The best books of poems about love, nature, and God

Jennifer Read Hawthorne Author Of Life As a Prayer: Poems
By Jennifer Read Hawthorne

Who am I?

I love words! As a child, I learned the power of stories from my father, a master storyteller and creator of 480 original Brer Rabbit stories. I began writing myself at the age of seven, majored in journalism, and enjoyed a career that included everything from technical writing to several of the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul books. But only through poetry did I discover the beauty of getting to the essence of experience. I love how poetry takes both the writer and the reader to a deeper place, creating intimacy, giving us “ah-ha” moments, and touching heart and spirit.

I wrote...

Life As a Prayer: Poems

By Jennifer Read Hawthorne,

Book cover of Life As a Prayer: Poems

What is my book about?

In her first book of poems, #1 New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Read Hawthorne writes about growing up in Louisiana, transformation, extraordinary spiritual events, and experiences, finding the light in darkness and the divine in all things, and the joy of simple living.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West

Why did I love this book?

In my favorite book of poems, Daniel Ladinsky has compiled three hundred poems from twelve of the great mystical poets across time: Rumi, Hafiz, St. Francis of Assisi, Kabir, Mira, St. John of the Cross, Tukaram, Rabia, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Teresa of Avila Meister Eckhart, and Thomas Aquinas. While the voices are different, every one of them reveals the true nature of the Divine. Filled with humor and ecstasy, these poems never fail to uplift and inspire me.

By Daniel Ladinsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love Poems from God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sacred poetry from twelve mystics and saints, rendered brilliantly by Daniel Ladinsky, beloved interpreter of verses by the fourteenth-century Persian poet Hafiz

One of 6 Books Oprah Loves to Give as Gifts During the Holidays

“All kinds of beautiful poetry.” –Hoda Kotb

In this luminous collection, Daniel Ladinsky—best known for his bestselling interpretations of the great Sufi poet Hafiz—brings together the timeless work of twelve of the world’s finest spiritual writers, six from the East and six from the West. Once again, Ladinsky reveals his talent for creating profound and playful renditions of classic poems for a modern audience.


Book cover of Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems

Why did I love this book?

There’s a reason Billy Collins served two terms as the Poet Laureate of the United States. His work is known to be both serious and playful, and he is able to take everyday moments and turn them into lessons for living. I always love what he calls “the turn” in his poem—the surprise direction a poem suddenly takes, seemingly departing from its original subject and taking your breath away or leaving you in complete surprise. Aimless Love is a beautiful compilation of fifty new poems and some of the best of four previous books.

By Billy Collins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


“America’s favorite poet.”—The Wall Street Journal

From the two-term Poet Laureate of the United States Billy Collins comes his first volume of new and selected poems in twelve years. Aimless Love combines fifty new poems with generous selections from his four most recent books—Nine Horses, The Trouble with Poetry, Ballistics, and Horoscopes for the Dead. Collins’s unmistakable voice, which brings together plain speech with imaginative surprise, is clearly heard on every page, reminding us how he has managed to enrich the tapestry of contemporary poetry and greatly expand its audience. His work is featured in top…

Book cover of Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

Why did I love this book?

I would own this book for Mary Oliver’s poem “How I Go to the Woods” alone! Oliver’s love of nature, the way she notices the details of her surroundings, and the language she uses to describe her experiences are breathtaking. It’s easy to see why Mary Oliver won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

By Mary Oliver,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Joy is not made to be a crumb,” writes Mary Oliver, and certainly joy abounds in her new book of poetry and prose poems. Swan, her twentieth volume, shows us that, though we may be “made out of the dust of stars,” we are of the world she captures here so vividly. Swan is Oliver’s tribute to “the mortal way” of desiring and living in the world, to which the poet is renowned for having always been “totally loyal.”

Tao Te Ching

By Lao Tzu, Gia-fu Geng (translator), Jane English (translator), Toinette Lippe (translator)

Book cover of Tao Te Ching

Why did I love this book?

This is a beautiful book that combines the esoteric with the practical. Lao Tsu, an older contemporary of Confucius, was the great teacher of Taoism, a major Chinese philosophy that deals with a spiritual way of being. The Tao Te Ching is a compilation of his teachings, which tries to capture the essence of Truth and illustrates how to live like the sage. The translation of the title: Simply be. This book tells us how.

By Lao Tzu, Gia-fu Geng (translator), Jane English (translator), Toinette Lippe (translator)

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Tao Te Ching as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For nearly two generations, this bestselling translation of the Tao Te Ching has been the standard for those seeking access to the wisdom of Taoist thought. Now Jane English and her long-time editor, Toinette Lippe, have refreshed and revised the translation, so that it more faithfully reflects the Classical Chinese in which it was first written, while taking into account changes in our own language and eliminating any lingering infelicities. This beautiful oversized edition features over a hundred new photographs by Jane English that help express the vast spirit of the Tao. Also included is an introduction by the well-known…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Tao Te Ching, God, and the Bible?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Tao Te Ching, God, and the Bible.

Tao Te Ching Explore 9 books about Tao Te Ching
God Explore 198 books about God
The Bible Explore 298 books about the Bible

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