Followers of the Abrahamic faiths are known around the world as ‘People of the Book’, a moniker I just love. As a Person of the Book, I am always glad to make reading recommendations to those who are hoping to deepen their understanding of religious tradition and the spiritual life. Here you will find listed the titles of some of the more influential books for me, personally.
Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West (Compass) edited by Daniel Ladinsky, translator of poems from the Sufi, Christian, and Hindu traditions (2002)
The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth by M. Scott Peck, psychiatrist and cultural critic (1978)
Care of the Soul : A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life by Thomas Moore, self-proclaimed Zen Catholic and psychotherapist (1992)
The Saint Helena Psalter by the Order of Saint Helena, Episcopalian nuns dedicated to the use of gender-neutral God-language in the liturgy and Psalter (2004)
The Spirituality of Imperfection; Storytelling and the Journey to Wholeness by Ernest Kurtz & Katherine Ketcham, co-authors (1992)
Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris, poet and Benedictine oblate (1998)
The Search for God at Harvard by Ari L. Goldman, Jewish journalist and spiritual seeker (1991)
Love & Death: My Journey through the Valley of the Shadow by Forrest Church, late Unitarian Universalist minister and author (2008)
Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers and Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk and teacher (1999)
Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger, late American author (1961)
The Case for God by Karen Armstrong, a former Catholic nun and scholar of world religions (2010)
The Essential Jesus: Original Sayings and Earliest Images by John Dominic Crossan, professor of Biblical studies (1994)
Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott, a recoveringalcoholic and Christian layperson (1999)
Holy the Firm by Annie Dillard, Catholic convert, noted essayist, and modern-day mystic (1977)
Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning (formerly The Unconscious God) by Viktor E. Frankl, Jewish psychiatrist and survivor of the Holocaust (2000)
All these books are available online from Amazon; just click through the title and you will find the link leads to its site. That said, in my own religious tradition, we sometimes joke about our inclination to “salvation by bibliography”. I do think it’s important to guard against this. Can I get an Amen?
I would add Rabbi Milton Steinberg’s various essay collections on theology and theodicy, which he spent his life trying to marry and then reconcile with philosophy –and the odd book that more or less recasts his arguments in longer form. That he had not died so young… but he felt as the driven leaf he wrote about in his sole fictional work.