Looking for some books that’ll spark your imagination and maybe even change your life? It’s a tall order, isn’t it?
Overview: Our Top Picks
- The Tree That Survived the Winter by Mary Fahy ($12.95)
- The Wounded Healer by Henri J. M. Nouwen ($12.49)
- Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki ($12.39)
- Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse ($6.24)
- Silence by Shusaku Endo ($12.19)
- The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra ($16.99)
- The Shack by William P. Young ($10.43)
- Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper ($12.99)
- All Who Go Do Not Return by Shulem Deen ($9.99)
- A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson ($13.99)
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Best Spiritual Books to Start With
- Best Spiritual Growth and Development Books
- Best Spiritual Books for Women
- Best Spiritual Books for Young Adults
- Spiritual Books About Love
- Books About Spiritual Psychology
Believe it or not, those kinds of books are out there! Discover the best spiritual books for beginners, including books on growth and development and books for women and young adults.
Best Spiritual Books to Start With
Here’s a collection of books ranging from Christianity to Buddhism and even Wiccan. Each drives a different concept of struggle, faith, or healing that will help you come out of your comfort zone and into one that requires acceptance no matter your spiritual position.
1. The Tree That Survived the Winter by Mary Fahy
Told in fable form, the center of The Tree That Survived the Winter revolves around a tree that has survived hard times. The idea is that if you can put yourself in the roots and limbs of the tree to define your hardships and subsequent survival, not only will you discover things to be grateful for, but that all the changes and scars show your life’s journey.
2. Hearing Heart by Hannah Hurnard
Hurnard’s autobiography shows firsthand how her faith and spirituality closely connected her with devotion and service. She uses it to be able to share with others so that she can continue to do work for God.
3. The Wounded Healer by Henri J.M. Nouwen
Nouwen's book The Wounded Healer discusses levels of suffering from the perspective of the world, a generation, humanity, and the healer so that suffering is better understood.
While this book requires that you seek insight and meditation versus a quick read and don't mind dated references, you’ll discover some positive insight within ”The Wounded Healer.”
4. Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice by Shunryu Suzuki
Suzuki's explanations to find the light or silver lining in Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind may make you breathe more easily about all things in your life. If you begin with the mind of Shoshin (the Beginner’s Mind), he'll help demystify Buddhism and help you find strength by practicing zazen.
5. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
After reading up on some Buddhist philosophies, you're probably looking for a story that will help enlighten or transform the knowledge you've gained. If so, Siddhartha will help develop your interpretations as you grow.
6. Silence by Shūsaku Endō
Silence is not just an examination of faith but a testament to both tolerance and injustice. Whether the story appeals to you from a Christian point of view, one issue that plagues many devout followers is when God is silent.
7. Wiccan Wisdomkeepers: Modern-Day Witches Speak on Environmentalism, Feminism, Motherhood, Wiccan Lore, and More by Sally Griffyn
Wisdom Wisdomkeepers offers the reader an opportunity to hear from the community's elders in one concise book. Each one provides insight into religion and the ideas of paganism, motherhood, and ancestry, including how they view today's anthropogenic influences.
Best Spiritual Growth and Development Books
Every religion or spirituality from prominent to lesser-known indigenous tribes are represented in some way throughout the books below. These include the smaller religions found across each and every continent, even as some of the approaches take an obviously environmental view in order to understand them better.
8. The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism by Fritjof Capra
The Tao of Physics begins with physics, which should indicate a need to have a base understanding of this fundamental science. With that, Capra can help you process the teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese thought, Taoism, and Zen thinking within that frame.
9. Ecodharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis by David R. Loy
If your lane is somewhere inside environmental or ecological activism, Ecodharma will help you connect that mindset with Buddhist teachings. As such, Loy approaches climate change, including reducing consumption or improving diversity with Buddhism as its foundation.
10. Kabbalah: A Definitive History of the Evolution, Ideas, Leading Figures and Extraordinary Influence of Jewish Mysticism by Gershom Scholem
Scholem's writing is both strong and complex, which can hinder the understanding of Kabbalah. However, his approach to Jewish mysticism will help you discover and define intuition and tradition, including its reach and influences, as well as the people within its rich history.
11. The Upanishads by Eknath Easwaran
This book will help you understand the Upanishads with annotations dividing the wisdom texts that provide context, insight, and historical settings. The glossary and notes section at the end of the book also offers invaluable resources to guide your understanding.
12. The Dhammapada by Eknath Easwaran
The beginning third of Easwaran's translation, The Dhammapada, helps you understand Buddhism. The balance of the book encompasses the 423 Sutras with some engagement and direction of Easwaran for a better grasp of the Sutras therein.
13. Pagan Spirituality: A Guide to Personal Transformation by Joyce Higginbotham and River Higginbotham
Pagan Spirituality is structured as a text with theory, insight, exercises, and even discussion opportunities. You can study pantheism, polytheism, or animism and define your path and spirituality.
14. Earth's Insights by J. Baird Callicott
This life-changing book is an invaluable addition to those seeking to understand the ethics of religion inside an ecological framework. From Shamanism to Totemism, or Tukano to Kuyapo, Yourub to San, or Judeo-Christian to Hindu belief structures (and more), you'll discover a dense catalog of spirituality inside nature in Earth's Insights.
Best Spiritual Books for Women
The often quiet and questioning controversies that people have about their own faith structures are starkly exposed in the books below. These raw and revealing topics offer real-life stories about failing beliefs or rising tolerance.
15. The Shack by William Paul Young
The Shack is a controversial book — readers seem to either love it or hate it. Young echoes the questioning of pain, suffering, and free will.
16. Unfollow: A Journey from Hatred to Hope by Megan Phelps-Roper
Unfollow, Megan's memoir of leaving the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, is an invocation about the good in all of us. With that, you may be surprised by what you feel those who exhibit hate with all the intensity they can muster.
17. All Who Go Do Not Return by Shulem Deen
Deen's memoir is about one man's struggle with his faith coupled with an inside view of the Hasidic community's relationship with its religious leader. You might consider All Who Go Do Not Return if you're questioning more about your faith than you've admitted out loud.
18. Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Inner Joy by Sadhguru
Sadhguru is one of the most influential people in hatha yoga today. Through Inner Engineering, you'll discover what he finds important in practice, meditation, diet, and living.
19. Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion by Sara Miles
Take This Bread has two audiences. The first is the most obvious — the conversion of a non-believer to a believer. The second less obvious is for those who already have faith, but are curious about outside perspectives, which may deepen your faith.
20. Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and How It Can Revitalize Christianity by Elizabeth M. Edman
From Edman's point of view in Queer Virtue, her sexuality has deepened her faith as a Christian. Not only that, she believes that the LGBTQ community has a role to play in religion and can also help teach more about the value of tolerance in Christian life.
Best Spiritual Books for Young Adults
There are limited resources for young adult spirituality but a few authors have taken the challenge to write meaningful novels and books for children in this category. One book may fall outside the guidelines of the YA genre but it’s applicable for children who seek their own version of what that means to them.
21. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
A Prayer for Owen Meany offers young adults a chance to read and reflect on difficult subjects. Specifically, there's a time to embrace who you are and become who you'll become.
22. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia is a beloved classic tale of four kids who travel through the wardrobe into a fantastical world, which represents the teachings of Christianity. The lion, who represents Jesus, acts as their guide throughout the seven-part series.
23. Turtle Shell by Sue Jones
Check out Turtle Shell, the story of a girl who must choose between the spiritual or the material worlds. Unfortunately, there aren't many options like this for young adults, so if your child is struggling with the two ideas, it'll still be accessible even if a bit sophomoric for that age.
24. Oh God, Oh God, Oh God!: Young Adults Speak Out about Sexuality and Christian Spirituality by Heather Godsey and Lara Blackwood Pickrel
Religion and sex are often a massive hurdle for teenagers. Oh God, Oh God, Oh God! tackles this taboo subject to better guide teenagers on their path through sexual maturity and smart decision-making in the eyes of God.
25. Regener8: Straight Talk for Street Smart Teens by Robert Cook
There's a certain age where teenagers can't stand to have life sugarcoated for them anymore. Regener8 addresses the real issues no matter how tough the topic might be.
If you're looking for more book recommendations for teens, read our guide on the best memoirs for young adults.
Spiritual Books About Love
Look below for exciting perspectives on spirituality and love, including manifestation, living a life of love, finding love in loss, the draw of monogamy, and others.
26. A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles" by Marianne Williamson
Think of A Return to Love as being light on the Bible and heavy on the practice of self-love. That means people from many beliefs can pick up the text and learn how the extension of love is also the receipt of love.
27. The Beauty of What Remains: How Our Greatest Fear Becomes Our Greatest Gift by Steve Leder
In The Beauty of What Remains, Leder's narrative focuses on finding love in a place we don't often see—death. That love is a balance between what's been lost and what remains, which is a lesson to see grief in a very different light.
28. Self Love & Spiritual Alchemy: Transform Your Mindset, Strengthen Your Self-worth and Manifest the Life You Desire by Dani Watson
It's said that learning to love yourself first is primary to sharing that love with others.
Dani Watson's Self Love & Spiritual Alchemy focuses more on the life you live with the universe rather than the one you'll live with another person.
29. The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi by William C. Chittick
Rumi is widely known for quotes and messages of love, but most people don't connect the origins of Sufism with the teachings of Islam. Sufism, better known as Islamic mysticism, practices rituals and doctrines to maintain one's nearness with God.
Here, in The Sufi Path of Love, those same principles apply concerning how one lives a loving life.
30. The Magic of Manifesting: 15 Advanced Techniques To Attract Your Best Life, Even If You Think It's Impossible Now by Ryuu Shinohara
The Magic of Manifesting supports all the laws of attraction, including seeking and drawing in whatever is desired most.
Pick up a copy if you're searching for something metaphysical or a book on palmistry.
31. The Monogamy Challenge: Creating and Keeping Intimacy by Peter Kane
Kane's wisdom comes with more than 30 years of counseling and advice. In The Monogamy Challenge, he offers clear, practical insight for both men and women who may be confused or have conflict in their relationship.
Notably, remaining monogamous stems from many choices, including one's culture, emotions, biology, psychology, sexuality, and of course, one's spirituality.
Books About Spiritual Psychology
The books below provide spiritual and psychological help with anxiety, stress, Chakra healing, managing one's mid-life, intense empathy, and inner child.
32. Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World by Max Lucado
Lucado's Anxious for Nothing is about finding release from anxiety and fear coupled with a Christian mindset.
His self-help book amplifies the idea that when you stop letting anxiety fill your life, the new void can be filled instead with joy, clarity, contentment, and even renewal.
33. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer
Singer's The Untethered Soul is full of meaningful phrases but lacks practical application for change. Still, not all people need step-by-step instructions to begin changing or make improvements. Instead, some just need an opportunity to use wisdom as a transaction.
34. The Cafe on the Edge of the World: A Story About the Meaning of Life by John Strelecky
Managing your middle life can mean walking with your inner child to journey towards self-discovery, motivational change, and creating forward meaning.
Pick up The Café on the Edge of the World for thought-provoking self-help measures to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed by change.
35. The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People by Judith Orloff
In The Empath's Survival Guide, Orloff offers exercises, tools, and strategies for those who are more sensitive to the feelings of others around them.
Use it as a practice of self-study and self-transition so that you can learn to navigate the world better while remaining true to yourself.
36. The Road Less Traveled, Timeless Edition: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth by M. Scott Peck
With Biblical insight suitable to any age or time, author M. Scott Peck helps the reader understand such ideas as the Odes of the Holy Trinity and Grace and Unconsciousness to attain spiritual growth.
Pick up a copy of The Road Less Traveled, Timeless Edition for spiritual support with anxiety disorders and stress management.
37. Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss, PhD
The metaphysical Anatomy of the Spirit scores high with readers who feel it helped them find healing, personal development, and spiritual transformations. Others, however, believe that Myss's explorations are worthy of criticism, and in some cases, ableist or culturally appropriating.
It's important to note that people who appreciate the book feel authentically changed and continue to reread it.
Appreciating the Perspectives
If you’ve discovered the best spiritual books that can both stretch your mind and better appreciate your beliefs, then the authors have done their jobs. Otherwise, if you are seeking an approach that will guide you with books on mindfulness and gratitude, then the journey has just begun.