The best books about our human struggles and triumphs

Anna Bozena Bowen Author Of Hattie
By Anna Bozena Bowen

Who am I?

As a nurse, survivor, intuitive, and healer, when ministering to the sick, the injured, the traumatized, and the dying, I saw, sensed, and gained a deeper understanding of who we are as human and spiritual beings. I also witnessed the emotional, physical, spiritual, and psychological scars trauma leaves on survivors. How can we hold onto hope during challenging times? We need to expand our consciousness about the inhumanity that exists in our world. Stop saying, “How can that be? I don’t believe it.” We are on a human and spiritual journey to who we are. Stories are told to heal, to inform, to own our truths, and to offer hope. 

I wrote...


By Anna Bozena Bowen,

Book cover of Hattie

What is my book about?

Hattie, a multi-award-winning novel, is a compelling first-person narrative that begins with Hattie’s death. In spirit, Hattie finds a newfound freedom, discovers her voice, and reveals both the harrowing and miraculous truths of her life. Through her storytelling, Hattie takes the reader on an intimate journey as she courageously delves into the strata of her existence. Hattie is one woman. Hattie is every woman. Hattie is a mystical and very human experience. 

The books I picked & why

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The Color Purple

By Alice Walker,

Book cover of The Color Purple

Why this book?

In the mid-1980s, as a more soulful voice was emerging in my writing, a friend gave me her copy of The Color Purple. Walker’s novel is about relationships and the struggles and triumphs of black women who loved deeply and continued to see beauty in their world even as they survived terrible abuses. I was drawn to Walker’s writing, the rhythm of Celie’s simple candid voice, and the unique way this novel delivered a powerful heartfelt story. Reading The Color Purple encouraged me to trust in my creative writing style. As my voice, my intuition, and my connection to Spirit grew deeper and more profound, so did my writing. I was so moved by Walker’s novels that I think of her as a mentor.

Man’s Search for Meaning

By Viktor Frankl,

Book cover of Man’s Search for Meaning

Why this book?

One summer, during an IWWG conference, a member recommended I read Man’s Search for Meaning. She related to how I wrote about humanity and inhumanity in my own book and knew I would find Frankl’s memoir meaningful. My Polish immigrant parents did not suffer in Concentration Camps as Victor Frankl did, but as teenagers, they were taken prisoners during WWII and survived Siberian Work Camps. To comprehend the extremes of human suffering, survival, and a person’s ability to hold hope when it seems there is none, one must read Frankl’s book. He says, “we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.” Sitting on a beach in Maine, I read this book and my soul was both crushed and lifted. 

The Invitation

By Oriah,

Book cover of The Invitation

Why this book?

There is no other book that I have gifted as often to friends. In The Invitation Oriah challenges us to recognize what we ache for in this life. Her words encourage us to embrace our human experiences and be open to possibilities. She writes about finding hope in obstacles and connecting to the beauty in life. As a poet I was initially drawn to “The Invitation,” a poem Oriah wrote, which led to her writing this book. Her words inspire!

When Rabbit Howls: A First-Person Account of Multiple Personality, Memory, and Recovery

By Truddi Chase,

Book cover of When Rabbit Howls: A First-Person Account of Multiple Personality, Memory, and Recovery

Why this book?

Gaining a deeper connection to and awareness of self—mind, body, heart, and spirit—was significant to my healing journey from childhood sexual abuse. Chase’s deeply moving autobiography is a powerful, profound, and painful story of survival, about how she recovered her memories and coped with childhood sexual, emotional, and physical abuses by splitting off into many personalities, known as DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). Over my nursing career, I was blessed with opportunities to work with survivors and privileged to hear many women’s stories. In 1990, When Rabbit Howls found its way onto my bookshelf. After many decades, it still holds a significant role in validating the experiences many survivors hold and educating society about the effects of trauma on our minds, bodies, hearts, and spirits.

The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

By Ellen Bass, Laura Davis,

Book cover of The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

Why this book?

Thirty years ago, as I struggled through devastating childhood memories, I discovered The Courage to Heal. This book helped me to not feel so alone in my journey. For a long time, I carried this book with me like it was a Bible. The validation and support I received from the content of shared stories and supportive information felt “life-saving.” Over the years, this important body of work has helped thousands of women and continues to help and support survivors across the globe. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in childhood sexual abuse, spirituality, and the meaning of life?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about childhood sexual abuse, spirituality, and the meaning of life.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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