I must confess…..I LOVE to read.
I have read hundreds, if not thousands, of books over the past 33 years. I’ve perused the gamut of literature – from radical feminist texts to harlequin romances with shirtless cowboys on the cover. From The Buddhist Scriptures to The Crazy Sexy Diet – I am always searching for wisdom and ideas to enhance my life.
And once in a blue moon there is a book that really truly stays with me.
A book that often pops into my mind, even though I read it over ten years ago.
A book that changes the way I think about the world and in doing so, influences my actions, decisions and passions.
Today, I want to share my list of the books that are near and dear to my heart – the books that literally changed my life. Pun intended!
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (interpreted by Stephen Mitchell)
I first read this 14 years ago for a religious studies class and I have since re-read it many, many times.
So much is said in so few words, it is incredibly refreshing and calming.
There is something very authentic, deep and pure about this one. Yes, I know its been translated and interpreted and all that, but I always get such a feeling of inner peace when I read the words in this book.
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
This shit-disturbing novella was published in 1899 and is about a woman who wakes up and realizes she does not really belong in society or the life she has created.
This novel is beautifully written and each time I read it, I find myself savoring each sentence like a spoonful of chocolate Coconut Bliss!
For some reason, this story really struck a chord with me and even though I read it well over ten years ago, it is still fresh in my mind.
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Now I know that Oprah totally crammed this one down everyone's throats, but hear me out! This is an amazing book and it had a profound impact on how I dealt with worry and anxiety.
Before I read The Power of Now, I was a bit of a worrier. I used to have insomnia, 3am panic attacks and all kinds of stomach problems due to anxiety.
After reading this book, I was able to see the hilarious side of my mind and finally stop taking life so seriously.
While this book seems pretty unassuming, beware: The information in this book is pretty rebellious in an anti-establishment/anti-control system kind of way! I feel that one of the most rebellious things you can do in this society is keep calm and not let fear swallow you whole. This book shows you how.
The Hedonism Handbook by Michael Flocker
While this book is intended to be light and funny, it profoundly changed my life by helping me prioritize what is truly important to me - leisure and pleasure!
This book was the perfect "beach read" and I found myself reading bits out to nearby friends and family.
If you aren't sure what the point of hammocks, 3 martini lunches and skinny dipping is....you need to read this book! Right now.
The Unfoldment by Neil Kramer
I can't really explain what this book is about, but it shows you how to be more aware and live a more authentic life. Although it's way more interesting than I make it sound!
If you've ever thought there's something not quite right here or felt horribly out of place in the world, then you will enjoy this book.
I have found that listening to his interviews, podcasts and reading his book has brought about some major consciousness shifts for me.
The Convoluted Universe Series by Dolores Cannon
I love Dolores Cannon's books! She has written a ton of them and I don't really have a favorite - I have enjoyed every single one of her books, but I really loved The Convoluted Universe Series. There are four books in the series but you don't need to read them in order.
Dolores Cannon is a hypnotherapist who started working with clients for totally boring reasons - like quitting smoking or losing weight. But once in a while she'd get a client who would recall a past life in a different dimension or planet, or an alien encounter or something totally out there. She recorded those wild hypnotherapy sessions and made several books out of them.
It's a fascinating read and it totally opened my mind up to an expanded way of thinking about the world!
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
I read this book when I was only 16 and thank god I did! Feminist writer Naomi Wolf lampoons the beauty industry and its agenda to make women despise their bodies so they'll buy their bullshit products, surgery, etc.
This book helped me see the media and beauty industry with a critical eye. And because of that, I have been able to maintain a pretty positive body image my entire life. Which is no small feat living in this culture, as I am sure you already know!
Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg
Nearly everyone is kind of crappy at communicating properly and I am no exception. This book provides a simple, four step process for effective communication.
This book really changed how I see and approach conflict, so that I no longer feel powerless. I have tools now.
And as the title suggests, its nonviolent, so I don't even have to smack anyone to make my point! Great stuff!
But heads up: this technique doesn't work on psychopaths or sociopaths.
Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha
Do you suspect monogamy is a bit unnatural? Well I did, which is why I was so smitten with this book.
I have always been irritated by the cultural assumption that men are filandering whores while women just want to get it on with the same boring dude year in, year out.
So I was pleased as punch when I found my own personal theories backed up by....SCIENCE!
Sex at Dawn is like an Anthropology book, except it's really really interesting. It dramatically changed the way I look at sexual realtionships, marriage, monogamy and all that silliness.
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
This is a self-help classic! And while it can be very sappy, very touchy-feely, it is also very healing and liberating.
I was going through some big changes when I picked this book up and it helped me look at life as a big adventure to be explored and played around with.
This is such a gentle, kind book that's perfect for days when you feel like crap. I often just flip it open to a page, read a few words and then put it back on my shelf, always feeling less bitchy and negative than before I picked it up!
Love, Freedom, Aloneness by Osho
First of all, let me just say that I LOVE Osho's books - I have read most of them, but this one stands out for me.
Osho ruminates on the nature of love, romance, lust and other stuff in this book - in a way that is refreshing and free and totally different from anything Dr. Phil would write.
Its a great read. And I have never looked at romantic relationships the same way again!
Bringers of the Dawn by Barbara Marciniak
This is one of the more different, "out there" books I have read. Barbara channels the Pleiadians, a group of beings from the Pleiades. So yes, they're invisible aliens.
While I wouldn't recommend this book to everyone, I found it fascinating and have re-read it a few times (which is not really something I normally do!)
This book suggests monitoring your feelings as you watch TV and movies and avoiding stuff that makes you feel horrible. After trying this and realizing that I often go into a state of mild fear/dread or judgement when I watch mainstream media, I decided to stop watching TV altogether. This has had a huge impact on my day to day life.
1984 by George Orwell
If you were forced to read this book in high school (which I wasn't, thankfully) you may have not enjoyed it at all. But trust me, this one is a gem and everyone should read it. Except those who hate to read.
1984 is about a guy living in the future (well, it's 1984, so I guess its really the past) and the future SUCKS so hard. There's cameras fucking everywhere, day to day activities are micromanaged so everyone's kept busy, busy, busy and the media is just total bullshit and lies....wait! That's kind of like how things are now!
What's creepy is that 1984 was written back in the 40's, before the internet and mass surveillance was happening. I don't know as this book necessarily changed my life, but it certainly stayed in my mind long after I'd read it.
Now I want to know...what's on your "life changing" book list? What books had a powerful impact on you? Tell me in the comments below - I can't wait to read it!!!