All Things Books

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Anyone who knows me (or reads this blog, really!) knows just how much I LOVE, love, love reading! I wanted to pull together one big + cumulative blog post about books and reading so that I have lots of great and helpful links and lists in one place, for your sake and mine. I’m often asked for book recommendations and lists of favorite reads, which I adore. Poring over all of these past blog posts was so fun, as I think it’s clear just how passionate I am about reading and good, powerful writing. I’ve been an incredibly avid reader since I was really young, and I’m so glad this love of reading has followed me all of my life. So, here we go with several lists and links of favorite books and authors…

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my ALL-TIME favorite books:

  • Gone With the Wind,   Margaret Mitchell
  • Eat, Pray, Love,   Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Pillars of the Earth,  Ken Follett
  • Harry Potter series,   J. K. Rowling
  • To Kill a Mockingbird,   Harper Lee
  • East of Eden,   John Steinbeck
  • Pride and Prejudice,   Jane Austen
  • Screwtape Letters,   C. S. Lewis
  • Les Miserables,   Victor Hugo
  • Anne of Green Gables,   L. M. Montgomery
  • The Help,   Kathryn Stockett
  • Secret Life of Bees,   Sue Monk Kidd
  • The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Angels & Demons and The DaVinci Code, Dan Brown
  • Bread and Wine, Shauna Niequist
  • Mere Christianity,   C. S. Lewis

My very first blog post on books: Let’s Talk About Books

This list of all-time favorite books has been thoughtfully curated over the last many years, and very few new books make the cut onto my ALL-time favorite list. I’ve read many of these books many times, and they’re ones that have changed my life in some way. They are my go-tos when I’m recommending books to others, and they are beloved to me!

A huge synopsis and review: all the best books I read in 2014

Another huge synopsis and review: all the best books I read in 2013

on my nightstand:

Favorite Christian reads:
  • Mere Christianity + The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis
  • Bread & Wine + Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist
  • Make it Happen by Lara Casey
  • The Reason for God by Tim Keller
  • Crazy Love + Forgotten God by Francis Chan
  • Radical by David Platt
  • The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
  • Love Does by Bob Goff
  • Love, Skip, Jump by Shelene Bryan
  • Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
  • The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst

Life-changing reads:

  • Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis
  • Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis
  • Crazy Love, Francis Chan
  • A Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren
  • The Reason for God, Tim Keller
Summer/beach reads:
  • To Kill a Mockingbird + Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
  • South of Broad + Beach Music by Pat Conroy
  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
  • any books by Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies, The Husband’s Secret, What Alice Forgot)
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  • At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

A blog post on: Summer Reads + Christian Books I Love

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Best Southern Books:

Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee
The Help, Kathryn Stockett
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt
The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
The Color Purple, Alice Walker
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

Best Southern Authors:
Flannery O’Connor
William Faulkner
Pay Conroy (Charleston)
Rick Bragg
Nicholas Sparks
southern-books2

Book reviews of: The Signature of All Things, East of Eden, The Invention of Wings, and The Rosie Project (all books I would highly, highly recommend)

Book reviews of: Molokai, The Ragamuffin Gospel, The Fault in Our Stars, The Kitchen House, & Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore

Book reviews of: Love Skip Jump, The Best Yes, and the Business Romantic

Recommendations for: Business Books

I hope these links and links are helpful, informative, and inspiring to you! It’s a little bit of a hodge-podge, but I’m constantly finding new books to read and recommend. I would LOVE to know from you, friends: what is the most vivid book you’ve ever read?

You can also follow along with books I’m reading on Instagram (@stephaniescholl) with the hashtag #stephaniereads

“If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads, but what he re-reads.” – Francois Mauriac

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Articles Club

I was recently reading A Cup of Jo’s blog post about the Articles Club that she and her friends started, and that got my wheels turning. I’ve long adored being in my book club (three years and counting), but some of my friends are too busy/overwhelmed/intimidated by reading a book every month. So I reached out to several friends, as I love any excuse to read, and we, too, are going to have an articles club!

Like I said, reading, chatting with my friends, having great conversation, and drinking wine is a win-win for me. I am hosting it in my home, as I feel like that might prompt even better discussion (and who doesn’t like apps, wine, and desserts?). And I think the articles (as opposed to books) will appeal to friends who aren’t huge readers or who don’t want to commit to a book. Plus, with a group of twenty-somethings living in DC, I think our conversations and discussions will be excellent and insightful.

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I’m excited to commence our articles club tonight, and I’d love to hear –

what are some articles that you would recommend we read and discuss?

PS: I so wish Bridgette was local so that she could join!!

Recent Reads

It’s about that time again for some book reviews! As y’all know by now, reading is an activity that brings me so much joy. I love devouring a great book that opens your mind, leaves you hungrily turning the page, and teaches you more about life and people. To me, reading is relaxing and necessary – I honestly can’t imagine not having a book to read every day. Of course, part of this comes from my hours on the metro each day, but it’s also a treat to crack open a book and get lost in another world.

Has anyone ever read A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving? I read this book years and years ago in early high school, and I recall loving the book. However, I couldn’t recall much else about it, other than the fact that it really moved me in some way. And now, many years later, I decided it was time to delve into this book again. (PS: Re-reading books is one of my very favorite things to do!) For the second time, A Prayer for Owen Meany did not disappoint – in fact, it kept getting better and better. What a touching, fascinating, and compelling read! If you haven’t read this book already (or if it’s been a decade since you’ve read it), please run to your bookstore or library and read this book. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, and you’ll find yourself falling in love with the characters and plot line, like I did.
I had heard rave reviews about The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, one of the hottest books of the year. And one of the longest books! It was a good book that I really couldn’t put down (despite its length), but I’m not so sure I loved the book. It definitely kept me hooked, and I liked the premise of the book… but it got to be a bit long-winded and so many of the characters were just pitiful. I’d encourage you to read it (if you have the time!), and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one.
As I mentioned above, I adore re-reading books! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read over and over my very favorite books – but let’s just say it’s a lot. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of THE very best books I have ever read, and it was time to re-read it last week. Again, it affirmed just how much I love that book – every character, the twists and turns, the story, and the underlying morals/themes of this book. I would think everyone’s read this incredible book by now, but if you haven’t… then you must!
A new book I read this month was Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen. I’ve never read much about Edgar Allen Poe, besides his infamous poems, so it was fun to learn so much new information about Poe’s private life – including his wife and his mistress. I’m not sure how much of this book was factual, but it was fascinating to learn about famous authors in New York City during this time period and see why Poe wrote poems like he did. This book was a pretty easy and entertaining read – I liked it!
So, what have you been reading lately? What’s next in your queue? I need some new book recommendations for Spring Break!