This is just the beginning. If you follow this blog, you will be immersed in book recommendations and reviews. Books have been a constant in my life since I was very little. One of my first memories is of my father’s bookshelf. I remember sitting in front of it for long periods of time, looking at the covers of his fantasy and science fiction books, wishing that I could read the stories that lie behind the covers. Years later, I spent hours lost in the landscapes found inside.
I will admit that I love fiction best. It is my guilty pleasure. My escape. My release from being a grown up with boring responsibilities like cleaning the house and paying bills. Although fantasy and sci-fi are great escapes, I do love novels with a message for my soul. Stories that teach and inspire are my favorites.
Weeks ago, I knew I had to write a piece about my books. I began to take notes as I remembered books from my past but never had time to sit down and write. Yesterday, I saw that one of my favorite authors just published a blog about books that inspired her. It is a completely different list than mine…you can tell a lot about a person by their favorite book list.
I will start with my list of fiction inspiration from my teen years. These are some of the books that have inspired the way I think, feel, and move in the world. I suppose every book we read alters us a little. Every captivating story sinks into our soul and changes some aspect of ourselves. The books I read as a child should probably be mentioned too, as most of them involve magic of some kind, but I will save that for another day.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury– Required reading in school and finally a story that resonated with my young, open eyes. This is the world we are becoming. Books are banned. Media has taken over. Everyone walks around with ear buds. Walls of homes become flat screen televisions. Everything is faster. A character awakens to the truth…
“Stuff your eyes with wonder. Live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. see the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that . Shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.”
…and the natural world becomes refuge… “He stood breathing, and the more he breathed the land in, the more he was filled up with all the details of the land. He was not empty. There was more than enough here to fill him. There would always be more than enough.”
As I look over the book again I find a highlighted quote, “When they give you lined paper, write the other way.” This must have been my subconscious mantra during my teen years.
WE by Evgeny Zamyatin – The original dystopian future novel. Citizens trade freedom for material comforts. People live in glass houses protected from the less civilized creatures of the world, sterile and safe. Heart and soul are replaced with logic and numbers. Characters wake up and think, wonder, suppose, and love. They are accused of “developing a soul”; a serious medical condition.
Brave New World, 1984, Level 7, Eye of the Heron, and Anthem- I’m going to clump these all together here. They are dystopian novels. They warn us of what could be if we as a society fail to open our eyes, and actively step up and lead ourselves and our fellow men into freedom.
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield – This book, more than any other, altered my life. I was a teen when I read it. My mother was dying of cancer and I was starting to believe that my lack of faith in the fundamental Baptist religion that I was raised in was not going to send my soul into a hell of eternal burning and “gnashing of teeth”.
The book is written simply so that “the masses” will “get it”.. However, it resonated with my young self on many levels. It is essentially about the shifting consciousness of the planet. The story follows an American who travels to Peru to search for pieces of a mysterious, secret manuscript that contains ancient, spiritual wisdom. There are 9 insights that he discovers in the scattered manuscript. In summary, they are:
- A spiritual awakening is occurring in humans. We are realizing that there is more to our lives than everyday routines. Meaningful coincidences seem to be sending us messages and leading us in a certain direction.
- Here we take a long look at our history. We see how we left behind the mystical, the magic for a more scientific worldview.
- We live in a universe of dynamic energy not just a simple, material one. Every living thing has a field of energy we can sense and intuit.
- Humans consistently find themselves cut off from the greater source of energy and can feel weak and insecure. We sometimes manipulate others into giving us attention, thus their energy. The natural world is full of pure energy to give us.
- Learning how to connect with this divine energy benefits us and helps us grow. This insight teaches of mystical, or enlightened experiences one can have.
- We can learn to identify when we lose our inner connection. We find that we each have a particular pattern or “game” we play out to manipulate others. Our parents’ pattern greatly influenced ours. We learn to identify the constant victim or poor me, aloof, critic, and intimidator.
- Dreams are significant on our path. They help us on our personal mission. Discovering that mission enhances the flow of coincidences, dreams, and intuitions.
- We can increase our intuition and guiding synchronicity by uplifting every person that we interact with. Learn to see the beauty in every person. It is especially important to truly see children.
- Humans will move into a higher energy state. As we all grow into helping each other so that no one is in survival mode anymore and can focus on their personal missions, we will all evolve.
I would recommend it for teens or people just starting down the path of spiritual awakening.
Mutant Message From Down Under by, Marlo Morgan- Another book that I read while quite young. It is an account of a lady who takes a journey with Australian Aborigines and bears witness to their simplistic, beautiful way of living in harmony with the natural world. It is a story, written simply. Aware adults might criticize this book for many reasons. However, it touched me when I was at an influential age.
“Our words, our actions must constantly set the stage for the life we wish to lead.”
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn- I still like this author. He has several other books written after this one that further explain his view. Ishmael is a simple book that teens can read. It involves a gorilla teacher and a human pupil who take a look at the story of mankind.
“There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with people. Given a story to enact that puts them in accord with the world, they will live in accord with the world. But given a story to enact that puts them at odds with the world, as yours does, they will live at odds with the world. Given a story to enact in which they are the lords of the world, they will ACT like lords of the world. And, given a story to enact in which the world is a foe to be conquered, they will conquer it like a foe, and one day, inevitably, their foe will lie bleeding to death at their feet, as the world is now.”
This book describes how society has enslaved us in an unnatural state of existence since the beginning of the agricultural revolution with a story. The story tells us that we are separate from the natural world. That we need to build walls and use the natural world for our survival and comfort. It is a warning that we need to adopt a new story for humankind before it is too late.
“You’re captives of a civilizational system that more or less compels you to go on destroying the world in order to live… I think there are many among you who would be glad to release the world from captivity… This is what prevents them: They’re unable to find the bars of the cage.”
Spirit Song by, Mary Summer Rain- This book is labeled as fiction. It is supposed to be a true account of Mary’s mentorship with a blind Chippewa medicine woman named No Eyes. Mary was her last student and was handed down much native wisdom involving the spirit and the earth. She has several other books which follow Spirit Song.
I must have been around 18 when I started reading Mary Summer Rain’s books. They were my introduction to native shamanism, wild crafting, herbal medicine, and dream work. I enjoyed them much more than Carlos Castaneda’s books; they were easier to digest and resonated with me in a way his did not.
To be continued…