Thursday, October 21, 2010

Book Lists

I love good book lists.  I love looking at them and thinking of all the great stories, adventures and new awareness waiting to be discovered.  It's tempting to get too caught up in reading everything in a certain list though.  My personality being one that likes list and checking things off of lists, it can be stressful for me to see a list and notice all of the things I haven't read.

I am so grateful for the recent realization that I don't have to read all of the great classics.  In fact, if I am truly trying to grow closer to Heavenly Father in my daily life and increasing in faith  - I find that am able to find great knowledge in seemingly simple things.  Even a few minute of reading from a good classic (and especially from the core classic - the scriptures) in the evening can give me great deal to ponder on and ways to improve.  What is the use of reading a bunch of classics anyway if I don't give myself time to digest them and see the truth and beauty in them?

I find that a good book gives me perspective, as does a walk in nature, praying, pondering, attending the temple, or taking time to chat with a child.  The Holy Ghost teaches me the things that I need to know when I'm doing these things (and others).  If I'm reading to get through a list- the whole point is lost and I probably ought to be spending my time doing other things.

There are several books that I've read over again, that I learn from each and every time I do so.  Those are true classics.   I think that what makes a book worth reading is that it is true, even if it's fiction.  In other words, it espouses true principles.  I find the fiction books that I can learn the most from are those that portray people with weaknesses and strengths, that those inner qualities are changed for the better of for the worse by the choices they make.  Also, inversely, those choices should be in line with what you know their characters to be like.  In these kind of books, truth shines through.  I am able to ponder on certain universal principles, or God's ways.

Unfortunately, I wasted much of my youth reading stuff without substance.  As my children get older I find I am at a loss about what I really ought to recommend that they read.  I've started on several lists only to find that they are not all the quality of literature that I think I should be spending my time on.

I'm going to link this post to several reading lists that I like.  Some of them I can't find on the internet so I'll write them out.  If any of you want to comment on any books on the lists (if you don't think they are worth reading or if they are not up to a high enough standard, please comment and let me know so that I don't have to waste my time on them).

So what is my standard?  I want books that are true (true in the sense that I describe above), and that would not offend the spirit.  I want to have the influence of the Holy Ghost as I read so I can discern truth from error and find what I can apply to my life.  Some books offend the spirit and then I am left to decide for myself - and that is not nearly as productive ;-)

Here are the lists:
-If there is a book on the list that I read and do not think it is up to the standard above (or if I didn't like the first in the series and am not interested in reading the rest), I'll cross it out.
-If there is a book that I read and it was up to the standard, I'll put in in bold.  Maybe I'll even get around to writing a comment on it and linking it.
-If I don't know anything about the book, or if I haven't read it lately and am not sure how I would feel about it now, I'll leave it as it is.  I would love some feedback from any of you who have read them.

My Reading List

Children's Book Lists:
The Good Books
Milestones Academy  (thanks Christy!) 
TJed Home Companion: List for Children
A Thomas Jefferson Education: Appendix List for Children

Book Lists for Youth:
TJed for Teens list
TJed Home Companion: List for Youth
A Thomas Jefferson Education: Appendix List for Youth

Book Lists for Adults:
Author Henry King's List for a Lifetime
The Great Books
TJed Home Companion: List for Adults
A Thomas Jefferson Education: Appendix List for Adults


  1. Wow! Thanks for sharing all of these lists. We've been trying to work through the 1000 Good Books List (, but sometimes I wish that I could know what "the best of the best" are so that we don't miss them!

  2. Pete and I had a great little discussion the other night, that stemmed from the recent discussion about The Hunger Games (which I had never heard of) and Harry Potter on your blog and others. We talked about some of the classics on our book shelf...the kind like Marx, which reflect things we absolutely don't believe in, but which we feel are necessary to understand, in order to know what NOT to do, and what to watch out for to protect our own freedoms. (We have not read any of these kinds of books yet.) We both feel that it's SO important to keep ourselves immersed in the scriptures as we read things like this, so that we have an anchor of truth to hold onto, when we read something that is so anchored in deception and and the ways of the adversary. I also feel very strongly, (at least for me), that I should take baby steps in my own learning, to make sure that I don't immerse myself in ideas that are too far out of my comfort zone, as far as reading and comprehension go. I want to make sure that I have learned basic truths before I add other, more complex truths, that may confuse me or give a false understanding about a subject or an author. Does that make sense? I definitely believe that there is a time and purpose to everything and that the Lord will bless me to know basic things, upon which I can build more complex truths, as He prompts me to do so!

  3. Thank you for sharing these lists. Great resource and I appreciate your insight. It is helpful to know which books may not be worth the time away from better things.

  4. I absolutely agree that we can find great truth and knowledge in the simplest of ways. The other day, I literally only had 5 minutes to study scriptures, but I said a quick prayer, asked a simple question, opened my scriptures and read two verses that answered my question so profoundly I'm still pondering the answer in amazement.

    Sometimes just a few minutes reading gives me so much to think about I can't get to sleep for hours. That's a problem... but certainly not the worst of problems! =)

  5. Thank you so much for these posts! And, for saying that you would never get to all the books you want to read. It freed me up, really. We have read many good books as a family, and my children have read a lot of good books, and I still find myself feeling guilty because of what we haven't read. Now, I can see that we can just choose a book or two and enjoy them without feeling guilty for what we're NOT reading at the same time. I love your insightful posts and the before and after pictures of your house cleaning. It inspires me. Thank you!

  6. Thank you, thank you for taking the time to do these book list posts!! I have loved looking through them. I want to print them up so when I'm at the library I have good books to look for - I need to be much better with both the books I read and the books the kids read.