For me, reading has always been a sacred way to go inward. To gain wisdom and perspective. To feel all the feels.
Here’s a few books (organized by subject) that have had a profound impact on my soul journey and life’s work.
Childhood Trauma, Self-Sabotage and Shame
Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity | Kerry Cohen
Loose Girl is Kerry Cohen’s captivating memoir about her descent into promiscuity and how she gradually found her way toward real intimacy. The story of addiction–not just to sex, but to male attention–Loose Girl is also the story of a young girl who came to believe that boys and men could give her life meaning. It didn’t matter who he was. It was their movement that mattered, their being together. And for a while, that was enough. (GoodReads)
Stray: A Memoir | Stephanie Danler
From the author of the best-selling Sweetbitter comes an intimate, searingly honest memoir of growing up the child of addicts, of how that turbulent, often harrowing experience has affected her at every stage of her life, and of how she has struggled to transcend this unwanted legacy. (GoodReads)
Dying and Grief
Caravan of No Despair: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation | Mirabai Starr
With Caravan of No Despair, Mirabai shares an irreverent, uplifting, and intimate memoir of her extraordinary life journey. Through the many twists and turns of her life—including a tangled relationship with a charlatan-guru, her unexpected connection with the great Christian mystics, and the loss of her daughter—Mirabai finds the courage to remain open and defenseless before the mystery of the divine. “Tragedy and trauma are not guarantees for a transformational spiritual experience,” writes Mirabai Starr, “but they are opportunities. They are invitations to sit in the fire and allow it to transfigure us.”. (GoodReads)
The Secret Life of Grief: A Memoir | Tanja Pajevic
When Tanja Pajevic’s mother died, she felt alone and unsupported. She didn’t want her grief to sideline her, as it had when her father died. This time around, she wanted to grieve consciously.
Written in fierce, honest prose, The Secret Life of Grief is a book for anyone who isn’t willing to “pull it together” and act like nothing’s wrong. The Secret Life of Grief is a book for those of us who believe in the transformative power of loss. And it’s a book for those of us who believe in love.
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.
Mediumship and Spirituality
Bridging Two Realms: Learn to Communicate with Your Loved Ones on the Other-Side | John Holland
There are many reasons you could have been drawn to this book — or, perhaps, this book somehow found you! Are you looking for answers as to what happens to your loved ones after they pass? Perhaps you’re wondering what you should do after having had a psychic experience. Whether you’re a student of psychic studies or a practicing medium, a believer or a skeptic, or someone who is bereaved as a result of a loss, this book was written to provide you with all the answers to your questions about the Other-Side.
Devotion: A Memoir | Dani Shapiro
Dani Shapiro, the acclaimed author of the novel Black and White and the bestselling memoir Slow Motion, is back with Devotion: a searching and timeless new memoir that examines the fundamental questions that wake women in the middle of the night, and grapples with the ways faith, prayer, and devotion affect everyday life. Devotion is sure to appeal to all those dealing with the trials and tribulations of what Carl Jung called “the afternoon of life.”
Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine take the lead | Tosha Silver
A collection of spiritual lessons, anecdotes, and thoughts on the Divine’s intervention in our lives, this brilliantly written and wonderfully entertaining book teaches us how to live purposefully and in line with the Force of Love.
“What if the Divine is constantly igniting roadside flares to get our attention? What if there actually is a Supreme Organizing Principle with an unbridled sense of humor? And what if we each have this ardent inner suitor who’s writing us love letters every day that often go unopened?”
The Four Agreements | Don Miguel Ruiz
In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, the Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love. The Four Agreements are: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don’t Take Anything Personally, Don’t Make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best.
The Light Between Us | Laura Lynne Jackson
For readers of Proof of Heaven, this is the astonishing true story of a woman who possesses an extraordinary gift: Laura Lynne Jackson is a psychic medium, able to converse with souls from the other side. In The Light Between Us, she tells her story of how she struggled with her abilities, and even denied them, for many years. She explains how she ultimately found peace through a scientific understanding of her gift, and discovered that she could help people come to terms with loss. And she shares the deeply affecting lessons she has learned in her work, teaching us what she has come to understand about the universe in order to help us live better lives in the here and now.
Where Two Worlds Meet | Janet Nohavec
Janet Nohavec has built her reputation as a medium and as a teacher of mediumship on the respect and integrity she gives to her work. In Where Two Worlds Meet, Janet shows you how to hone your own mediumistic gifts by sharing her proven, systematic techniques for practicing evidential mediumship-the most credible way to build a bridge between this world and the next. For Janet, mediumship is sacred work that carries tremendous responsibility. In these pages she gives specific instruction in how to change people’s lives and bring comfort to those who are grieving with evidential messages from the other side. Here you’ll learn how to paint those who have crossed over back to life, and after reading Where Two Worlds Meet, you won’t settle for anything less than a masterpiece in your mediumship.
Your Soul’s Plan: Discovering the Real Meaning of the life You were born | Robert Schratz
Your Soul’s Plan (which was originally published under the title Courageous Souls: Do We Plan Our Life Challenges Before Birth?) explores the premise that we are all eternal souls who plan our lives, including our greatest challenges, before we are born for the purpose of spiritual growth. Through compelling profiles of people who knowingly planned the experiences mentioned above, Your Soul’s Plan shows that suffering is not purposeless, but rather imbued with deep meaning. Working with four gifted mediums, author Robert Schwartz reveals the significance of each person’s life plan and allows us a fascinating look into the “other side.”
Small Fry: A Memoir | Lisa Brennan-Jobs
Born on a farm and named in a field by her parents–artist Chrisann Brennan and Steve Jobs–Lisa Brennan-Jobs’s childhood unfolded in a rapidly changing Silicon Valley. When she was young, Lisa’s father was a mythical figure who was rarely present in her life. As she grew older, her father took an interest in her, ushering her into a new world of mansions, vacations, and private schools. His attention was thrilling, but he could also be cold, critical and unpredictable. When her relationship with her mother grew strained in high school, Lisa decided to move in with her father, hoping he’d become the parent she’d always wanted him to be.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail | Cheryl Strayed
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone.
Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer’s Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book | Courtney Maum
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about publishing but were too afraid to ask is right here in this funny, candid guide by acclaimed author Courtney Maum. Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer’s Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book has over 150 contributors from all walks of the industry, including international bestselling authors Anthony Doerr, Roxane Gay, Garth Greenwell, Lisa Ko, R. O. Kwon, Rebecca Makkai, and Ottessa Moshfegh, alongside cult favorites Sarah Gerard, Melissa Febos, Mitchell S. Jackson, and Mira Jacob. Agents, film scouts, film producers, translators, disability and minority activists, and power agents and editors also weigh in, offering advice and sharing intimate anecdotes about even the most taboo topics in the industry. Their wisdom will help aspiring authors find a foothold in the publishing world and navigate the challenges of life before and after publication with sanity and grace.
The Book You Were Born to Write: Everything You Need to (Finally) Get Your Wisdom onto the Page and into the World | Kelly Notaras
Life coaches with new methodologies for living on purpose . . . energy workers who’ve discovered new ways to prevent disease and teach self-healing . . . everyday heroes and heroines who have made it through difficult circumstances and want to inspire others to do the same. In today’s tumultuous world, we need these voices in the marketplace. Moreover, publishing a book has never been so simple, accessible, or affordable as it is today. So why are so many thought leaders, healers, and change-agents stuck at the starting line?
This book will light the way–offering a simple, step-by-step path that takes authors from concept to finished book. In it, publishing veteran Kelly Notaras demystifies the publishing process and gives writers the tools, insider information, and inspiration to start strong, keep going, and get across the finish line as quickly as possible.