Growing up in Seattle, there were many cool mornings and evenings that brought with them plenty of excuses to get cozy curling up with some warm tea and whatever book I was in the middle of. This was probably something I learned from my mom as she was an avid book lover too.
The redolent enveloped me as I slowly flip page to page in anticipation of whats was to come next, brings with it a deep comfort that only other book lovers understand.
I'm the girl that brings four books with her on any given trip, weighing my bag down by at least five pounds and if you look in my purse at any given time, you better believe there is a book tucked somewhere inside. You never know when you'll get stuck somewhere and need a good book.
Some books I read with a fiery passion, finishing in mere days, and others, I've been slowly chipping away at for months, taking in only what is needed at the time. Long ago I told myself this was ok. Some books you pick up and the timing just feels off and you find yourself picking it up a year later and reading it in a few days. I'm convinced I'll finish them when the time is right.
Over the years, I have read books that stick out more then others, and a few that I've read multiple times. There have been those that have stayed with me for weeks after I finished the last sentence and others that have inspired me to make radical changes. Some have made me cry tears of joy and ones of sadness and others that have answered questions I've sat with for a long time. But nothing, and I mean nothing, quite feels the same as a book that, long after you've read the last line, still tugs at your heart.
And because I love to learn of books that have inspired others, I thought maybe you would enjoy learning of books that have greatly inspired me.
Here are my top ten favorites.
1. Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott
First of all, this woman and her writing. Gah! I can't even say enough about the way she writes. I was originally drawn to her because of the way she communicated her understanding of God and Christianity and then I stumbled upon this book.
I had always wanted to be a writer when I was younger. I had wild stories dancing in my head but in fourth grade I started getting pulled out of class to attend a special reading class for students who had trouble reading and comprehending things. Somehow from that I concluded that I wasn't intelligent or creative enough to write. This book changed that for me. This book changed so much for me.
If you have the dream of writing...pick up this book.
2. Broken Open - Elizabeth Lesser
When I began this book I knew right away I could easily finish it within a few days. So, I intentionally slowed down to savor every single word. This book is for anyone who has ever been through something challenging that has lead them to a crossroads, a choice, a decision. Will I sink away into the pain, allowing it to consume and eat at me or will the brokenness help me shift and open me up and allow life to change me for the better?
I absolutely believe this is a must read for all.
3. The Universe Has Your Back - Gabrielle Bernstein
I often find myself saying cliche things like, "everything happens for a reason" and the "Universe/God has a plan for me. I trust what is unfolding." However, I started to realize that I would say these things yet there was an underlying distrust and belief in what I was saying. Naturally somewhat skeptical, I want to believe that we are fully supported by something much bigger then us, yet I've always had the question in the back of my mind of, "Are we really?"
In walks Gabby and her uncomplicated way of teaching us all that the Universe REALLY does have our back. "Stop chasing life and truly live." This is a concept that has taken me awhile to understand. "Let Go, Let God" was another cliche saying I always said to myself and to others but as a natural control freak, I was and still am (although I'm practicing the art of letting go daily now) grasping and clinging on to whatever I thought was right for me instead of really trusting that there IS something better in the works.
Gabby gives you easy and tangible practices to help you redefine your belief and trust in the process of allowing life to flow.
4. Scary Close - Donald Miller
Oh Donald Miller, if you weren't already married I'd hunt you down and propose myself. Oh how I adore you and everything you write. This book speaks to me in a pretty profound way. Donald writes about relationships and vulnerability and about dropping the act and really stepping up and loving yourself and others by showing the world who you truly are.
He speaks to the process of uncovering your authentic self in a way I've yet read before.
I think this quote speaks volumes.
"When two people are entirely and completely separate they are finally compatible to be one."
You'll look at yourself and the way you are in relationships in a much different and healthier way.
5. You Can Heal Your life - Louise Hay
This is one of the first books I read that had to do with that infamous quote, "Change your thoughts, change your life." Louise talks about mental patterns and how they contribute to dis-ease in our lives.
If we can get to the root (out thoughts) and transform these patterns into ones that are based on the truth, we can radically change our lives. Sounds nice, huh?
It's an easy read with applicable exercise to get you thinking and doing in alignment with who you truly are.
6. Blue Like Jazz - Donald Miller
Christianity has both intrigued me and baffled me all at the same time. I grew up going to Christian camp, hosted Youth Group at my house and attended church on holidays but never really fully understood the concepts behind Christianity and often found myself feeling like a fake because well, I'm totally, 100% human and f&%k up all the time. I never thought I'd be a good Christian or a spiritual person because I was such a sinner. (Can you smell the Catholic influence?)
Fortunately, I have an older brother who has a special way of explaining certain principles and ideas to me whenever I have questions but I started to grow more curious over time and turned to books. Donald Miller and Anne Lamott (see number 1) both have, hands down, the most engaging ways of speaking to Christianity and Spirituality in general.
I've always struggled with the hypocrisy (within myself and with others) behind religion and both of these authors are incredibly relatable and make you feel like it's okay to be human, make mistakes, swear and STILL walk the path of faith and spirituality.
If you have every struggled with your path, anything by either of these authors is worthy of reading.
7. Trust Your Vibes - Sonia Choquette
From a very early age I just knew things. I wouldn't go as far as to say I'm psychic, although I've definitely has my "psychic" experiences, I've always had an extremely heightened intuition. Later I discovered I am an empath which made my life and my extremely sensitive nature make just a little more sense to me.
This book is all about learning to tap into and trust your intuition in a very simplistic and authentic way.
8. Women Food and God - Geneen Roth
WOW. It's been a few years since I read this book but I remember that was my reaction. As someone who struggled with a very long battle with food and my body, Women Food and God opened my eyes to the relationship between how we eat and our core beliefs about ourselves and our own spirituality. This blew my mind.
Easy, uncomplicated read that is pretty eye opening as well.
9. Light Is The New Black - Rebecca Campbell
Every so often a book lights me up even before I read the first page. I just know it's going to impact my life in some way and I knew I was going to love this book the minute I laid my eyes on it.
Authenticity is thrown about in many spiritual circles and the word is pretty mainstream now but this book draws your awareness back to the core meaning and opens your eyes to what is important; the true essence of who you are and your souls calling.
I love any book that reminds us that we already have all the answers inside.
10. Daring Greatly - Brene Brown
The first book I read discussing the topic of vulnerability. Prior to reading this book I had very little real understanding of what it meant to be truly vulnerable and real.
Based off of years of research, Brene clearly dispels the myth that vulnerability is not a form of weakness but rather a sign of huge and tremendous strength and ultimately, courage.
Vulnerability is about being wildly courageous. Putting ourselves out there in a way that allows others to really see us, despite the potential for criticism. It's a magical way of living.
I could go on and on but I'll save that for another post.
Now you got some reading to do!