“We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
When I think back over my life, the memories are punctuated with specific moments of beauty, often discovered in the most unexpected places and times. Being an avid reader, many of these moments were found in books.
Though we’re not always aware of it, I think that beauty is something we all long for, and I believe that is a God-given longing. Beauty can refresh our hearts and minds in “every good and perfect gift that comes from above” (James 1:17).
If you’re in need of some of that refreshing, here are a handful of books, full of beauty, that are hopefully a balm to your soul.
The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
When I think of books full of beauty, tops on the list is almost anything by L. M. Montgomery! She is best-known for Anne of Green Gables, but she’s written many others that are just as good. If I absolutely had to pick a favorite, it would probably be The Blue Castle, so that’s why it’s listed here. Other contenders for that spot were all the books in the Anne series (there are eight), The Story Girl and its sequel The Golden Road, and Jane of Lantern Hill. Montgomery’s descriptions of the scenery surrounding her heroines is unparalleled, and her celebration of the joy found in everyday life always leaves me looking for little pockets of joy in my days.
Freckles or Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter
Gene Stratton Porter was another author who had me hard-pressed to pick a favorite, and as you can see, I still wasn’t able to decide between two! A naturalist whose knowledge is gorgeously communicated through her writing, reading the two books mentioned above always make me think of spring and green and freshness. Though they can be read independently, Freckles and Girl of the Limberlost are related to each other and if you decide to read them both, read Freckles first.
The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden
This book is delightful because it combines the beauty of words in poetry and a naturalist’s observations with exquisite paintings of the flora and fauna of the English countryside at the turn of the century. The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady gives a gorgeous look into all the natural beauty around us, even (or especially!) in the smallest details. This would make a great addition to nature studies.
The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane
Another book with beautiful paintings to accompany the text, this work is meant to revive certain words about the natural world that are “lost” in modern children’s vocabularies. The oversized pages depict ethereal art about different subjects in nature, be it dandelions or otters. The corresponding poems use words in an incredible manner as Robert Macfarlane is a talented wordsmith. The Lost Words is another reminder of the natural beauty our Creator has chosen to gift us with, and an illustration of the allure of language as well. It’s perfect to read as part of a Poetry Teatime with your children!
Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof
Joanne Bischof is another amazing wordsmith, though in a completely different realm! I’ve read most of her novels, and the overriding theme of them all seems to be redemption; and honestly, in many ways, there’s nothing more beautiful than redemption. Sons of Blackbird Mountain is probably my favorite of her works (though The Lady and the Lionheart is incredible as well!), due in large part to its setting in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1890s. Joanne’s descriptions of the area are winsome and captivating, as you clearly see the mist curling through the apple orchards. Her theme of redemption is so strong, it will probably bring you to tears, as it did me.
(Disclaimer: though not used in a gratuitous manner at all, there are some sexual elements in this book so please use discretion if that bothers you.)
At Home in the World Tsh Oxenreider
Before I had kids, I traveled internationally quite a bit and I was always struck by how much beauty there is in the world. God could have just given us a barren wasteland to live in, but instead, He chose to gift us with so much more! In At Home in the World, Tsh tells the stories of her family’s travels around the world. Her descriptions bring to life the varied landscapes of the globe along with the sweetness found in interacting with others the world over.
Roots & Sky by Christie Purifoy
I live with my family in a 130-year-old little house in the mountains of Colorado, so I’m always drawn to stories of others who live in very old houses. In Roots & Sky, Christie shares her family’s first year in such a house and the beauty found along the way. Her graceful prose is full of life and draws you along in their journey.
Placemaker by Christie Purifoy
Christie’s next book, Placemaker, releases on March 12th. The subtitle is “Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace” and it is full of such gracious encouragement to do just that. This is a gorgeous book full of such inspiration! Take this quote from the book…
“I believe beauty reflects the truth about who God is and what this world is all about. What could be more important than cultivating beauty in little ways and large, however I am able?”
Ever since I was a little girl, beauty has affected me strongly, but it often leaves me unable to put the specific feeling into words. I’m thankful there are others who are able to do so!
What are your favorite books that leave you feeling drenched in beauty?
Under His Grace,
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Here at Club31Women, we recognize that not everyone has the same taste or point of view on books, music, or movies, but we offer these short reviews for your consideration. Our hope is that you will find something new and wonderful on this list of recommended resources!
~ Lisa Jacobson, Club31Women
Jessica Telian is the daughter of the Most High King, the wife to Aaron, a handsome finish carpentry project manager, and the mama to five little ones: Cedar, Genoa, Avila, Caedmon, and Saoirse. She spends her days learning how best to love her husband and little ones, homeschooling from a Charlotte Mason approach, keeping her 130-year-old house in the mountains of Colorado, and cooking with lots of garlic and no recipes (but lots of cookbooks!). Her spare moments find her reading or enjoying conversations with friends. Other loves include green places and the ocean, gardening, traveling, walking barefoot through dew-wet grass and trying to live in elegant simplicity – with a good bit of crunchiness thrown in. She regularly shares photos of her days on Instagram and sporadically blogs at Something Simple.