Great Books Link Party!

By Kate Riley July 31, 2012

Don’t we all love to get lost in a great book?  I’m still old school, preferring to hold the pages in my hands, but my latest obsession with the iPad has me rethinking that habit, especially the convenience of a lighted screen at night after Matt falls asleep (since my favorite thing to do before I fall asleep is read!!)

I struggled with what book to write about today, then turned to the classic that sits on my bookshelf – what I call my “vacation” book – the one I like to tote along with me when I take a few days off.  But of course!  Have you read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift From the Sea ?  The author was a mother of five and the wife of the famous Charles Lindbergh, she also became a pilot herself and led quite an adventurous life.  The book was originally published back in 1955, but I’m still amazed at how the author’s reflections ring true today!


I discovered this book ten years ago in a little beach boutique in San Diego, and it had such an impact on me, I try to reread it every year.  Lindbergh gives a thoughtful perspective that reflects on the often overwhelming commitments and everyday demands placed on women in the modern home.  The most interesting parts are her analogies of life’s complex issues and relationships to shells found along the beach, an association I’d never make on my own but done so articulately in the 120 pages.

It was written while Anne took a beach vacation alone and away from her family.  The book pulls you to a quiet place, insisting you exist as you read it as if part of the rhythmic tide of the ocean.  I love her perspective on the ‘circus act’ women perform in our everyday lives, between children, keeping up the household, our work, and our volunteer efforts.  It places real value on moments spent alone in order to feed the soul, and the importance of time spent resisting the pressures of the world and being inwardly attentive.   It analyzes our female instinct to give of ourselves to others, but how necessary it is to take moments for ourselves so we can give with purpose.  It offers reflections on marriage and sister relationships that are heartfelt, poignant, and meaningful.

There are so many quotes in the book that I love, here are three I underlined:

“I shall ask into my shell only those friends with whom I can be completely honest.  I find I am shedding the hypocrisy in human relationships… the most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere.”  (Chapter 2)   Do you/we waste too much time invested in false relationships? 

“I believe that true identity is found by going into one’s own ground and knowing oneself.  It is found in creative activity springing from within.  It is found, paradoxically, when one loses oneself.  Woman can best refind herself by losing herself in some kind of creative activity of her own.”  (Chapter 4)  Yes, yes, how true that fulfillment often comes from tapping into our creativity!

“One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can only collect at few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.”  (Chapter 7)   Just like we should not collect too many material possessions in our homes… the focus should be keeping it simple and meaningful.

If you haven’t read it, I recommend picking it up, especially for the next time you take a few days off.  For all those who’ve read it, what did you love about Gift From The Sea

Time to share your latest book – link up your reviews!



  1. Your description of the book was not what I expected from the cover…looks like a light beach read, sounds absolutely amazing! I will definitely have to pick this one up.

  2. Wow, I’ve never read Gift from the Sea before but it sounds fabulous!! And I was diggin’ the iPad for a bit to read, but there’s nothing like the smell of an old book and feeling the pages flip through your fingers! Thanks so much for the wonderful link party, Kate. Hope you enjoy the rest of summer!

  3. Too funny you should feature this book! A few years ago I purchased this book, simply for the beautiful cover! Somehow (could be my little houdini’s) the book was quickly misplaced before I could read it, and instead all I have is an empty cover. I hold on to the pretty cover in hopes the book will reappear. Kate, you and I are on opposite sides of the country but I think our brains function in the same area code :)

    • Yes Christine they must, ha! I hope it does reappear, it’s worth an afternoon to savor it!

  4. Gifts from the Sea is one of my absolute favorite books!

    Its often that this dynamic of peaceful solitude for women only exists *after* their husbands have passed (or after a divorce) and all the children have grown up–that these women finally have more time for themselves, for their own projects, for their own quiet reflection, and not managing a household and mothering after everyone else.

    But its that peaceful, soul-nurturing solitude that women need to find in their lives *now*, not later…


  5. I love this book. I found it when planning my wedding down the jersey shore. I used a passage in my program. This book has so much meaning for me know as a mother too.

  6. Gift from the sea looks awesome!

    Speaking of books less recently published:

    Before my Mom died she bought me a copy of “Death of a President” by William Manchester because I was fascinated with the JFK assassination. She said it was the most comprehensive review of this time in history.I could not bring myself to read it right away, but I think I am ready now. I’m looking forward to seeing how Manchester pieces the events together!

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Tracy K thanks for the suggestion. I took a quick look at The Fault and added it to my list on Goodreads.

  8. Kate,

    Try reading a book on your Ipad– you’ll love it! Classics (Pride and Prejudice, maybe???) are all free . I especially love how easy it is to highlight and look up a reference/word that I don’t immediately recognize. I also love how it catalogs all your bookmarks, highlights, and notes automatically. It’s a wonderful way to read, so much more active than passive!!!


  9. I love this idea for a link up though I already have so many books I own and need to read that getting more I want to get might not be a good thing.

  10. Ive recently discovered your blog over here in Australia and was delighted to find you also write about books, combining two of my loves! You wrote so beautifully about gifts from the sea I’m going to try and track it down. I can’t wait to explore all the links and learn about some of the other books people recommend. Thanks so much!

  11. Great book! One of my favorites also. Have read it over and over. Great link party – can’t wait to find some new books to read! Thanks ~

  12. I struggle with the physical vs ebook argument. Honestly I like to have both. I love the tangibility of books; the smells, the feel of the pages. Plus there are places I would prefer not to take my iPad (it’s an expensive toy). But I like the convience of having books on my iPad, especially since I’ve been traveling for work more. I’ve also really enjoyed being able to click on words for definitions – generally I do pretty well guessing what it means from context, but it’s nice to know for sure. I don’t understand why books can’t work the way BluRays do – buy the Blu-ray get a code for the digital version. If I buy the physical book I should be able to get the electronic version for another $1-2 (to pay for formatting).

  13. I love this link up party! I am an avid reader and do a blog weekly about my current reading list of the month. I am always happy to have more to add to the list! What a clever way to do it!

  14. One of my favorite books, on my bookshelf too. The third quote you mentioned I have used often.

    Have you read Joan Anderson’s books? If you like Gift of the Sea I think you might like her. Web site in her name will list her books. A Year By The Sea was a favorite. Very reflective, introspective, truthful.

  15. Oh thank you so much for the book review! I really don`t like any of the current books, I`ve been reading all the old classics and books written in the early part of the 20th century and loving them all (again!). Can`t wait to find a copy of this one.


  16. Kate, this is my favorite link party EVER!!! Please do this again–I will be sure to link up! I’m always looking for what to read next! Now I’m going to find some new good books :).

    • Thanks so much Katy, will definitely do it again, so many books, so little time!

  17. I love to read a variety of genres and so when I went on vacation this past month I took with me a great thrilling action adventure book, “The In-Ko-Pah Spirit” by Wally Runnels. I really loved it and would strongly recommend it to all. There are however times when I like to sit and read a good relaxing book, so I am definitely going to check out “Gift from the Sea.” Thank you for suggesting it.

  18. I just finished The Age of Desire, which is a new book. And I am totally not doing this to shill the book (my only compensation was a free copy), but I did review the book on my blog and am doing a giveaway. The book is a historical fiction account of a few years in Edith Wharton’s life — the few years where she had an affair — and it is fascinating. The affair ends up being a minor part of the book, and the more intriguing parts are her relationships around her and how they react to the affair.

    Gift from the Sea does look absolutely lovely. I will put it on my library list. School starts soon, so I’m trying to get as much reading in before I have to get both feet on the ground running.

  19. ARRRRGG! I just found your blog, and am dying that I missed your book party. Hope you have one soon again. I am a new follower. THanks!

  20. This is a classic…and she was ahead of her time in putting into perspective the women’s work/life/family issues and struggles that were popularized in the 90’s. It always amazes me how the latest cultural trends can be traced back, way back, to others who were so reflective and on the pulse of the current day. Just goes to show that every decade, every generation, every woman/person has more in common than we think. Sometimes we think our issues today are ‘new’…they are not. One of my favorite reads.

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