summer reads

Summer Reads: Books That Changed My Life

I love to read and I often find over the summer months that I’m reading more. I tend to find myself out in nature, under the sun, and able to take time to think. I drift more towards books that give me new perspective or a better understanding of our world and how, as individuals, we fit into it. I’d like to share with you some of the books that have changed my life and are perfect for down time on holiday, commuting or coffee breaks.

#1 Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Vicktor Frankl was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp during World War Two. In Man’s Search For Meaning Frankl chronicles his experiences, as well as describing his psychotherapeutic method. This involves identifying a purpose in life to feel positively about, and then immersively imagining that outcome. For me, this book is inspiring in that it documents a real life and how a positive outlook can bring about survival and strength.

#2 The Road less Travelled by Scott Peck

In The Road Less Travelled, leading psychiatrist Dr M. Scott Peck confronts pain. He suggest that, whilst sometimes distressing, facing our difficulties – and suffering through the changes – can find a person with a greater self-understanding, and thus better off. The book discusses everything from dependency in love, how to recognise and find true compatibility within a relationship, and how to be a sensitive parent. I would recommend this to anyone who is in need of self-healing, finding love difficult, or struggling to confront emotion. This is a self-help book that will transform the way you look at life, and love.  

#3 The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I’m sure many of you will have heard of this one and, like me, will have loved it. Whilst not non-fiction or traditional self-help, this book has had a great impact on my life. This gothic and philosophical novel follows a young man who purchases eternal youth at the expense of his soul. It teaches us the dangers of immoral behaviour as we see Dornian Grey’s descent into moral squalor as neither admirable nor enviable. This is a gripping read, perfect for your summer holiday.

#4 The Bible

Ever since I was first introduced to the creation stories in Genesis at the tender age of 5, I was hooked on the Bible narrative and wanted to learn everything I could about it. I lost myself in both Old and New Testament research when I was studying theology at Cambridge Uni but it wasn’t until a few decades later that the Bible really changed my life. I had a dream that the whole of the universe was inside the Bible and this Night Vision inspired me to read the Bible from a spiritual and not a religious perspective. I realised it is the greatest spiritual story ever told because it is the story of every human life, regardless of religion and culture. Everything – every emotion, every challenge, every suffering, every inspiration – is in there. Reading it from a mystical perspective can help us learn about ourselves, the meaning of our lives and how we can grow to heaven.

#5 The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

This 1993 novel by James Redfield discusses various psychological and spiritual ideas rooted in ancient Eastern traditions and New Age spirituality. Among these is how opening up to new possibilities can help an individual establish a connection with the Divine. We are lead on a journey alongside the protagonist, as he finds and strives to understand nine spiritual insights in an ancient manuscript in Peru. This book takes the reader on an adventure of spiritual awakening and understanding of the world around us.

#6 The seven spiritual laws of success by Deepak Chopra

This pocket-sized self-help book is perfect to squeeze into your backpack on the way to the beach or pull out during your coffee break at the office. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success is freely inspired by Hinduist and spiritualistic concepts, which looks at the idea that personal success is not the outcome of hard work, precise planning or ambition, but rather of understanding our basic nature as human beings and how we can learn from the laws of nature. Here we learn that if we follow these laws, anything can be achieved and our deepest desires fulfilled – these same laws are seen in nature to create stars, human bodies and forests.

I’m always looking for new reads. What books have changed your life? What’s your favourite summer read? Leave a comment below – I’d love to hear your suggestions.

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