it is my favorite thing about most Madeleine L’Engle books: the female hero of the story who doesn’t fit in and finds her place in the world because she doesn’t fit in. It’s the tale that every misfit wants to hear (Harry Potter as a more recent example).
What an Earl Wants
This one is just a good old-fashioned historical romance steamy novel romp. There are sparks that fly, explicit scenes, a misunderstanding (of course!), and women dressing up as men in order to make their way in the world because they are women with brains who can do anything a man can. It’s just so much fun and with such an adorable ending that I can never resist throwing it in my luggage when I go on vacation.
A Knight in Shining Armor
Another romance novel, this time from the 80s. I feel like this may have been the original time-traveling romance novel. It is a love story and a romance but it is also a story of loving someone so deeply that you are willing to sacrifice your own happiness (and your own happiness together) for their happiness.
Another romance novel, this book takes place in the Scottish highlands. (Who can resist a man in a kilt???) It’s the story of two people being thrown together and developing a deep love for each other. Plus Lady Brenna is such a completely adorable ditz and her pre-nuptial ramblings are just hilarious.
A Garden in the Rain
With this novel, we get a time-traveling Scottish highlander romance novel set both in modern-day and the Scottish highlands. I love all of Lynn Kurland’s romance novels but this one is my favorite. I think so many of us modern women would love to be swept off their feet by a strapping man in a kilt.
Final Thoughts on my all-time favorite books
Yes, these are mostly romance novels. So what can I say, I’m a romantic.
This list is just a few of my favorite books that I have read and reread through the years. It’s so much fun to find a new book that is exciting and with plot twists that you’re not expecting. But there’s also something so satisfying in reading a book you’ve read before. It’s like spending time with an old friend. It’s sweet and easy, and occasionally surprising.
You never have to wonder if you’re going to have a good time with an old favorite book.
What is your favorite book to reread? Let me know in the comments below.
Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.Charles Dudley Warner
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