favorite books :: ellen parker of sweet water

Screen Shot 2012-09-11 at 4.27.34 AM

Ellen is a dear friend whose words are like a balm to the soul. She’s full of southern sunshine, sweet tea, and charm. Her words drip thick like Spanish moss on humid summer day. She’s my go to girl for grace saturated truths hidden in everyday events.

Ellen makes beautiful items by hand, she’s a momma and wife, and she mentors younger woman–which is a huge coup for those younger women. If you live near Ellen, figure out how to make that happen.

First, I’m going to break the rules and name a series as one of my favorite books. CS Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia is a group of novels that I first read as a young girl and have continued to read every couple of years as an adult. They are are beautiful and meaningful and, as a believer (I didn’t begin my faith walk until 18), I always draw new application every time I read them. I just can’t favor one over another. If you are struggling with change and long for freedom then The Voyage of the Dawn Treader contains one of my most favorite ever illustrations of what it is like to lean on Christ for His good work in you. The Last Battle contains the most beautiful imagery about heaven.

Second, I have to list Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place. This is another moving book that I revisit every few years. Surrender is often hardest for me and I am always humbled and encouraged by the story of Corrie’s family protecting their Jewish neighbors during the German invasion of Holland. If you want to read about honest and true and raw fearless living, then Corrie Ten Boom’s life is an endless source of encouragement.

Finally, I have a deep and abiding love for Carson McCullers’ The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, a true Southern Gothic novel that is dark and gritty but also tender and beautiful. I taught this book as a high school English teacher and most of the pages are littered with underlining and circles and notes. It’s another book I revisit often. Mostly, I love it for the haunting and lovely imagery: music, prayer, God. It isn’t the sort of happy ending book that becomes beach reading but it most certainly is a book that changes and challenges its readers.

Currently? Currently, I’m working my way through One Thousand GiftsGrace-Based ParentingOrganized Simplicity (on my Kindle) and The Devil in the White City (also on my Kindle). Too, we are reading By the Shores of Silver Lake aloud as a family and I always love flipping through the latest Anthropologie catalog.


  • I just requested The Heart is a Lonely Hunter from the library. Thank you for the recommendation.

    • Reply September 11, 2012


      hi, lori!

      i really hope you love it! it’s very realistic and gritty but i think it should be on anyone’s modern classics list.

      and now i’m thinking it’s time to re-read it myself!

  • Great recommendations! I just ordered “Grace-Filled Parenting” from Amazon the other day and finished “The Devil in the White City” a week ago. “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” will go on my Goodreads to-read list!

    • Reply September 11, 2012


      oh, i’m so glad to know you’ve read DITWC! i keep having to make myself be patient instead of skipping ahead. it’s the kind of non-fiction that reads like a good spun tale.

      happy reading! i hope you’ll fall in love with carson mccullers!

  • Reply September 11, 2012


    Hello, it’s nice to meet you. It’s so nice to find a place to visit and perhaps take away a little guidance on what book to read. I’ve never been a strong reader but I’m beginning to really find a good book captures my attention and makes me a stronger reader at this ole’ age too.

    Good Day,

  • Reply September 12, 2012

    Corrie Anne

    YES!!! I’m named after Corrie ten Boom!! And I LOOOVE the Chronicles! I am loving seeing book list ideas!!!!!

  • Reply September 12, 2012

    Jennifer Campbell

    Love, Love, LOVE the Chronicles of Narnia!! C.S. Lewis was a genius in my opinion.

Leave a Reply