98 books and book series that have enriched my life

Sherry at Semicolon posted a link to one pastor’s list of 99 Books That Made My First 50 Years Worth Living. He was going to make a list of 50 but ended up with 99. That, of course, got me to thinking about what books I would put on such a list. If I keep strictly to the first 50 years, I can’t include the ones I have read in the last three, which is unfortunate since I’ve only been chronicling the books I have read since starting a blog. But I might just sneak a couple of those on the list. I think I am going to separate them into categories just because that will help me, I think.

Later in his post he asked for ideas for books one should not die without reading. That would be a much shorter list. So I am going here for those that have most enriched or impacted my life.

OK, let’s see how many I end up with…


David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens

Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott

Anne of Green Gables and all its sequels by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Ben Hur by Lew Wallace

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Persuasion by Jane Austen


Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur by Frank Houghton

Hudson Taylor: Growth of a Soul by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor

By Searching, In the Arena, and Second Mile People by Isobel Kuhn

Mountain Rain: A New Biography of J. O. Fraser by Eleen Crossman

Goforth of China by Rosalind Goforth

Climbing by Rosalind Goforth

The Small Woman by Alan Burgess (about Gladys Aylward)

Evidence Not Seen: A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II by Darlene Deibler Rose

In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham

Mimosa by Amy Carmichael

Gifted Hands by Ben Carson

The Valley Is Bright by Nell Collins and Mary Beth Moster

Marriage to a Difficult Man:The Uncommon Union of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards by Elisabeth D. Dodds

Through Gates of Splendor, The Savage My Kinsman, Shadow of the Almighty, The Journals of Jim Elliot by Elisabeth Elliot

To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson by Courtney Anderson

Heir to a Dream by Pete Marovich

Beyond My Dreams by Dr. Bill Maher

Twice Pardoned by Harold Miller

The Autobiography of George Muller

The End of the Spear by Steve Saint

Daktar: Diplomat in Bangladesh by Viggo Olsen

Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon by Charles Ray

Mary Slessor: Queen of Calabar by Sam Wellman

Cowboy Boots In Darkest Africa by Bill Rice

The God I Love by Joni Eareckson Tada

Charlie’s Victory by Charlie and Lucy Wedemeyer

One Candle to Burn by Kay Washer

Children of the Storm: The Autobiography of Natasha Vins

The Reel Story by Larry D. Vaughn

More Precious Than Gold: The Fiery Trials of a Family’s Faith by John Vaughn

Dorie: The Girl Nobody Loved by Doris Van Stone

Biography of William Cary (can’t remember which exact one I read)

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Christian Books (not fiction or biography):

The Bible

Changed Into His Image by Jim Berg

Spiritual Depression by David Martin Lloyd Jones

Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders

Full Assurance by H. A. ironside

Sometimes I Prefer to Fuss by Verda Peet

Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot

Winning the Inner War: How To Say No to a Stubborn Habit by Erwin Lutzer

The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot

Dare to Discipline by James Dobson

The Ministry of Marriage by Jim Binney

On Asking God Why, Passion and Purity, Keep a Quiet Heart, A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliot

The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Ormartian

When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada

When Is It Right To Die by Joni Eareckson Tada

Rose From Brier by Amy Carmichael

A Woman After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George

Becoming God’s True Woman by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, et al

The Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer

Hoping For Something Better by Nancy Guthrie

Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, Disciplines of the Heart, and Disciplines of the Home by Anne Ortlund

Hints on Child Training by H. Clay Trumbull

Christian Fiction:

Jan Karon’s Mitford series

Not My Will by Francena Arnold, possibly the first Christian novel I read

Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly and A Prairie Legacy series, particularly A Quiet Strength

Ted Dekker’s Circle trilogy

Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series

The Princess and Sophie’s Heart by Lori Wick

This is an almost impossible task, especially with the last category, because I have enjoyed and been greatly enriched by many books, but to keep this list at all manageable, I’ve just listed the ones which had the most major impact on me in some way. They are in no particular order — I mostly jotted them down as they came to mind. By my count that is 98 if I only count each series as one. On any given day this list would probably vary a bit, but these, I think, are the standouts. Yet even so, I feel I must be forgetting something….

Any of these on your list? Which ones? What others would you include?

11 thoughts on “98 books and book series that have enriched my life

  1. I don’t think I could do this exercise myself, but I applaud many of your titles!

    I’m sure many books have influenced me without my even realizing it at the time… Others I’m sure I’ve forgotten. But I’m going to be paying attention to which ones intrude on my thoughts over the next few days!

  2. I see some favorites of mine on this list! Ben Carson, Joni Eareckson Tada, James Dobson… and of course, Jan Karon! Who has a new Father Tim series coming out — didja hear?

  3. I am not ce4rtain I could do this. I have ready so many books! There was a point in my life when I devoured 3-5 per week. I am only know comeing to realize that I remember them only fitfully and obviously didn’t give most of them the rumination time they deserved.

  4. WOW…I was just telling Loverbrains that I needed some new Christian bios to read this winter…since that’s sort of been my “spiritual thing” when it’s cold outside. HA! I think I will chomp on your bios list! Thanks!

  5. Pingback: Booking Through Thursday: Life-Changing Books « Stray Thoughts

  6. Pingback: Retrospective Stray Thoughts « Stray Thoughts

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