I base my book selection on many factors, but one that always trumps is the state of my spirit. When I am in a spiritual slump, I often return to old friends that feed my soul with wholesome words, winsome characters, everyday family relationships, and positive messages. Here are my favorite wholesome standbys:
Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery:
L.M. Montgomery is my all time favorite author. I relate to Anne Shirley/Blythe more than any other fictional character I have read. (A sensitive girl, who doesn’t easily embrace change, who lives partly in a dream world, who wants to love and be loved by everyone, who finds herself in words and the comforts of home, who aspires to do and be more, who is feisty and stubborn and determined and accident prone, who values education and children and family: yep, that sounds familiar! I also think that shaven, my husband resembles the actor Jonathan Crombie when he played Gilbert in Anne of Avonlea…hmm.) I have every fictional book penned by L.M. Montgomery, and have watched and own the miniseries Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, (and yes, even the awful attempt to resolve the onscreen Anne stories in the form of Anne of Green Gables, The Continuing Story ). I can’t get enough of Anne’s world. I plan to do a whole post on L.M. Montgomery’s work at some point, but in the meantime, I’ll share that retreats to Prince Edward Island nourish my soul. I hope to visit PEI some day in real life.
The Corrie Belle Hollister Series by Judith Pella and Michael Phillips:
I hope to re-read these soon, given that my home is now near many Civil War sites. Corrie Belle Hollister is a fictional Christian journalist during the Civil War era; the books chronicle the tale of her adventures as a pioneer girl/woman in the West and working as a journalist during the Civil War. The moral struggles she and her family encounter and overcome are inspirational and Corrie is a strong, smart role model for young girls. Today’s girls would do well to put down Twilight and Gossip Girl and pick up one of these novels to learn about strength, intelligence, and integrity. My Grandmother bought these and read these with me, bequeathing them to me before she passed away and I hope to share them with my little girl when she is older.
Little Women (Little Men, Jo’s Boys) by Louisa May Alcott:
Both the real life and fictional adaptations of the Alcott family are inspiring. The simple morality, the everyday human struggles and triumphs of spirit, the lessons in kindness, simplicity, compassion and value for education speak to me deeply.
The Mitford Series by Jan Karon:
I have turned to these books after the death of my beloved Grandmother, after the loss of a friend, many, many times when I’ve needed to believe in the goodness of community and everyday people. Father Tim is everybody’s Father and everybody’s friend. I always leave these books feeling refreshed and gentle in spirit.
What are your favorite wholesome books? What books refresh your spirit?