Books That Touch My Soul
Here is a list of some of my favorite books. Some of these are books that I refer to in my work and writing, and some are just great reads. I may add more from time to time. Hey, what are your most favorite reads? I would love to know, with some kind of little description as what they mean to you.
Man’s Search for Meaning
By Viktor Frankl
Truly my No. 1 book. I was a sophomore in college and my professor assigned this book to be read by the class. This book, the author’s (a young psychiatrist at the time) stark, hopeful and meaning-making story of surviving the Nazi Holocaust, changed my life forever. How to make meaning and beauty in life in a world that has so much tragedy, suffering, and pain?
Are You Running with Me, Jesus?
By Malcolm Boyd
I was 18. This book taught me how to pray. Or, rather, this little book unlocked my courage to be bold and courageous by being f’n honest with myself and God. Human before God. Letting my “idols” of “properness, politeness, sweetness”, on and on, be smashed into honesty and authenticity. I actually stopped being afraid of Jesus. I started to just like him, real or not, and visit. I will forever be grateful.
Process Theology: A Basic Introduction
By Robert Mesle
AH-HHHH…Process Philosophy/Theology! And Robert writes in understandable and beautiful language (no small achievement for this topic!) about a courageous approach to understanding the “whys and wherefores” of all of life: the possibilities of God/Goddess/Nothing, explorations about joy, tragedies, suffering, being within creations. This is fun!
She Who Changes: Re-imagining the Divine in the World
By Carol P. Christ
Can we re-imagine divine power as deeply related to the changing world? Can we re-imagine the creation of the world as an ongoing process of co-creation in which every individual from particles of atoms to human beings plays a part? Can we re-imagine Goddess/God as the most relational of all relational beings? Can we re-imagine the world as the body of Goddess/God? If we can, then we can understand the deeper meaning of female images of divine power, including Goddess, God-She, Sophia, and Shekhina. Many traditional understandings of divine power begin with thinly disguised rejections of the female body and connection to the natural world. Women theologians from Jewish, Christian, Goddess, and other traditions are re-imagining divine and human power as embodied, embedded in a changing world, and deeply related to all beings in the web of life. Drawing on the work of process philosopher Charles Hartshorne – whose insights deserve a wider hearing – Carol P. Christ offers intellectual foundations for deeply held feelings about the meanings of female images of divine power. Her gift is the ability to make complex ideas seem simple and radically new ideas seem familiar. This book is addressed to everyone who has ever wondered about the implications of re-imagining God as female.
I suppose any of these and other James Hollis’ books are, to me, in-depth reads about the (my) soul. He is a Jungian analyst. I appreciate James’ honest explorations of life. He is “no-pie-in-the-sky” author, not promising superficial success with “secrets” or formulas. But he does promise richness and beauty as we do our work of becoming deeply authentic.
The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning
By James Hollis
Swamplands of the Soul – New Life in Dismal Places
By James Hollis
Why Good People Do Bad Things: Understanding Our Darker Selves
How could I NOT list this book? It is so deep in me, I know not how deep! Not because I accept it as literal and based always on facts, but because it is filled with truth, more important than facts. I was RAISED on this book by prairie parents and a church that wanted to believe it as mostly literal, but, instead, they gave me a gift of truth and beauty, and, ugliness (yeah, I said that).
Born to Run
By Christopher McDougall
I run for joy and health, even in the “make myself do it” moments that crowd me often. This true, reads-like-a-novel book is fun! And educational! About the ancient forms of running which commercial shoes and bad advice and marketing have distorted. My running life was changed by this book. Learning to run, like, “natural”, is for me forever. I am not fast. But, I have joy when I am out there.
A Wrinkle in Time Trilogy
By Madeleine L’Engle
I LOVE these books and the adventurous truths they invite, our wise children within us all, to explore. Beauty, adventure, love, truth, science, philosophy, theology, fear, joy…thank you Madeleine!
The Wisdom of Your Dreams
By Jeremy Taylor
I have known this man for over a decade AND a lifetime. Jeremy is my friend and dream mentor. He is the best (not that there is some kind of competition out there in this silly universe) communicator of “projective spiritual psychology” and “projective dream work” that I have ever met or imagine to meet. This approach, explained in this book (and several others he has written) to health, healing, and wholeness, being honest to own our projections in all of life, and in dreams, is a gift beyond words.
By James Michener
So, it is the summer of 1976. I’m farming, or helping, out on the Nebraska prairie for a few sacred weeks. This book, in part about the very land on which I was irrigating sugar beets at that time, spoke to my heart, soul and family. The tragedies of culture and formation are depicted with craft and imagination, true to Michener. I found inspiration for the names of my babies in this book (-: JOY! I was and am also captivated by how Michener gives personhood to animals, like dinosaurs and bison( oh my!).
The Golden Compass/His Dark Materials Trilogy
By Philip Pullman
No formal science, philosophy or theology text can tell us more about the truth, not facts, of life than this trilogy. The metaphors, adventures, the “upside down” truths of an alternate world speak to me about this world in which I live, with imagination, hope, intimacy of soul, and courage (“more heart”). Oh, yeah, it’s supposed to be for children. Be polite, play nice and ask a child to share their truths with you. It’s time.
Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue
And this should be required memorization (-: for EVERY government, school or university system, politician, hospital, family, single person, stupid (oops!) 24-hour news network, city, state, nation—have I missed anyone or anything? Not because it is so well written, but because it shows the power of “anxiousness” within our biological psyche, in humans, other mammals, animals, and other planetary life forms. This book challenges us to use, not our ancient brain stem (24-hour news networks!) to deal with the stuff of life, but thinking, calmness, facts, logic, thoughtfulness, and courage to take a stand. Based on Dr. Murray Bowen’s Family Systems model.