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. One of my favorite books: One Thousand Gifts. Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers. Makes my heart swoon.

  3. The Count of Monte Cristo. Love Dorothy Sayers mysteries.

  4. I love the Harry Potter series and also enjoy reading Stephen King. Would be thrilled if I won this giveaway. Thank you so much for the opportunity. 🙂

  5. Would love these – thanks!

  6. I LOVE Elizabeth Berg!!! In my dream world I write just like her. Some of my favorite books are hers. Thanks so much!

  7. One Hundred Years of Solitude

  8. Gilead by Marilynn Robinson

  9. I’d have to say Pride & Prejudice.

  10. Dessie Coyle says:

    To be honest I have been working on my relationship with Christ, my marriage, and my relationship with my kiddos. So I have been reading Boundaries on Marriage, 5 Love languages for Children, and Bible study by Casey Van Norman. Also Advent Study with

  11. Book I am reading now is Brothers Karamozov by Dostoievsky.
    I am always looking for new reading material, especially inspiring.

  12. Hilda Adams says:

    I love to read, and one of my current favorites is The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern (her debut).

  13. Michelle Byl says:

    Who can say no to Bill Bryson?!

  14. loved reading about some new to me reads

  15. Ah, Barbara Kingsolver has been my favorite author for years. I haven’t read the others, but if you’re a Kingsolver fan, I bet the rest of your favorites are keepers!

  16. Sarah Westphal says:

    oh goodness…that’ hard. How about author? I love the Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett. I read them over and over and over again. Also Memoirs of a Geisha I will read every two years. I guess that’s two…

  17. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

  18. Need a few new, good books to read. Especially excited about the parenting one!

  19. Every few years I must re-read the Anne of Green Gables series. But recently I fell in love with History of Love by Nicole Krauss.

  20. Severe Mercy by Sheldon Van Auken

  21. pride and prejudice

  22. Right now its the book “don’t make me count to three!”

  23. This is an awesome giveaway. It’s hard to pick a favorite book, but the one that has made a lasting impact on me is The Earth piligrim by Satish Kumar!

  24. I love Barbara Kingsolver. The Poisonwood Bible was one of my favorites!

  25. A Wrinkle in Time. I have read it so many times but never fail to get excited each time I start.
    And I loved Bill Bryson’s “At Home”, one of the most fascinating books I have read in a long time.

  26. Awesome giveaway, book and more books! This year I read, Quiet: The Power of the Introvert in a World that Won’t Stop Talking. Fascinating book!

  27. My favorite books are Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) & Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte). I can’t choose between them.

  28. Such great comments. I could read for a year just off this list! Thanks everyone! So hard to pick a favorite but I have to admit that I love sinking into Jane Eyre whenever there I can. I am jsut now sharing my all time favorite book from my childhood. It is out of print but maybe we could bring it back by popular demand. There’s a Rainbow in My Closet by Patti Stren.

  29. one of my favorite books I read in high school: Cromier’s ‘I am the Cheese.’ A little odd, but quite fascinating about a man’s jaunt outside a mental institution.

  30. Pride and Prejudice. I’ve read it so many times I’ve lost count!

  31. Usually – it’s whatever i’ve most recently read! Right now: The World According to Garp.

  32. Oh, how I love books! I remember you mentioning What Alice Forgot in a previous post (the plot reminds me a bit of a book by Sophie Kinsella that I loved called Remember Me). Anyway, just checked my local library, and the only copy available is in my teeny village (my lucky day!). Thanks for the great list and suggestions!

  33. When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself by Steve Corbett, Brian Fikkert

  34. I still love the Little House books and read them with my daughter! Love all the books by Jane Austen and recently started reading some of the Bronte sisters work. Dark but really good.

  35. Hands down, my favorite book is Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. I read it a few times in college for different classes and it’s the only book that’s made me cry because the writing is just so beautiful. I love to read it in the winter because something about it just makes me feel like it’s a warm summer day. Now that I think of it, I haven’t read that book in awhile… maybe it’s time to pull it out again!

  36. Rebecca Park says:

    I love all things Jane Austen Pride and Predjudice is my favourite. I read it about once a year.

  37. I have loved sharing the Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House” series with my children. (I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve listened to on CD/read “The Long Winter’ together.)

  38. I’ve always loved To Kill A Mockingbird, simple, characters you can relate to, timeless message. Thanks for the opportunity. I already like Simple Mom on Facebook and I am now following you on Twitter as @justme1947. Thanks for the opportunity to win. I already have people in mind I would like to share this collection with, but I will definitely be keeping some for me!
    Marsha Rogers Miller

  39. My all time most favorite book ever…. Not My Will by Francena Arnold. Although I love many a book, this one always pops into my head when I hear the word favorite.

  40. There are so many books I love, and reading all of these comments, there are so many still to read! Some of my favorites are The Red Tent and Tuesdays with Morrie.

  41. Oh, there are so many to choose from! I have to say my ALL TIME favorite is The Great Gatsby. I hope they don’t ruin it for me when the movie comes out this Spring!

  42. One of my favorites as a child that I really enjoy re-reading is A Girl of the Limberlost, by Jean Stratton-Porter.

  43. Wow! That’s a hard one since I have so many, but one of my all time favorite books is The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

  44. I enjoy anything by Francine Rivers and a book that changed my life is “The Love Languages: by Gary Chapman.

  45. Pride and Prejudice

  46. What a fabulous selection!!! Thanks for the giveaway!

  47. Ooo! Pick me! Pick me! I LOVE to read!

  48. Perhaps you mean Wednesday, November 28? Hope so! These look like great reads. I already have Bittman’s book, so I could give one as a gift if I win 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  49. Super fun – Yes please!

  50. Heike Reagan says:

    Animal Vegetable Miracle is the book that turned me on to local eating. We did a veggie CSA this summer and are buying local meat this winter. Love it!

  51. Such a hard question, so many wonderful books. I would have to say my favorite book is whatever book I am reading at the time.

  52. One of my favorite books is L.M. Montgomery’s “The Blue Castle”. 🙂

  53. I have never heard of any of these books, but they sound great! I would be thrilled to win this package, but even if I don’t, I will have to check out our library for them! 🙂

  54. How fun! I’ve already read through the list of comments and requested some books from my library–and haven’t even requested any from your list, yet, Tsh. Those are next! Thanks for the giveaway. Our family favorites that we’ve read over and over include the old stand-bys–C.S. Lewis (“The Chronicles of Narnia”) and Tolkien (“The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” series most notably and of course the Bible. A nice book I haven’t seen mentioned here that my now-grown daughter recommended to me when she was young was “Swallows and Amazons” by Arthur Ransome. Oh, and books by E. Nesbitt (like “The Story of the Treasure Seekers” and “The Railway Children”) and Gene Stratton-Porter, most notably “Freckles,” “Laddie,” and “The Girl of the Limberlost.” Thanks for the giveaway!

  55. I love hearing what books others love – and I haven’t read a single one of these! If I win I think I will quietly keep them for myself (and then pass them on after I’ve read them!) 🙂

  56. So hard to choose a favorite. My all time favorite is probably Jane Eyre. However, I pretty much devour any book that comes near and am trading favorites with my niece who loves to read as much as I.

  57. One of my favorites is actually Animal, Vegetable, Miracle as well – i loved it and have referred to it so often!

  58. All time favorite book? The Shack. 🙂

  59. Life of Pi, The Velveteen Rabbit, Island of the Blue Dolphins.

  60. i love all mark bittman cookbooks, and i love “to kill a mockingbird”

  61. I love the Red Tent.

  62. One book I could read over and over again is Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

  63. I love reading! Too many favorites to name!

  64. 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp is my all time favorite book! Life changing!

  65. Hmm…favorite book…that’s a tough one. I would have to go with The Mailbox by Marybeth Whalen. I’m definitely a fiction girl and that one I couldn’t stand to put down.

  66. I love Barbara Kingsolver but am on an Anne Lamott kick right now.

  67. If I just need an escape my favorite book is The Neverending Story. I also love anything by Shakespeare. Wuthering Heights for some reason that I can never remember is also a favorite.

  68. Oh how I love new books!

  69. I have so many favorites! 1000 gifts, Anna Karenina, anything Kate Morton, Chronicles of Narnia…

  70. What a great giveaway! Great recommendations!

  71. would love to win this SO MUCH!

  72. It’s depends on my mood… An old-timey book I enjoy is ‘Girl of the Limberlost’ 🙂

  73. A Tale of Two Cities is one of my all-time favorites:).

  74. I’d love to read that parenting with love book. I’m going to pick that up! thanks for the heads up on the good books!

  75. Wrinkles & Horns. A great read!

  76. I love Barbara Kingsolver but I haven’t much except parenting books for years. I can’t seem to finish a book before it’s due back at the library… help!

  77. Michele Laramay says:

    I would LOVE to win these. I love books, but rarely spend money on them.

  78. The Lion, The WItch and The Wardrobe is one of my all time favorite books 🙂

  79. Michele Laramay says:

    I just noticed my first comment had my email wrong. If I win, please use this email.

  80. Ursula Liao says:

    wow, favorite all-time? hmm… I think I would say John Piper’s Pleasures of God.

  81. Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorites. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson is my current favorite book. What a great giveaway!

  82. Would love to win!!!

  83. Great giveaway! Would love to own this wonderful selection of books, but I’m going to write them down, just in case I don’t win! Thanks~

  84. I love all of Karen Kingsbury’s books. But my all-time favorite book is The Mystifying Twins by Joan Price Reeve.

  85. This hard one….Probably Little Women or To Kill a Mockingbird or anything Jane Austin 🙂

  86. “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are” by Ann Voskamp was a life-changer for me!

  87. Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott – and specifically her audio book where she reads it.

  88. My oldest daughter would like one of these journals. She likes writing and books. I would love to see what she would write.

  89. The Borning Room — it’s a children’s book nut the first I ever cried while reading.

  90. Thanks for offering this giveaway. I already love several of these, so I have a feeling the others will be winners too!

  91. Haley Zaragoza says:

    I’ve never read any of these books before, and now I want to read them ALL! My favorite books are Her Mother’s Hope and Her Daughter’s Dream by Francine Rivers.

  92. Julie Dukowitz says:

    I am an avid reader and love to give books as gifts – and several of these would be wonderful to share (and a few to – shhh! – keep as well).
    My favorite book of all time is ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ followed very closely by ‘Charlotte’s Web’ (the first book I remember reading by myself).

  93. Growing up, I absolutely loved The Secret Garden. As for parenting books, I really like Redirecting Children’s Behavior and How to Talk to Kids So Kids Will Listen. This collection looks great!

  94. It’s hard to choose just one favorite book there are so many good ones. One of my favorites though is Ivanhoe.

  95. I’ve been wanting to read Love and Logic and compare it to 1-2-3 Magic for a while now!

  96. The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton!

  97. Lord of the Rings

  98. Amanda Medford says:

    I have so many favorites, but Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer, Hinds Feet on High Places and any by Jane Austen rank very high over time.

  99. Kristy Boyd says:

    I have to choose? So very hard – The Bible would be my #1 choice as it informs my daily life. For fiction, I’ve always loved the Little House series. They are what got me interested in history and I could read them again and again.

  100. Lenda Humphrey says:

    My favorite book of all time would have to be The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom! Fabulous! I love that you give some great reading lists–always looking for good books! Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos is my runner up favorite. Any book that makes you both cry and laugh wins!