The best books for finding hope and inspiration

Why am I passionate about this?

As a poet and a dreamer, I believe in a world where we live in harmony with other people, nature, and the Divine. During the completion of my Master of Arts degree, I discovered a love of poetry: the lyrical cadences of the romantic poems reminded me of the sung psalms of my youth. No life is without sorrow, and the gift of poetry — both writing and reading it — has offered me hope through many a dark time, inspiring me to push on towards a new dawn. My wish for you is that, in these poetry collections, you too find a light during these turbulent times that we’re living in.


I wrote...

the dust of hope: rune poems

By Judy Croome,

Book cover of the dust of hope: rune poems

What is my book about?

As a poet and an intuitive tarot reader, my fascination with symbolism and its ability to inspire people is reflected in my latest collection of poetry. I turned to the ancient ways of the Nordic runes, to shine a light of hope and healing as we navigate through the wilderness of anxiety permeating these early years of the twenty-first century. These deceptively simple verses console us with a calm acceptance that, even during a global pandemic, everyday life ebbs and flows with the natural rhythms of the timeless oceans. In these poems, we’re invited to stop, to breathe, and to see the world around us from a new perspective birthed within the centre of our souls.  

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Peace of Wild Things

Judy Croome Why did I love this book?

While this book of poems, first published in 1964, does hark back to a past era, the poems themselves are timeless. There’s an underlying sense of peace, which gives me solace when I feel bleak and filled with a nameless anxiety. Despite the sorrows, there’s grace in these poems, and in the world Berry speaks of — a simpler world than the one we live in today. Yet, each time I read them, I’m enriched with comfort and hope that frees me from the melancholy of living in a modern world that appears to be losing its way.

By Wendell Berry,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Peace of Wild Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

The poems of Wendell Berry invite us to stop, to think, to see the world around us, and to savour what is good. Here are consoling verses of hope and of healing; short, simple meditations on love, death, friendship, memory and belonging; luminous hymns to the land, the…


Book cover of New and Selected Poems

Judy Croome Why did I love this book?

Like nature itself, poetry allows quiet reflection and a deep peace into our lives. Like Mary Oliver, I too, find an almost divine rapture in the sheer glory of Nature’s elemental wildness. In this collection, Oliver's mystical connection to nature combined with her simple language and clear imagery create poems that are profoundly beautiful. During these past years of the global pandemic lockdown, I was unable to restore my soul by visiting the South African wilderness that is so close to the city I live in. Instead, through contemplation of Oliver’s poetry and writing my own, I was able to re-connect with the bliss and strength that the natural world so generously offers us.

By Mary Oliver,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked New and Selected Poems as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mary Oliver was awarded the National Book Award for New and Selected Poems, Volume One. Since its initial appearance it has become one of the best-selling volumes of poetry in the country. This collection features thirty poems published only in this volume as well as selections from the poet's first eight books.

Mary Oliver's perceptive, brilliantly crafted poems about the natural landscape and the fundamental questions of life and death have won high praise from critics and readers alike. "Do you love this world?" she interrupts a poem about peonies to ask the reader. "Do you cherish your humble and…


Book cover of The Prophet

Judy Croome Why did I love this book?

Gibran’s masterpiece is a divinely inspired poem that I find so emotional, so moving and so full of wisdom, that “On Marriage” was read at my wedding and “On Dying” was read at my beloved husband’s funeral nearly twenty-five years later. Every time I read this book — and I’ve read it many times already — I’m moved to tears. There is no religious dogma here, only the words of a soul that understands all that an ordinary life has to offer. From clothing to criminality, from the joys of love to the pain of loss, and from the laws of man to the laws of G-d, The Prophet addresses our doubts and our fears, leaving us calm and silenced by a deep acceptance of all that this earthly life is.

By Kahlil Gibran,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Prophet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in the 1920s, this book attempts to provide the reader with a guide to living. Gibran lets his protagonist, called simply the prophet, deliver homilies on a variety of topics central to daily life: love marriage and children, work and play, possessions, beauty, truth, joy and sorrow and death.


Book cover of Words Under the Words: Selected Poems

Judy Croome Why did I love this book?

Nye’s poems are at once complex and accessible. Even the poems that are easy to read offer hidden depths, reflecting the powerful connections that we share as a family and as part of both local and global communities. She strips away the differences in culture and value, reminding us that to be fully human we, like Fowzi the fool (from the poem “Different Ways to Pray”), still need to talk to our version of G-d as easily as we talk to goats. Of Palestinian-American heritage, Nye’s gentle, insightful words offer the hope that somehow, we’ll find a way to be kind to those who are different from us.

By Naomi Shihab Nye,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Words Under the Words as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Words Under the Words gathers into a single volume the finest poems by one of the most exciting, accessible poets in America today. This long-awaited collection draws from Naomi Shihab Nye's three critically acclaimed books: Different Ways to Pray, Yellow Glove, and National Poetry Series winner, Hugging the Jukebox.


Book cover of She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poems

Judy Croome Why did I love this book?

In She Walks in Beauty, Caroline Kennedy contemplates the wisdom of different poetic voices as they journey through major life events in a woman's life (whether love and marriage, death and grief or the joys and sorrows of motherhood). By the end of the book, Kennedy distills both bitter and sweet flavours into a celebration of life that often feels unattainable as we live through challenging times. With both compassion and sensitivity born from her own troubled family history and through her love of poetry reflected in this collection, Kennedy offers hope and consolation to others travelling along a difficult road.

By Caroline Kennedy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked She Walks in Beauty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A priceless resource--and gift--for anyone seeking a deeper understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a woman.

In SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY, Caroline Kennedy has marshaled the gifts of our greatest poets to pay a personal tribute to the human experience, this time to the complex and fascinating subject of womanhood. Inspired by her own reflections on more than fifty years of life as a young girl, woman, wife and mother, She Walks in Beauty draws on poetry's eloquent wisdom to ponder the many joys and challenges of being a woman. Kennedy has divided the collection into sections…


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The Unproposed Guy

By Bhavik Sarkhedi, Suhana Bhambhani,

Book cover of The Unproposed Guy

Bhavik Sarkhedi Author Of The Unproposed Guy

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Wanderlust Film Aficionado Bibliophile Solo Traveler Movie Buff

Bhavik's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

The Unproposed Guy is a captivating journey through the life of Kevin, a character stuck in a mundane existence and unfulfilling relationships, who discovers his passion for stand-up comedy and rapping amidst an existential crisis.

This contemporary fiction is peppered with humor, sarcasm, and poignant insights into modern relationships and societal expectations. Kevin's struggles and transformations offer a unique blend of comedy and emotional depth, making it a must-read for those seeking a fresh, humorous perspective on love, life, and self-discovery. Dive into Kevin's character of failed relationship and who portrays himself as "Every guy's best friend and every girl's worst nightmare".

The Unproposed Guy

By Bhavik Sarkhedi, Suhana Bhambhani,

What is this book about?

There has been no significant change in the life of Kevin—a monotonous routine, ordinary family, and miserably failing relationships—until he finds out he is going through something abnormal: 'Existential Crisis'.

He has always been a marvellous entertainer, but has a mysterious way of putting off girls. The talent in him is growing creatively, and abundantly, but his inability to impress a girl keeps pulling him down slowly. He realises he can be any guy’s best friend, but he also seems to be every girl’s worst nightmare.

Hop onto the rollercoaster journey of Kevin’s life, as he navigates through mocking friends…


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