On my bookshelf

On my bookshelf | SusannahConway.com
Feeling inspired by Jen’s recent book post I wanted to share some of the books that are dear to me. I own a lot of books and all of them have impacted me in some way, but these are a few of the non-fiction ones that changed me for the better…

The Book of Love and Creation by Paul Selig

Okay, this is where I finally step out of the woo woo closet. As I mentioned in my own book, I’m not a religious person but I’m definitely bit of a spiritual magpie. I bought my first deck of tarot cards in my teens and have been interested in all thing new age ever since. Out of all the metaphysical books I’ve read over the years, this is the book that’s had the most profound effect on me. There is so much love and wisdom, such gentle humour, such deep understanding, so many a-has… If you’re at all interested in personal growth and consciousness, read this book.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

When I grow up I want to be Anne Lamott. Out of all the writers-writing-about-writing books I have, Bird by Bird has the most dog-earred pages. Her suggestion to “write a shitty first draft” helps me to get over myself every time I sit down to write something. It really is a wonderful book about writing… and life.

Writing Down Your Soul by Janet Conner

Out of all my journaling books (are you sensing a theme here?) this one speaks to the way I use my journal to connect to my own innate wisdom — and that which is outside of me.

Selected Poems by Sharon Olds

When I started blogging back in 2006 I reconnected to my love of words in a way I hadn’t felt in all my years as a journalist. Finding my way back to poetry opened new doors in my brain, and it was Sharon Olds’ work that moved me the most. She writes about the guts of life. She just knows.

Creating Money by Sanaya Roman & Duane Packer

Another one to file in the woo woo category (my my, I’m really showing you all my knickers today!) but this book was another life-changer for me. When I moved to Bath in 2008 and was trying to rebuild my life, this was the book that helped me the most. It wasn’t even the ‘money’ part that drew me to it — it helped me figure out where I was going. It helped me get closer to my purpose. A few months later I created Unravelling and taught it as an evening class… and now I’m here. Magical book.

The Dance by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

I loved The Invitation, but it was The Dance that pierced my heart. If you’ve read my book it won’t be a surprise to discover I love Oriah’s words — the way she weaves personal stories and realisations together was my guiding light as I did my best to create my own tapestry. We all have to start somewhere and she was a huge inspiration for me.

Life’s Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest by Christina Baldwin

It will come as no surprise that I love this book — frankly, it’s like journaling porn. A pleasure — pun unintended — to read and work through, with Baldwin’s help you will grow as a journaler and writer, guaranteed.

Companion Through the Darkness by Stephanie Ericsson

This is the book that kept me afloat in my first year of bereavement. Never has a book been more important to me than this one. These days I find I can’t pick it up as it connects me to my past loss so fast I have to sit down. Powerful and healing for those who need it.

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

This list would not be complete without mentioning this one. It was the Artist’s Way that helped me reconnect to my creative side as I worked through my bereavement. Cameron’s genius Artist’s Dates got me out of the house and back in love with my cameras. Affirming and nourishing.

So there you have it. A few of my most treasured books.

What books have changed you for the better? Please do share!

There are lots more over on my Pinterest Book friends board.


19 responses
  1. Vicky

    It’s lovely & interesting to see which books influence you and your work. Thanks for sharing. I might just have to find a few of them including that abundance one. At the moment I’m feeling horribly guilty for trying to make a living out of a creative pursuit, like I’m just lazy or irresponsible or something. I’m not even striving to be wealthy. Money has never been a motivator for me (which might explain why i’m still living like a student at 42!), but I do want to FEEL abundant doing something that’s meaningful to me.

  2. susannah

    Do get it, Vicky — i found it SO helpful!

  3. Marylin

    My kindle wishlist is growing! :)

  4. Olea

    I was just today thinking about sending you an email to ask for recommendations! After devouring Writing Down The Bones in a single sitting, I was looking for more, and I remembered you had a list of interesting books in the Unravelling class. Fortunately, I thought to check the PDF, and lo and behold, there was the list. This is timely and perfect, thank you! Tristine Rainer will come next, but now I think I need to add Writing Down Your Soul to the list.

  5. Sandra Pawula

    Loved seeing and hearing about these! So many people recommend Anne Lamont’s book and I trust your choices so much. I must read this one! I’m also curious about the book on money. A very powerful book for me has been The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. And all the Pema Chodron books are so fabulous too.

  6. Lydia Kimble-Wright

    You can add mind reader to your talents. I am drafting a post about the books that I am reading. You have an impressive list of books and I am heartened to learn that I already have 4 of them. I am definitely going to look into the rest of them. Blessings and thanks, Lydia

  7. Naomi

    I love this so much! I found Jen’s helpful and I’m so grateful to have your list too. I will be reading Writing Down Your Soul and Life’s Companion very soon. Thank you!

  8. Lisa R Charles

    Oh, Susannah, thank you for this list. Putting all of these on my “to read” shelf.

  9. Lucy Chen

    I’ve been thinking about getting Bird by Bird for some time.

  10. Mary in VA

    2 of the ones that I go to over and over are 8 habits of love by Ed Bacon (it starts out with the reminder that the universe is essentially kind) and Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

  11. kelly

    Thanks Susannah! I always trust your book suggestions.

  12. Xanthe

    I love your woowoo – ness xxx

  13. KelLY

    LOVE Bird by Bird – read it twice already :)

  14. Sheila Bergquist

    I like that you shared your books and have looked into several of them. I also read Companion Through the Darkness and, in fact, just read it again a couple of months ago…loved that book. And also loved yours.

  15. Kristyn Childres

    Hi Susannah! Thanks so much for sharing these! A bunch of weird questions had been coming up for me lately, and I had no idea where I could find the information that they seemed to be pointing me toward. But when you posted this, I started reading The Book of Love and Creation, and it seems to have all the answers I was seeking. Thank you so much! I just love reading your blog. :-)

  16. Marthe

    Sabbath by Wayne Muller is the one book that I go back to over and over and over again. It is so deep, so nourishing, so beautiful. It’s a book about finding rest and reading it is such a pleasure.

  17. henrietta

    Thanks for the great recommendations…..I’m very tempted by a couple…writing down the soul in particular. Your mention of living in Bath makes me nostalgic…I did all my secondary schooling there!!

  18. lucinda

    anne lamott is one of my favoirtes. first read bird by bird about five years ago and recently re-read it. i also breezed through operating instructions when i was pregnant with my now nine month old son. always a great read, that annie.


  19. Whitney Rhiannon Till

    The Depression Book by Cheri Huber was my life changer. Thanks for these suggestions!

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