How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman

My favorite books

Time for another giveaway! And this year, I wanted to mix it up a bit for Home for the Holidays and make it a bit more personal, from me to you.

Today I’m giving away a collection of my favorite books—not all my favorites, of course (oh goodness, that would cost me a million dollars), but these are a collection of both favorite classics of mine and recent reads I’ve enjoyed. I think you’ll like them, too.

One person will win ALL these books! Give them to different people you love, wow one person with a reader’s paradise, or (shhh) keep them for yourself. I won’t tell. Here they are, in random order.

1. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Novelist Kingsolver recounts a year spent eating home-grown food and, if not that, local. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a memoir of her family’s year of eating locally, and in storytelling fashion, shares how everyone pitches in. I adore this book—I couldn’t put it down the first time I read it. And I’ve learned so much from it; it served as a foundation in my appreciation for eating real food.

2. Escaping Into the Open: The Art of Writing True, by Elizabeth Berg

Berg is one of my favorite novelists, and Escaping Into The Open is her work on writing. I love this book. An inspiring, practical handbook on the joys and challenges of the writing life, Berg interweaves the story of her own journey from working mother to bestselling novelist with encouraging advice on how to create great stories, even in nonfiction. I read this book when I’ve got writer’s block.

3. Parenting with Love and Logic, by Foster Cline and Jim Fay

Love and Logic is our pseudo go-to parenting manual (if there really is one). This book is a heavyweight wealth of advice with both encouragement and practical tips when I’m weary from parenting. In the context of a healthy, loving relationship, “Love and Logic” parents teach their children responsibility and the logic of life by solving their own problems, providing skills for coping in the real world. It taught me not to freak out when my kids are being loud. Again.

4. Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States, by Dave Barry

I keep Dave Barry Slept Here in my nightstand and read it when I need a laugh before bed. It’s quite a few years old, but the humor stands as a classic. Written like a history book, Barry walks through American history from the Mayflower to the Reagan-Bush years (yep, a bit old). How great is a book with chapter titles like “Spain Gets Hot,” “A Brash Young Nation Gets Into Wars and Stuff,” and “The Nation Enters Chapter Eleven”?

5. How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman

How to Cook Everything is the definitive modern classic that helps home cooks discover the simple joys of cooking from scratch. Straight-forward and easy, everything I’ve tried from this ginormous cookbook has been delicious. Bittman is a classic home-taught cook who writes a fabulous New York Times column on food (his blog is one of the few I take time to read.) I cook from this weekly. I like to give this as a wedding gift.

6. Decorate: 1,000 Design Ideas for Every Room in Your Home, by Holly Becker

As the blogger behind Decor8, Decorate is Holly’s beautiful compilation from a wide spectrum of designers. This intensive book is both beautiful inspiration and nuts-and-bolts how-to for creating visually stunning rooms in everyday homes. I love that this book is real life decor. Gorgeous, but do-able. And 500 photos. Who doesn’t love that?

7. What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty

I read What Alice Forgot this summer at the neighborhood pool, and it was so much fun. I love it when I find novels I can’t put down—it grabbed me from page one. Alice is 29-years-old, in love with her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So she’s a bit shocked when she wakes up on the gym floor as a 39-year-old mom of three who’s on the verge of divorce. Fun and fascinating, this novel explores the protagonist’s journey of finding out why she can’t remember the past decade.

8. At Home: A Short History of a Private Life, by Bill Bryson

I love everything by Bill Bryson, but At Home is one of my favorites—such a creative, fascinating take on home life. Bryson walks through each room of his own house, using it as a springboard to dive into the history of all our domestic tools. From pipes to pillows, his curiosity is contagious and his humor is refreshing. Unlike most of his travel memoirs, he never leaves the house but takes us on a crazy fun journey. If you’ve never read anything of his, go to the library and rectify that situation. And also, win this book.

How to win

Simply use the widget below to leave a comment on this post, and you’ll be entered to win! (If you’re reading this via email, please click over to the main post to leave your comment.)

For extra entries, you can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook—simply follow the steps in the widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will end tomorrow night, Wednesday, November 27, and we’ll announce the winners of all the holiday giveaways at the end of the week. I hope you’re one of them!

Check out all of today’s giveaways:

cake pop kitfawn and forestgussy sewsgadankekiwi cratefavorite books

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. Great choices – love Kingolver, Berg, Bittman and would love to explore the others!

    • oops, hit Enter too soon – the Kingsolver is one of my all-time favorites, though I also love Prodigal Summer.

  2. Picking an all-time favorite book is so hard, but I’ll go with the Little House on the Prairie series, since I’m reading those with my kids right now.

  3. One of my favorite books is Beloved by Toni Morrison. I read it for a few different English classes, and the hard work I put into reading it made me love it that much more.

  4. It might be a bit of a cliche, but I love it, Pride and Prejudice. I don’t think it is possible to read it too many times.

  5. I’m a huge Harry Potter nerd… definitely my all time favorite books. Reading them is a continual cycle.

  6. Jeniferr Cantrell says:

    I love reading, so YEAH for a book giveaway!! Ok, so I loved ‘The Hiding Place’ by Corrie Ten Boom. But must give a shout out to the book I am currently reading called ‘Half the Sky’ by Kristoff and his wife WuDunn. AWESOME and informative, loving it and almost done 🙂

  7. I love so many!!!!
    How about…The Little Princess. I’ve loved it since I was a child. 🙂

  8. I love Little Women! It’s one I don’t mind rereading over and over.

  9. All time favorite book? That’s a tough one… I would have to say Cold Sassy Tree. It is one of the few books I have read multiple times.

  10. One of my all time favorite books is the one that challenges me the most, the Bible. I just can never wrap my head around the entirety of what God has to share.

  11. I love anything by Anne McCaffrey, especially her Pern series.

  12. That is hard to choose! One of my favorites is To Kill a Mockingbird, but there are so many others!

  13. Great selection! Thanks for the opportunity.

  14. Peace Like a River by Lief Enger and The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver herself!

  15. One of my all-time favorite books is Half the Sky by Nikolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn– it’s amazing but challenging stories of injustices against women in the world today (rape as an act of war, forced prostitution, obstetric fistula, etc.) but also inspiring stories of women who are making changes in their own countries. Such a good book!

  16. Yes please! I love reading everything I can get my hands on! Thanks for hosting all these great giveaways!

  17. I am very fond of Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis…or anything else by C. S. Lewis.

  18. I go through phases of favorites- I tend to gorge myself on one author or genre until I can’t handle any more and then move on to my next literary feast. One book series I can read again and again is the <i? Harry Potter series.

  19. I love Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I also am largely entertained by the Harry Potter books.

  20. The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

  21. Catherine A says:

    I’m still developing my taste when it comes to favourite books. If I had to pick one, it would be Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. Not because it’s the best book I’ve ever read but it was the first book that opened my eyes to the world and to people who try to make a difference in it.

  22. Lord of the Rings

  23. Oooh this is easy! My favorite book is Perpetua by Amy Rachel Peterson. It’s the story of the Saint Perpetua during the Roman age. She kept a journal and was a martyr. The novel is based off of her journals. It was life-changing for me. LOVE IT!

  24. eeek! Right now I am hooked on reigning in chaos and have been working through David Allen’s GTD books after the post you had from the powerofmoms ladies 🙂

  25. Have wanted to read a number of these books! Hopefully I’ll win!

  26. One of my all-time favorite books is Pride and Prejudice.

  27. Cold Mountain, oddly, I never saw the movie though. I did LOVE that book.

  28. I loved reading The Queen.

  29. Jennifer E. says:

    Pride and Prejudice

  30. One of my favorites that I’ve been thinking I need to reread is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Such a bad title, but such a good book.

  31. Mere Christianity, amazing book! Appreciate the giveaways!

  32. a wrinkle in time

  33. chronicles of narnia

  34. Oh man, there are so many! I think the Narnia books are probably my all time favorite. Currently indulging in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, it’s a vice akin to potato chips.

  35. Elizabeth L says:

    There are so many good books but I will say “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein.
    This is a great list of books. I’ll have to put them on my library list if I don’t win.

  36. Autobiography of a Yogi

  37. The Little House books, and Little Women.

  38. Latest favorite book is An Everlasting Meal.

  39. There are too many to list, but a few favorites include the Harry Potter series and anything by C.S. Lewis (with the Narnia series and Screwtape Letters as standouts)

  40. The Language of Flowers!

  41. I absolutely love Barbara Kingsolver. And Bill Bryson is the only author that makes me laugh out loud until I cry. Favourite books is difficult but myfavourite authors are Margaret Atwood, Kingsolver and John Connoly

  42. I have been a bit of a book dud since I’ve been in med school, but so far, my favorite book is “Writing to Change the World” by Mary Pipher.

  43. Anne of Green Gables

  44. 7 Habits of Highly Successful People is still my all time fave even 20 years after I first read it.

  45. I love language of flowers by Vanessa diffenbaugh

  46. Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto

  47. Bonnie Gutzman says:

    Oh man, my favorite book….! There are too many. I loved Les Miserables and can’t wait for the movie to come out!!!

  48. Bag of Bones by Stephen King is my favorite, Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn is my second favorite! 🙂

  49. Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors… I have not read anything by Bryson, but your description of his book piqued my interest. Another favorite I’m currently reading is Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Thanks for sharing your top recommendations!

  50. I have so many favorites it’s hard to think of one… but I’ll have to say The Horse and His Boy from the Chronicles of Narnia. There’s something about that book that I relate to, and I pull something new from it every time I read it. I love so many other books people have mentioned above, though, as well. Hard to choose just one!

  51. Jennifer Makinster says:

    Reading Lolita in Tehran.

  52. Lucky for me I have been culling my book collection so it means I have room to all this books! Well not all, some I already read!

  53. Betsy Cherepko says:

    What a great collection! Animal, Vegetable, Mineral is one of my absolute favorite books. There are so many here that have been on my “to read” list for awhile!

  54. Ahh.. All time favorite would have to be Little Women and of course, my go-to guide for life, The Bible:-)

  55. A guidebook!

  56. Margaret D says:

    There are so many good books that I have read over the years. I would say The Holy Bible is at the top of my list.

  57. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is one of my favorite books.

  58. Atlas Shrugged and The Bible.

  59. My favorite book of all time is Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman. My mom gave it to me as a teenager and I re-read it every few years.

  60. Some of my favorite books are by Sandra Dallas and I also enjoyed The Help.

  61. All time favorite has to be Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

  62. I’m having a hard time thinking of any “grown-up” books this morning, so I will have to go with Thundercake by Patricia Polacco. My daughter has really been in to it recently and I love reading it to her.

  63. This is a great giveaway. It’s hard to pick a favorite book, but the one that has made a lasting impact on me is The Road. I love Barbara Kingsolver too.

  64. The Harry Potter series is my comfort food, I read them constantly. I also have 3 sisters, so The Poisonwood Bible is another one I love.

  65. I love books… my holdover from my teenage years is Snow Crash, but I also love Anthony Bourdain’s writing and The Sun Also Rises and Lolita. Thanks for the giveaway!

  66. The Bryson one looks really interesting.

  67. Michelle Y says:

    Two of my favorites that I don’t mind reading over and over again are Lord of the Rings and Little Women.

  68. I don’t own any of these books, but they all look so interesting to me!

  69. All of the books in the Sherlock Holmes series.

  70. Its imposible for me to pick one favorite book, but some of the authors at the top of my list are Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and Lucy Maud Montgomery

  71. Oh wow, one of my favorite books? So hard! I’m currently re-reading “Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood” — I love those principles. I’m a big fan of historical fiction too. Thanks for offering this giveaway!

  72. I think it is a three-way tie between the Harry Potter series (especially #5) Pride and Prejudice and Mere Christianity by CS Lewis.

  73. One of my favorite all-time books is The Story Girl by L. M. Montgomery (author of Anne of Green Gables). I also love the sequel, The Golden Road. I could read those two books again and again. They transport me to a simpler time and place.

  74. Beth Anne Ake says:

    My all time favorite book is Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Would love to win!

  75. I normally try to win these for my wife but some of these I might steal 🙂

  76. one on my favorites is “In the Time of the Butterflies” by Julia Alvarez…

  77. oh I didn’t leave an answer to the question! I am reading Walden right now and it is quickly becoming a favorite!

  78. would love to win!

  79. Robin from Frugal Family Times says:

    I re read Barbara kingsolvers Prodigal Summer almost every year.

  80. My all-time favorite book is Oh Kentucky! by Betty Layman Receiveur. These are great books, I’d love to win them!

  81. My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird!

  82. This is a great collection of books! It’s kind of impossible for me to choose only one favorite book, so I’ll just list a few: On the Road, Song of Solomon, The Hobbit, the Harry Potter series, Looking for Alaska, Cell by Stephen King.

  83. What a great list of books! If I don’t win, I’ll try to locate the ones I haven’t read at my library.

  84. Thanks for the chance to win. wonderful collection

  85. This would make my day!

  86. Elizabeth W says:

    Hugo’s Les Mis is my favorite book but I love me some kingsolver! Great giveaway!

  87. Hands down The Chronicles of Narnia series.

  88. Oh man. I love “Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov. I have a [very] dog-eared copy in my bedroom. I have so many favorites, though.

  89. What a fun collection of books.

  90. The Book Thief.

  91. I love Ann Patchett novels — especially Bel Canto

  92. It’s hard to name just one, but I recently read In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden and loved. it.

  93. One of my favorite books that helped me grow spiritually and emotionally was Inside Out by Larry Crabb.

  94. these books sound great – especially the ones on cooking as we are trying to eat clean! 🙂

  95. Chesterton is my favorite writer at the moment and favorite book is Tremendous Trifles. As a writer, I read anything and everything.

  96. Stiff by Mary Roach

  97. I’m not sure I have a favorite. I need some new reading meterial though and winning would be awesome!

  98. Honestly, Animal Vegetable Miracle is one of my all-time favorites! SUCH a great book.

  99. Jennifer Ott says:

    Read some of those, would love to read the others (maybe take some on the plane when I fly with 4 kids under 8 on my own?! Right, as if I would have time to read then!)!

  100. I am a book FIEND so I would LOVE to win this! And I’ve only read one of them! Super excited to add a few of these to my list 😉
    Sarah M