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. Some of those books I haven’t heard of yet…curious to check them out! I also really enjoyed The Red Tent because I had never read a book like that before.

  2. All time favorite — Winnie the Pooh classic literature. 🙂

  3. My favorite book of the parenting variety is Blessing of a Skinned Knee. Practical and inspiring!

  4. I haven’t read any of those, but I’d love to read them all!! My favorite book?! Oh good gosh!! I LOVE books and always have a stack going on my night stand… hmmm. How about my favorite book right NOW? Crazy Love by Frances Chan.

  5. One Thousand Gifts is one of the most memorable books I have ever read.

  6. Oh my goodness, it is so tough to pick just one favorite book! Hmmm I will go with “Gone With the Wind”. But really, they ALL are my favorites!

  7. Oh, these look WONDERFUL! Thank you so much for the opportunity to win!

    • Oh! And “To Kill a Mockingbird” is absolute literary perfection and one of my favorite books of all time.

  8. ScreamFree Parenting – changed my life and my kids!

  9. One of my all-time favorite books has just been adapted into a beautiful, brilliant film: Life of Pi, by Yann Martel.

  10. The first book I loved was at an early age of around 10. I love the book Mr. God This is Anna. I have fallen in love with many books since, but that will always be my first love so to speak.

  11. I recently read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom and found it to be very compelling. It’s one that I would recommend to everyone.

  12. The Bible is at the top of my list with The Lord of the Rings as a distant second.

  13. what a great giveaway! thanks so much!

  14. Jessica jones says:

    I have been wanting to read some of those books! Especially love and logic!

  15. I really like the Mitford books by Jan Karon.

  16. Love your blog, love your pictures, love that you keep the simple in simple living. Keep up the amazing work. 🙂

  17. Always looking for the next good book and always appreciating you perspective! Hope I win these!

  18. sabina casto says:

    My Fav all time book when I was young was Little house on the prairie and now that I am reading it to my children I am in love with Laura Ingalls all over agin, not to mention the simple way they lived…

  19. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and The Red Tent by Anita Diamant are my favorites. I am currently reading The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn. I would love to win this collection of books to read and share with others. Thanks for this opportunity to expand our reading repertoire.

  20. Tsh, My first question is how do you find the time to read? I was adventerous and
    bought a book to read for Christmas. I envisioned myself cuddled up in my favortire chair with a cup of tea and my robe & slippers of course with book in hand. I bought “Angels at the Table” by MacComber. I am looking forward to the down time!

  21. They sound like great reads! One of my current favorites is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

  22. Oh, how I do love a good book. The selection listed looks lovely. Favorite book of all time, though, hmm. Always loved the Velveteen Rabbit. Does that count? Others are too hard to choose.

  23. Vanessa Chesebro says:

    There are so many favorites to choose from! I try to reread Horatius Bonar’s book Everlasting Righteousness every year; it’s so helpful. Another favorite is the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and I love the children’s book Zach’s Alligator!

  24. Timothea Ford says:

    Every new book becomes my favorite…until the next one! A recent one was The Night Circus. I LOVE to read!

  25. Mary Jo LaRocco says:

    Would love to win – they sound great!!

  26. What a wonderful holiday giveaway! Thank you for sharing some of your
    favorites with us!

  27. Forbid Them Not by Michael Farris

  28. I read about 65 books a year so its way too hard to pick a favorite. I am, however, in a bit of a rut so it would be great to have all these to pull me out

  29. I’d love to win! 🙂

  30. L.M. Montgomery’s Blue Castle!

  31. I love so many books…anything by Madeleine L’Engle, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, anything by Jasper Fforde when I need a laugh, Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, etc etc 🙂

  32. My favorite book is the classic “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens. I love Dickens’ dry humor. I’m currently re-reading “A Christmas Carol” in honor of the season… And still LOVE it!! My two passions: interior design and literature.

  33. All of those books look great, I would love to win. It is hard to choose a favorite book, but I love Gift From the Sea by Anne Lindbergh. I read it every year and never tire of it.

  34. I have to pick the Harry Potter series. I love them! These books sound wonderful, thanks for the chance to win them!

  35. Christy, by Catherine Marshall–all-time favorite. Love that so many of these books are unfamiliar to me, but by favorite authors. Just may have to keep them!

  36. Gone With the Wind –

  37. All of these books look so interesting. I would love to read all of them and will add them to my list!

  38. Jolene in Michigan says:

    I’d love to win this!!

  39. I LOVE books and LOVE to read so it’s hard to pick a favorite! Tuesdays With Morrie is one of my favorites…as is Life Is So Good. I haven’t read any of the ones on the list so it would be a real treat! Thank you for the opportunity 🙂

  40. C. S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet.

  41. Pauline Heaney says:

    I love Bill Bryson too! A Walk in the Woods is my favorite. I haven’t read At Home yet so hopefully I can win it!

  42. Little Women (especially because my grandmother had given it to me) and I loved to read the Nancy Drew mystery books when I was growing up.

  43. Leigh Ann B says:

    For me, reading only comes in second to family time at my house. Thankfully my 8 year old daughter has inherited this love, too. I haven’t read any of the listed books so to win them would be fabulous!!!

  44. So hard to choose! I’d probably pick First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough.

    • Wow – I am so surprised to see someone mention this one – thought I was the only fool to lose myself in this saga (yes, I read ALL eight books)! An amazing work of historical fiction.

  45. What a great selection of books to read/gift! I have so many favorites that I can’t name just one.

  46. Too difficult to pick one…love C.S. Lewis, Sally Clarkson’s Mom books, Tolkien, Harry Potter, …I could go on and on! Thanks for this give away!

  47. I would say my all-time favorite series of books would be the “Little House on the Prairie” series. I grew up loving those books so much that I even “wrote” my own versions of them as a child with different character names, complete with illustrations.

  48. Oh how I love to read, and there’s no better gift than books! I would love to receive these for myself and to share:)

  49. Yay for good books!

  50. Allison Hunter says:

    I just decluttered my bookshelves if frivolous books I don’t read. These have all the room they need! Thank you for the giveaway!!

  51. Love these choices! Some favorites that I would love to pass along and some I’ve been anxious to read. Thank you for doing this – I’m a voracious reader and appreciate what a fabulous gift this is to whoever wins! Thanks for all your inspiration throughout the year!!

  52. Heather Bettis says:

    Favorite book: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

  53. Lonesome Dove. I’m not even sure why. 🙂

  54. Love all these choices! And would love to have them under my tree this Christmas! Thanks for the chance to win. Btw, my all time favorite book is Emma by Jane Austen. 🙂

  55. It’s been years since I read it, but The Adventures of Kavalier and Klay was one of my absolute favorites. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  56. Carrie Anderson says:

    Oryx and Crake (Atwood)

  57. What a generous, fabulous giveaway! My favorite would have to be Desiring God by John Piper

  58. How fun!

  59. Look like lots of good reading.
    Thanks for a chance to win. Ann

  60. Well, I can’t tell you my one all time favorite because there isn’t just one! I usually recommend Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera though.

  61. Pride and Prejudice

  62. Love anything by Francine Rivers…Redeeming Love and Mark of the Lion series are my favorites!

  63. Gone with the Wind

  64. Favorite book- Little Red book of Wisdom

  65. Anne of Green Gables has been my favorite book for 25 years.

  66. I love the nostalgia of “Sarah, Plain and Tall”. I can remember my mom reading it to me, and once in a while I pull it out and read it for myself, one day I will read it to my girls.

  67. Just thinking about those titles and variety of interests, interests me. Ann of Green Gables is the book that goes back farthest, next to the Bible.
    I am very blessed with Thanksgiving memories of our whole family together. You do not know what a day will bring forth.
    Blessings to you,
    November 28
    Proverbs 28:6 Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than he who is crooked though he be rich
    ( true value )

  68. Carolyn Williams says:

    I always love a good book and love suggestions from others!!

  69. I loved reading through the other comments, reminded me of so many books I love as well as giving me some new ideas. One of my favorites is Anthem by Ann Rand.

  70. Tracy Holcombe says:

    I might have to add How to Cook Everything to my christmas list. Thanks for the interesting list!

  71. The Firebird series by Kathy Tyers. If you love space operas, you will love these books!

  72. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a great book, and the others on the list look fabulous. My top favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo.

  73. Rebecca Pastor says:

    All time fav would be Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. As a child I also loved the Little House on the Prairie series. Quite a few of these books are on my to read list, so I hope I win!!!

  74. My favorite books tend to be novels. Love any Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskill.

  75. I’ve been wanting to read a Kingsolver book, but the decorating and cooking books also look great (and practical!). I’d probably enjoy them all!

  76. currently reading Pedro Páramo there is something about this book that I can’t get enough of this story

  77. Amanda Hoskins says:

    What a great selections for a great read list! ‘Parenting with Love and Logic’ is one of my personal favs… I’ve read a ton of books from Dr. Faye and have never been disappointed with any of them. I would absolutely love to read ‘What Alice Forgot’, as well as ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’. Oh heck… I’d love to read all of them on that list!!! I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I get that opportunity through this giveaway. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  78. I have such a hard time picking a favorite book. So I won’t. But I just read The Night Circus and really enjoyed it. Oh, and I laughed and cried the whole time I read Seven by Jen Hatmaker so that goes on the list too. I’m having lots of fun reading all the other favorites!

  79. You know, the Nancy Drew books will always hold a special place in my heart because they really turned me on to reading when I was a teenager.
    You’ve got a great list there.

  80. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

  81. Nothing can compare to the challenge of reading the Bible regularly. If I had to choose a favorite novel it’s probably a tie between Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen or Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

  82. The two books I read again and again are Time and Again, by Jack Finney, and The Eight, by Katherine Neville. Thanks for sharing your list – I am always looking for recommendations.

  83. My favourite book?
    A small unassuming paperback cookery book by Rena Salaman simply titled ” Greek Food”. It has a wonderful sky-blue cover, is packed full of wonderful recipes and tales and anecdotes of life in Greece. It has no pictures and none are needed. I can never put this book down!

  84. Julie Marshall says:

    Those books sound amazing–and I have only read one, the Barbara Kingsolver one–it was wonderful 🙂

    My current favorite book is The Night Circus–I highly recommend it!



  85. That is such a hard question to answer. I really liked The Bean Trees, The Help, and Atonement Child by Francine Rivers. I’m reading a great parenting book right now called Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey. (Do not judge a book by its title.) 🙂 And I was literally thinking last night, “I should get that ‘How to Cook Everything’ book!”

  86. I’ve always been a huge Elizabeth George fan. But I think my all-time favorite is fiction. Scarlett. I liked Gone with the Wind, but I liked the sequel better. Weird. It was really beautifully written.

  87. I am a huge Harry Potter fan and I also love the Anne of Green Gables series.

  88. Some I’ve read, some I would love to read. Reading good books is my passion. Thanks for some new ideas!

  89. It will always be To Kill a Mockingbird.

  90. Those books sound so interesting! I would love to read them.

  91. Susan Jerby says:

    My favorite book is Desiring God. I am a busy mom of 8 with very little time to read (except at 5:30 am), but books are definitely one of my passions. I would love to win these books to discover some new authors!

  92. Woah, so hard! Don’t waste your life

  93. What a great list of books!

    My all-time favorites have to be Harry Potter. Another recent favorite is Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wills Wyma.

  94. They all sound incredible! Thanks for the giveaway!

    lindseyjunk (at) sbcglobal (dot) net

  95. Debbie Curtsinger says:

    What a great giveway! New books..lots of new information….what a great way for me to start off the new year if I win!!

  96. Love this!

  97. Books! Love ’em! Especially the real, bound, book paper kind! Would love to win some of Tsh’s favorites!

  98. Love, love, love Barbara Kingsolver. I’m reading “Flight Behavior” now. My favorite book of all time rotates between “Anne of Green Gables” and “Prodigal Summer.” “Misery” by Stephen King is another favorite.

  99. little house on the prairie series

  100. Stephanie S says:

    Awesome giveaway! Some of these are my favorites also, and some are brand new to me.

    • Stephanie S says:

      Forgot my favorite book: The Narnia Series. It’s a kid’s series, but I have re-read them several times as an adult and love them everytime!