I can still remember learning to read as a child. One of the things that struck me was I couldn’t stop! I couldn’t not read something I saw! This was very weird because just a little bit earlier I could not read. Now if I saw a sign my brain read it whether I wanted it to or not. It was almost like that with books too. They have been a great inspiration and comfort in my life. Here are my highest recommendations!
Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
This is the book that changed my life. It set me on my life’s path of historic preservation and love of old houses. Oh this book. My best friend lent it to me when I was in 5th grade. I was fresh out of The Chronicles of Narnia and tons of fairy-tales. This was like a real-life fairy-tale! I still secretly want to find a whole bunch of abandoned houses and explore them one day and maybe even have a clubhouse in one. Even though I work tirelessly to keep my old house going I am obsessed with old, falling to bits houses and part of it is because of this book. Beauty can be in unexpected places.
Go to the Room of the Eyes by Betty K. Erwin
This strange, wonderful book went hand-in-hand with Gone-Away Lake. I found it in the library in the “E”shelf section junior fiction while looking for more Elizabeth Enright books. The title really intrigued me as well as the 80s haunted house sticker on the spine to let readers know it was a mystery. The huge, old house, the 60s time period, the large family, and the spooky treasure hunt all intrigued me. As I got older it seemed to me that it was a blueprint for how I wanted to live- a big family in an old house. One of my favorite things to do is to write treasure hunt clues for my children and it’s all because of this book.
Return to Gone-Away by Elizabeth Enright
When I went to the big city library in the 6th grade (the biggest library I had ever seen) I immediately searched for Elizabeth Enright. I had already read two of the Melendy family books that had been in our small library and I wanted to know if there was more. This was pre-internet age and I remember going to a huge card catalog to look for the books. I gave up quickly because it was so overwhelming, and my teacher told me to just look under “E” in the fiction section- duh! I just about flipped out when I found there was a sequel to my favorite book in the whole world. I think I read it in 24 hours. I was so excited. It doesn’t have quite the magic that the first book had, but it was a joyful romp!
The Baby Book by William & Martha Sears
I am so glad I found this book and read it before I had my babies. As I read it I realized it was a wonderful blueprint for exactly how I wanted to parent my children. Since I can remember I wanted to be a mother and this book taught me how to do it just the way I wanted to- lovingly and attached. My children and I are very close and I credit this book with making me the best mom I could be.
Drawn from New England- Tasha Tudor by Bethany Tudor
Just like The Baby Book made me a better mother, this book also showed me a mothering path. This one showed me that I could mother and do art, and that I could make life magical for my children as they grew out of babyhood. I loved that Tasha set up an art table in her kitchen- a room typically used for most of women’s work. It inspired me to mix art and homemaking instead of only being able to do one or the other in a day’s time.