* Asterix and Obelix (they taught me to read, and planted a love for Ancient Rome culture and Latin)
* Though I was not read the Bible, the nuns told us stories, and we illustrated them. So, orally, the Bible stories, or accounts -that’s how we call them these days-.
* Las aventuras de Vania el forzudo (Russian boy coming of age book. A tale of courage and love. The first book I remember finishing).
* Platero y yo, by Juan Ramón Jiménez. I hated this book. Since we are children, they all want you to read it, and it does not appeal in the least to children. Read as an adult, it brought me to tears. Juan Ramón Jiménez is my favorite poet, it speaks to my soul with his tenderness.
* Art collection book. I had a book with the pictures in the Prado Museum, Madrid, and I always read the scripts about the pictures and painters. This taught me that painters and their paintings have a story, and that they present to us their views, and the world.
* Juan Ramón Jiménez poems anthology. Because when we feel alone in our teen years, poetry can be healing. I remember memorizing some of his poems and reciting them in front of a mirror.
* Enyd Blyton in the summer. Other books I remember nothing about, I just read a lot without knowing what, to escape my reality.
* Lord of the Flies. First book we read together in high school. The teacher was impressed with our answers to his book discussion questions. It was very saddening and scary too.
* Rimas y leyendas, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer. Nothing communicates and heals better than poetry, specially Bécquer, for adolescence. He gave me a nostalgic view of love and romance.
* El Quijote. -Are you kidding me? Finally, I could read this classic that was always pushed down our throats, from beginning to end… and I laughed and cried!
* Alicia en el país de las maravillas. -I love reading this book from time to time. This book fills my longing to rationalize the absurd, or to absurdize the rational.
* I, Claudius, by Robert Graves, and *Caligula. My love for Ancient Rome and biographies started here. In a capsule, I would have loved history if it had been taught to me with living books.
* Nefertiti, and a whole host of books about Egypt of uneven quality. Egypt became another obsession to me.
* El príncipe destronado. A novel about how children feel when other children are born in the family. This book showed me that we share an idea of childhood in our collective conscience. It was fun to “hear” a child talk in a book.
* El nombre de la rosa, Umberto Ecco. It taught me to love historical fiction books and books that raise philosophical questions.
* Niebla, Miguel de Unamuno, represents the discovery that writers can do amazing things, like a book in which the main character has a conversation with his author, and that was sort of a conversation we, created, have with our Creator. We have good writers in Spain, we do, 🙂 And this is a novel that uses the story of Cain and Abel to explore envy, -Wikipedia says, and different to your everyday book.
* Los renglones torcidos de Dios, Torcuato Luca de Tena. Mystery, insanity, psychoanalysis, and life meet the pages of this novel. (I also enjoyed his Edad Prohibida).
* The Golden Bough. -because I bought this book in English when I lived in London, and I could not understand half a thing, but I kept reading and re-reading the first pages in the underground, looking, -or so I thought-, well educated, but holding to the hope that, one day, I will be able to read in English and understand.
* Crime and Punishment. Russians have always taught me morality and conscience. To read a Russian master writer, is to experience a slice of the world.
* Metamorphosis, by Kafka. The thought that I’m not alone, that many have difficult adolescences, no matter the nationality or time.
* La montaña mágica, Thomas Mann. -I am scared about re reading this book. It meant a lot to me: the philosphy in the novel, the dialogues between opposing views of life, and the reflections about time, death, health, sickness, etc.
* The Bible, most specially Psalms and Proverbs. -In my thirties I was reading the Bible in English and Spanish, and able to find comfort and truth in it.
* Volume 1 of Charlotte Mason. Lots of books on education, specially the John combo, -John Holt, and John Taylor Gatto.
* Dracula. -I can find philosophical and reflective questions raised in unexpected titles such as this.
* Lots of not so relevant novels. -I CAN READ in ENGLISH more proficiently! From this period, one friend made me remember * Bel Canto. I still remember the characters, much of the plot. I like novels that, like this, bring music and opera to life. It is like My Name is Asher Lev, that has lots of art intertwined in the book.
* Song of Solomon and Revelation. I read those books of the Bible with more interests and I was led into studies that helped me enjoy and understand them better.
* Poetic Knowledge. It opened up to me the concept of POETIC, and how I am trying to keep it always in my being, to live a poetic life, to homeschool poetically… oh, well, I don’t want to abuse the term.
* Volume 6 of CM. My ultimate source of comfort, inspiration, reproof, when it comes to education.
* The Abolition of Man. -A stupendous book club we had, that taught me I could read “difficult books”, and enjoy them, and live up to their ideas. I had known C.S. Lewis before, but this cemented my passion for his books.
* Great Expectations. Wow. I can read Dickens in the original! This was the beginning of the end, I became an anglophile reader, enamored of Victorian literature.
* Winnie the Pooh, and Wind in the Willows. Because those are grown up books disguised as children books, and they contain so much love -for others, for language, for life, for beauty, and healing. (One can keep nurturing the child in her by reading them).
Forty to now
* Genesis, Exodus, and the book of Acts and Romans. -A new appreciation of the patriarchs, and Paul.
* The Mind of the Maker, by Dorothy Sayers. This opened a new genre, and it is a book alone in its category, like Parables. It taught me how to approach life, but it is not self help or anything like that!
* Life and Death in Shanghai. A view of communism, and the valor of a woman when tried with the hardest trial one can face. -It made me realize how fortunate to live in what we call a christian nation.
* Cancer Ward. -Because there is joy and beauty in pain and sorrow. Like Life and Death in Shanghai, it gives me perspective and appreciation for this country and my freedom to be a christian.
* Pilgrims Progress and Christiana, by Bunyan. An epic allegory of our journey as christians. The names of the characters and the exchanges, as well as the allegories of the places and people Christian encounters are a masterpiece.
* Parables from Nature, by Getty. It is such a unique book, so dear, so well written, quite amazing.
* More poetry. (Thanks to the AO selections we have been now reading for 4 years). I am re-reading favorite poets, and slowly meeting new ones, -which is not difficult since I had never read poetry in English before-.
* Shakespeare and Plutarch. Thanks to Ambleside Online, I am enjoying these two great writers of all times along with my daughters.
This is not one book, but it is my discovery of book genres, and the thought I wanted to always be reading from those different categories, (a travel book, such as After You Marco Polo, biographies, Victorian literature that I have come to love, British books, American writers, women writers, books from writers all over the world, different nationalities and cultures, young adult well written books, dystopias, geography books, natural science and science in general, -for the broad public-, books on education, art, philosophical books and everything Lewis, Chesterton, Sayers, mysteries, classics…