Reading is the basic tool in the living of a good life. - Mortimer J. Adler
I recently heard that for the first time three vegan books are in the top 100 books on Amazon. It made me want to share some of my favorite books with you. (Though I'm going to stay on topic of this blog and stick with categories like spirituality, philosophy, etc.)
I’m often asked for book recommendations, and it’s one of my favorite things to do—match a book to a client or friend in need. You’ll notice there's no fiction on this list of beloved books, because I don’t read fiction. Also, most of these books are over twenty years old because I don’t read anything contemporary, except those books on veganism. More than not, the authors I read are dead.
It’s unusual for me to be reading more than one book at a time (I couldn't multi-task to save my life) but right now these six are on my nightstand, though I wouldn't call some of them my favorites.
Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Furhman. I’ve only just started to read books on veganism, though I’ve been a vegan for three years and a strict vegetarian (no eggs, no milk, no ice cream) for over twenty. The problem is that because I post about veganism, people sort of expect me to know what I’m talking about nutritionally and, truth be told, I’m not that well-read on the subject.
I just know in my entire being that’s in not right to eat animals, therefore it cannot be healthy. That’s always been good enough for me. I don't need to be proven that it is so. Lately, however, I’ve been more interested in the nutritional benefits, which has always been secondary for me.
Eat to Live is a weight loss book but it’s really just the most sensible way to eat and be healthy. Dr. Mehmet Oz writes the forward. Check out Dr. Oz on this video that I recently posted.
Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis. I found this book at my favorite used bookstore
Jackson Street Booksellers in Omaha, NE. Very good info for vegan neophytes.
The Red Book by C.G. Jung. (Jung's never never before published writings.) This is a behemoth. It’s daunting. I read one page a week. Seriously. That’s all I can take.
The Shadow of Sirius by W. S. Merwin. Ahhhh, poetry. Recently won the Pulitzer Prize.
Existentialists and Mystics: Writings on Philosophy and Literature by Iris Murdoch. This has been sitting on my shelf for years (again, from Jackson St.) and I’ve only just decided to tackle it. Did you see that film about her called Iris? I'm a sucker for fascinating, whip-smart women.
Hypnosis Questions and Answers (Jackson St. again) Unless you’re a hypnotherapist, you would find this dry and boring. Actually, I do. And I'm a hypnotherapist.
And I’m always and forever reading A Course in Miracles, which is my spiritual path.
(I've linked them all to Amazon.)
(See those above as well.)
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safron Foer. Everyone seems to be reading this right now. He's a young, hip (once carnivore) writer with a few novels under his belt.
It's one of those vegan books on the top 100 I previously mentioned.
Diet for a New America by John Robbins. Classic. Of the Baskin-Robbins fame.
Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. The language can be a bit vulgar sometimes. (Hence, the title.) But I don't mind. They're right on.
Quantum Wellness by Kathy Freston. She puts it nicer.
The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins and Dr. Dean Ornish. Enough said in the subtitle.
The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight-Loss and Long-term Health by T. Colin Campbell. For the dedicated reader.
The World as Will and Representation by Arthur Schopenhauer. My favorite philosopher. I read this book about fifteen years ago and FELL IN LOVE. I adore this man and wish I knew him. Too bad he died in 1860.
The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World's Greatest Philosophers by Will Durant. A great introduction to philosophy and an enjoyable read to boot.
The Portable Nietzsch by Friedrich Nietzsche and Walter Kaufman. Nietzsche inspires me like no other.
Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche. I can't believe someone wrote this. No wonder he lost his mind.
Freud: The Man and the Cause by Ronald W. Clark. There are about five Freud fans left in the world and I am one of them. I will go down fighting that he was one of the most important persons to grace this world.
The Portable Jung by C.G. Jung and Joseph Campbell. Worthwhile.
Toxic Psychiatry by Peter Breggin. An education. Anyone on anti-depressants should read this book.
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl--a psychologist and Auschwitz survivor. This classic book is also one of the most inspiring. He constructed the theory of "positive thinking."
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. Classic spiritual literature. Completely transformational.
I am That: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. Mind-expanding. Truth.
Gandhi An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Gandhi. Made me want to be a better human being.
Think on These Thing by J. Krishnamurti. Absorbing and helpful.
Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot. Very interesting stuff here. The whole is in the smallest part. I see things differently now.
Taking the Quantum Leap by Fred Alan Wolf. Physics for the non-physicist.
Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra. Blends physics with Eastern philosophy.
Seth Speaks (Any and all Seth books.) by Jane Roberts. My first spiritual teacher. Nothing would ever be the same when I read this at fifteen years old.
Emmanuel’s Book: A Guide for Living Comfortably in the Cosmos (And II, III) by Pat Rodegast. Immensely enjoyable and comforting books. I come back to these again and again.
Living with Joy (All of the "Earth-life Mastery Series" books. There are five others.) by Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer. The book I most recommend to clients. It's probably the most self-helpish book on the list, but not. Easy reading and helpful exercises.
Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian L. Weiss. Second most recommended book to clients. Deals with hypnosis and reincarnation.
The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Baltasar Gracian. I'll just reiterate what Schopenhauer wrote about this book: "Absolutely unique....a book made for constant use--a companion for life."
The Essential Edgar Cayce by Mark Thurston. How does one begin to describe Edgar Cayce? Except to say that he should be required reading.
The Story of Edgar Cayce: There is a River by Thomas Sugrue. An engaging life. Cayce ushered in the idea of holistic medicine and what we consider "New Age." There, I just described him.
Love, Medicine, and Miracles by Dr. Bernie Siegel. I recommend this to clients who are dealing with disease.
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay. Just good commonsense to me.
The New Astrology by Suzanne White. My favorite astrology book.
There you have it. I'm sure I will continually update this list.
Reading is not only one of the most important things in life, it is also one of life's great pleasures.