The best books to accompany you on your spiritual journey

Michael Golding Author Of A Poet of the Invisible World
By Michael Golding

Who am I?

It took me awhile to understand that I was on a spiritual path. I started out as an actor, and working in the theater brought me joy. But as time passed, and I turned to writing novels, the same questions kept emerging: “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” I began to see that I was on a spiritual journey. With A Poet of the Invisible World, I finally felt ready to write about that journey. Nouri’s adventures chart the twists and turns—as well as the deep rewards—of the spiritual path. It’s a book that’s very close to my heart.


I wrote...

A Poet of the Invisible World

By Michael Golding,

Book cover of A Poet of the Invisible World

What is my book about?

A Poet of the Invisible World is the story of Nouri, a boy born in thirteenth century Persia with four ears instead of two.  Orphaned as an infant, he’s taken into a Sufi order, where he meets an assortment of dervishes and embarks on a path towards spiritual awakening. As he journeys to the lavish court of a Spanish sultan, the barren farm of a mountain shepherd, a bustling city on the north coast of Africa, and an ascetic monastery high in the mountains, he faces a series of trials that shatter his inner obstacles—and leads him on toward transcendence.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Siddhartha

By Hermann Hesse,

Book cover of Siddhartha

Why this book?

Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha is the story of a young Brahmin boy who abandons the comfort of his wealthy family to seek illumination. Written in rich, seductive prose, it helps the reader to understand that the spiritual journey doesn’t prevent the seeker from living. Siddhartha lives fully—which allows him to release the things of this world and find salvation. One of the greatest lessons of the novel is that there are no shortcuts on the spiritual path. You will lose and find your way many times. What matters is that you don’t give up.


The Razor's Edge

By W. Somerset Maugham,

Book cover of The Razor's Edge

Why this book?

The hero of Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, Larry Darrell, is a classic seeker. Crushed by his time in the war, he leaves his family and fiancé behind and heads to Paris—then Germany—and finally India. He’s not really sure what he’s looking for, but he knows that the answers lie down a path far different from the one he’s left behind. Larry’s friends back home feel sure that he’s lost his way; only when their own worlds begin to crumble do they start to realize what he’s attained. The Razor’s Edge makes it clear that the spiritual journey may lead you far from what’s familiar to you. But the journey is worth every sacrifice.


The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

By Emily Dickinson,

Book cover of The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

Why this book?

The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson is one of literature’s most intimate records of the struggle to know God. Emily Dickinson spent most of her life in Amherst, Massachusetts, in the Calvinist home where she grew up. But while she eventually drifted away from organized faith, she found God in other ways: “Some keep the Sabbath going to Church/ I keep it, staying at Home.” Like so many spiritual seekers, Dickinson experienced doubt: “Of Course—I prayed—/ And did God care?”  Yet her faith persisted: “I know that He exists/ Somewhere—in silence—”. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson reveals the seeker’s need to move beyond forms. And it shows how God, in the end, permeates everything.


Duino Elegies

By Rainer Maria Rilke, Edward Snow (translator),

Book cover of Duino Elegies

Why this book?

There are no other poems like Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies. Lyrical and intense, they express the poet’s struggle with existence, and his deep belief in the transformative power of suffering. Rilke asks the question that all spiritual seekers ask: “Look, I live. And for what?” He offers the answer that we live to strengthen the soul. In the Duino Elegies, Rilke encourages the reader to use his or her suffering to become closer to God. Reading his work helps the seeker to understand that the spiritual journey is on a larger scale than that of one’s fleeting life.


In Search of the Miraculous

By P.D. Ouspensky,

Book cover of In Search of the Miraculous

Why this book?

Peter Ouspensky’s In Search of the Miraculous is an inspiring record of the author’s spiritual quest. Published in 1949, just after the author’s death, it recounts the time he spent with the great spiritual teacher George Gurdjieff. In Search of the Miraculous presents Gurdjieff’s system—“The Fourth Way”—as a kind of golden thread that runs through all spiritual teachings. For some, his ideas seem too scientific to lead to enlightenment. But Ouspensky suggests that all paths lead to the same destination: consciousness, presence, God. If you feel the need to shake off the ancient traditions, In Search of the Miraculous may be the perfect map for your spiritual quest.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in veterans, Buddhism, and zen?

5,809 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about veterans, Buddhism, and zen.

Veterans Explore 36 books about veterans
Buddhism Explore 175 books about Buddhism
Zen Explore 67 books about zen

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Walden, The Art of Pilgrimage, and As a Man Thinketh if you like this list.