the five books i can’t live without

You guys obviously know by now how much I love to read. It’s probably the thing I talk about the most on here other than butter, sugar and cookies. To me, there’s not much more to life than sitting down with a chocolate croissant and a sink-your-teeth-into book (err kindle).

Last night I was challenging myself to think of the five books I simply couldn’t live without. You know, the ones that you read over and over again, not so much because they’re great literature, but more so just because they mean something special to you.

It seemed impossible to choose just five but I think I got it.

1. The bible. It’s always a good idea.

2. My Antonia. I can’t describe it—there’s just something about this book that gets me every single time I read it. It reminds me of everything I love in the world.

3. The Prince of Tides. Every time I read this book it’s like coming home. Those are the best kinds of books.

4. Elizabeth Bishop: The Complete Poems. When I got incredibly homesick in France I would memorize Bishop’s poems while on the metro and then recite them to myself over and over to help fall asleep at night. Works even better than tylonel p.m., I swear!

5. A Moveable Feast. Hemingway’s memoir of his time living in Paris speaks to my heart.

What are the five books you can’t live without?

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  • Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher
    March 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    “The House on Mango Street” again and again.

  • Stacie @ Imperfectly Healthy
    March 8, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    One of my favorite books is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’ve read it numerous times through the years.

    I also really enjoyed Water for Elephants and The Imperfectionists.

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin
    March 8, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Wow I’ve never read ANY of those books. My favorite from recently was The Help which I know you’ve read. πŸ™‚

  • Kelley
    March 8, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    My top 5: House of Sand and Fog, Correlli’s Mandolin, The Pact, Prep, The Girl with the Pearl Earring.

    • AdrienneCarolyn
      March 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm

      House of Sand and Fog was also a great movie….

  • brandi@BranAppetit
    March 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Great list!

    Mine would be:
    – The Bible, permanently on the top of the list.

    – Mandy by Julie Andrews. I fell in love with this book when I was younger, and I still read it every few years.

    – The Ernest Hemingway collection of short stories. Fell for Hemingway’s short stories in college and haven’t walked away since. I even got my husband hooked. Love his novels, but love his short stories even more.

    – Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I know you know this book πŸ™‚

    – I Am One of You Forever by Fred Chappell. Love, love, love everything about this book. I read it in a Southern Lit class in college and then made everyone in my family read it, too.

    • Sarah @ The Rounded Teaspoon
      March 8, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      I HAD to comment, because we share a taste in books. I LOVE LOVE Mandy – I read it initially because Julie Andrews is my favorite actress..but then I ended up loving the book. Ernest Hemingway’s Short Stories should go on my list too. I LOVE, LOVE love reading them and teaching them. Mr. and Mrs. Eliot and Indian Camp are my favorites.

      • mitzi @ my nikon eats food
        March 8, 2011 at 8:45 pm

        omg…i LOVED Mandy. so happy that there’s others who love it too! i usually just get blank stares when i bring it up

        • brandi
          March 9, 2011 at 5:53 am

          Yay for Mandy! πŸ™‚ And ditto on the blank stares! I’ve seen that look more than once when talking about this book.

      • brandi
        March 9, 2011 at 5:52 am

        SO happy to find other Mandy readers! I don’t run into many people that know the book, so it makes me happy to hear that others love it too πŸ™‚

        I LOVE his short stories – some of my favorites were The Short Happy Life of Frances Macomber, Big Two-Hearted River 1&2, Hills Like White Elephants, A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, and The Undefeated. So, so good.

        • Dana
          March 10, 2011 at 7:32 pm

          I loved Mandy!!! My mom read it to me when I was little and I always wanted a little house like the one she had!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    March 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks for your Top 5, Jenna!

    My top 5 include the ABC books,, Dr Suess books, Cinderella, Snow White, and anything to do with Barney.

    “My” reading and books are less important than keeping my 4 year old’s appetite for books going πŸ™‚

  • Kelly
    March 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    William Faulkner…anything and everything. LOVE him.

    I also recently started reading Eudora Welty, and really enjoy her writing.

    I am on a Southern literature kick, and we have so many GREAT authors here in the South … past and present. It’s all I really want to read lately.

    Another book I have read a few times is The Awakening by Kate Chopin.

    • brandi@BranAppetit
      March 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      Okay, I have to add #6 and #7 to my list, too!

      I adored The Awakening and love everything I’ve read by Welty, too! πŸ™‚

  • Michelle
    March 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Some of my faves are East of Eden, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, The Giver, and Animal Vegetable Miracle.

  • Katie
    March 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    A top 5 would be tough to come up with on the fly although I recently read My Antonia and must agree with you. I can’t articulate what it is but the book just made me feel so peaceful.

  • Jessica
    March 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    You are so romantic! I love your explanation of the Elizabeth Bishop book… not that I love that you were homesick, but the way you write things is so poetic sometimes!

    • Baking 'n' Books
      March 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm

      I was thinking the same thing.

      Definitely a romance/historical type of reader? With rich characters and culture…

      so not “Shopaholic” ;)…tell me, HAVE you read THAT series?!! Seriously!

      I’m reading “The Frugalista Files” – by another blogger actually! Light but good.

  • Evan Thomas
    March 8, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I read My Antonia in 11th grade and maybe it was the way the teacher presented it but I was just not a fan at all. I felt it lacked so much. Maybe I have to go back and read it again.

    My list makes me feel like a stereotype of myself but my picks would be Wuthering Heights, The Killer Angels, Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura, The Aeneid/Oddysey/Iliad, and Frankenstein. OK, that’s 7, maybe I like reading more than I credit myself for.

  • Meredith @ An Epic Change
    March 8, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    For sure the Bible, too! But I actually did a post recently on my favorite fiction book and got some awesome comments. I’m getting an MA in Hispanic Lit, so my favorite book is Cien aΓ±os de soledad (100 Years of Solitude) by Gabriel GarcΓ­a MΓ‘rquez… the same guy who wrote Love in the Time of Cholera, for all those who may know it! SUCH an amazing book. If you haven’t read Cien aΓ±os, Jenna, I totally recommend it. Incredible characters, a detailed alinear plot, and magical realism!

    • Sarah @ The Rounded Teaspoon
      March 8, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      Have you read his “Cuentos Peregrinos”? I like “El hombre con las alas enormes”. I love love love that short story.

  • katie
    March 8, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    I have only read some parts of the bible, I really would like to one day read the whole bible : )

    Thanks for sharing your top 5 books!

  • Lacey
    March 8, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Such a fun (and tough) thing to think about! I would love to read My Antonia.

    Off the top of my head I would pick: The Poisonwood Bible, The Great Gatsby, Little Women, Pudd’nhead Wilson, anddd the last one is about a 10-way tie.

  • megan @ whatmegansmaking
    March 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Definitely agree with the Bible. Don’t agree with My Antonia – not sure why, but not one of my favs. Haven’t read the others! Thanks for the suggestions πŸ˜‰

  • Beth
    March 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Wow, Top 5 books, this was a seriously tough question. I will say that I rarely re-read books. I don’t know why, I’m so desparately trying to read everything else I don’t want to repeat. That being said I have re-read some books…so if I really had to choose…they would be the following in no particular order:

    Breakfast at Tiffany’s: A Short Novel and Three Stories, Truman Capote – This is one of the few books I have read again and again and again. I didn’t even like short stories until I read this book. It’s just pure magic. I might pick it up from the library on my way home since my copy is at my mom’s house!

    On the Road, Jack Kerouac – I read this when I was young. This book represents the antithesis of me. Someone who is carefree, doesn’t think about the consequences, lives completely in the moment, doesn’t have a plan necessarily, and for me there is something romantic about that. It keeps me coming back.

    The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald – Fitzgerlad has a magical ability to write about characters you fall for hard only to realize they’re not as great as you might think they originally were. They’re human, with fault lines just like everyone else, I think that’s what I love so much about him.

    Here Be Dragons, Sharon Kay Penman – This is easily the #1 book I recommend over and over again and not one person I’ve recommended it to has not LOVED it! It represents my love for historical fiction and all things medieval πŸ™‚

    I don’t know that I can commit to a fifth…Gone with the Wind, The Alienist, The Time Traveler’s Wife…I think I’m just going to stick with 4.

    Great question Jenna and I liked your answers – I’ll have to read The Prince of Tides and Elizabeth Bishop: The Complete Poems.

  • Chrissy (The New Me)
    March 8, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Reading _The Alice Stories_ by Jesse Lee Kercheval made me a better human being. Can’t recommend it enough.

  • Devi
    March 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Anna Karenina, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Little Women, Rebecca.

  • laurie
    March 8, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Not sure about my top five, but “The Ragamuffin Gospel” and “The Importance of Being Foolish” by Brennan Manning are definitely up there!

  • Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy
    March 8, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    I visited South Carolina last summer and have been wanting to read The Prince of Tides. I think that will be on my spring break reading list :). I like The Last Lecture and Nicholas Sparks books (although I sometimes find them repetitive). I went through a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants phase, too…gotta love them.

  • Kelly
    March 8, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    WOW! That DOES make you think. Five books…of all time. Huh. This took me a while but here I go:

    1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee: I love this book. My copy is so worn that literally pages are falling out but I can’t bring myself to buy another copy. This book is just so good and makes me think of my Dad. He used to read it to me when I was a kid.

    2. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. I am not sure what about this book made me love it so but I do. It pulled me in and had me thinking for days after it ended.

    3. Silent Witness by Richard North Patterson: this is probably the best muder mystery I have ever read. Amazing!!

    4. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. A really really really good story.

    5. Manning by Peyton Manning, Archie Manning and John Underwood. Don’t ask. haha!

  • Lisa
    March 8, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Wuthering Heights
    Leaves of Grass
    The Picture of Dorian Gray
    The Pilgrimage
    The Alchemist

    • ashley
      March 9, 2011 at 8:42 pm

      ah!!!! love the alchemist!!! forgot about that one!!!

  • Brooke @ bittersweetb
    March 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    I’m not sure I can pick the Top 5 but I can pick 5 great books I love.
    1.) Pride and Prejudice
    2.) The namesake
    3.)Pillars of the Earth
    4.)White Oleander
    5.)House of Daughters

    All really different books but soo great!

  • Caitlin
    March 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    You post inspired me to do my own! If you want, you can check it out on my blog,



  • Mary @ stylefyles
    March 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    The Brothers Karamazov – love to read and re-read this.

    also, I read a lot of screenplays.

  • Sarah @ The Rounded Teaspoon
    March 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm


    You may have almost met your match in a reader…Good books are what I live for. In fact, I exclude books from my “budget,” because I feel that they are indispensable to my well-being. My dad always said that you should never feel guilt over buying a book.
    My favorites:
    1. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (my favorite author): I have read this book several times, and like you said, it’s like “coming home”. It’s very magical and takes place in Japan – a bit like Gabriel Garcia Marquez in its magical aspects.
    2. Anna Karenina by Tolstoy : too beautiful
    3. Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky: Despite being heavy and Russian, it reads as quickly as a dimestore mystery novel. It’s UNBELIEVABLE.
    3. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson: Beautiful, haunting
    4. Harriet the Spy: I read it 13 times in a row one summer sitting at the pool at the JCC. I fancied myself a bit of a spy…now I”m just an English teacher who likes reading this book with kids.
    5. Wally’s Stories by Vivian Paley, a kindergarten teacher who won a MacArthur Genius award for her study of the stories kids tell. She’s unbelievable.

    Eww, I’ve described several books as “unbelievable”. Anyways, happy reading. I will have to try My Antonia. I study next to Willa Cather’s cottage where she wrote that book.

  • Casey
    March 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    The Bell Jar – I have bought this book about 5 times. Each time I get a new one, I end up loaning it to someone (after I convince them how wonderful it is), and it never comes back!!

  • Casey
    March 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath It was required reading for my Abnormal Psych class…I have read it about 20 more times since then!!

    “There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them. “

  • Shutupandrun
    March 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Gap Creek
    Come Back
    Year of Wonders
    Touch of Wonder

  • meagan
    March 8, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    I think the only book I’m truly addicted to is Outlander by Diana Galbadon. Actually, the entire series. I read every day, but those books—man. Incredible!

  • Aimee
    March 8, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I have always loved My Antonia since I first read it in junior high school. Most people have never even heard of it when I list it as one of my favorite books. I love reading all the book suggestions in the comments. So many books to read…

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    March 8, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Books: my true love.
    1. The Bible (the world’s best self-help book)
    2. Little Women
    3. Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (my mom’s. held together with memories and rubber bands)
    4. Pride and Prejudice
    5. (can this be a free pass for rotation? please?)

  • Becky
    March 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    My list is completely different than everyone else’s who already commented!

    1. Atonement (Ian McEwan)
    2. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (Michael Chabon)
    3. Room (Emma Donoghue) – my favorite book of 2010!
    4. Cien AΓ±os de Soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude) (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)- I’ve read it twice in both Spanish and English and still can’t get enough of it. It should be required reading for the human race.
    5. Eating Animals (Jonathan Safran Foer)- a little nonfiction for good measure, and the book that has most directly changed my everyday life.

  • Meredith
    March 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    The Poisonwood Bible is my all-time favorite!! AMAZING BOOK!

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat)
    March 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    A Movable Feast completely changed my understanding of Hemingway. It’s literary food porn.

    My top 5: A Year In The World, She’s Come Undone, A Prayer For Owen Meany, The Alchemist, The Great Gatsby.

    This is definitely a comments section I need to bookmark!

  • Emily
    March 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Jenna, I think your list is missing something–The Little House on the Prairie! πŸ™‚

  • Emma (Namaste Everyday)
    March 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I cannot live without The Secret Life of Bees, The Help, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harry Potter. Notice a trend?

  • Krista
    March 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Jenna – how is your book coming along? When will we be able to pre-order it?

  • Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama
    March 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Wow so many people know their top five off of the top of their heads. I would have to think about it for a while but my #1 would be the same as yours.

  • Cait
    March 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    I wanted to tell you that I read a soft place to land and really enjoyed it!! 2 favorite books of mine are
    the perks of being a wallflower and the alchemist

  • Cait
    March 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    I wanted to tell you that I read a soft place to land and really enjoyed it!! 2 favorite books of mine are
    the perks of being a wallflower and the alchemist

  • Jenn
    March 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    I read The Prince of Tides for the first time last year and absolutely loved it. I also really enjoyed South of Broad by the same author.

  • Sarah
    March 8, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    I read Summer Sisters by Judy Blume every summer. I even read it on Martha’s Vineyard one summer and went to the Flying Horses Carousel. How dorky am I?

  • Victoria
    March 8, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Before me, six generations of Kansans lived on farmland only thirty miles from Red Cloud, Willa Cather’s hometown. The land she describes in My Antonia is HOME to me. I love that this is on your list. I also think you would love Song of the Lark. I love that one as well!

  • Kristina
    March 8, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    That is a really hard question! I’m a huge book nerd too… we’ll see if I can do this:

    1) The Harry Potter series…that counts as one book right? I’ve seriously read them all at least twice, I couldn’t live without any of them.

    2) Les Miserables – my favorite novel to this day.

    3) Shalimar the Clown – Rushdie’s writing is like poetry, and this book was the first book to make me go “wow” in a lonnnng time when I read it a couple of years ago.

    4) A book of Rumi poems

    5) The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede (or just Dealing with Dragons if I could only choose one of them… but we’re gonna take the same strategy as with HP…)

    I just realized that two of these are childrens/young adult series. Does that make me totally weird…??

    This is what I picked off the top of my head… but I might need to think about it a little harder and do my own post… I’m missing Crime and Punishment, anything by David Sedaris, all philosophy books… bah. Too many books!! Too little time!!!

  • Hillary
    March 8, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Send Me Down a Miracle. I read it almost every summer. I don’t know if I could pin down the other four it changes so often. But I love that I now have all these suggestions!!

  • Amber K
    March 8, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    I can’t pick individual books (even the Bible is made up of multiple books!) but the ones that have meant most in my life are:

    The Bible
    Frank Perreti books
    the Left Behind series
    Riven, by Jerry B. Jenkins
    and James Patterson for fast-paced thrillers

  • AdrienneCarolyn
    March 8, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls…..I seriously hope you’ve read these Jenna because they will stick with you forever!!!

    Also the Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and To Kill A Mockingbird wil NEVER EVER EVER get old….I’ve read both countless times.

    Love the book reviews Jenna keep them coming!

    PS…about to sit in bed and read/drink wine/eat bread….does it get any better on a tuesday??

    • Emily
      March 9, 2011 at 7:28 pm

      I agree! Jeanette Walls books are seriously amazing- I thought about them long after I had read them!

  • Maggie
    March 8, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    I love your list! I actually taught Cather’s novel fairly recently and my students seemed to be fans. What are your favorite Bishop poems? If pressed, I’ll go with “The Map” and “One Art.” I found myself silently reciting the latter when I realized I was falling out of love with my first serious boyfriend. It was kind of tragic yet comforting at the same time.

  • Baking 'n' Books
    March 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Have you really read all of the Bible?

    Also – I am not a poetry person at all, but your description – well, I think I will get that one…

  • Amanda
    March 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    The Prince of Tides is definitely in my top five. And speaking of Hemingway, how is/was The Paris Wife? It’s on my list for this month!

  • Kati @ Living Welll
    March 8, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    The Bible (though I don’t read it enough) I used to love my big, thick Little Women copy…Cooking for Mr. Latte is a great read! The Journey of Desire, and…

    any chick lit! πŸ™‚

  • Michelle
    March 8, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    THanks for this list, I’m always looking for new books for my Kindle! I love The Great Gatsby, Salem’s Lot (Stephen King), and Goodnight Moon πŸ˜‰

  • Elizabeth
    March 8, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    You just gave me an excuse to slip My Antonia into my carry-on bag for my trip to Florida this weekend. =)

    The Lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas fils is a novel that I will never be able to live without. It is the novel on which Verdi’s opera La Traviata and the movie Moulin Rouge are based, and a beautifully tragic love story.

    I’m currently making my way through Dostoevsky’s Crime & Punishment =)

  • Chelsea
    March 8, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    I just finished re-reading My Antonia! There are so many amazing things in that book, but for some reason the image of Jim studying all summer before college and at his desk in his room with Cleric stuck with me the first time I read it and got me through an entire semester of my senior seminar. Well, that and a few scenes from his education in J.S. Mill’s Autobiography. I’d hole up in the library at a big wooden desk against a window thinking that if Jim could resist the distraction of Lena, I could stay focused too, ha!

  • Megan@Dirty Dishes Daily
    March 8, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    1)After Dachau- Daniel Quinn
    2)Me Talk Pretty One Day- David Sedaris
    3)Pillars of the Earth- Ken Follet
    4)A Primate’s Memoir- Robert Sapolsky

  • Lynne
    March 8, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    I am enjoying reading everyone’s comments, and have some great idea for what to read next….
    1. Bible
    2. Little Women’
    3. Pride and Prejudice
    4. To Kill A Mockingbird
    5. A Tale of Two Cities
    6. The Anne of Green Gables series…..really, anything by Lucy Maud Montgomery
    I know I went over 5…….but I couldn’t help it…..
    shout out to my fellow Harriet the Spy lover! I also had a “career” as a spy when I was younger.

  • Prerna@IndianSimmer
    March 8, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    “The white tiger” by an Indian author names Aravind Adiga. Its just a beautiful book!

  • Bec
    March 8, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Love my Antonia! Favorite read from my freshman lit class for sure πŸ™‚

  • Deva (Voracious Vorilee)
    March 8, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    1. Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books.
    2: the perks of being a wallflower
    3: Dragonflight
    4: Little Women
    5: The Mists of Avalon

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write
    March 8, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Jane Eyre is my number one. I have read it a dozen times or more. It touches my heart and brings me home.

  • emily
    March 8, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    1. Alice in Wonderland
    2. Magical Thinking
    3. Wasted
    4. The Chronicles of Narnia
    5. The Nancy Drew series (I know that’s cheating, but come on, how can I not choose ND!?!)

  • Christina
    March 8, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    My top 5 would be:
    Jane Eyre
    Sarah’s Key
    Pride & Prejudice
    The Stone Angel

  • Lauren @ laurenINlawrence
    March 8, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    ugh, considering the last time I read a real book was last summer (darn law school) I am certainly not an expert on this, but i wanted to tell you how much i LOVE my antonia. willa cather is from the same neck of the woods as my mom, so every description of the landscape in all of her books reminds me of β€œhome” and the ks/ne plains that i love so much. my antonia has been a classic favorite since the first time i read it in 8th grade. nice pick πŸ™‚

  • Caroline
    March 8, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    1. The Bible
    2. Harry Potter (I really do think of it as one loooong book)
    3. Pride & Prejudice
    4. Where the Sidewalk Ends (THIS is quality poetry)
    5. Anne of Green Gables

  • Stacy @ LoveDiscoveryGratitude
    March 8, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Can all the Harry Potter books count as one?! πŸ™‚

    1: HP series
    2. The Power/The Secret
    3. Wildwood Dancing
    4. Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales
    5. Master Your Metabolism

    Fantasy, motivation, and health. πŸ™‚

  • Stacy @ LoveDiscoveryGratitude
    March 8, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    AH JANE EYRE! I also LOOOOVE that book.

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    March 8, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Great list πŸ˜‰ Mine are:
    1. The Bible
    2. Time Saving Standards for Interior Design (a must have for any designer!)
    3. Flowers For Algernon (cried my way through the last half of this book)
    4. The Diary of Anne Frank
    5. The O’Malley series by Dee Henderson (I have a “romantic meets suspense” side)

    • brandi
      March 9, 2011 at 5:54 am

      The O’Malley series is one of my favorite addictions πŸ™‚ I love those books and have read the series 3 times already!

  • mitzi @ my nikon eats food
    March 8, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    i’m really all about books i’ve grown up with…(or..i just haven’t read enough recently)

    1. the bible
    2. mandy
    3. island of the blue dolphins
    4. hatchet
    5. little house in the big woods

    ahh…brings back memories

  • Sally
    March 8, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    A moveable feast is a very interesting choice choice! I did my thesis on Hemingway and have read most of his works. When he wrote that book he was 3 wives and many many years later; he longed for his ex-pat life in Paris with Hadley. In fact, though she had married again, he drove to her home and upon not finding her home, left a note that said “the first gods are the best gods.” Hemingway had remarried at the time to his fourth wife, Mary, who was a bit of a professional Mrs. Hemingway and not at all like Hadley. I’m sure you knew that all already but context is as interesting as content when it comes to old Ernest. I miss college and talking about these things, can you tell?

    And “Going After Cacciatto” by Tim O’Brien

  • Maria
    March 8, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    1. Malena es un nombre de tango by Almudena Grandes, the best writer ever…
    2. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
    3. Oracle night by Paul Auster
    4. Anything by Haruki Murakami and last but not least
    5. Harry Potter series!!

  • Keri
    March 9, 2011 at 3:21 am

    Thank you for sharing! I love Hemingway, but have to re-read My Antonia. I read it in HS or college and I don’t remember liking it. I think I would appreciate it much more now.

  • polly
    March 9, 2011 at 3:38 am

    hi sweet baby girl orange tart sis! πŸ˜›

    The Bible and it’s many other branches like our devo book we do as a family each morning. Honestly sometime (often!) I prefer a devo book with ONE verse each day rather than the whole Bible. I guess it’s like I can chew on that one bite and sometimes that is just better for me, but I am rambling… πŸ˜€

    Also, I loveFREE INSIDE AND OUT by Luci Swindoll and Marilyn Mayberg… SO SO SO good. I also have been known to freak out and cry and cheer over REDEEMING LOVE.

    Also, I love House Rules by Jodi Picoult and the life story of Jim Daly (Focus on the Family Prez) is excellent. I love reading real life stories! It’s called FINDING HOME.

    I tend to go on reading kicks and right now I’m actually into listening to messages on-line from favorite pastors and radio shows. I’ve been in the kitchen a lot and it’s so fun to two things at once. Poor Dan, he comes home for lunch and I’m like “honey, guess what I learned today?!?!” Poor guy just wants a sandwich. πŸ˜‰

    Love you, honey! How is Adam? We are praying for you guys and I just so wish we lived next door. I’d be over to taste test and see your new house! I’d bring Charlie and we’d have a wonderful morning.

    How is yoga? Been sweet here, wanna come over and we can play with handstands? I switched to teaching 3 group classes each week (4 girls each) instead of so many private sessions. I was teaching a LOT and I really prefer just 4-5 classes each week. I’m getting OLD. πŸ˜›

    Oh! Gotta skoot… D and A are ready for some grub! It’s 6:30am… gotta keep moving or we all lose focus and everybody’s late! (me = biggest focus loser)

    You looked so cute in the photo with the wine bottle on date night. Adam and the salmon were pretty cute too.


  • Sarah (Running To Slow Things Down)
    March 9, 2011 at 4:03 am

    Moveable Feast sounds like a wonderful book! I’ll have to pick it up. πŸ˜€

    I honestly can’t think of my 5 favorite books. There are just so many! I do know that To Kill A Mockingbird would make the list. And I love anything by George Eliot.

    I’ll need to think this through… πŸ˜€

  • Marika
    March 9, 2011 at 4:26 am

    I can come up with four easily:
    Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
    Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
    The complete works of Shakespeare

    I was an English major so I’ve read and loved many classics too, it’s just hard to pick favorites!

  • Fancy
    March 9, 2011 at 4:27 am

    Thank you for doing a book post, you have opened my eyes to so many wonderful books. Hard to choose a top 5 but there are ones I love: American Wife, Kite Runner, The Help, Shanghai Girls, Time Traveler’s Wife, etc. For fun and easy reads I love the Shopoholic series by Sophie Kinsella (didn’t like the movie, just the books) and the “Slightly” series by Wendy Markham. I’m in the middle of Thousand Splendid Suns right now and it’s amazing so far!

  • kimmy
    March 9, 2011 at 6:03 am

    This is so easy for me!
    1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
    2. Persuasion – Jane Austen
    3. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
    4. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
    5. All Anne of Green Gables Books

  • Sarah@sarahssweetlips
    March 9, 2011 at 6:13 am

    Awesome post, Jenna! It’s so neat to see what other people love to read.
    Jane Eyre is my favorite book EVER. I fall in love every time I read it (which has been approximately 18 times). My other four include Pride and Prejudice, The Bell Jar, Wuthering Heights, and Anne of Green Gables.
    Didn’t you forget Little House on the Prairie?

  • Lisa
    March 9, 2011 at 7:46 am

    I LOVE to read and while I have a huuge list of my favs (that I won’t bore you with) I just read one of the most amazing and moving books and I feel compelled to share it with everyone (just ask my coworkers). It’s called “Those Who Save Us” by Jenna Blum. Amazing amazing, get ready to cry (and become a hermit for the weekend, this is a page-turner!)

  • Kim
    March 9, 2011 at 9:55 am

    A Moveable Feast is definitely on my list, too! Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urberviiles. The Poetry of Robert Frost: The Collected Poems. The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway. Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations.

  • KaraHadley
    March 9, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I just read A Moveable Feast (my first Hemingway!) and fell madly in love with him, his style and Paris. Beyond that…certainly A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

    • Charise
      March 10, 2011 at 10:32 am

      A Moveable Feast has been on my Goodreads to-read list for awhile – your comment may have just jumped it to the top! πŸ™‚

  • Rachel Wilkerson
    March 9, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    The Time Traveler’s Wife!!!

  • megan @ blackberries for jam
    March 9, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    1) On Beauty
    2) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
    3) Siddhartha
    4) A Homemade Life
    5) American Wife

  • Amy
    March 9, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Books. How I love books! I have so many but I narrowed it down to the first five that came to mind. My five (in no particular order) are:
    – Matilda by Roald Dahl
    – The Secret Garden or A Little Princess (they tie in my eyes)
    – The Awakening
    – Ethan Frome
    – the Harry Potter books

  • Caitlin
    March 9, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Gosh- to many to count! I am a HUGE book nerd! Right now I am reading The Hunger Games and heard wonderful things about it! I am starting it tonight. I think you should join our bloggie book club πŸ™‚

  • Tamara
    March 9, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    1.Bible, 2. Tuesdays With Morrie, 3. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, 4. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie 5. Memoirs of a Geisha

  • Charise
    March 10, 2011 at 10:29 am

    I have so many books I really loved, but not really a definite list of favorites. But I think it would include Brave New World, The Time Traveler’s Wife, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and 1984. If we’re gonna bring in non-fiction/memoirs as well, My Life in France and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks would be up there.

  • skinny latte
    March 10, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    I keep meaning to get A Moveable Feast! Thanks for the reminder πŸ˜‰

  • anurse
    March 11, 2011 at 6:07 am

    i love your picture at the bottom of this post of those new orleans street names! did you take that? its lovely!

    • jenna
      March 11, 2011 at 8:49 am

      At a tiny cajun restaurant in Berkeley!

  • Erin
    March 12, 2011 at 10:04 am

    1. The Old Testament
    2. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
    3. Poems, T.S. Eliot
    4. Little House in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder
    5. Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook, First Edition

  • Julien
    March 14, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Thanks for the book reviews and must-read lists! My own to-read list is miles long, but I love recommendations. : )

    I was thinking, you might want to consider linking your books to instead of amazon. They have really great resources for reviews/synopsis/discussions ect and it would be nice to be able to go straight to a website with more information on the book instead of just a place to buy it.

  • lcgrant03
    March 16, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Too many to choose, but these are the ones that I can reread any time…
    1. Running with the Buffaloes – gets my heart pumping every time thinking of the college XC
    2. Series of my youth: Little House, Anne of Green Gables & Lurlene McDaniel books
    3. Little Women
    4. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – not sure what it was about the tragic character Tess, but loved her & Angel’s relationship
    5. The Blue Bistro – my fav summer beach read

  • kristin
    March 18, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    My all time favorite book is The Alchemist, life changing.

    There are so many but I really love Angela’s Ashes, The Giving Tree, Cider House Rules and The Lovely Bones.

  • Lauren
    March 23, 2011 at 10:11 am

    I know that I’m way late in commenting on this post, but I love your five must-read books! “A Moveable Feast” will always be one of my absolute favorites.

    My top five books:

    1) “In the Time of the Butterflies,” by Julia Alvarez. So beautiful and poignant.

    2) “A Clockwork Orange,” by Anthony Burgess. I love this crazy, complicated, thought-provoking book. Learning to read the dialect is a little like learning to read in another language.

    3) “Johnny Got His Gun,” by Dalton Trumbo. I read this book as a sophomore in high school, and it destroyed me. (In a good way). So powerful. I’ve read it several times since then, and its power never wanes.

    4) “The Liar’s Club,” by Mary Karr. This memoir is brutally honest, unexpectededly funny, and starkly beautiful. Mary Karr is an amazing writer!

    5) “Some Girls: My Life in a Harem,” by Jillian Lauren. Another memoir, and one I just finished a couple months ago. The subject matter is so interesting, and the writing is so lyrical and effective.

  • kellyo
    April 24, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I am half way through a series by Julie Hyzy called The White House Chef Mystery Series. They are quick, fun easy reads. You might enjoy them.

  • joey balujsat
    May 4, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    i have only tree books that i cant live without : the Alchemist, Tuesday with morrie purpose driven life. there are so much to live our live its more than a gift. we should live it to the fullest

  • Laura
    May 19, 2011 at 9:29 am

    1. The Bible

    2. Pride and Prejudice

    3. Little Woman

    4. Harry Potter series

    5. Redeeming Love

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