Or: Impactful books and our stories
I love your thought that we are clay until we die. It is true! Some books that have defined and refined me are Little Britches, The Hiding Place, Lord of the Rings, Les Misérables, and surprisingly Anna Karenina. This last one showed the contrast between a healthy marriage relationship and a broken one. Everyone talks about the broken one, but for me the true story is the healthy one, and the daily choices they made to continue to nurture it. I've copied into my journal several quotes from it and have shared those ideas with my kids (and will share them again when those children get married).
I also have the Nourishing Traditions cook book. It is wonderful! My kids especially like the home fermented ketchup. I got the book after I'd spent time in Russia and it was fun to see Kefir in it.