“What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank” by Nathan Englander

Subtitle: stories

Recommended to me by: KBOO interview with Nathan Englander

These beautifully crafted stories are rich, in the sense that I can’t read too many of them at a time. They are heavy with the everyday pain we cause each other, and with the specific pain of Jews and Judaism.

I didn’t read […]

“Unlimited…” by Ani Rose Whaleswan

This is a book of 18 poems and 13 paintings about Ani Rose Whaleswan’s healing from extreme abuse. From the back cover: “She believes too that art is healing, and healing is an art.”

The paintings are colorful, vivid, powerful. Each one is accompanied by a paragraph of background or interpretation.

The poems are concrete, […]

“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 […]

“CrowHeart” by Keelin Anderson

CROWHEART: becoming unwounded, a memoir of transformation

Recommended to me by: Keelin Anderson

To tell her story of healing from incest and emotional abuse, Keelin Anderson weaves together daily narrative, fiction, quotes, tarot readings, and dreams, all in present tense.

As I read, I saw places where our paths have overlapped, and places where […]

“Leaving the Saints” by Martha Beck

Subtitle: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith

Recommended to me by: Reading Martha Beck’s older books

I first read this years ago and loved it. I came back to it while writing a (forthcoming) article about spiritual abuse and faith. Since I last read it, I read her newer book “Steering […]

“Traveling Mercies” by Anne Lamott

Subtitle: Some thoughts on faith

I stumbled across this book while looking for a quote about forgiveness. I usually find Anne Lamott’s books laugh-out-loud funny, reassuringly insightful, or disturbingly insightful. This book, a series of autobiographical essays about faith and religion, left me cold.

Maybe it was the large daily consumption of alcohol and […]

“The Not So Big Life” by Sarah Susanka

Subtitle: Making Room For What Really Matters

Sarah Susanka is a renowned architect, author of the “Not So Big House” series. This book is beautifully architected with parallels between life remodeling and house remodeling. For the target audience of people with plenty of money and a shortage of time, the book offers substantial, detailed […]

“The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman

Subtitle: A Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures

Recommended to me by: Emily Ross

This is a beautifully written history of the Hmong people from Laos in the 20th century, interwoven with the story of one Hmong family who took refuge in Merced, California. Their daughter Lia Lee had […]

“Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword” by Barry Deutsch

Subtitle: Yet Another Troll-Fighting 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl

Recommended to me by: Barry Deutsch’s Alas, A Blog

A graphic novel set in an Orthodox Jewish town called Hereville, in a blended family with many girls and one little brother. The facial expressions and other details in the drawings are captivating – I read the […]