I am going to share with you five of my favorite books. I do so with trepidation. It’s like sharing part of my heart with you–and what if you think, “Ick. I did not like that book. What was she thinking?” But, I will take the chance.
The Majesty of Calmness, William George Jordan
Heber J. Grant loved this author so much that he bought the publishing rights to one of his books and gave it as a gift to many friends. I also really like “The Power of Truth” and “The Kingship of Self-Control.” Here is a favorite passage from The Majesty of Calmness:
Calmness comes ever from within. It is the peace and restfulness of the depths of our nature. The fury of storm and of wind agitate only the surface of the sea; they can penetrate only two or three hundred feet,–below that is the calm, unruffled deep. To be ready for the great crises of life we must learn serenity in our daily living. Calmness is the crown of self-control.
When the worries and cares of the day fret you, and begin to wear upon you, and you chafe under the friction,–be calm. Stop, rest for a moment, and let calmness and peace assert themselves. If you let these irritating outside influences get the better of you, you are confessing your inferiority to them, by permitting them to dominate you. Study the disturbing elements, each by itself, bring all the will power of your nature to bear upon them, and you will find that they will, one by one, melt into nothingness, like vapors fading before the sun….Then, in some great hour of your life, when you stand face to face with some awful trial, when the structure of your ambition and life-work crumbles in a moment, you will be brave. You can then fold your arms calmly, look out undismayed and undaunted upon the ashes of your hope, upon the wreck of what you have faithfully built, and with brave heart and unfaltering voice you may say: “So let it be,–I will build again.”
American History Stories, Mara L. Pratt
While these were made for children, they are great reading for adults, too. An added bonus is that they are great fun to read aloud (and they are public domain, as well).
I love these books because they teach American History in such a wonderful, personal way. And I love history. Especially American. It’s exciting!
One of our favorite stories is about Free and Equal, a little girl’s calf that had been stolen by the British. Here is an excerpt explaining what the little girl did:
Off she started at once for the headquarters of Lord Cornwallis. Hurrying over three miles of hot, dusty road, she gained entrance to the great General’s room. …she told him that his soldiers had stolen her cow, and that she had come to take her back again. Lord Cornwallis was much attracted towards the “sturdy little rebel” as he called her, and promised to have “Free-‘n-Equal” returned to her at once.
Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
I really don’t need to say much about this title, except it is much better reading when you have the 1887 editions (which I do!). Here is a favorite quote:
“Ah,” returned the Bishop, “so it is the silver which troubles you? I don’t know where it is.”
“Great, good God! It is stolen! That man who was here last night has stolen it….Ah, the abomination! He has stolen our silver!”
The Bishop remained silent for a moment; then he raised his grave eyes, and said gently to Madame Magloire:–
“And, in the first place, was that silver ours?”
The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams
I know it’s a children’s book, but what a profound lesson it has been to me. Reading it changed my entire outlook on motherhood (see an essay I wrote about it here).
Little Men, Louisa May Alcott
One of the best parenting books I could recommend to anyone–this is a beautiful way to learn how to be an old-fashioned mother. This is the book I read when I need to be inspired with my career choice and it never fails me.
Every time I read it, I am inspired with ways to better mother my own little version of “Plumfield.”
A favorite quote from the book:
“Love is a flower that grows in any soil, works its sweet miracles undaunted by autumn frost or winter snow, blooming fair and fragrant all the year, and blessing those who give and those who receive.”