I love books! And beautiful thinkers! And have read much over the years. So I’ve decided to list my favorites. The exercise has proved to be illuminating, so I’d recommend doing the same if you haven’t yet. You may learn a thing or two about what most preoccupies you and perhaps how that’s evolved over the years.

Some themes that emerge:

  • I am highly preoccupied with spiritual practice and how to live right and live well.

  • I care deeply about human creativity and self-expression.

  • I love genre-bending works that transgress the lines between fiction/nonfiction, prose/poetry, memoir/journalism, poetry/essay, self-help/literature.

  • I love heartfelt, soul-stirring works and am helplessly touchy-feely.

  • I like literary works that smack of the odd, eccentric or downright mad.

  • I delight in formal experimentation (that is well-executed).

Anyway. Here are some books/writers that have really shaped my thinking or moved my spirit.

Books that have shaped my worldview (nonfiction)

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Loving What Is by Byron Katie
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Going Pro by Steven Pressfield
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho
The One Thing by Gary Keller
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
Living in the Light by Shakti Gawain
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

Favorite works of literature

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
Shakespeare's plays (especially Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, and Richard II)
Kafka's short stories (especially the really short ones)
Ulysses by James Joyce
The Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
Pond by Claire Louise-Bennett
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Madness, Rack and Honey by Mary Ruefle
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Gilead by Marilynn Robinson
Bluets by Maggie Nelson
The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison
Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander

Favorite poets

Anne Carson
Maggie Nelson
Claudia Rankine
Mary Ruefle
John O'Donohue
Kay Ryan
David Whyte
Mary Oliver

If we have meaningful overlap in any of these categories and seem to have similar tastes, please share further recommendations! And feel free to ask me why I picked these and what I’d suggest if you want personalized recommendations.