five things for friday: five favorite books edition

five things for friday: five favorite books edition

I am participating in the Women in the Scriptures Five Things For Friday Blog Hop!

Heather was an inspiration today with her post on her five favorite books, because really, I did not have five things this Friday.  I barely made it through the entire Friday, because we moved rooms yesterday, and several of our girls were so giddy with their new accommodations that they stayed up almost until midnight giggling and talking.  Which was fine last night, but another story today when everyone was less than cheerful toward life because they were exhausted.

So, I am copying, the sincerest form of flattery.  I am going to share with you five of my favorite books.  I do so with trepidation.  It’s like sharing part of my heart with you–and what if you think, “Ick.  I did not like that book.  What was she thinking?”  But, I will take the chance.


The Majesty of Calmness, William George Jordan

Heber J. Grant loved this author so much that he bought the publishing rights to one of his books and gave it as a gift to many friends.  I also really like “The Power of Truth” and “The Kingship of Self-Control.”  Here is a favorite passage from The Majesty of Calmness:

Calmness comes ever from within. It is the peace and restfulness of the depths of our nature. The fury of storm and of wind agitate only the surface of the sea; they can penetrate only two or three hundred feet,–below that is the calm, unruffled deep. To be ready for the great crises of life we must learn serenity in our daily living. Calmness is the crown of self-control.

When the worries and cares of the day fret you, and begin to wear upon you, and you chafe under the friction,–be calm. Stop, rest for a moment, and let calmness and peace assert themselves. If you let these irritating outside influences get the better of you, you are confessing your inferiority to them, by permitting them to dominate you. Study the disturbing elements, each by itself, bring all the will power of your nature to bear upon them, and you will find that they will, one by one, melt into nothingness, like vapors fading before the sun….Then, in some great hour of your life, when you stand face to face with some awful trial, when the structure of your ambition and life-work crumbles in a moment, you will be brave. You can then fold your arms calmly, look out undismayed and undaunted upon the ashes of your hope, upon the wreck of what you have faithfully built, and with brave heart and unfaltering voice you may say: “So let it be,–I will build again.”


American History Stories, Mara Pratt-Chadwick

American History Stories, Mara L. Pratt

While these were made for children, they are great reading for adults, too.  An added bonus is that they are great fun to read aloud (and they are public domain, as well).  I love these books because they teach American History in such a wonderful, personal way.  And I love history.  Especially American.  It’s exciting!  One of our favorite stories is about Free and Equal, a little girl’s calf that had been stolen by the British.  Here is an excerpt explaining what the little girl did:

Off she started at once for the headquarters of Lord Cornwallis. Hurrying over three miles of hot, dusty road, she gained entrance to the great General’s room. …she told him that his soldiers had stolen her cow, and that she had come to take her back again. Lord Cornwallis was much attracted towards the “sturdy little rebel” as he called her, and promised to have “Free-’n-Equal” returned to her at once.


Les Miserables, 1887

Les Miserables, Victor Hugo

I really don’t need to say much about this title, except it is much better reading when you have the 1887 editions (which I do!).  Here is a favorite quote:

“Ah,” returned the Bishop, “so it is the silver which troubles you? I don’t know where it is.”

“Great, good God! It is stolen! That man who was here last night has stolen it….Ah, the abomination! He has stolen our silver!”

The Bishop remained silent for a moment; then he raised his grave eyes, and said gently to Madame Magloire:–

“And, in the first place, was that silver ours?”


The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams

I know it’s a children’s book, but what a profound lesson it has been to me.  Reading it changed my entire outlook on motherhood (see an essay I wrote about it here).


Little Men, Louisa May Alcott

 Little Men, Louisa May Alcott

One of the best parenting books I could recommend to anyone–this is a beautiful way to learn how to be an old-fashioned mother.  This is the book I read when I need to be inspired with my career choice and it never fails me.  Every time I read it, I am inspired with ways to better mother my own little version of “Plumfield.”

A favorite quote from the book:

“Love is a flower that grows in any soil, works its sweet miracles undaunted by autumn frost or winter snow, blooming fair and fragrant all the year, and blessing those who give and those who receive.”

I have many other favorites, but these are the ones I could think of today.  Thanks again, Heather, for the inspiration!


  1. Ooh, I’ll have to check out some of those! I’m definitely jealous of your Le Mis! I love Little Men too- I just got a really nice copy for my birthday.

  2. I am reading Les Mis for the first time this year. I didn’t think I could ever read it but with some pluggin’ away, I’ve made a dent in it at least! It is so amazing. I love every second (well, I could have done without the Waterloo rambling, but yeah.) Lovin’ it.

    i will have to investigate Little Men. I tried to read it when I was 8 and it went totally over my head.

  3. I love Louisa May Alcott. We just watched The Inheritance tonight. That was another good book by her. Your quote on calmness was just what I needed right now. Thank you.

  4. We have similar reading tastes, I see. Les Mis, Little Men, and Velveteen Rabbit? YES!!! I even had that exact old copy of The Velveteen Rabbit. I pulled it out during the holidays and laid down on the floor with the kiddoes and read, and cried, and read, lol. It was great fun. My MIL has a badly botched video of it–there are just some things that weren’t meant to be techified, and special books are one of them. I have wanted to read The MAjesty of Calmness…do you know of anywhere to get an inexpensive copy?
    Some other favorites (because books are my favorite subject) are: Jane Eyre, A Lttle Princess, Swiss Family Robinson, The New Organic Gardener (because we seeding indoors today, YAY) Anne of Green Gables series, and Organized Simplicity. I’m not huge on self-help books, but this one tends to keep me motivated to keep things simple. I am really needing simple right now…;-)

    • You can get “The Majesty of Calmness” from Project Gutenberg to use on an e-Reader or print out yourself for free. It’s also available for free from The Internet Archive. I also found it on Amazon. A used hardcover was $18.00, the paperbacks were about $5.

      Thanks for your favorite recommendations!

  5. Eight Cousins is also another Alcott book that has some wonderful parenting advice. I hope you’ve read that one too!

    • I haven’t, but now I will. Thanks, Erin.

  6. Such a fun post! I love hearing about my friends’ favorite books!

    I haven’t read the first book– it looks wonderful! I have something similar to the American History book. My kids and I love that story, too! I also had the EXACT SAME COPY of Velveteen Rabbit as a child, and my kids still pull it out and turn it’s mangled old pages. Ah, Les Mis! And I think Little Men in one of the BEST parenting books of all time.

    This is a great list! :-)

  7. You are welcome! I love ypur list, and am drooling over your les mis set. No fair! I read little men last year and it is one that sunk deep into my soul, it gave me a vision for how i can teach my children. I have her others downloaded and need to get around to reading them.

  8. I too love Les Mis, but don’t have the patience to read all the “tangents” that Hugo elaborates upon: Waterloo, the sewer system of Paris, etc. But I do love the story. I need help in my mothering, so I’m going to read “Little Men” now, thanks!

    • I feel the same way about Waterloo and sewers, unless I am feeling particularly scholarly, which doesn’t happen that often. :) The rest of the story is so beautiful.

      I do love Little Men. I hope you enjoy it.

  9. We like WGJ a lot around here, too! My dad put together a list of all of William George Jordan’s books, with links to their available formatting and stuff. :)

    Thanks for the list! I haven’t read Little Men/Jo’s Boys since I was way too young to appreciate it. With a house full of boys now, I’d probably really enjoy it. For that matter, I should probably review Little Women, too. Last time I read it, I still couldn’t understand why she falls for the boring old German. ;) Ah, youth.

    • What a great link! Thanks for sharing that, Mrs. Smith.

      Ha, ha about Little Women, because I thought the same thing.

  10. I happened over for the R.S. bloghop and ended up staying to read your booklist. I love finding new suggestions!
    I have read Little Women many times, it’s one of my favorites – but strangely I’ve never read Little Men. I’ll need to.
    Sharing your favorite books is like giving people a little peek into your soul…it sometimes makes me nervous too…but I’m glad you shared!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>