Over the past 5 years, I have lingered in the pages of more books than I can count on the subjects of spirituality, creativity, writing, and relationships.
Unfortunately, many of them didn’t make it through our numerous moves and never landed on My Bookshelf.
My Bookshelf is the place in my home where I keep what I deem as classics, the books I want to return to again and again, pass on to friends and strangers alike, and share with my children one day. These are the writers who made me think, invited me into transformation, and allured me out from the complacency of my own point of view.
I encourage you to peruse the following list, ten of my favorite women-authored, non-fiction books, and discern which titles pique your curiosity or invigorate your heart.
Don’t worry about checking out all ten from the library, simply pick one new-to-you title and add it to your reading stack in the coming weeks! Every one of these books will offer you an adventure, an exploration into the beauty and depth of your own soul.
1. Belonging by Toko-pa Turner
I didn’t want this one to end. I underlined and put hearts beside passages on every page. Toka-pa is a gentle, trusted guide for all stages of our lives.
“Eventually we must take our life into our arms and call it our own. We must look at it squarely, with all its unbecoming qualities, and find a way to love it anyway. Only from that complete embrace can a life begin to grow into what it is meant to become.”
2. Keep Moving by Maggie Smith
Maggie is the life coach you’ve always wanted. These pages feel like the most poetic pep talk you’ve ever received.
“Your work is being yourself, offering what you can to others. You’ve been doing it all along. Now do it with intention.”
3. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Keep this book beside you as a constant reminder of your innate creativity. Gilbert turns us all towards a more playful and childlike experience of life and success.
“You might spend your whole life following your curiosity and have absolutely nothing to show for it at the end- except one thing. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you passed your entire existence in devotion to the noble human virtue of inquisitiveness. And that should be more than enough for anyone to say that they lived a rich and splendid life.”
4. The Dance of The Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd
I will read anything by Sue Monk Kidd! If you have no older woman in your life who encourages you to keep going, please adopt her as a mentor. I always have a million revelations when I read one of her books. She is wise and rebellious all at once.
“We may not realize it, but by being present and looking deeply, we are becoming activists. We start to see the roots of injustice, the oppression of the feminine, and the planetary crisis are after all linked to how we shop and dispose of our garbage and react to morning news and ignore our bodies and teach our children and swallow our anger at our mates.”
5. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
This book is full of practical exercises to unlock and recover your creative genius. Julia Cameron is famous for her daily morning pages ritual and weekly artist dates, both of which help us to move past fear and negative beliefs and step into the flow and fun of being an artist.
“Remember that in order to recover as an artist, you must be willing to be a bad artist. Give yourself permission to be a beginner. By being willing to be a bad artist, you have a chance to be an artist, and perhaps, over time, a very good one.”
6. Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
This book will give you all the permission you’ve ever wanted to be where you are right now and stop judging yourself and wishing you were further along than you’d thought you’d be by now. Radical Acceptance is the only way to bring lasting change into our lives. Period.
“We don’t have to wait until we are on our deathbed to realize what a waste of our precious lives it is to carry the belief that something is wrong with us.”
7. Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Glennon Doyle, where do I even begin. She shows us her whole damn heart and leaves us breathless. I want to be more like her when I grow up. Untamed is like being handed a map that says- “You know the way. Follow your heart. It is good.”
“If you are uncomfortable- in deep pain, angry, yearning, confused- you don’t have a problem, you have a life. Being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong, it’s hard because you’re doing it right. You will never change the fact that being human is hard, so you must change your idea that it was ever supposed to be easy.”
8. Mating In Captivity by Esther Perel
My husband and I read this at the same time and WOW. By far our favorite in regards to relationships and marriage. Married or not, this book makes a case for owning and naming our desires and staying a wild woman who knows a man will never complete her.
“When intimacy collapses into fusion, it is not a lack of closeness but too much closeness that impedes desire. Love rests on two pillars: surrender and autonomy.”
9. The Choice by Edith Eger
I finished this gripping book in a weekend. Edith survived and so can we. Her story of strength and tenacity in the face of suffering will remain with me my entire life.
“Maybe to heal isn’t to erase the scar, or even to make the scar. To heal is to cherish the wound.”
10. Playing Big by Tara Mohr
I’m sad I only discovered Tara Mohr’s work in the past month. These pages pushed me to keep re-creating myself and to never apologize for wanting, imagining, and pursuing more.
“Your inner mentor can give you a kind of support that no outer mentor can give you. She’s not a replacement for outer mentors, but she is a necessary complement to them. Because she’s inside of you, she’ll always be there for you, unfailingly. There are no issues of competition or betrayal. And because she’s your inner voice, her guidance won’t be a reflection of what worked for someone else; it will always be just right for you.”
What is a book you cannot part with, a timeless classic in your personal library? Drop it in the comments below so we can add it to the list!