Inspired by Busted Halo’s survey, Barbara KB, a frequent poster at People of the Book listed the five books which most influenced her on her spiritual journey. She had an interesting list, and it made for some interesting (and helpful) commentary – several of the books mentioned by others are in my Amazon shopping cart, now.
It’s difficult to restrict oneself to only 5 books, of course. In my mind, the only way to do that is to stipulate from the start that The Bible, The Liturgy of the Hours and the Rule of St. Benedict are understood. Even then, I don’t know if the five books I list will be rightly understood as having fed me spiritually, although they did and do, since some of them are not especially “spiritual” books.
But even if a book is not spiritual, it can nurture parts of you so that you can be more open, in surprising ways, to the spiritual when it comes down the pike!
My list (please note: That last book may have to be changed to Thomas a’ Kempis’ The Imitiation of Christ!):
1) People I Have Loved, Known or Admired, by Leo Rosten
I literally found this book when I was 15, and it taught me so much about writing, language, human relationships and the value of having a sense of humor that I have always kept it near. Gave it to my sons to read when they were old enough to appreciate it, and they loved this collection of essays, too. Sadly, out of print but thank goodness for folks selling used books on Amazon.
2)To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Perfect novel, another language and wordcraft frollic and Lee’s perfect ear for dialogue tuned my own. This is the book I always return to when I’m feeling sick. It’s like catching up with an old friend.
3) In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden – another perfect novel, so lyrical. It always slows me down and gets me centered. Also first brought me to the psalms.
4)Complete Works: Letters from Carmel, Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity
I just love her. She is Therese of Lisieux without the sentiment – straightshooting, completely emboldened by love and so instructive! A true mystic but wonderfully approachable and knowable. She’s just bang-on great.
5)Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. It must be one of my favorite novels, because I can recite so much of it, and I find myself so frequently alluding to it in one way or another! Or, of course The Imitation of Christ, which is also something I’m always quoting or alluding to.
On a lazy Sunday, what are the 5 books which have influenced you the most? Remember, The Bible is stipulated, you don’t all have to tell me “The Bible,” OK? Although if you want to say a particular book of the Bible, that’s ok!