If you read my blog post, One Nightstand, you know I am a big advocate of reading and books in general. The soothing tactile comfort of a book: the physical weight, the crisp texture of the pages and even the smell.
Bookshelf, is a page dedicated to great reads and resources. Whether you are looking for a book to deepen your mindfulness practice or looking for a positive, uplifting read, these are all books I have personally read and recommend. I’ll be updating the shelf periodically, and look forward to hearing about what books have made a positive impact on you.
Prepare your hot cuppa, curl up, and take time to ease your mind, rest your body and renew. (Personally, I enjoy a mug the size of my face. It doubles as a facial!)
Sit. Rest. Read. Breathe.
These books are thought provoking and introspective in nature. You may find yourself pausing to ponder frequently. They will certainly sweeten your deep, dark chocolate layer.
• Prayers For Healing: 365 Blessings, Poems, & Meditations from Around the World by Maggie Oman
I love this book for its simplicity. For each day of the year, there is a poem, prayer, or mediation from various cultures and religions. I often read one right when I wake up for daily inspiration. Instead of checking your phone or computer first thing, ground yourself in something genuine.
• Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
The words of this book are as stunningly beautiful as the natural world they describe. You will want to read the same sentence over and over. Like honey on the tongue. I feel like this book is written in a stream of consciousness style that always leads to a surprising place. If you are someone who needs a definite plot, beginning, middle, and end, this may not be the book for you. If you are someone who likes to get lost in the pages, prepare for Neverland
• A Simple Path by Mother Teresa
I love reading about all different cultures and religions. Sometimes reading other perspectives helps clarify your own, but at the same time develop a respect for others. Mother Teresa writes of her religious journey from her initial calling to her life’s work with occasional short prayers for reflection. Incredibly inspiring.
• Transform Your Life: A Blissful Journey by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
“Problems arise only if we respond to situations with a negative state of mind. Therefore if we want to transform our life and be free from problems, we must learn to transform our mind.” -Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
This is a book you can come back to time and again. I often pick it up and read parts of chapters that touch upon a current problem I may be facing. It is a book of accessible, practical advice from the Kadampa Buddhist tradition.
• The Art of Living by Thich Nhat Hanh
From the Zen tradition, this thought-provoking book provides insights on a path to understanding our humanity and generating happiness on a global level. Additionally, he writes poignantly about aging and dying without fear.
• The Mindful Way Through Anxiety by Susan M. Orsillo, PhD. And Lizabeth Romer, PhD.
This amazing resource provides tools you can start utilizing right away to ease daily challenges when experiencing anxiety. If you are checking this book out from a library or digital service, I recommend having a notebook and pen handy. You will want to jot down the thoughtful practical tips and journaling exercises.
“It’s very important as a beginner that you understand right from the start that meditation is about befriending your thinking, about holding it gently in awareness, no matter what is on your mind in a particular moment. It is not about shutting off your thoughts or changing them in any way.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn
So here, I’m going to actually endorse an audiobook. Not only does Jon Kabat-Zinn have one of the most soothing voices, but the audiobook enhances his conversational style of writing. This was the first book I listened to when I became interested in mindfulness. You could easily “read” it cover to cover, but I recommend reading slowly. Digest the content and apply it in your daily life. Subtly shifting how you go about your day will bring about stability and positivity.
Includes audio of meditations to begin or deepen your practice.
If you are transitioning to reading before bed, instead of watching television, these stories are equivalent to the bingeworthy shows that provide total escape.
• In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware (Also, The Woman in Cabin 10)
My friend, Jen, hooked me on this author. I cannot write enough about the addictive mysteries by Ruth. I never met her, but once you read her stories you will be on a first name basis with her too. The plot twists at the end will have you exclaiming aloud, “Ruth? What the …?”
“…mother of eleven and grandmother of twenty-three. She had not been able to get the trail out of her mind. She had thought of it constantly back home in Ohio, where she tended her small garden and looked after her grandchildren, biding her time until she could get away.”
When you are going through those times when you just feel like you are completely out of steam and you really need to renew your gratitude card. Hunker down with provisions to join 67 year – old Grandma Gatewood to walk the Appalachian trail in tennis shoes with $200 and one change of clothes. Not once, but multiple times. You don’t need a gym membership, just go out for a walk. Who knows where you’ll end up?
• The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness
Start these books on a cold fall or winter night so you won’t feel as guilty staying inside and reading non-stop. These three books are binge-worthy. You could purchase them or take them out of the library one at a time of course, but believe me, you will want to read one right after the other. Superficially, they are the adult version of the Twilight series, but the history entwined with the mysterious fiction will make you consider whether witches, demons and vampires are really among us.
Please share your favorite reads in the comments box.