Don’t you just love it when you find your name in another writer’s post?
Today I found my name attached to Jeff Barton’s post about all the truly fabulous books he’s been inspired by — with an invitation to share my own top ten. Jeff’s list was purely non-fiction. And I’ve read a lot of them. The man has great taste!
However, I cannot be so contained to just non-fiction. My world exists on the premise of Magic. And all the tomes on magic are woven in lands of the imagination. Those books inspire us to see beyond our Life, our Reality and to imagine All. The. Things.
A world without Magic is the birthplace of Dementors and Orcs. The soul-sucking creatures who leave us without hope, writhing in the pain of mere existence.
So my list is eclectic and strange. A mix of fiction, philosophy, advice, and myth. Every single book — all the words — lead me to the place I am today. And I am so very grateful to the authors who penned them.
I hope some of you have enjoyed reading a few of these titles as much as I have. And keep in mind — I have read most of these books several times. Yes, I’m one of those…
- The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy — J.R.R Tolkien: Yes, I am a Geek. Actually a Super Geek. When I was a teenager I first read these books. And Eowyn — Warrior Princess of Rohan burst through the pages. An honest to God Heroine. Not some simping Princess. THE NO-MAN who saved the fucking day. She changed the tide of battle, fulfilled the prophecy, and kicked Nasgarth ass. I would be Her when I grew up. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve re-read this Trilogy. I lost count a long time ago.
- Women Who Run With Wolves — Clarissa Pinkola Estes: All our stories told in one place. The Wise Women coming forth. I read this as I struggled with menopause, with divorce, with rebirth, with finding my Life after tearing it apart. I was shown My Path. I heard The Drums, and I walked the way of every woman on this planet who had ever come before me.
- Playing Big — Tara Mohr: I was invited to take a good hard look at my life. Where was I? And more importantly — where was I going? And why did I keep playing it small? I met myself 20 years into the future and I liked her. This book gave me a roadmap to who I am to be.
- Outrageous Openness — Tosha Silver: The Divine walks with you. Every fucking step of the way. She will give you everything you need and more than you could ever imagine. Just Open Up and get out of Her way. This book changed the entire way I looked at my spiritual life. I found The Divine and She became my best friend. I realized She loved me — just as I am. Because She is in charge of making humans. There are no mistakes. Such an AH-HA moment.
- Harry Potter — J.K. Rowling: Every single Harry Potter book. And I have read them all at least 10 times. Because it is the story of every outcast child in the world. It is the story of where we become the heroes of our own lives. Where we save ourselves, our friends, the world — even though everything has been taken from us. It is the story where Love wins in the end and happily ever after — though coming at a great cost — still comes. And Magic exists.
- Eat, Pray, Love — Elizabeth Gilbert: Yeah — I know every middleaged divorced woman loves this book. But I loved it so much — I WENT to Bali. I had never heard of Bali — I couldn’t have told you where it was on a map. But I booked a flight there. And I flew there, by myself. Come to find out — it’s in Indonesia and it’s about 23 hours of flight time. Three connections and BTW you fly over the top of the world. If you go through O’Hare…like I did. In December. But I went. On an adventure, because I read this book and it told me I could. So I did. I went to the beaches of Bali and I went to the rainforest. I traveled halfway round the world and back again — for the first time — on my own. Take that! I became a World Traveler and there just was no fucking stopping after that! Because I read THIS book.
- Ten Poems To Change Your Life — Roger Housden (editor): This book opens with Mary Oliver’s The Journey and keeps right on rolling. The book is dog-eared from all the times I read that poem and the other nine in it. It’s a smallish tome — but it saved my sanity in the dark days of walking through the swamp post-separation. When I was “determined to save the only life that you could save.”
- The Game Of Life And How To Play It — Florence Scovel Shinn: This book was written in 1925. Yep. The Secret isn’t so secret. It’s been around in print for nearly a century! Less than 100 pages of how to get your shit together and kill it at living life — this book should be mandatory reading for every human trying to human.
- The Places That Scare You-A Guide to Fearlessness In Difficult Times — Pema Chodron. Pema is a Buddhist monk who is one of the wisest, kindest, most compassionate teachers alive today. She shares how to deal with the scary shit. This book had a place at my bedside table through the entire election cycle of 2016 and well into 2017. Ironically — you find when you look at what scares you from the outside world — you unearth the stuff that is lingering around in your inner landscape which is truly the root cause of All The Things. Be warned — when you read this — you will heal.
- The Woman’s Book Of Yoga & Health — Linda Sparrowe/Yoga sequences by Patricia Walden— This is the book that saved my ass during menopause and transformed my life. I could not take hormones and I had to tough it out — like they used to do before Premarin and birth control pills, etc. And I learned the age-old art of listening to my body. I learned how to practice yoga as the healing art it is — not to get great abs and a solid core. I learned to yoke my mind, my body, and my spirit.
I could go on — I have bookcases full of the books that tranform me over and over again. They are old friends whom I cannot bear to part with.
I’d be interested in knowing about your reading lists too. But I’m going to tag a few friends that Jeff missed. Annie Littlewolf, Joe Váradi, Jack Herlocker, Julia E Hubbel, Jim Fritzen, Sasha Fleischer, Nalini MacNab, White Feather, Lori McCray, Danny R. Smith, Jack Preston King, & Violet Storm