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. 

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The books I picked & why

The Color Purple

By Alice Walker,

Book cover of The Color Purple

Why did I love 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.

By Alice Walker,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Color Purple as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Alice Walker's iconic modern classic is now a Penguin Book.

A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug…

Book cover of Man’s Search for Meaning

Why did I love 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. 

By Viktor Frankl,

Why should I read it?

36 authors picked Man’s Search for Meaning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the outstanding classics to emerge from the Holocaust, Man's Search for Meaning is Viktor Frankl's story of his struggle for survival in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. Today, this remarkable tribute to hope offers us an avenue to finding greater meaning and purpose in our own lives.

Book cover of The Invitation

Why did I love 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!

By Oriah,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shared by word of mouth, e-mailed from reader to reader, recited over the radio, and read aloud at thousands of retreats and conferences, "The Invitation" has changed the lives of people everywhere. In this bestselling book, Oriah expands on the wisdom found within her beloved prose poem, which presents a powerful challenge to all who long to live an authentic life. In a world of endless small talk, constant traffic jams, and overburdened schedules, "The Invitation" opens the door to a new way of life - a way of intimacy, honesty, and peace with ourselves, others, and the world around…

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

Why did I love 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.

By Truddi Chase,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When Rabbit Howls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A woman diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder reveals her harrowing journey from abuse to recovery in this #1 New York Times bestselling autobiography written by her own multiple personalities.

Successful, happily married Truddi Chase began therapy hoping to find the reasons behind her extreme anxiety, mood swings, and periodic blackouts. What emerged from her sessions was terrifying: Truddi's mind and body were inhabited by the Troops-ninety-two individual voices that emerged to shield her from her traumatizing childhood.

For years the Troops created a world where she could hide from the pain of the ritualized sexual abuse she suffered at the…

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

Why did I love 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. 

By Ellen Bass, Laura Davis,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Courage to Heal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Come to terms with your past while moving powerfully into the future

The Courage to Heal is an inspiring, comprehensive guide that offers hope and a map of the healing journey to every woman who was sexually abused as a child—and to those who care about her. Although the effects of child sexual abuse are long-term and severe, healing is possible.

Weaving together personal experience with professional knowledge, the authors provide clear explanations, practical suggestions, and support throughout the healing process. Readers will feel recognized and encouraged by hundreds of moving first-person stories drawn from interviews and the authors' extensive…

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

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