“The Dance of the Dissident Daughter” by Sue Monk Kidd

Subtitle: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine

Recommended to me by: Donna Smith

Sue Monk Kidd describes her awakening to the patriarchal values of the Baptist Church and Christianity in general. She describes her transformation in parallel with the myth of Ariadne as she claims the Sacred Feminine instead of […]

“High Tide in Tucson” by Barbara Kingsolver

Subtitle: Essays from Now or Never

Recommended to me by: Donna Smith

When I first read this book of essays years ago, I became so absorbed that I missed my transit stop. I continued reading on a high, windy platform as I waited to catch a train returning in the other direction. I picked […]

“Imperfect Harmony” by Stacy Horn

Subtitle: Finding Happiness Singing with Others

This book answered exactly the question I had. What is it about singing that is so compelling for me? Do other people have the same experience?

Stacy Horn expertly blends personal experience, choir history, music history, and contemporary events into a compelling narrative about her membership in the […]

“Waking” by Matthew Sanford

Subtitle: A memoir of trauma and transcendence

Matt was paralyzed from the chest down at the age of 13 in a winter car crash that also killed his father and older sister. His book chronicles the numbness and dissociation that help him survive his first months and years of recovery, and his later reconnection […]

“Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir” by Ellen Forney

The story and drawings quickly engaged me, despite the author’s sometimes bizarre, sometimes heavy journey through mania, depression, and eventually, balance. She has the fantastic support of her mom, friends, and psychiatrist, but still struggles for years before finding a set of meds that works for her.

In depression, she can barely get […]

“Poppies on the Rubbish Heap” by Madge Bray

Subtitle: Sexual Abuse, The Child’s Voice

Madge Bray shares her journey as a child advocate social worker, along with several abused children’s case histories. Woven through the book is the history of recognition and backlash around the sexual abuse of children. Madge Bray pioneered the use of toys and play therapy to elicit children’s […]

“The Horse Boy” by Rupert Isaacson

Subtitle: A Father’s Quest to Heal His Son

Recommended to me by: Kristin Neff mentions her husband’s book about their journey to Mongolia in her book Self-Compassion.

Rupert Isaacson writes about how his intuition and determination (and privilege) bring him to Mongolia where horseback riding and shamans help his autistic son Rowan.

He […]

“Alchemy of Illness” by Kat Duff

Subtitle: A woman explores the transforming – and, paradoxically, healing – experience of being ill

Recommended to me by: a client

Alchemists strive to turn lead into gold by heating it alone in a sealed container, a crucible. In the crucible of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Kat Duff turned inward and found healing in the […]

“Seeking Peace” by Mary Pipher

Subtitle: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World

Recommended to me by: Bay Area Spirituality Bookgroup

Mary Pipher didn’t expect to become famous for writing “Reviving Ophelia” and she fell into despair after years of touring and speaking engagements. The book covers her despair, her parents, her childhood, and then her healing. She […]

“The Armless Maiden” edited by Terri Windling

Subtitle: And Other Tales for Childhood’s Survivors

This is an anthology of fairy tales retold for adults, with the scary bits left in, and also the bits about resilience and survival. Yes, her father cut off her arms, but then the armless maiden rescues herself and her child through quick wits as well as […]