I don’t think I’ve ever published a list of my favorite books here, but I do love to read so I thought I’d tell you about some of my favorites, both fiction and non-fiction, in case you are looking for some reading options this summer. If I have learned anything in the past few years that I’ve been reading more, it’s that there’s a wide variety of books and a wide variety of readers, and I love books that some people hate and I hate books that some people love, so this list may or may not be for you!
I’m in a reading slump right now, so I admit that publishing a list of my favorite books has an ulterior motive: if your reading style mirrors my own and you have some of the same favorites and preferences, I would love to hear what books you love so we can build our summer reading lists together!
Just a heads up: the links below are Amazon affiliate links, which means I earn a small percentage if you click through and purchase something. Amazon’s prices are the same even though those links, though! And, I think almost all, if not all, of these books are available through PPLD either in book form or audio/e-reader through Overdrive.
The Blue Castle is one of my favorite books of all time, and since I first read it a few years ago, I’ve read it at least three times. Montgomery is known for her Anne series, which was geared toward a younger reader, but this is more for adults. I find it much easier to read than Anne (much less of the long, drawn out dialog and descriptive passages) and I love the romance in this story. It’s totally predictable but ends just like it should.
Another Montgomery book that I like is Kilmeny of the Orchard, which I’ve listened to on audio. Again, predictable but so sweet. Pat of Silver Bush is another one to check out. Neither are anywhere near as good as The Blue Castle, though!
Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson
Miss Buncle’s Book is a humorous, charming story about a woman who tries her hand at writing to make money and surprises herself – and those she caricatured in her story – when the novel is a smash hit. A sweet read with lots of English charm. If you like L.M. Montgomery, I think you’d like this book. And, this author has a lot more books if you like this one!
Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay
Dear Mr. Knightly is light and fluffy and totally predictable – which, in my opinion, makes for a great summer read. Don’t be afraid of the “Knightley” in the title if you’re not a Jane Austen fan; familiarity with her characters is good for this book but you don’t have to love Austen’s style to like this book.
On a similar note, I’m not much of an Austen fan mostly because I wish her characters would just do something and move on with it, and the Darcy trilogy by Pamela Aidan is a fun read if you might feel similarly. (I listened to it on Audible.)
The first time I read the Price of Privilege series, which really should have just been one book, I’m pretty sure I paid full price for the Kindle version of the third and maybe even the second book because I wasn’t willing to wait for it to be available at the library. I sobbed during the last book, which never happens, and seriously never happens with inspirational fiction. I really love the characters in this series and find the story gripping even on repeated reads. And, I don’t think this one is predictable, actually!
I was turned off by the title but something convinced me to read These Is My Words, and I’m so glad I did. Watching the main character educate herself was inspiring, and I loved the romance in this story.
My favorite fiction books are the ones where I feel like I learn to appreciate my husband and value our marriage more, and this one totally does that for me. In the same vein, I love The Scarlet Pimpernel and Gone with the Wind – you might think you know the stories if you’ve seen the movies, but seriously, the books are so much better. (I’ve listened to these on Audible multiple times but haven’t read them.)
What Alice Forgot is not the story about the Alice who has Alzheimers (or something like that – I know there is another very similarly-named book!), but it’s the story of a woman who has a sudden bought of amnesia and forgets the person she used to be and has to rebuild her life and memories of the past ten years. This is another one that makes me appreciate my husband!
I just re-listened to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and it’s such a great Regency-era story with characters that seem very real, with real problems that aren’t primarily driven by a gossiping mother. On audio, I think it’s a very approachable classic (I recommend the Audible recording by Piers Wehner and Katy Carmichael).
Now for some non-fiction:
Perhaps not a book that you want to read on a camping trip in the backwoods, but The Stranger in the Woods was a fascinating story about a man who lived in the woods, with zero contact with other humans, for decades. This one was a page-turner for me!
I first read this on vacation about six years ago and totally got inspired in the kitchen. I couldn’t wait to get home and start cooking again! In The Kitchen Counter Cooking School, the author takes a group of cooking novices through a series of evaluation, cooking classes, and then followup visits to see what impact the process had. While I don’t think I’ll ever agree that roasting a whole chicken is an easy weeknight meal (but I hate serving bone-in chicken), I get inspired every time I read this book.
I loved reading about what it’s like to work as part of the household staff at the White House in The Residence. Many of the people working there have been there for decades and it was intriguing to think about what it must be like to do your job well regardless of how much you agree or disagree with a president’s policies. It definitely shows the human side of a presidential family and I loved it.
Escape from Camp 14 was an eye-opening look at what it’s like to grow up not just in North Korea, but a North Korean prison camp. The main character’s story of a childhood in the camp, to an awareness that there was an outside world, to eventual escape and the struggle to assimilate was captivating. This one may not be a light read, but the story will keep you turning pages.
Do you have any books to recommend to me or others? Please comment below with your suggestions!