100 books like My Religion, What Shall We Do? & The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

By Leo Tolstoi,

Here are 100 books that My Religion, What Shall We Do? & The Journal of Leo Tolstoi fans have personally recommended if you like My Religion, What Shall We Do? & The Journal of Leo Tolstoi. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings

Cheri Huber Author Of There Is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate

From my list on Zen awareness practice.

Why am I passionate about this?

These books attempt to describe the indescribable, pointing to the unknowable, only the living of which makes living living. What they have in common is that they invite us to practice along with the author, not giving any answers, but inviting us to look. I fell in love with Awareness Practice in my youth and through the decades that love has only deepened. I continue to love this journey of exploration and I hope the books that I have written contribute to that same experience for others. There is nothing more magical than having a direct experience of encountering who we really are, beyond ego’s dualistic world of opposites.

Cheri's book list on Zen awareness practice

Cheri Huber Why did Cheri love this book?

This was my second foray into fascination with what I knew I didn’t understand but desperately sought to. The way this book is written is the method to the understanding it represents. It invites a practitioner to stay with it to receive its gifts and makes for an enduring companion. This book has traveled with me through decades. Each time I read it, it mirrors for me the depth of understanding that is current and what there is to look forward to.

By Paul Reps, Nyogen Senzaki,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Zen Flesh, Zen Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"It has stayed with me for the last 30 years, a classic portraying Zen mind to our linear thinking." -Phil Jackson, Head Coach of the Chicago Bulls and author of Sacred Hoops

Zen Flesh, Zen Bones offers a collection of accessible, primary Zen sources so that readers can contemplate the meaning of Zen for themselves. Within the pages, readers will find:
101 Zen Stories, a collection of tales that recount actual experiences of Chinese and Japanese Zen teachers over a period of more than five centuries The Gateless Gate, the famous thirteenth-century collection of Zen koans Ten Bulls, a twelfth…


Book cover of What Is Zen?

Cheri Huber Author Of There Is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate

From my list on Zen awareness practice.

Why am I passionate about this?

These books attempt to describe the indescribable, pointing to the unknowable, only the living of which makes living living. What they have in common is that they invite us to practice along with the author, not giving any answers, but inviting us to look. I fell in love with Awareness Practice in my youth and through the decades that love has only deepened. I continue to love this journey of exploration and I hope the books that I have written contribute to that same experience for others. There is nothing more magical than having a direct experience of encountering who we really are, beyond ego’s dualistic world of opposites.

Cheri's book list on Zen awareness practice

Cheri Huber Why did Cheri love this book?

As I began my search to make some kind of sense of my life, I started with philosophy and moved to religion. When I came across this book, I intuitively sensed that the author knew what I wanted to know. I had no idea what he was talking about but my heart sang with every page. This was my first experience of being taken to the “place” from which the author wrote. Reading it was like sitting at the feet of the Master, aware of a lack of comprehension while witnessing a living example of what the heart intuitively knows.

By D.T. Suzuki,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Is Zen? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From one of the most influential books ever written on Zen Buddhism: A fascinating study of this ancient discipline.

One of the leading twentieth-century works on Zen,D.T. Suzuki's Zen and Japanese Culture is an invaluable source for those wishing to understand Zen concepts in the context of Japanese life and art.

What is Zen offers a general introduction to the concepts and philosophy of Zen, including Mr. Suzuki's observations of its effects on Japanese art culture, and his explorations of Zen and the study of Confucianism.

In simple, often poetic language, enhanced by anecdotes and poetry, D.T. Suzuki describes what…


Book cover of Self-Awareness Practice Instructions

Cheri Huber Author Of There Is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate

From my list on Zen awareness practice.

Why am I passionate about this?

These books attempt to describe the indescribable, pointing to the unknowable, only the living of which makes living living. What they have in common is that they invite us to practice along with the author, not giving any answers, but inviting us to look. I fell in love with Awareness Practice in my youth and through the decades that love has only deepened. I continue to love this journey of exploration and I hope the books that I have written contribute to that same experience for others. There is nothing more magical than having a direct experience of encountering who we really are, beyond ego’s dualistic world of opposites.

Cheri's book list on Zen awareness practice

Cheri Huber Why did Cheri love this book?

If Japanese Zen is best expressed through haiku, Bhagwan Shri Ramana Maharshi’s teachings are the Vedantic equivalent. Simple, direct, straightforward – just the bare minimum a person needs to practice to awaken. This little book distills his teachings and takes the practitioner into a process designed to, as D.T. Suzuki might say it, “grasp the ungraspable nature of the ungraspable.”

By Muruganar, Sadhu Om, Anonymous Awareness , Nisargadatta Maharaj , Sankara , Annamalai Swami , Ramana Maharshi

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Self-Awareness Practice Instructions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most direct and rapid means to Self Realization goes by various names including: Self Inquiry, Self Abidance, Self Attention, Self Awareness, Abiding as Awareness, Awareness of Awareness, Awareness Aware of Itself, Awareness Watching Awareness. The purpose of the Self Awareness Practice is to live in the eternal bliss that is your true Self. This book has all new Palatino 15 type for crisp clear easy reading. The quotes in Chapter One are the same as the quotes in Chapter (Step) Seven from the book The Seven Steps to Awakening. Chapters Two and Three are essentially the same as Chapters…


Book cover of A Gentleman in Moscow

Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi Author Of Legacy of the Third Way

From my list on books to take you to the future.

Why am I passionate about this?

From a young age, I've been captivated by evolution and its implications for the future. I immersed myself in classical works of philosophy and literature that explored human emotions and our relentless drive to succeed against all odds, advancing human knowledge and shaping society. This fascination with understanding the future led me to write op-ed pieces on foreign policy and geopolitics for prominent newspapers in South Asia. My desire to contribute to a better future inspired me to author three nonfiction books covering topics such as the Islamic Social Contract, Lessons from the Quran, and Reflections on God,  Science, and Human Nature. 

Abdul's book list on books to take you to the future

Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi Why did Abdul love this book?

Russia is once again in the headlines, sparking a geopolitical contest between her and the West.

The period immediately following the Second World War can be viewed as a romantic era, marked by new hope for peace and the rebuilding of the world. The establishment of the UN aimed to resolve power struggles at the negotiating table rather than on the battlefield. 

These elements are all found in this novel, which delves into the past to shed light on Russia's psyche and how it might shape the future. It effectively connects the past with the near future. House arrest is common in oppressive regimes across the developing world.

What intrigued me was that the protagonist was placed under hotel arrest and restricted, punished for a crime he didn't commit. It was a captivating read, especially given the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which will undoubtedly have far-reaching consequences for…

By Amor Towles,

Why should I read it?

32 authors picked A Gentleman in Moscow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The mega-bestseller with more than 2 million readers, soon to be a major television series

From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Lincoln Highway and Rules of Civility, a beautifully transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and…


Book cover of The Three Questions

Salma Hasan Ali Author Of BenchTalk: Wisdoms Inspired in Nature

From my list on stories that make you feel connected to humanity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a “storyseeker” as much as a storyteller. I love hearing people’s ordinary and extraordinary stories; they inspire and motivate me and make me feel hopeful. I think our stories are the most precious things we have, and our greatest legacy. They help us understand each other better and connect us to people we may otherwise never get to meet. That’s why I wrote a book of personal stories called 30 Days: Stories of Gratitude, Traditions, and Wisdom and a 30 Days Journal that helps people record their own stories, by answering a prompt each day for a month. For a nonprofit I help lead called KindWorks, my title is CIO—Chief Inspiration Officer!

Salma's book list on stories that make you feel connected to humanity

Salma Hasan Ali Why did Salma love this book?

Sometimes the answers to our most profound questions can be found in children’s books.

I often find myself turning to this book, based on a story by Leo Tolstoy, when I’m feeling overwhelmed with the enormity of the world’s problems and my sense of inadequacy to do anything to help. The three timeless questions that are posed and answered in this book give me clarity and direction to keep moving forward, the best I can.

By Jon J. Muth,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Three Questions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on a story by Leo Tolstoy. When young Nikolai seeks counsel from Leo, the wise old turtle who lives in the mountains, he is sure Leo will know the answers to his three questions. When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do? But it is Nikolai's own response to a stranger's cry for help that leads him directly to the answers he is looking for. Jon J Muth combined his studies of Zen with his love of Tolstoy to create this profound yet simple book about…


Book cover of A Confession

Mike James Ross Author Of Intention: The Surprising Psychology of High Performers

From my list on books to help you find meaning in your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been interested in purpose and meaning since I snuck into a high school philosophy class when I was 10 years old. Since then, I have not only worked on my own quest for meaning in my life but also helped dozens of others through these types of questions as an executive coach and business leader. I believe that having an answer to the question “why am I here?” is the crucial ingredient to living a happy and fulfilled life, and I’ve been working for years to distill all that I have learned on the subject into a useable and accessible collection of insights.

Mike's book list on books to help you find meaning in your life

Mike James Ross Why did Mike love this book?

What amazes me about A Confession is that here is Tolstoy, one of the giants of world literature, at the top of his game, lamenting that there is no meaning to his life. This made me realize that there is no one immune from this feeling of purposelessness and that there are no prizes, accolades, awards, or other external things that will prevent you from feeling existential angst.

The book also shows how Tolstoy worked through his crisis, and although I do not agree with his conclusions, the path that he takes in the book was very useful for me in my own journey to meaning. 

By Leo Tolstoy, Aylmer Maude (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Confession as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Despite having written War and Peace and Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy, at the age of 51, looked back on his life and considered it a meaningless, regrettable failure. A Confession provides insight into the great Russian writer's movement from the pursuit of aesthetic ideals toward matters of religious and philosophical consequence.
Authentic and genuinely moving, this memoir of midlife spiritual crisis was first distributed in 1872 and marked a turning point in the author's career as a writer: in subsequent years, Tolstoy would write almost exclusively about religious life, especially devotion among the peasantry.
Generations of readers have been inspired…


Book cover of Kissing Tolstoy

Katerina Simms Author Of Sapphires and Secrets

From my list on contemporary romance that are a little bit extra.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a little secret. I was late to the romance table. Though I grew up with a romance reading mother, my initial interests lay in the fantastical worlds of Paulo Coelho, Anne Rice, and David Gemmel. Romance seemed forbidden, and I didn’t touch the genre until my late twenties, when a nasty breakup sent my disillusioned heart looking for more. And what a revelation! Romance taught me to expect more from myself and my relationships. At the close of one creative career, it lit an unstoppable passion to become a contemporary romance author. And here I am, a decade on, writing romance and sharing my book recommendations with you!

Katerina's book list on contemporary romance that are a little bit extra

Katerina Simms Why did Katerina love this book?

I didn’t expect to like this book so much!

Caveat, I’ve studied Soviet history and my husband is Ukrainian, so when I saw Kissing Tolstoy was heavily drenched in Eastern European commentary—the hero being a Russian Literature Professor—I worried the author would miss a lot of the nuance. But she didn’t!

Now, you don’t need my background to like this book, but I did laugh out loud at some of the aptly put cultural quirks. Kissing Tolstoy is a wonderful mix of inner-city edge, meets intellectual romance.

A real treat if you’re looking for something fun and with depth!

By Penny Reid,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Proceeds for the month of November go to hurricane relief efforts!What do you do when you discover that your super-hot blind date from months ago is now your super-hot Russian Lit professor?You overthink everything and pray for a swift end to your misery, of course!'Kissing Tolstoy' is the first book in the Dear Professor series, is 46k words, and can be read as a standalone. A shorter version of this story (28k words) was entitled 'Nobody Looks Good in Leather Pants' and was available via Penny Reid's newsletter for free over the course of 2017.


Book cover of Papa Panov's Special Christmas

Joni Hilton Author Of A Little Christmas Prayer

From my list on classic Christmas books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written dozens of plays and books, always with heart and humor. If you love Christmas, you know that it can also be a frenzied time, so we all need to curl up on a cozy night and read Christmas stories to bring back the magic and generosity of this special holiday. I like well-told tales that reaffirm the love we know is so important, stories that will mean just as much a hundred years from now. And surprise endings are always a delight!

Joni's book list on classic Christmas books

Joni Hilton Why did Joni love this book?

This heart-warming tale is a true Christmas classic. A lonely old shoemaker dreams that Jesus will come and visit him, so he eagerly anticipates the event, hoping to make him a special pair of shoes. Instead, his heart is tugged by others in need, and he helps three different people, from a street sweeper to a beggar. Finally, he gives up waiting for Christ to visit and realizes it was only a dream. But then he hears the voice of Jesus and learns that Jesus came to him in every person he helped that day.

By Leo Tolstoy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Papa Panov's Special Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally written by French author Reuben Saillens and later retold by Leo Tolstoy, this endearing story has now acquired the status of a folk-tale. The heart-warming story of Papa Panov's generosity reflects the true spirit of Christmas. It is Christmas Day, and Papa Panov, the lonely old shoemaker, is expecting a special visitor. Things do not turn out at all as he thought, but by the end of the day the sparkle is back behind his little spectacles. A beautiful gift edition of a much-loved classic.


Book cover of The Death Of Ivan Ilych

Susan M Soesbe Author Of Bringing Mom Home: How Two Sisters Moved Their Mother Out of Assisted Living to Care For Her Under One Amazingly Large Roof

From my list on portraying death and loss honestly and hopefully.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lost my marriage. I lost my dad to cancer, and my mom to Alzheimer’s Disease (and wrote a memoir about it). Along the way, I lost my sense of superiority and entitlement. I gained the ability to laugh at myself and trust God for everything. I found that I was not as important as I had tacitly assumed. I’ve learned Jesus’s words are true: “Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” When I see this depicted well in a book, I think, “Thank God for writers who will tell me the truth.” Today, I’m a fiction book coach with a goal of helping writers tell the whole awful, glorious truth.

Susan's book list on portraying death and loss honestly and hopefully

Susan M Soesbe Why did Susan love this book?

It’s not possible that Tolstoy died and lived to tell about it, but that's what this book feels like.

As Ivan Ilych’s illness progresses, the reader sees how shallow his relationships are, and how fruitless is his striving to “get ahead.” As I read this book, I felt the vast chasm between the living and the dying, how alone Ivan is in his suffering. Ivan Ilych is no hero: he is an everyman. He squarely faces the pointlessness of his life, and ultimately throws off the things of no importance.

Through his experience I anticipated my own death, and felt how important it must be to live my life remembering that all the stupid stuff doesn’t matter. What does matter is my relationships with God and with other humans. Everyone who expects to die someday should read this book.

By Leo Tolstoy,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Death Of Ivan Ilych as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Death of Ivan Ilyich, first published in 1886, is a novella by Leo Tolstoy, one of the masterpieces of his late fiction, written shortly after his religious conversion of the late 1870s. "Usually classed among the best examples of the novella", The Death of Ivan Ilyich tells the story of the sufferings and death of a high-court judge from a terminal illness in 19th-century Russia.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Leo Tolstoy, zen, and the Age of Enlightenment?

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