I’ll re-read a book for one of two reasons: because I love it, or because I need it. This list features a healthy mix of both.
The Well-Trained Mind, Susan Wise Bauer
I read this book for the first time when I was 22, and had no intention of ever homeschooling my someday-children. But the author was my college prof, and when I found out she’d written a book I wanted to read it, whether it addressed rocket science or ancient Persia or homeschooling. But reading this book made me wish I’d been educated this way, and for the first time I considered home education as a possibility for my future children.
Now I’m a homeschooling mom of 4, and I turn to this book again and again to remind me why we’re doing it, to help me get unstuck, and to encourage me to keep it up.
Jayber Crow, Wendell Berry.
I resisted reading this one for a long time because I thought the name “Jayber” was ugly. Please don’t make that mistake.
This gorgeous novel has an impressive sense of place. It’s a book you can see and feel. It’s contemplative, beautiful, and sad. It’s a book that stays with you.
The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work, John Gottman.
Gottman is the famed researcher who can watch a couple interact for 5 minutes and then predict with 91% accuracy if they’ll divorce down the road. Successful marriages have a lot in common, and Gottman shows you how to incorporate these things into your own relationship.
There’s nothing revolutionary about his advice: successful couples know each other well. They like each other. They solve their solvable problems. His insights are simple to grasp, if not easy to put into practice.
I like to re-read this book every few years to remind me what we’re doing right–and what we maybe could be doing better. And it’s fascinating and fun to read.
Happier at Home, Gretchen Rubin
I re-read this book because I need it. Happier at Home prompts me to think about whole categories of my life that I don’t think about on a regular basis. She offers practical tips on what, exactly, I could be doing to boost my family’s happiness. Above all, Happier at Home reminds me to make the effort. I need the reminder.
Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
What can I say to capture why I love this book? It’s haunting and melancholy, wistful and reverent. I’m entranced by the story of the Flyte family’s unraveling–along with the rest of Britain’s aristocracy–and by its themes of love, loss, and grace.
A Circle of Quiet, Madeleine L’Engle
This is my favorite Madeleine L’Engle book. Reading these pages, I feel like she gets me. Of course she does: she coined the phrase “the tired thirties,” after all. On these pages L’Engle is clearly a work-in-progress, but she’s working it through, and this peek into her thought process gives me hope that I can work it through, too.
Emma, Jane Austen
Emma is different from the others. It’s witty, of course. All Jane Austen is. But it’s bright and fresh and thoroughly modern, and Emma–despite her flaws–is so winning and relatable I find myself cheering her on more than any other Austen heroine. (Yes, even more than Lizzie.)
What books do you read over and over again?