Books I Love


rom my shelf of forever-loved books…I don’t keep every book I read because some of them don’t deserve it, but I make sure to keep the ones I love….they continue, sitting on my bookshelves, through osmosis, to fill my heart and mind with their brilliance, that’s why I keep them nearby. I need all the help I can get.

ooks I’ve read, old and new; loved, and am happy to recommend (in no particular order). As I read new, really good ones, I’ll add them to this list.  I’ve also joined Goodreads, which is a wonderful place to read reviews, and to get and make recommendations.


  • Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell
  • The Diary of Anne Frank
  • Anne Frank, Beyond the Diary Ruud van der Rol (Intro by Anna Quindlen)
  • West with the Night Beryl Markham
  • Heartburn Nora Ephron
  • Hawaii James Michener
  • Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
  • The World According to Garp John Irving
  • The Piano Jane Campion
  • Everything Barbara Pym has written, start with Excellent Womenpurse
  • Anything by Gladys Taber but most especially Best of Stillmeadow
  • A Good Man in Africa William Boydpurse
  • A Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein
  • Einstein’s Dreams Alan Lightmanpurse
  • Autobiography of Mark Twain Charles Neiderpurse
  • The Passion of Ayn Rand Barbara Brandon
  • Enchanted April Elizabeth von Arnimpurse
  • Elizabeth and Her German Garden Elizabeth von Arnim

  • The Help Kathryn Stockett
  • Charms for the Easy Life Kaye Gibbonspurse
  • To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
  • A Short Guide To A Happy Life Anna Quindlenpurse
  • Schindler’s List Thomas Keneally
  • Abigail Adams Charles W. Akers
  • Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte
  • Bridget Jones Diary Helen Fieldingpurse
  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • The Source James Michener
  • Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand (pronounce her name ein)
  • The Accidental Tourist Anne Tyler
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • East of Eden John Steinbeck
  • A Woman of Independent Means Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey
  • Love in the time of Cholera Gabriel
    Garcia Marquezpurse
  • Of Human Bondage W. Somerset Maugham
  • Little Women Louisa May Alcott
  • The Outlander book series by Diana Gabaldonpurse
  • Portrait of a Marriage Nigel Nicholsonpurse
  • The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Choprapurse
  • All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
  • The Great Santini by Pat Conroy
  • The Prince of Tides Pat Conroy
  • Postcards from the Edge Carrie Fisher
  • Marjorie Morningstar Herman Wouk
  • My Brilliant Career Miles Franklin
  • Stieg Larsson series starting with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Pillars of the Earth Ken Folletpurse
  • Pollyanna (of course) Eleanor H. Porter
  • A Year in Provence by Peter Maylepurse
  • A Fire in the Mind Joseph Campbell
  • Like Water for Chocolate Laura Esquivel
  • Roy Rogers, King of the Cowboys Georgia Morris
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  • The Forgotten Garden by Kate Mortonpurse
  • Still Life by Sarah Winman
  • The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Old books are fun to collect…

Some old children’s books
have wonderful drawings…
CHILDREN’S BOOKSAndrew Lang’s Fairy Books, starting in 1889
The Poky Little Puppy 1942
The Tale of Peter Rabbit 1902
The Country Child 1931
Tootle 1945
The Saggy Baggy Elephant 1947
Scuffy the Tugboat 1955
Pat the Bunny 1940
All-of-a-Kind Family 1951
Green Eggs and Ham 1957
The Cat in the Hat 1960
The Littlest Angel 1946
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish 1960
The Very Busy Spider 1985
Good Night Moon 1991

love old garden books, but if I could only have one, by far, this is the one! It’s called the “Western Garden Book” but the west includes Colorado and Lake Tahoe, snowy areas and deserts, coastal and inland…so limiting this book to the West is so unfair to everyone else in the USA! I have this book at my house in New England and in California; it has the best photos and descriptions; it’s a huge plant encyclopedia; everything is alphabetical; I give it 5 stars! Get it on Amazon… you will love it!

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598 Responses to Books I Love

  1. Sharol Phinney says:

    I love all my Gladys Taber books, and also books by Daphne Du Maurier, Hidden Art by Edith Schaeffer, and from my childhood, A Tree for Peter by Kate Seredy.
    And lest I forget, all the various books of yours that I’ve collected over the years.

  2. Mary Beckstrom says:

    Have you ever read the Mitford Series? The most wonderful stories of human life. Far more my most favorite and I love all the books in this series! I think there are about 7 or 8 books in the series. I have them all.

    • Elaine Tuohy says:

      Hi Susan! I have read a number of your favorites and wonder if you have ever read “The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter” mysteries by Susan Wittig Albert? It’s a wonderful series of books written from Miss Potter’s point of view, with her animal friends very involved in the plots. Not scary or ‘murdery’, just cozy and interesting! I love them! Start at the beginning with “The Tale of Hill Top Farm”. Happy reading!

    • Cyndi says:

      The Mitford series is the best. I adore each and everyone and the scriptures throughout made so many days more pleasant and hopeful.

    • Shelia McGuckin says:

      Like going on vacation to a small town where everyone knows everyone!
      I have them all too!

    • Maggi Brummett says:

      Absolutely the Mitford Series!!! I was so glad I didn’t start reading them until 5-6 had been published. As soon as I finished one, I was down at Barnes and Noble. When I finished this, I had to wait……

      One of my top 5 is Evening Class by Maeve Binchley. Wonderful characterization and the plot weaving is masterful!

      For children’s books Secret Garden and A Little Princess.

    • Diane says:

      I will second, third, etc the opinion on the Mitford Series-great books!

    • Sally says:

      Aren’t they wonderful

  3. Betsy Yopp says:

    I love your beautiful hand lettered books ! I do not see any mention of the books by Georgette Heyer: not the murder mysteries but the Regency period ones. Just think of them as Jane Austin with a giant giggle! Beautiful writing and just plain fun: best fun to start with The Grand Sophy and Frederica. Love your list and your followers lists and have added a lot to my list from them.

    • maxine lesline says:

      Georgette Heyer ‘s books are Regency-true books.. well researched.. I just learned that her name is pronounced ‘Hare’… sigh. The inclusion here of Gladys Tabers writings makes me want to own some of her Stillmeadow books… soothing as recipe books… no villains.. no angst… just pillowcases blowing on the clothesline… the snowstorms… the dogs sprawled close to the fire… Jill’s bookkeeping sensibility.

  4. Dee says:

    I just finished “My Name is Lucy Barton” by Elizabeth Strout. It’s a magnificent book. I think you would like it! The author also wrote “Oive Kitteridge, and the Burgess Boys…..also great reads.
    P.S. I have all of your books & treasure them. Thank you.

  5. I have lots of favorites also but one of my favorites is your book about your trip to England. It sits on my shelf where I can see it and look at it. When I read that book I was going through a really rough time and reading your adventures took me away from that and got me through that terrible time in my life. Thank you so much. I love your books and have for many years😊

  6. Carolyn Blodgett says:

    I recently (two weeks ago) discovered your blog and am hooked. I too, am a life-long reader and recommend the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace. Charming, and mostly true, story of friendship between two and then later, three friends (Tib joined the group) that lasted a life time.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for your recommendations Carolyn — I think you’ll find many kindred spirits here in the comments! Nice to meet you!

    • Kathy says:

      I was so happy to read the mention of the Betsy-Tacy series of books. I, too, loved them as a young adult. In fact, my daughter also loved them and when she was getting married asked for a “Betsy-Tacy” wedding. So that is what we did. I’m reading Isle of Dreams and finding it hard to put down.

    • Karen Larsen says:

      The Betsy-Tacy books are among the best in the world for any age, and right now in the age of anxiety, they are perfect!
      Also, any of the Miss Read novels from England. “The Chronicles of Fairacre” is perfect.

  7. Joan Barnes says:

    A Fine Romance kept me company today as I faced the anxiety of a medical procedure. Your words buoyed me along with a giggle here and a touch of wisdom there. Thank you for bringing me along on the Atlantic crossing with your prose and beautiful artwork. How reassuring to be returned to the nest and familiar comforts with more A Fine Romance to read!

    • sbranch says:

      I read to escape too, I’m thrilled it helped a little, because those things are always scary. Thank you Joan! Hope its all over and you have a wonderful day today!

  8. Elaine Tuohy says:

    Ooops! Don’t forget the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear and anything by Gene Stratton Porter!

  9. If you haven’t read it already, I recommend a book by Bill Bryson about his adventures traveling about England, “Notes from a Small Island.” He wrote it about 25 years ago, but it is laugh-out-loud funny and just plain wonderful.

  10. Beth Barnat says:

    I like a lot of books you like.
    “Heidi” is my all time favorite book.
    When I was little, I read it 10 times!
    I still have that book.


  11. Keli Garson says:

    What a wonderful selection of books! I’ve also enjoyed The Egg and I by Betty McDonald about her adventures on a chicken farm (I’m partial to chickens). And a fun newer read, Murder & Other Unnatural Disasters. I love everything Susan Branch from your cheery stickers to the oh-so-lovely books! Thanks so much!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you back Keli! I’ve never read the Egg and I, although I have it, I just haven’t gotten there yet . . . but I saw the movie, and it was charming!

  12. Cheryl from Bigfork says:

    I was wondering if you ever read books by Joan Walsh Anglund? She has written many poetry books for children, but they have an adult message as well. Her illustrations were always of children without mouths!

    • Rosemarie Mendes says:

      Seeing Joan Walsh Anglund’s name brought back memories. I have a number of her little books in my studio. Must read them again soon.

  13. Gail Brock ,Whittier, CA says:

    If you haven’t had a chance to read “The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady” or “Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady” by Edith Holden, you might add these to your “to read” list.. lovely illustrations and writings about the English countryside.
    I have enjoyed your beautiful work for years…have all of your calendars and most of your books. Thanks for introducing me to FOGT. I am now enjoying Gladys Taber books.

  14. Tammy B. says:

    Oh Susan, please tell me you have read 26 Fairmount Avenue series written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola!! All about his experiences at home and in school when he was a boy in the 30’s and 40’s. These charming chapter books are favorites at our house.

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t! Isn’t that a children’s book? Children’s book for big people?

      • Tammy B. says:

        Yes, they are children’s chapter books, but I enjoy them and I am not a child. Haha.. It is a series of 8 books (I think). My kids used to get them every summer from the library, but they only had two. Thanks to Amazon, we own them all now. Super cute drawings and interesting books about life back then.

  15. Oh, Susan! After rereading Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams (my all-time favorite book!), I kept thinking of you as I read and listened to the audio book of Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I think you would also enjoy her wonderful short essays on finding the courage to live a creative life! I actually listened to Elizabeth reading passionately, while I followed along in the book, marking all of my favorite passages and quotes.

    The entire time I was listening to the author read Big Magic, I kept thinking just how wonderful it would be if we could one day add an audio version of Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams to our beloved SB book collections. It would be so amazing to follow along through your beautiful pages, with your soft voice reading to us from your heart!! Oh, my goodness!! It would also be lovely to listen to your words of inspiration as I work in my little ‘Paper Garden’ studio making cards, learning to watercolor, and scrapbooking. ♥

    Just planting a little ‘seed’ and hoping it might grow in the future… 🙂
    Love you,
    Dawn (in Illinois)

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve heard its good . . . I wasn’t too wild about Eat Pray Love, so I didn’t run to Big Magic, but everyone says such nice things about it. Thank you for your impressions, Dawn! I was thinking of trying to do a book on tape maybe next winter. I’ll try!

  16. Lana Bressler says:

    Thought of you this afternoon when the mailman delivered a package to my porch. It was “The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots” by Beatrix Potter. It’s lovely, I’m Happy Happy! By the way….have a wonderful trip, I’ll be following you xoxo

  17. Jan Roberts says:

    Love your book list!. Gladys Taber has been a treasured book friend for many, many years and always need to have one of her wonderful books close by. Gladys T. has helped me appreciate/survive winter in Minnesota just by reading her cozy chapters on wintertime. Another all time favorite book ,”A Child’s Christmas in Wales”..Dylan Thomas. It is charming!. We have a copy of the movie(tv).My husband and I watch this film every Christmas night as a reward for making it through the season with our minds still intact.:)
    Just ordered 3 of your wonderful calendars (2017) .Thank you!

  18. Carmen Major says:

    I, too love England and especially London. I have been there twice and love to read about England. Right now I am reading “Ernie Pyle in London”. It was in December 1940 during the Blitz and the terrible horrors the people of London endured. They were so strong and brave, and carried on with life. Ernie Pyle was amazed how courteous everyone was to him and others. It is indeed a fascinating read. Most highly recommend it.

    • sbranch says:

      The memories of the deprivation and horrors of the two world wars are still alive and well in Great Britain, and probably all of Europe. Nothing like having your homes and families bombed to keep awareness strong. It’s turned to a kind of beauty and honor though, and totally filled with forgiveness, sadness, pride, and remembrance. Thank you Carmen!

  19. Salina Fedrick says:

    Hi Susan, I am looking for a good book to read about Beatrix Potter. Can you recommend one for me? Thanks so much.

    • sbranch says:

      THIS is the one I read and loved the best… very complete, with details and well written. Linda Lear, the author, wrote another one called Beatrix Potter, A Life in Nature. I have NOT read it, but I would trust it because of this author, and because the first one I mentioned does not seem to be in print anymore.

  20. Suzette Shoulders says:

    HI, Susan! So many of us who follow your blog and love you are “book people”, just like YOU ! I didn’t see listed “Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”, which I love so much I re-read it… always a good sign with me and books! I have read ‘A Fine Romance” three times now, your other two memoirs twice each! : ) My favorite childhood book was ‘A Secret Garden” by F. H. Burnett. On my list of all-time amazingly wonderful books, ‘All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr, an incredible book about WWII. Happy Christmas HUGS from Oregon, Suzette

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for all your good recommendations Suzette!

    • Barbara A. Hanson says:

      Yes! Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society kept popping into my brain as I read through Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams. Love it and yours, Susan.
      Gladys Taber has long been a friend. I read Stillmeadow Road while in labor with my daughter in spring of 1985. Still recall the disbelief when the ob doc came in during hard labor…heehee.
      You inspire me. Read recently that to be a wise woman, make your life an invitation….I think you have. Thank you for bringing so many along with you.

  21. Karlene Bayok Edwards says:

    I love so many books that you do, especially old fashioned books about cottages and gardens. I thought you might like a book I read that was my mother’s: Pilgrim’s Inn written by Elizabeth Goudge. I still have her book and reread almost every year at Christmas time. It’s the middle book of a trilogy — but please read it first — about a family who lives in a small English village who comes to be healed by the very old home, originally a Pilgrim’s Inn, they move into. It’s a love story, a story about home and about gardens, and a story about family. Even the story of The Wind in the Willows plays a part in the healing. When I read it, it makes me feel the way I do when I read your books, too, Susan.

  22. Jan Cote says:

    I am home from teaching school today as it is a snow day in Canterbury, NH. I jus
    finished Isle of Dreams. IT WAS WONDERFUL! Thank you for sharing what seems to have been such an amazing journey for you. I read A Fine Romance first, followed by Fairy Tale Girl. I was amazed when I turned to the page in Ilse of Dreams to find the Canterbury Center Cemetery, your ancestor Abiel Foster’s grave and picture of our Town Hall. I grew up here and I have never left. I probably have walked by Abiel’s grave a hundred times. I JUST love the story of Holly Oak and how you made it yours! Do you still own it? I so admire your creativity, wit and charm. My husband and I have been married 30 years as well, congratulations to you and Joe. One of OUR first anniversaries, Michael bought me your first cookbook! And many ever since, plus an annual calendar.
    Keep up the GREAT WORK!
    – a BIG fan
    Jan C.

    • sbranch says:

      What a pretty place to live, Jan. Must be so gorgeous there right now. I was there in the fall, and the colors were amazing. Isn’t it fun to find your hometown in a book? I love that too. Like when we watch Jaws, and recognize all the places we know so well. Thank you so much Jan, I’m thrilled you enjoyed the books . . . say hello to Michael too!

  23. Jane C Halcomb says:

    Susan, some of my favorites you may have not read: Rumer Godden China Court and An Episode of Sparrows. Elizabeth Enright Gone-Away Lake and Return to Gone-Away Lake, written for young people but good reads, charming. The Alley by Eleanor Estes. Notes from a Small Island Bill Bryson. The Country of Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett.
    Isn’t it wonderful that there are so many books in this world?! I’m going to the library tomorrow to look for some of the ones on your list that I haven’t read.

    • sbranch says:

      Luv-lee list Jane . . . I’ve read some of them, The Country of Pointed Firs which I found in a used bookstore, and just recently actually the Bill Bryson book . . . thank you for adding them on.

    • Mary Noel says:

      So glad to know that someone else loves China Court. Have you read The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge? Or Linnets and Valerians? The Country of Pointed Firs is perhaps the most underrated book in American literature.

  24. Judy says:

    If you haven’t discovered The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland, I can highly recommend it. It’s by Jim DeFede. Our book club raved about it and there is a new Broadway musical based on the same subject.

  25. Laura S. Alabama says:

    One of my all time favorites – Katherine by Anya Seton. Historical fiction. Katherine was the mistress who eventually married John of Gaunt (House of Plantagenet) Wonderful book. And, The Masters of Rome series by Colleen McCullough. I was left feeling bereft when I finished. My brother talked me into reading the first book of the Rome series…First Man of Rome, which I really didn’t want to. I did not think I would like it at all. Once I got into the 1st book…. couldn’t stop. If you liked Pillars of the Earth, you would prob like these also.

  26. Julianne Matsko says:

    Hi Susan & Girlfriends ! A new “must-read” is “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles. I am a librarian and I can tell you that my coworkers and I are crazy about that book. I have recommended to Susan the following books which any Anglophile (I am one too) would LOVE: “I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith and “Confidences of an English Gardener” and other books (hard to find though) by A. M. Dew-Smith. – Julie the Librarian

  27. Julianne Matsko says:

    Woops! I meant “Confidences of an Amateur Gardener “

  28. Abigail Susan Hegger says:

    Hi Susan, First i have to tell you that your cooking books got me through a lot of hot days in Saudi Arabia years ago when i longed for anything American. Thank you. I wanted to tell you that I just discovered the Flavia de Luce series about an 11-year-old sleuth written by a Canadian, Alan Bradley. The stories take place in a Mansion in England and are truly wonderful. A great find. Just a note: last year my fiance designed for me one of those “free libraries” at the top of my driveway from old barn wood. Thank you for all that you do.

  29. Dora Caetano says:

    You are wonderful! 🙂
    Thank you,

    Dora C.

  30. Sherill Anderson says:

    Dear Susan: I am sure you would enjoy “The Countryman” by H. E. Bates. It was published in the early 1940’s. He writes about the English countryside, gardening, architecture and the like. You might like to read it before you go on your trip to England. Your fan, Sherill Anderson. From Seattle WA where the wildfire smoke has cleared and we are enjoying a beautiful, cool, sunny day.

    • sbranch says:

      Love the sound of it, I’ll hunt for it at the old bookstores while we’re in England!

      • Sherill Anderson says:

        You can also buy it online, second hand. I go to “Out of Print Books” for mine. Quite convenient and inexpensive.

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, but those old bookstores are such a treat, sometimes I save special things like this just for the hunt. I looked on line and saw lots of used bookstores in England have it, so it will be a good surprise when I find it. Thank you for telling me about it!

          • Pam Erselius says:

            We have a trip to England planned; I imagine it will be cancelled. BUT when we DO go I look forward to visiting used bookstores there. Thanks for the idea! There’s a great one in Inverness, Scotland called Leaky’s. It’s in an old former cathedral type church. 💙

  31. Brenda Crews says:

    I just discovered your site and am thrilled. I also recommend Elizabeth Goudge’s Elliot trilogy books. The previously mentioned “Pilgrim’s Inn” is the middle, but I would recommend all three: “The Bird in the Tree, Pilgrim’s Inn and The Heart of the Family.” It is a story of Lucilla, the matriarch of the Elliot family and a home, Dameroshey, on the southern English coast. Elizabeth Goudge is so precious to me that when I ordered her autobiography from England, ” The Joy of the Snow,” that I cried those horizontal tears you described when it arrived in the mail. Another of her books, “The Scent of Water” is wonderful also. Gladys Tabor is much the same. I discovered her when I was 25 years old. I am immediately going to read yours. So glad to have discovered this site.

  32. Barbara H. Scott says:

    I love Jane Austen too, but my favorite is Persuasion. It’s a great second chance story. Like the previous Reply, I also love Elizabeth Goudge. I am reading her autobiography. It’s very good so far and she can take you right back to the early 1900’s when she was a child. My favorite Elizabeth Goudge is the Middle Window. It’s a wonderful story full of history and deep love. I own two copies and both have that grand musty smell of an old book. Can’t beat it for atmosphere. Your books are right up there with these two writers. I have only one last book of yours to read. It makes me sort of sad. Please keep writing, so I can keep reading your work.

  33. Patricia Arbuckel says:

    Gone with the Wind is my all time favorite I think I read it every summer or two while we are camping. Anne of green gables is another that I love..

    • sbranch says:

      I’m with you on both, but have to say I read Gone With the Wind when I was around 15, and just like you, I’ve loved it ever since.

  34. Karen Bowerman says:

    Love the “Miss Read” books which take place in the UK. Charming drawings in them as well. Stories of life in the village of Thrush Green. Interesting characters. I’ve got about a dozen of them and when I want a quick read, something that’s not taxing, I like to pick one up. Also love the two books by Anne Knowles about a female vet in England…The Work of Her Hands and An Ark on the Flood.

  35. Diane Zalk says:

    Late to the party here, but I totally agree with The Sunset Western Garden Book being the best resource out there. Their subdivision of USDA’s zones into microclimates is helpful, as is the compendium of plants & the section of dealing with both insects & plant pests. I’ve used it ever since I reached adulthood & home ownership, which is longer than I will share here!

  36. Nell says:

    Have you discovered Angela Thirkell’s series about Barsetshire, UK? They are a series of novels set in the English countryside from the 1930’s into the 1960’s. Based on the Anthony Trollope series. I love them for the brilliant window they make into that lost world. And they are filled with clever allusions and British wit.
    Also the children’s book The House at the End of the Lane by Elizabeth Lane. It is about a group of animals in a perfect house who paint, garden, bake, write poetry and create. It is so well-loved I just had it professionally bound!

  37. Nell says:

    Sorry, I wrote Elizabeth Lane. the Author is Elizabeth Rush. I was just watching ‘Christmas in Connecticut’ and Lane came out of my fingers. Since you too like Gladys Taber, have you read any by Barbara Webster (the Rib), wife of her illustrator? ‘The Green Year’ and ‘Sugarbridge and Stillmeadow” come to mind. Also I’d recommend Louise Dickinson Rich and E. F. Benson’s Mapp and Lucia Series.

  38. SHERRY JOHNSON says:

    My favorite author of old books is Kathleen Norris. She wrote at least fifty and all are different, but have the theme of heart and home being most important. Do not confuse her with the more contemporary author Kathleen Norris who writes spiritual books. I absolutely love Gladys Taber. Discovered her when I was 22. I’m now 72. I even went to one of the conventions the year before you were the speaker. Sorry I could not afford to go back and see you….it’s my biggest regret. Retired from library work, but now am manager of the bookstore in the library.

  39. Nilah EDINGTON says:

    Flora Thompson is one of my favorite English authors, she wrote the Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy. I found out about her when I was reading a Miss Read novel. Miss Read had just received Thompsons new book in the mail . . . I wondered if this were a real person. I found out she was and I immediately read her books. When my husband and I were driving through England, we searched out her home and found it plus Queenies home. Lark Rise is actually Juniper. I bought her books, used online — the edition I have has pictures and pressed flowers and is really pretty. There have been tv movies made of Candleford, but they don’t compare to Thompson’s writing.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m familiar with Flora Thompson, loved her beautiful trilogy! How fun you got to go to her house. Aren’t the words Lark Rise and Candleford just beautiful! Thank you Nilah! xoxo

  40. Becky Hebert says:

    I don’t know if you will see this as I am sure this is an old post, but Susan, I must recommend this book for you. When you read it, you will wonder why you haven’t seen it before. The book is: “The Country Diry of an Edwardian Lady”, byEdith Holden. It is full of beautiful artwork and observations of the English countryside. This author also knew great tragedy in love.

    I am new to your work, but we are definitely kindred spirits.

    • sbranch says:

      Nice to meet you Becky! Welcome to the neighborhood! You won’t believe this, I pulled that book out just this morning to look through . . . I read it years ago, barely remember and wanted to see it again! Yes, kindred spirits!

      • Becky Hebert says:

        I would like to write to you via snail mail and give a proper introduction (in about 3 or 4 weeks). Will you get the letter if I send it to the P.O. Box listed under contact us?

        I will say this much, during the time that you write about in your second book where you bought the little cottage, at that same time, I was living in Scotland (I am American, but lived there for 5 years).

        • sbranch says:

          I do receive mail at that PO Box. A lot of mail, so I probably (guiltily) won’t be able to get back to you, despite my mother’s training to answer my mail!!! How lovely you were able to experience 5 years of such a wonderful country!

  41. Karla Camarata says:


    My mother-in-law passed away and she has a collection of some of your calendars and book that are rather old but in excellent condition. I have read some and I think your work is absolutely wonderful. My question would be, my husband and I have downsized to a condo and we are wondering what to do with these wonderful items as we just don’t have the space to keep them. Any ideas?

    Calendars start at 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2009 & 2010. Would these be considered “collectibles”?

    The other 2 calendars are 2001 & 2002.

    The books we have are: Home of the Heart, Girlfriends Forever, Autumn, Love from the Heart of the Home, Days from the Heart of the Home, The Summer Book.

    Any suggestions would be helpful!

    Thank you,

    • sbranch says:

      Maybe you would know if you you Googled these things and saw what they were selling for. I’m not sure if calendars are collectible or not. And there are some here on the blog who may want one or two of the books. Is the Days book filled in? Also, would you want to leave your email address in the body of your comments so someone could contact you?

  42. Pam Erselius says:

    This is a great page to repost! Especially now with people sequestered at home etc.
    This page somehow popped up on my iPad and I thought it was new and started to respond to some of the posts! Anyway I DO think you and your readers ARE kindred spirits such that we love the same types of books. So this page with all its replies is a great resource! You mentioned 2 of my “top 3” faves. (Jane Eyre&Outlander) The third is Christy by Catherine Marshall.
    Top o the morn to ya💚💚💚💚💚

  43. Karen Horrigan says:

    Love your list! I would add ALL your books, All the Light We Cannot See, Unbroken, and any Eric Metaxas books. As a 2nd grade teacher, my favs are Biggest Bear, velveteen Rabbit, Boxcar Children, Little House series and anything by Virginia Lee Burton.

  44. Cheryl Davis says:

    Wonderful list! Recently, I’ve been interested in M.C. Beaton books especially the Agatha Raisin series. They are loads of fun and take place in the Cotswolds.
    And of course, anything by L.M Montgomery. Her world is my go-to when life is stressful:)

  45. Frances Zvonek says:

    I also have read several of the Classics that are on your list. I also save books that are my favorites. I love Murder Mysteries, right now I reading the “Secrets of Mary’s Bookshop” they are a series of different book wrote by different authors, but all about Mary who is a bookshop owner that loves to solve local crimes. Another good series is the Victorian Mansion FLower shop mysteries or the Light house mysteries. All by different authors, but based on the same town.
    I also love anything by Debbie Macomber.
    but right now, actually my favorites are the three of your books, Martha’s Vineyard, The Fairy Tale girl and A fine Romance. ( going to England is on my bucket list. and I’m taking your book with me LOL..for reference)
    I also love your cookbooks. not just for the recipes but the cute pictures and drawings. My daughter is an art teacher and she loves them also..

  46. Holly Quinlan says:

    Hi Susan.

    I think you would love “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” by Patti Callahan. It is the wonderful, unlikely love story of C.S. Lewis and American Joy Davidman. It evokes every wonderful British sensation…the sights, sounds and smells of the countryside, particularly around Oxford, and The Kilns, the wonderful home C.S. Lewis shared with his brother, Warnie. It is a special book.

  47. Wendy Zenor says:

    I smiled to see the picture of “Life on the Mississippi” above. 2 weeks ago….before the need to flatten the curve here….my husband and I went away for the weekend for our anniversary. While gone, we went to an adorable, little bookshop that sells all sorts of used books. The “Life on the Mississippi” book was one that I bought there that weekend! 🙂 I love the illustrations, and that it is so old! 🙂 Beautiful!! 🙂

    Wendy Z., Iowa

    • sbranch says:

      We love wandering around in used bookstores. Sometimes you find little treasures between the pages! A recipe or a faded flower.

  48. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    Hi Susan, I saw on your list The Poky Little Puppy and I have to tell you I got each of my 3 grown kids this book and a new Snoopy “blankie” for Christmas this year. I had been telling them about how every time I asked them what they wanted to hear me read for a bedtime story, 9 time out of 10 this was the one and I never refused, in that way I’m sure I read that thing 100 times at least. They all had beaming smiley faces when they opened this gift, so I was happy. I don’t think I’ll ever top that for a present, easy for me to acquire, home delivered, and really hit the spot.

  49. Diana Phillips says:

    Oh my gosh! I didn’t know anyone ever heard or read
    Barbara Pym!!
    How about the Mrs. Read books! Wonderful!
    I just printed your list, so I can finish reading
    our books =)

  50. Julianne says:

    Hi Susan and Joe. Susan, did you ever read the book I gave you when I met you in 2016 ? I Capture the Castle is the title. Dodie Smith wrote it while she was in the US and longing for England.

  51. Julianne says:

    Whoops. Now I see you did read it. I am so glad you loved it.

  52. Kim says:

    Hi, Susan–Love all your books! They have an esteemed spot in my library. I am a huge fan of Jan Karon and her Mitford series. I have read them over and over again. Miss Read is another favorite. Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim. Anything by Rosamunde Pilcher. Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance and Romancing the Ordinary. Becoming by Michelle Obama. Anne of Green Gables. Gift From The Sea. Alexandra Stoddard books. Anything by Anne Lamott. Gosh, I could go on and on.

  53. Kim says:

    Hi, Susan–More good books…Stretching Lessons and Plain and Simple by Sue Bender. Any books by Maeve Binchy. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Any of her books, actually. Being Home by Gunilla Norris. The House by the Sea by May Sarton. The Country Year by Sue Hubbell. A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson.

  54. kim says:

    Hi, Susan–Saw my comment of May 12 but there was another one that I wrote in addition to this one that hasn’t shown up. Wondering. Wanted to also add a couple of children’s books that I love. Wind in the Willows and Five Little Peppers and How They Grew.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Kim … I’ve been deep into the book I’m writing . . . haven’t been reading the luv-lee comments, but this is the morning! xoxoxoxo

  55. Linda Talbott says:

    I am in Heaven since I found this web site. So much in common with everyone! Books, movies, music, art, and an uplifting attitude providing spiritual inspiration. I am just a little younger than Susan, and I often think I was born a decade too late! I would like to recommend the books by Linda Mahkovec. She has written Christmas stories from 1939 to 1945 that emphasize relationships of her characters during WWII. Also, after I retired, I revisited books I loved as a child (Little House series, Trixie Belden, Sue Barton, Donna Parker, Nancy Drew among others). Best thing about being retired is having time to read!

  56. Alyson says:

    Hi Susan! Don’t think anyone’s posted on here for a year, but I’m reading a book I think you might love! It’s “84 Charing Cross Rd.” I just borrowed it from the library (I’ve recently rediscovered the library ❤😊). It’s the actual correspondence between a freelance writer in NY and a used book dealer in London in the late 1940’s. It has so many things you love; Letters, England, humor, friendship, recipes, books…. I’m only half way through, but I’m loving it. If you haven’t read it, give it a try! 😊

    • sbranch says:

      I have read that wonderful book, very charming! Thank you for thinking of me. Yes, we’re still posting here, the last one was about a month ago . . . My blog has been going through some updating, but it should be finished soon and I can get busy with some new posts! xoxo

  57. I appreciate the way your blog celebrates the beauty of life and all its wonders.

  58. Sue Bigsby says:

    LOVE your list and have made note of some I haven’t read. I’m a READING PIG when I find an author I enjoy. Recommend any and all books written by LOIS BATTLE, MAEVE BINCHY and ROSAMUNDE PILCHER. Jan Karon’s books are also very enjoyable. “… And Ladies of the Club” by Helen Hooven Santmyer which I read about every 15 years. I’m about to start it again. Note: At the beginning of each chapter she lists the women in the chapter — as book goes on lists names with maiden name and married name. Highly recommend if you haven’t read it!

  59. Thank you for sharing your unique insights and perspectives on this topic.

  60. Cat Matos says:

    I very much enjoy your books and lovely watercolors! Noticing and being thankful for the wonderful-ness of everyday things adds so much to life!
    On the first page, you have a photo of your very favorite books that you keep on the shelf because they were So Good!
    I tried to get their names, but can’t read them from the photo. I know you’re very busy now, but when time permits, can you share them in a printed list?
    Loving all the comments and new additions to the must read list.
    I would add Aurora Dawn by Herman Woulk. The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley.

    A good book can take you places!
    A fan,
    Cat Mat

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