Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Never Underestimate the Power of a Book

I believe in the power of words. When I have a problem or a question I turn to a book for the answer. As an avid reader and writer, this seems the natural route to take. The great thinkers throughout history shared their knowledge in first, stories around the camp fire, and second, the written word.

At different times in my life I've stumbled upon or been given books that enlightened me, altered my perspective, and literally changed my life. Some were fun, light-hearted stories with characters that still live in my heart today. Others were manifestos meant to rattle my cage.

Here are a few of my favorites. Maybe one of them holds within its pages the advice or gentle message you've been waiting for.

The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom, a delightful novel with a moral that I will never forget.

In the Meantime - Iyanla VanZant, this book literally fell into my hands at a critical point in my life. I knew I wanted to read it but was not "allowed" to spend money on new books. Then there I was scouring the lost book section of "Unclaimed Baggage", an outlet that buys and sells lost airline luggage, of all things! I looked up and directly in front of me among the hundreds of random titles was this book that changed my view of myself and what I deserve from my life.

Simple Abundance - Sarah Ban Breathnach, my mother gave me this day book as a gift. It took another year before I picked it up and felt ready to do the lessons. It was a year of discovery that launched my writing career.

White Oleander - Janet Fitch, amazing sensory rich novel that drops you into the world of Astrid :foster child, daughter of a murderess, affected personality. She is the best and worst in all of us.

Complete Works of Flannery O'Connor - In my opinion the best short story writer that ever lived. My greatest writing mentor, if only she were alive to answer my questions.

The Seat of the Soul - Gary Zukav, Conversations with God Series - Neale Donald Walsch, The Gospels of the New Testament - The Bible, A Return to Love - Marianne Williamson, The Power of Intention - Dr. Wayne Dyer, and The Road Less Traveled - M. Scott Peck, have all shaped my spiritual life.

The Anatomy of Peace - The Arbinger Institute, Our Endangered Values - Jimmy Carter, Mother Teresa, and In My Own Words - Mother Teresa have helped define my political and social values.

The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger, Blue Water- A. Manette Ansay, and The Last Girls - Lee Smith, are my newest favorite novels, all have strong female characters coming to grips with the cards life has dealt them.

When I read to my two year old I always cry at the end of The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein.

Oh! Just for fun, when I need a good belly laugh, I pull out my copy of Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch, Tales from a Bad Neighborhood - Hollis Gillespie. I will never get tired of her quirky sense of humor and ability to poke fun at her own life.

Happy reading and best wishes on your journey to enlightenment and self-realization. It's never a waste of time to read.

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