Anyway, I digress.
I try to have a rule in my home that I don't put books on display that I haven't read, or have at least partially read. I just don't want to be that person who has a ton of books and when asked, "Have you read this?" I guffaw and say, "What? No. No I haven't read any of those."
I don't want to be that person.
Sometimes I break that rule. Sometimes I put a book out that I want to read. And it nags me every day until I finally break down and pick it up, adding it to the long list of must reads.
So today I'm giving you a snapshot of the books on my shelves, and why I think you should take the time to read one or two of them. Also, I try to not clean much when I take pictures like these so you're getting the most realistic view of my home. Dust, dirt, cords, clutter, all of it. Yes, I'm really about to do this.
1. Shepherding a Child's Heart — this book has been really influential to me as a parent. I haven't finished it, but it's dog-eared. And when I can, I pick it up and start where I left off.
2. Little House in the Big Woods — we are slowly making our way through this, chapter by chapter, sometimes page by page. Every time I pick it up, I feel like we are bringing the country into this small, urban apartment. If you haven't read these books, go back and join Laura in the frontier. It's worth it.
3. Other People's Love Letters —A friend of mine bought this book for me a few years ago. I feel a little guilty when I read some of these. But then again, these letters were published. In a book. To read. People love in different ways. And there are two or three in there that make my heart melt and believe in romance again.
4. Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass — There are a few pieces in this collection that are simple, beautiful, short, and perfect. ("That shadow my likeness that goes to and fro seeking a livelihood, chattering, chaffering, How often I find myself standing and looking at where it flits...")
5. Love Poems of Elizabeth and Robert Browning —Want some swoon worthy words? Look no further. This collection between Elizabeth and Robert make me believe in true love again. Lovely lovely honest love. I also read it and think, "Every man needs to read how Robert loved Elizabeth." It's true, I do.
6. Daughters of Destiny — my sister gave this book to me years ago. It's one of those collections filled with anecdotes, stories, quotes. This is the kind I pick up every now and then to say, "Yes. There are those who've gone before me. And they were beautiful."
7. Thoreau's Walden and Civil Disobedience — Walden. I'm not a transcendentalist, but Walden stirred my thinking when I first read it. Even still, I can relate to Thoreau and I often wonder how he'd fit in today's society. And when I want to run away and live in a cabin in the woods, I pick this one up.
8. An Unquiet Mind — A psychiatrist wrote this book about her manic-depressive disorder. It was interesting to read her research, and even more so intriguing to hear her medical assessment of her own condition.
9. Emily Dickinson's Selected Works — Really. Now. Must I tell you why you should read her?
10. Uncle Tom's Cabin — I have never read it. It's true. This copy is a really early edition, (one of the faux first editions, after the real first edition.) It sits there. Unread. Old. 1898 or so.
11. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies — A birthday gift. Yes I'm reading it. Yes it's strange. Yes I'm enjoying it.
12. Pride and Prejudice — The real deal. Always the best.
13. A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life — Best house/decorating/hospitality book I've ever read.
14. The Children of Hurin — On loan from a boy who is adding books to my list of things to read. This one is next.
15. WB Yeats' Collected Works —Irish poet. Poetry surrounds me.
16. Into the Wild —You know it.
17. Irish America — I learned a lot about myself and my family while reading this book. So much, that I e-mailed the author. Thanked her. She wrote me back. Said thanks for reading. It was a lovely exchange.
18. Give Them Grace — This book is helping to mold the way I parent through the truth of the Gospel.
19. Northanger Abbey —The first Austen book I ever read.
20. Stargirl — Sometimes I feel like Stargirl. If you want to know what I mean, read the book.
21. Farmer Boy —Book two of the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. We will make our way through this slowly after Little House in the Big Woods.
22. Ruthless Trust —Brennan Manning has been one of the most influential writers in my life over the past seven years. No one else laid out the Gospel and Grace so clearly for me like he did in Ragamuffin Gospel and in this book.
23. The Sorrows of Young Werther — Recommended by my best friend's husband, this book was depressing, sad, and beautiful. And now I recommend it to people. (Sidenote: I'm pretty sure this was the first book written in diary form.) Don't say I didn't warn you.
24. Hinds Feet on High Places —I am much afraid. Again, don't know what I mean? Read it.
25. Mere Christianity — I remember the day I read the chapter "Time and Beyond Time" in my bedroom when I lived in Madrid, NY. Some words stick with you. That's the month this book was added to my permanent shelf.
26. All My Friends are Dead — Darkest, funniest little book. And I liked it before Urban Outfitters sold it. So take that hipsters.
27. e.e. cummings's selections —oh ee. i never tire of him.
28. Gift from the Sea —I read this while at the ocean last year. It was fitting, and brought grace to places I was striving. I love how the Gospel can shout through words that don't even intend to deliver the Gospel. But when the Truth is at the center, it seeps into everything.
29. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall —I tore through this book when I was 14 or 15. It may have been the gateway book to classic literature, if I remember correctly.
30. Passion and Purity —Elisabeth Elliot is a woman I have always greatly admired, and her words never fall short of challenging me and calling me to live at a more beautiful standard as a woman of God. This book was handed to me by mom when I turned 13. Never has left my shelf.
31. Walking on Water —I remember my other best friend's husband saying that every artist should read this book. I concur.
32. Ben Hur, a Tale of Christ —Confession: Never read it. But it's there, just the same.
33. One Thousand Gifts —We all know Ann. I am so grateful she had the time/energy/heart/vision/grace to write this. It has altered the way I live.
So there you go... 33 books from my shelves. Reading anything good lately? Drop me a note here and let me know!