The best books for people on a spiritual search

Who am I?

In 2010, Sandra A. Miller began hunting for a chest of gold coins buried in New York City soil. In her late forties at the time, she was mired in the process of helping her ailing mother to die, her teenage children to fly, and her writing career to survive the beating it had taken in the Great Recession and beyond. Soon enough, Sandra realized she was not just hunting for a treasure chest full of gold, but rather a different kind of riches. She had lost herself and needed to find a spiritual path that would lead her back home.


I wrote...

Trove: A Woman's Search for Truth and Buried Treasure

By Sandra A. Miller,

Book cover of Trove: A Woman's Search for Truth and Buried Treasure

What is my book about?

Trove is the story of a wife, mother, and writer whose life is upended when she begins an armchair treasure hunt—a search for $10,000 worth of gold coins buried in New York City, of all places with a man who, as she points out, is not her husband. In this eloquent, hilarious, multi-award-winning memoir, Sandra A. Miller grapples with the regret and confusion that so often accompanies middle age, and the shame of craving something more when she has so much already.

In a very real way, Miller has spent her life hunting for buried treasure. As a child, she trained herself to find things: dropped hair clips, shiny bits of broken glass, discarded lighters. Looking to escape from her volatile parents and often unhappy childhood, Miller found deeper meaning, and a good deal of hope, in each of these objects. Now an adult and facing the loss of her last living parent her mother who is at once cold, difficult, and wildly funny Miller finds herself, as she so often did as a little girl, pressed against a wall of her own longing. Her search for gold, which soon becomes an obsession, forces her to dredge up painful pieces of her past, confront the true source of her sorrow, and finally discover what it is she has been looking for all these years.

The books I picked & why

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The Alchemist

By Paulo Coelho,

Book cover of The Alchemist

Why this book?

Many years ago, I read Paolo Coehlo’s The Alchemist in one afternoon, then I set it down in a daze, feeling like I had been transported, maybe even transformed by Coehlo’s parable about Santiago, a young Andalusian boy searching for hidden treasure. The story has a seductive, timeless quality that helped ignite my quest to live a spiritually rich and adventurous life. No spoiler alerts here, but reading this book is a reminder of the power of honoring the “soul of the world” when on any search, but especially one for life’s greatest riches. My favorite takeaway line: When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.


Oneness

By Rasha,

Book cover of Oneness

Why this book?

Oneness by Rasha is one of those books that appears when you are ready for it. I’ve recommended it to people who say they don’t get it. And I’ve gifted copies to friends who later ask, “How did you know I needed to read that?” Rasha created her book by channeling the spirit of Oneness, so take that that however you want. I regularly re-read my dogeared copy like a sacred text that reminds me to energetically align with Source as a path to realizing my own limitless potential. If you’re feeling earthbound these days, and want a path to other realms, this could be it. The line that I repeat like a mantra: You are a spark of divinity in the throes of activation.


Devotion

By Dani Shapiro,

Book cover of Devotion

Why this book?

When I teach creative nonfiction writing, I tell my students that the more personal you can make your story, the more deeply readers will connect with it. Broad generalizations just won’t do. Devotion by Dani Shapiro is one of those intimate, inward-looking memoirs that opens the reader to her own journey, even if that journey is completely unlike Shapiro’s own quest. In Devotion, Shapiro is struggling to help her infant son who has a life-threatening illness, while simultaneously undertaking a search for what she believes, for her faith. Her prose is lyrical. Her insights wash over you like ancient truths. By the end of the book, you will feel entertained, but also enlightened.


The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

By Michael A. Singer,

Book cover of The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

Why this book?

The Untethered Soul: the journey beyond yourself, by Michael A. Singer is my go-to book for getting out of my head and opening up inner space. The spare prose and wise insights work on the reader in profound ways, helping to calm inner chatter and offer a path of peace. My copy of The Untethered Soul is annotated and underlined, because no book has been so singularly helpful in pointing me toward freedom from my own self-imposed suffering,  especially in times of high stress.


Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation

By Joseph Campbell,

Book cover of Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation

Why this book?

The comparative mythologist, Joseph Campbell is probably best known for A Hero with a Thousand Faces, but it’s another book—Pathways to Bliss—that I turn to like a travel guide to my own spiritual journey. In prompting readers to explore archetypes to help them create their personal mythology, Campbell believes that life should be a journey to finding our bliss. This is a book about personal growth for people who want to self-discovery in a larger—mythical—context.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in myth, Spain, and prayer?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about myth, Spain, and prayer.

Myth Explore 35 books about myth
Spain Explore 120 books about Spain
Prayer Explore 17 books about prayer

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Moon and the Virgin: Reflections on the Archetypal Feminine, Don't Give Up: Faith That Gives You the Confidence to Keep Believing and the Courage to Keep Going, and Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge if you like this list.