The best books of contemporary visionary fiction

Rea Nolan Martin Author Of The Sublime Transformation of Vera Wright
By Rea Nolan Martin

Who am I?

I’ve been told I’m a visionary, but labels are of little significance to me. What I know for sure is that I’m a storyteller of the visionary variety, who has won numerous awards in that genre. Dating back to cave dwellers, myth-tellers, and folk minstrels, visionary authors have been consciously or unconsciously laying paths and building bridges between paradigms for eons. Such bridges are constructed of new language, perilous journeys, and transformative visions. My particular stories connect the path of perceived human limitations to true, unlimited potential. My characters are quirky, endearing, and often funny. They are each of us stumbling through an infinite, low-lying thicket for higher purpose. Until one day, we look up.

I wrote...

The Sublime Transformation of Vera Wright

By Rea Nolan Martin,

Book cover of The Sublime Transformation of Vera Wright

What is my book about?

Vera Wright is a tale of transformation on many levels—personal, social, religious, and cosmic. It’s the story of an ordinary woman in her sixties, a beautician, who is doing the bare minimum to lead a godly life. After all, she isn’t a nun. She has a husband to feed and a salon to run. During a sermon at her church, however, she has an unsettling vision involving grandiose expectations from beyond. The more she tries to ignore it, the more she is barraged with outrageous, urgent messages that morph swiftly from suggestions to commands. Ultimately, she finds herself at the center of not only a terrifying spiritual awakening, but a feminist shift in the axis of world religion.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Midnight Library

Why did I love this book?

The Midnight Library is a book of Literary and Visionary Fiction that uses relatable characters faced with profound spiritual dilemmas.

The author explores the space between life and death as I have often imagined the Last Judgment to be; i.e., not a condemnation of one’s life against absolute values, but a review with options. What if I had done this instead of that—the exploration of alternate realities and the lessons they would render, or not.

All of this overseen, not by an angry, finger-pointing God, but by a version of ourselves. In this case that version is a librarian who invites the protagonist to explore, even live out other choices in parallel time and space.

As in my stories, Haig uses a sampler of spiritual law in alignment with what we now know about quantum possibility. We live many lives! We are present on many planes in many dimensions!

Haig’s library is a version of the Theosophic Akashic Record, where all is recorded, understood, and sometimes even malleable. By taking this journey with a relatable contemporary heroine, the author provides us with a vehicle to take the journey ourselves. 

By Matt Haig,

Why should I read it?

24 authors picked The Midnight Library as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times bestselling WORLDWIDE phenomenon

Winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Fiction | A Good Morning America Book Club Pick | Independent (London) Ten Best Books of the Year

"A feel-good book guaranteed to lift your spirits."-The Washington Post

The dazzling reader-favorite about the choices that go into a life well lived, from the acclaimed author of How To Stop Time and The Comfort Book.

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of…

Life After Life

By Kate Atkinson,

Book cover of Life After Life

Why did I love this book?

This book began like a narrative poem with a constant, urgent refrain from a soul born and lost in infancy then later in childhood and again in young adulthood.

A soul born and lost, over and over, until finally, she manages to push her way into this world and survive. A soul with a mission from beyond whose urgency is immediate and critical. A mission that simply could not wait for another time, because without it, time itself was at risk.

For me, Life After Life is a book of significant genius. It represents Deus ex Machina—the hand of God—as a legitimate character, punching his way into our world, incarnate, by way of a willing human soul. The Christ story, if you will, with a host of modern updates.

This resonated with me, because I know there are souls in every generation who pepper the earth unrecognized, prepared to do anything it takes to move humanity forward.

After decades, this story stays with me as if I’d just read it. It’s the story of the best of us.

By Kate Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Life After Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

Does Ursula's apparently infinite number…

Cloud Cuckoo Land

By Anthony Doerr,

Book cover of Cloud Cuckoo Land

Why did I love this book?

Anthony Doerr’s masterpiece follows three sets of characters in three different time periods in three different settings.

The common thread is a book they are all reading—the ancient story of Aethon, a boy who wishes to become a bird and fly. It is a visionary tale as much about the desperation of confinement as it is about metamorphosis. About growing wings and rising above the mundane into the quixotic.

The visionary elements in this book include the timelessness of story and the awakening (and indomitability) of the higher spirit. It illustrates that, were it not for layers upon layers of archaic belief systems and their implicit binding deceits, we would all see beyond the horizon. We would all be free as birds.

To step past the restricted area is an individual decision as wildly courageous as it is shockingly simple. Paradigm shifts are always that way. Heart over mind, especially the collective mind. A vehicle navigated by the collective mind will never grow wings. The collective mind travels laterally along well-worn pavement, its vision obscured by the overgrowth of irrelevancy. Only visionaries take risks.

Even though this tale is long and complex with each of its three separate stories braided intricately throughout (best to jot character notes), it is so very worth its powerful, ingenious, and revelatory conclusion.

By Anthony Doerr,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Cloud Cuckoo Land as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the New York Times bestseller list for over 20 weeks * A New York Times Notable Book * A National Book Award Finalist * Named a Best Book of the Year by Fresh Air, Time, Entertainment Weekly, Associated Press, and many more

“If you’re looking for a superb novel, look no further.” —The Washington Post

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of All the Light We Cannot See, comes the instant New York Times bestseller that is a “wildly inventive, a humane and uplifting book for adults that’s infused with the magic of childhood reading experiences” (The New York Times…

Book cover of The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman

Why did I love this book?

This is a timeless visionary tale of the power of otherness.

Its hero, Moojie Littleman, struggles through life with physical handicaps that pale in comparison to the social handicaps of the grownups who are supposed to be caring for him. His is a hero’s journey about light and love, the power to heal, and the moral convictions that are only revealed in solitude.

Young Moojie, a disappointment even to himself, must look beyond his life circumstances for the answers he seeks. He must be open to new friends, new dimensions, and new possibilities. He must learn to employ his otherness as a tool, not only of survival, but of abundance.

The lyrical prose and unique voice of this tale enhance the strong character and storylines that are sure to inspire generations of young adults and older readers alike. Author, Robin Gregory, is an exceptional storyteller in the classical style of a bygone era. This is a literary and spiritual gem of a tale.

By Robin Gregory,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Moojie Littleman is not just another disabled orphan, he is not just a kid who falls into a series of magical, mystical adventures involving goats, bees, and watermelons. He is, above all, the most unlikely hero ever known. Through friendship with alien outcasts, Moojie discovers his healing powers and a surprising destiny ... if only he can survive one, last terrifying trial.


Welcome to Moojie's mythical world of mayhem and merriment, where miracles are standard fare, mistaken identity is rampant, and the desire to belong can be dangerous.

From screenwriter and award-winning novelist, Robin Gregory, comes a masterful debut…

Book cover of Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe

Why did I love this book?

Okay, you got me. This is not a book of fiction, although cynics may disagree. It’s a book of quantum possibility based on hard science and evolved visionary theory.

Like all of my stories, Biocentrism places consciousness at the center of its premise, presenting an important new human/world/cosmic view of well, everything. Like its author, Robert Lanza, I believe that consciousness is the essential fabric of mind, soul, and matter. Everything arises from it. Nothing is conceived without it.

The characters in my stories are always guided toward the higher aspects of their awareness in order to create new realities. Waking up to the understanding of a consciousness-centric existence changes not only us, but everything we know. Everything we thought we knew. And most importantly, forms the basis of everything we do from this point forward.

Biocentrism, as well as Lanza’s other books, provide a scientific foundation for what was previously considered mystical, philosophical, religious, or even magical abstraction. Luckily for us, as complex as it sounds, it’s delivered in highly readable language and relatable form.

By Robert Lanza, Bob Berman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Biocentrism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Robert Lanza is one of the most respected scientists in the world--a US News & World Report cover story called him a "genius" and a "renegade thinker," even likening him to Einstein. Lanza has teamed with Bob Berman, the most widely read astronomer in the world, to produce Biocentrism, a revolutionary new view of the universe. Every now and then a simple yet radical idea shakes the very foundations of knowledge. The startling discovery that the world was not flat challenged and ultimately changed the way people perceived themselves and their relationship with the world. For most humans of the…

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