Books take us away on little adventures.
They take us to lands that we could only dream of visiting and to places that don’t even exist.
They show us how to do things we are too afraid to and let us see the infinite possibilities of things that we might never otherwise imagine.
But the most wondrous of journeys they take us on are those that go into the many deep places within ourselves and the many chambers of our hearts. The most spectacular discoveries are the ones we make of ourselves, our infinite possibilities and potentials, and the new things we want so much to bring into reality.
A friend recently asked me to name 10 books that have stayed with me in some way. Reflecting upon this alone has been a beautiful practice of looking into myself and seeing how a simple slim collection of words and pages could have inspired such profound changes through the years.
Here, I’d like to take that a little further, to list 10 books that have brought me to new journeys within myself and the mind-heart-love treasures they’ve helped me unearth. This list is my own and I’m sharing it with the hope that it might inspire someone else to read these books and find some sort of similar magic.
However, more than this, I highly recommend this listing exercise to anyone for retrospection, as a kind of meditation or simply as a reflection of the things that have moved you. There is so much gratitude and an uplifting of hearts just in thinking about books.
Which books have taken you to splendid adventures within yourself? Share with us your favorites (and why!) in the comments.
1. The Ground Beneath Her Feet (Salman Rushdie)
… which has taught me to be epic, dream big, be big, love and sing and dance and wrap yourself around the world as much as you can; and just as you think things couldn’t get bigger or more dramatic, amp up the volume even higher and do everything more.
2. Being Happy (Tal Ben-Shahar)
… which has shown me how perfectly alright it is to not be perfect; how in fact, this want for perfection is ruining my life. I am grateful for the reflections and practices in this book that have helped me sit in my imperfection until I can begin to love it.
3. Tiny Beautiful Things (Cheryl Strayed)
… which has—more than any other experience or relationship—spoken to me about the compassion of a stranger and the beauty of offering kindness without want of anything at all in return.
4. Spirit Junkie (Gabrielle Bernstein)
… which has put me back in touch with Spirit and all that love that comes with it.
5. The Power of You (Anne Jones)
… which has assured me that I am right where I need to be and taught me that I already have everything I need to be the most empowered, effective person I can be.
6. At Swim, Two Boys (Jamie O’Neill)
… which has spoken of such true tenderness and love and friendship in a way I can only hope to experience in this life.
7. The Shopaholic books (Sophie Kinsella)
… which has helped me to laugh and proven that we don’t have to take ourselves so seriously all the time (even if, like Sophie Kinsella who was a financial journalist, we come from very serious backgrounds and do very serious things).
8. No One Belongs Here More than You (Miranda July)
… which has shown me that all it takes is a few pages, a perfectly curated collection of words and a few short stories to create something so powerful, real, gritty but beautiful, joyous but sad, aching but splendid. It’s made me believe in writing and reading all over again.
9. The Little Prince (Antoine St-Exupery)
… which brings magic alive again every time I (re)read it.
10. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
… which was the very first book to stir any feminist thought in my heart, which made me want to run around the world to save women, wrap them up in my arms and bring them back to love and safety and self-empowerment.
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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum