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. Peace Like A River, by Leif Enger

  2. That’s a hard question! I have so many favorites as I enjoy reading! I think the LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE SERIES really inspired me. I also loved reading C.S.Lewis , George Macdonald, and Tolkien and Chesterton.
    I would love to win these books. They look like a great selection covering topics I am really interested in.

  3. . i love reading “the true story of the 3 little pigs; by a. wolf” to my daughter.
    for me, i love the book “wicked”

  4. Homer’s “The Odyssey”.

  5. My favorite all time book is A Wrinkle in Time…

  6. You are Your Child’s First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin 🙂

  7. Pride and Prejudice.

  8. I love “Saturday” by Ian McEwan. It’s been my favourite book for a long time but I just can’t find anything else so beautifully written.

  9. “The Princess Bride.” The movie is great, but the book is SO MUCH better!

  10. To Kill A Mockingbird.

  11. Audrey Jawando says:

    War and Peace. It is achingly beautiful and the characters are just so human and true.

  12. Sophie’s Heart by Lori Wick
    The Strong Willed Child by Dr. James Dobson
    They Called her Mrs. Doc by Janette Oke
    Loving the Tender Years (can’t remember the author)

  13. So many, but I’ll say The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

  14. I really enjoyed Poisonwood Bible

  15. Lawana Gray says:

    Circle Trilogy by Ted Dekker

  16. I borrowed Animal, Vegetable, Mineral from the library and would enjoy reading again. I’m not into fiction in this crazy, busy season (homeschooling six, ages 4 to 16), but maybe someday 😉
    Thank you!

  17. That would be a great way to start off the new year, with some new books!

  18. Poisonwood Bible by Kingsolver has always been one of my favorites!

  19. Wow, there are so many to pick one! Okay, the one that stands out, I truly loved Little Women. Oh, and reading Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein to my girls. Thanks for the wonderful giveaways!

  20. I just love all things Tolkein. But I also loose myself in Jane Austen at least three times a year.

  21. To Kill a Mockingbird

  22. The Bill Bryson book sounds really interesting. I love his other books.

  23. So exciting! Thanks!

  24. I love Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

  25. I’d love to win these books! I’m a big Elizabeth Berg fan, as well as loving Bill Bryson and Dave Barry. And who doesn’t think Mark Bittman writes recipes for us busy mamas – easy, accessible and always tasty.

  26. My absolute favorite (fictional) book is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

  27. I’ve wanted to read a couple of these for a while now and I’m always looking for a good book!

  28. Great list! Thanks for the giveaway!

  29. One of my all-time faves is “Pride and Prejudice” 🙂

  30. My favorite book is still The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. About time for a re-read. I’ve read some Liane Moriarty, but have been avoiding What Alice Forgot because I’m afraid it will be depressing.

  31. Katie Miller says:

    The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe

  32. Wild by Cheryl Strayed. She is an artist.

  33. awesome book choices!

  34. I loved The Help

  35. It’s so hard to choose just one! I think my all time favorite has to be “Little Women”. It’s one I can read over and over again and fall in love with it each and every time.

  36. I liked The Fault in Our Stars.

  37. A book giveaway — and I haven’t read a single one! Wowza 🙂 One of my favorite (recent) reads was Garlic and Sapphires. We Would See Jesus is an all-time favorite.

  38. Love anything by Carl Hiaasen.

  39. I love Barbara Kingsolver and one of my favorites is the Poisonwood Bible.

  40. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. I know, so juvi, but, truly, a great read.

  41. I am currently reading Surrender to Love by David Benner. How is it that every new book becomes my current favorite? Love One Thousand Gifts too, and Notes from the Tilt a Whirl.

    Thanks Tsh!

  42. Wow, great collection of books!

  43. I loved reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, and recently, Surprised By Oxford by Carolyn Weber.

  44. Beauty by Robin McKinley – I read it at least once a year.

  45. Nicole Balogh says:

    A Separate Peace by John Knowles.

  46. The Sacred Romance is one of my all-time favorite books. So many of the books in the list appeal to me… Parenting by Love & Logic is actually on my “to-buy” list.

  47. Great choices!

  48. Appreciate the recommendations and would love to win.

  49. Atlas Struggled by Ayn Rand

  50. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

  51. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

  52. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver is fantastic! It’s probably what I’d point to as my all-time fave.

  53. I surprise even myself that I am fascinated by books about war. One of my favorites was Ghost Soldiers.

  54. Animal Vegetable Miracle is my favorite book (also Life of Pi) but I’ve never read any of your other top choices, I’m so intrigued now!!

  55. I would love to read several of these books and the others would make some great gifts. Know just the people.

  56. Right now i really enjoy Gone, by Gillian Flynn. I also enjoy Auguste Burrows. Rough, but funny.

  57. My all time favorite is Tess of The D’urbervilles with Brave New World coming in a close second! I know, they couldn’t be more different! Thanks for this great chance!

  58. I am so in need of new books to read. Thanks for all the recommendations!

  59. I’ve only read one of the books but all of them look great. BUT I never win ANYTHING!

  60. alicia hoffarth says:

    Too many favorites to list! I am always looking for new books to read, especially those that will help me learn new things or improve myself!!

  61. I’m also a big Harry Potter nerd, so probably the whole series!

  62. I read almost entirely non-fiction and my list of favorites is ridiculous. Two books that profoundly changed my way of thinking in recent years are Mother-Daughter Revolution and The Long Emergency. I’m a big fan of Kingsolver and Berg and some others so would love to win this giveaway!!!

  63. To Kill a Mockingbird

  64. The Prince of Tides is one of my all-time favorite reads.

  65. oh books books I want more! thanks!

  66. One of my all time favorite series of books is the Anne of Green Gables books. I have loved them since I was a girl. Thanks for the chance to win!

  67. Rochelle Giametta says:

    Fantastic giveaway! My favorite book lately is God’s Hotel. It’s wonderful!

  68. I dont really have a favorite book as an adult but I have always loved the childrens book, “I’ll love you forever” (I think that’s the name).

  69. Kids book-Anne of Green Gables.
    Literary-The Great Gatsby-beautiful use of language
    Current favorite humorous one is Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods.

  70. What great books! I love Barbara Kingsolver! I read a ton, so it’s difficult to choose a favorite. One of my favorite summer reads this year was The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister.

  71. WOW! How incredibly generous. I am so grateful and REALLY hope I win, as I have had #1, 2, 5 and 7 on my wish list for a while now, and am currently reading #3! Some of my favorite books are The Color Purple, The Red Tent, The Help…

  72. I always loved anything Barbara Kingsolver. My latest favorite is the Hunger Games trilogy.

  73. Bill Bryson is one of the funniest authors I’ve read, and I had no idea he’d written a book about home-life. Thanks for bulking up my Amazon wishlist today. 🙂 There are great suggestions here.

  74. Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott

  75. One of my very favorite books is Fried Green Tomatoes 🙂 Thanks for the opportunity to win these wonderful books!

  76. My list of all-time favorite books would be massive and ever changing. But my current favorite is Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts.

  77. Would love to win these books – some to read myself and some to give as Christmas gifts to young women who would love them!

  78. I love the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon!

  79. Cindy Johnson says:

    Books are a fabulous prize! Thanks for such a great giveaway!!

  80. Oh, I love so many. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and The Poisonwood Bible are two that really impacted me.

  81. My favorite book of all time is One Thousand Gifts, although Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is a close second.
    Your list is awesome! I’m adding several of the titles to my must-read list.

  82. My favorite all time book (though this is like asking me to choose my favorite ice cream!! so hard!)would have to be The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom with a close second being One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp. I’ve not read any of these wonderful books and would love to!!

  83. So much fun! Even if I don’t win, you’ve added a few titles to my list. Thanks!

  84. Myn favorite book I read thus far is ” life like a river” I found it so touching, it’s fictional but has lots of meaning to me!! Just an excellent read!

  85. How fun! Thanks for doing this. Great idea 🙂

  86. Fun looking books:)

  87. Would love to win these books! I’ve already read What Alice Forgot, and I, too, couldn’t put it down. The rest of the books are ones that I’ve wanted to read. Thank you for the opportunity!

  88. My favourite books are the Harry Potter series. I have read these many times, both alone and with my children.

  89. I love a new book to read! Some of these are even on my to-read list.

  90. My favorite author is Tami Hoag – I loved all of her books! Your list has a lot of intriguing books!

  91. I LOVE books! This is one I would keep for myself….all of them!

  92. Lauren Geraghty says:

    I just LOVE the book “Marching Powder” by Rusty Young. It’s a fascinating read, International Bestseller, and the story of life in a Bolivian Prison.

  93. Jane Eyre has always been my all time favorite book since high school. There are many other books that I love, but Jane Eyre resonated with me so much when I was younger.

  94. Picking a favorite book is like picking a favorite child. It just cannot be done!

  95. One of my favorite books of all time is The Giver. I read it in 5th grade and since then I’ve read the other three books in the series. For some reason that book has always stuck with me!

  96. I love The Great Gatsby.

  97. Oh, and I’d count What Alice Forgot as one of my favorite books!

  98. Great authors! Hope I win!

  99. Too hard to pick a favorite book. I love The Lord of the Rings, Little House Books, anything by Stephen Lawhead, (and yes, the Hunger Games).


  100. I would LOVE to win these books! Lots of favorite authors in the pack, and lots of new ones! Thank you!

    • One of my all-time favorite books that I have read over and over again is The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi. I read it as a child, and I have reread it as an adult!