reading life

10 All-Time Favorite Books

Tricia from Hodgepodge challenged me to share my ten favorite books of all time. So I’m doing it — but really, how can anyone pick just ten? It’s like walking into a room of good friends and having to pick only ten you really like best.

I gave myself a few rules: no staring at bookshelves or perusing a list of books I’ve read, because it should be one that sunk down in deep enough to come to mind without prompting. And I’m not counting the Bible because everyone does that and because really, it’s a whole library in itself.

Ten of my all-time favorite books:

10 favorite books

Note: these are in no particular order except how they came into my mind.

1- Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

I picked this one up nearly ten years ago at the library strictly based on the cover photo. But it’s a wonderful work of fiction that depicts what unconditional love looks like; in fact, it’s based on the book of Hosea.

2- Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Several of the books on my list were completely off my radar when I was young, but I’m so glad homeschooling introduced them to me. This was a read-aloud in our first year or two of homeschooling, and it quickly became a favorite for me and Kathryn.

3- The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

A nice young man I dated in high school admitted he had never heard of this book. Unthinkable. So I plunked him down in a chair and made him read it because clearly, no further conversation of any depth could take place with a person who did not understand the story of the velveteen rabbit. {I still cry every single time I read it.}

4- Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter

One of our Ambleside Online read-alouds from a few years ago. I would never have picked it up on my own but Kathryn and I both fell in love with the story.

5- Wrapped in Rain by Charles Martin

Actually, I recommend every.single.thing he’s written, but this was the first of his novels t0 make it into my hands. Since then, I’ve devoured every book he’s published. I’ve met a number of celebrities over the years, and I am never starstruck — but I’ll get all goofy if I ever have a chance to meet Charles Martin. He’s the first author to make me want to write novels myself.

6- Sweet Potato Queens Book of Love by Jill Conner Browne

It’s funny how different books are favorites at different times of life. I haven’t read this in years and I don’t even know how much I’d enjoy it now, but at the time, I loved it. I laughed SO HARD reading it, then pulled it back out and read practically the whole thing to Ken and we laughed so hard we couldn’t breathe. Extra funny if you’re from the South.

7- Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry

When I’m into something, I’m usually really into it. In elementary school, it was horses. {I still have a collection of Breyer horses in a box in my mom’s attic.} I read EVERYthing in the school library about horses, and this one was my absolute favorite; I still hope someday to go see the ponies on Assateague Island!

8- Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

Maybe I’d heard of Kipling before we homeschooled, but I know I’d never read any of his work and never would’ve thought to choose it as a read-aloud. But Kathryn and I adored these stories so much they’ve made their way into our inside jokes. I can’t wait til the little kids can “get” the stories well enough to read these to them.

9- Charlotte’s Web by E.B.White

Another that makes me cry — but I work hard to stifle it when I’m reading it aloud! Read and loved this as a kid, and still love it.

“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.” C.S. Lewis

10- Amazing Gracie: A Dog’s Tale by Dan Dye

If you have ever loved a dog, you have to read this book. I randomly bought this at a quirky little bookstore on vacation more than a decade ago and loaned it out so so many people that it finally never made it back to me. {I’ll give you the same warning I gave all those who borrowed it: you will laugh like crazy throughout the whole thing, and then you must hide somewhere with Kleenex for the last chapter.} I plan to buy another copy; it’s that good.

Want to follow along with what I’m reading? Find me on GoodReads, too.

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Pam in Missouri

I love Freckles. Have you ever read the sequel? Look for Girl of the Limberlost. It is incredibly bittersweet in sections but overall an incredibly lovely story. I’ve read it countless times.


I just finished Charlotte’s Web with my daughter, reading it for the first time in 20+ years. The story moved me so deeply…the impact of this book on me as a mother and as a friend has been profound. I liked it as a child, but feel an affection for it now that I can’t really describe.

Becky {Milo & Oats}

What a great list! I’ve always loved Redeeming Love too…and the first trilogy Francine Rivers wrote. Off to look up Charles Martin! Have I been living under a rock? 🙂


Have to echo Becky and Pam – I LOVE Francine River’s Mark of the Lion series, one of my favorite ever – it’s time to re-read it! AND I love Girl of the Limberlost – I think maybe it’s free on the Kindle?
Just re-read Redeeming Love recently, makes me cry…
Now I need to look up Charles Martin too, he’s new to me.

Kate C.

Your list spurred me to look back at my own list that I made 2 years ago. I read a lot, and things have been moved around a bit from what it was. I guess I need to do an update post for this year, though I may have to expand it to Top 20 to fit all my “favorites” in.


Awww…I love the velveteen rabbit. I’ll have to find it and read it again!