Well, one series of books that she absolutely loves is the Mitford Series by Jan Karon. My mom and my sister attended a book club with ladies from church. At Home In MItford, the first volume in the series, was one of their selected books for their club a number or years ago. They both loved the book so much that they sent it to me and I fell in love with it as well. I have since read the nine books in the series, plus the spin off books, for lack of a better word and I just discovered 2 volumes that I haven't read yet! So, guess what I sent to my mother for her 96th birthday? She hadn't heard about or read them either! She was so excited! Let me tell you, it is hard buying gifts for a 96 year old! Last year I sent her a gift card to a restaurant that I thought she would love and then found out that they don't even have that restaurant in my home town! Birthday gift fail! When I found out about Come Rain or Come Shine & To Be Where You Are, I knew I had found her the perfect gift!
One of the enjoyable things about this series of books is the way Ms. Karon can turn a phrase that keeps you either chuckling or feeling inspired. For example, the aforementioned dog that adopts Father Tim has a long way to go before he wins over the parish secretary. When she first meets him, she says, "That wasn't a dog! That was a _______," and you would expect her to say horse where I left the blank, right? But, no! She says, "That wasn't a dog! That was a Buick!" It was just so unexpected! There are so many similar moments as we listen to Father Tim's thoughts throughout the books. I love how the author gave Father Tim such a charitable heart. In one instance, close to the beginning of the book we learn about this heart. The sweet octogenarian of the town, Miss Sadie visits him at the rectory to tell him of her old housekeeper's plans to visit her. Father Tim offers to bake a ham for her for the occasion. "Why bless your heart,' says Miss Sadie. 'Don't even mention it!' he said, feeling his heart blessed already. " I just loved that, and there are so many more moments that don't come across as preachy but just sweet ways that inspire me to be kinder to my neighbors.
Another thing that I love about the Mitford Series is that Father Tim loves to read not only the scriptures, but Blake and Wordsworth as well. There are many wonderful quotes and references throughout all of the books. As a matter of fact, the Buick sized dog responds to commands given in the voice of scripture or eighteenth century poetry. When there are problems in the books that seem almost insurmountable, Father Tim always prays the prayer that never fails, "Philippians four-thirteen, for Pete's sake." (You can look it up in the New Testament yourself.)