Ten Books I Love (in the order which I encountered them)

1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
When I read this book, I knew I wanted to be a writer. A delicious concoction of the sorrows and delights of life.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
I love hard stories that are told sweetly. A perfect book.

3. Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade, Kurt Vonnegut
For me, this book captures Vonnegut’s gift for making a reader lament and laugh in the same instant. This is an example of how we use art and storytelling to heal from the tragedies of life. Here’s another example of perfection.

4. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving
This book was so painful to read, but it changed how I perceive the individual’s relationship to the Creator and how intimate the experience of Faith is.

5. Anaïs Nin’s Diaries
Technically there is more than one volume and I’m still working through them, but I admire that she wrote with the intention of telling herself the truth.

6. Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke
Another book that I revisit often and get swept away by. Rilke’s explanations of creativity are intoxicating. His description of relationships is visionary. Not just for poets and artists.

7. The Weekend Novelist, Robert J. Ray
I love playing with the exercises in this book. It’s one I revisit to find new angles, to set the ego aside and access the unconscious mind in the creative process.

8. The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys, Baha’u’llah
This book creates an ecstatic mystical experience. I like to see how slowly I can read it and try to become one with every word. Reflecting on the Valley of Knowledge has helped me heal my heart probably more than anything I’ve read. “Glory to the watchman … .”

9. The Alchemist, Paulo Coehlo
This is one of the books that if I start re-reading it, I have to finish it. It calls me to it like a kiss on the wind. Swoon.

10. The Unconscious Actor, Darryl Hickman
Performance as a mystical practice? What’s not to love? Writing, performance, mysticism, philosophy, collaborative creation. A great book to dig into.