100 books like Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei

By Eliot Weinberg,

Here are 100 books that Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei fans have personally recommended if you like Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat And Other Clinical Tales

Eric Schwitzgebel Author Of The Weirdness of the World

From my list on blow your mind about the weirdness of the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

What I love about philosophy (I’ve been a philosophy professor at the University of California, Riverside, since 1997) is not its ability to deliver the one correct answer to the nature of the world and how to live but rather its power to open our mind to new possibilities that we hadn’t previously considered; its power to blow apart our presuppositions, our culturally given “common sense” understandings, and our habitual patterns of thinking, casting us into doubt and wonder. The science writing, fiction, and personal essays I love best have that same power.

Eric's book list on blow your mind about the weirdness of the world

Eric Schwitzgebel Why did Eric love this book?

Every time I revisit Sacks, especially this book, I am blown away anew at people’s ability to create meaning and value in the face of severe cognitive disability.

A man’s capacity to categorize objects is so impaired that when he moves to leave the room, he mistakenly reaches for his wife’s head instead of his hat. How can he even get through the day? With the help of familiar routines, his loving spouse, and music.

A “lost mariner” can’t retain any new information longer than a few minutes and still thinks he’s living decades ago, but he finds meaning in the timeless ceremonies of his religion. A man repeatedly throws his own leg out of bed and is surprised to find himself on the floor again….

By Oliver Sacks,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat And Other Clinical Tales as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Celebrating Fifty Years of Picador Books

If a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self - himself - he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it.

In this extraordinary book, Dr. Oliver Sacks recounts the stories of patients struggling to adapt to often bizarre worlds of neurological disorder. Here are people who can no longer recognize everyday objects or those they love; who are stricken with violent tics or shout involuntary obscenities, and yet are gifted with…


Book cover of The Doors of Perception

Ran Barkai Author Of They Were Here Before Us: Stories from Our First Million Years

From my list on altered states of consciousness and shamanism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an archaeologist dealing with prehistoric societies for the last 30 years. For many hundreds of thousands of years, our ancestors worldwide practiced shamanism and altered states of consciousness. I think this is what makes us human and what allows the persistence and success of our genus. The more I learn about these two subjects, the more I understand their importance and relevance to us today. There is a lesson sent to us by past societies: Pay respect to the world. Respectful behavior is assisted by shamanism and altered states of consciousness. We can be better, feel better, and do better, and the books I recommended are the beginning of this wonderful way. 

Ran's book list on altered states of consciousness and shamanism

Ran Barkai Why did Ran love this book?

It just blows my mind any time I read it, the same way it did the first time. Huxley was way ahead of his time when he wrote this influential book, and he was one of the first prophets of the New Age and the Age of Consciousness.

I was deeply touched by his intimate descriptions of his own experiences with LSD and Mescaline and the way it opened his mind to understanding the complexities of our consciousness beyond our regular and daily way of perceiving the world.

One of my favorite rock bands, The Doors, is named after this book, and it gives me ultimate pleasure to listen to Jim Morrison while reading it. What an experience! 

By Aldous Huxley,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Doors of Perception as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover this profound account of Huxley's famous experimentation with mescalin that has influenced writers and artists for decades.

'Concise, evocative, wise and, above all, humane, The Doors of Perception is a masterpiece' Sunday Times

In 1953, in the presence of an investigator, Aldous Huxley took four-tenths of a gram of mescalin, sat down and waited to see what would happen. When he opened his eyes everything, from the flowers in a vase to the creases in his trousers, was transformed. Huxley described his experience with breathtaking immediacy in The Doors of Perception.

In its sequel Heaven and Hell, he goes…


Book cover of Mind: A Brief Introduction

Christof Koch Author Of The Feeling of Life Itself: Why Consciousness Is Widespread But Can't Be Computed

From my list on consciousness from a neuroscientist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a neuroscientist best known for my studies and writings exploring the brain basis of consciousness. Trained as a physicist, I was for 27 years a professor of biology and engineering at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena before moving to the Allen Institute in Seattle, where I became the Chief Scientist and then the President in 2015. I published my first paper on the neural correlates of consciousness with the molecular biologist Francis Crick more than thirty years ago.

Christof's book list on consciousness from a neuroscientist

Christof Koch Why did Christof love this book?

A concise introduction to the beating heart of the ancient mind-body problem – consciousness and free will. Searle, famous for his Chinese Room argument that is featured in the book, engages with contemporary scientific theories of consciousness, which is uncommon for philosophers. What is even rarer is that Searle professes himself perplexed when it comes to reconciling his feelings of acting freely with the laws of physics that appear to rule out free will.

By John R. Searle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"The philosophy of mind is unique among contemporary philosophical subjects," writes John Searle, "in that all of the most famous and influential theories are false." One of the world's most eminent thinkers, Searle dismantles these theories as he presents a vividly written, comprehensive introduction to the mind. He begins with a look at the twelve problems of philosophy of mind-which he calls "Descartes and Other Disasters"-problems which he returns to throughout
the volume, as he illuminates such topics as materialism, consciousness, the mind-body problem, intentionality, mental causation, free will, and the self. The book offers a refreshingly direct and engaging…


Book cover of The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul

Christof Koch Author Of The Feeling of Life Itself: Why Consciousness Is Widespread But Can't Be Computed

From my list on consciousness from a neuroscientist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a neuroscientist best known for my studies and writings exploring the brain basis of consciousness. Trained as a physicist, I was for 27 years a professor of biology and engineering at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena before moving to the Allen Institute in Seattle, where I became the Chief Scientist and then the President in 2015. I published my first paper on the neural correlates of consciousness with the molecular biologist Francis Crick more than thirty years ago.

Christof's book list on consciousness from a neuroscientist

Christof Koch Why did Christof love this book?

This book, by the co-discoverer of the molecular structure of DNA, helped kick off the modern research enterprise that seeks to track and identify the neuronal correlates of consciousness, that is the footprints of consciousness in the brain. Crick argues that for tactical reasons, scientists should focus on more accessible aspects of consciousness, such as visual awareness, and provides an easy-to-follow introduction into the mammalian brain.

By Francis Crick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Applying the methodology of science to the search for the soul, the winner of the Nobel Prize for the discovery of DNA explores the fundamental questions of human consciousness, challenging science, philosophy, and religion. Reprint. 25,000 first printing.


Book cover of How to Grow Your Own Poem

Harriet Griffey Author Of Write Every Day: Daily Practice to Kickstart Your Creative Writing

From my list on by writers on writing.

Why am I passionate about this?

Where do writers go for distraction? For me it’s usually into the work of other writers and, when I’m done escaping into fiction, I turn to nonfiction and particularly those writers who write about writing. Why? Because it helps refresh my own writing to read those writing with clarity, insight, and coherence when my own process is in danger of fragmenting. What’s more, many writers write so well about the components of writing - voice, structure, narrative or even something as prosaic as getting started - that I am reassured about what I’m trying to do with my own writing.

Harriet's book list on by writers on writing

Harriet Griffey Why did Harriet love this book?

Even if you don’t want to be a poet, there’s something about playing with poetic form that I think is useful to any writer because it enables you to explore the use of rhythm, metaphor, simile and other ways of honing your consciousness into literary and written form. It demands specificity of description and uniqueness of voice, and Kate Clanchy’s book - she is herself a published poet, writer but also a teacher - gets to the nub of it through examples and exercise, to emerge a more fluent and confident writer, and in whichever form you choose.

By Kate Clanchy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Grow Your Own Poem as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do you want to write a poem? This book will show you 'how to grow your own poem' . . .

Kate Clanchy has been teaching people to write poetry for more than twenty years. Some were old, some were young; some were fluent English speakers, some were not. None of them were confident to start with, but a surprising number went to win prizes and every one finished up with a poem they were proud of, a poem that only they could have written - their own poem.

Kate's big secret is a simple one: is to share other…


Book cover of Poetry for Kids: William Shakespeare

Marty Rhodes Figley Author Of Emily and Carlo

From my list on dogs, poetry, and dogs in poetry.

Why am I passionate about this?

Years ago, I returned to school at Mount Holyoke College to complete my bachelor’s degree in American Studies. I took a course on Emily Dickinson at the poet’s home in Amherst, Massachusetts—what a thrill! On the first day of class I learned that for sixteen years Emily’s constant companion was Carlo, a Newfoundland dog. Having experienced a hairy, slobbery encounter with a Newf when I was twenty while wearing a white dress, I knew the myth of Emily, pristinely dressed, untouched by the more earthy emotions was wrong. A new story needed to be told. That was the beginning of Emily and Carlo.

Marty's book list on dogs, poetry, and dogs in poetry

Marty Rhodes Figley Why did Marty love this book?

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ear.” This is a must-have for any library. I wish I had begun reading William Shakespeare much earlier than high school! This 48-page volume provides a wonderful introduction for young and older readers with an assortment of Bard’s poems and speeches. Each entry is beautifully illustrated and explained by an expert. Definitions of hard-to-understand words are thoughtfully included at the bottom of each page.

By William Shakespeare, Merce Lopez (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Love! Betrayal! Ambition! Tragedy! Jealousy! William Shakespeare's universal themes continue to resonate with readers of all ages more than 400 years after his death.

This wonderful, fully illustrated book introduces children to the Bard and more than thirty of his most famous and accessible verses, sonnets, and speeches. From "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" to "O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!" and "All the world's a stage," the words and poetry of the greatest playwright and poet spring to life on the page.

The next generation of readers, poets, and actors will be entranced…


Book cover of The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Brontë

Paul Camster Author Of Apocalypse, Third Edition

From my list on females overcome evil opponents to save the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

As Rebecca Roberts in Apocalypse was an ancestor whose achievements have been largely ignored-maybe because of gender-it seemed to be time to redress the balance. A female author may have done the job better, but none stepped forward at the time and Hollywood screenwriter K.Lewis was keen to write a screenplay, requiring a concept screenplay outline as a guide. It was that which later became the 1st Edition of Apocalypse.

Paul's book list on females overcome evil opponents to save the world

Paul Camster Why did Paul love this book?

As well as being the best Gothic style verses in the English language with the possible exception of some by Edgar Allan Poe-there are some way ahead of their time. "If Earth & Moon were gone" prefigures Mach's Principle, which was only formulated 4 decades after EJB thought of it. Anyone lucky enough to find an edition with EJB's Essays she wrote in Brussels will have a copy of her formulation of Evolutionary theory 2 decades before Mr. Darwin claimed it as his own.

By Emily Jane Brontë,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Brontë as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1846 a small book entitled Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bellappeared on the British Literary scene. The three psuedonymous poets, the Bronte sisters went on to unprecedented success with such novels as Wuthering Heights, Agnes Grey, and Jane Eyre, all published in the following year. As children, these English sisters had begun writing poems and stories abotu an imaginary country named Gondal, yet they never sought to publish any of their work until Charlotte's discovery of Emily's more mature poems in the autumn of 1845. Charlotte later recalled: "I accidentally lighted on a MS. volume of verse in…


Book cover of The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons: Volume 1 1955-1977

Brett Bourbon Author Of Everyday Poetics: Logic, Love, and Ethics

From my list on the ethics and art of getting lost and being found.

Why am I passionate about this?

Poems irritated me as a child. They seemed parodies of counting, chants of rhythm, and repetition. I included them in my moratorium against reading fiction. On the other hand, I respected the alphabet, a kind of poem of pure form. It was orderly for no good reason and didn't mean anything. So I concluded that poems were meaningless forms that had their uses, but were not serious. I changed my mind, but it took a while—studying math and science, theology, and then philosophy and literature. I'm now a professor who studies and teaches modern literature and philosophy. I got my Ph.D. from Harvard, became a professor at Stanford, and teach at the University of Dallas.

Brett's book list on the ethics and art of getting lost and being found

Brett Bourbon Why did Brett love this book?

I could suggest any number of poems and poets of our everyday fate of being lost and found. But for me the modern poet who best integrates the eye seeing with the mind questioning is the great A.R. Ammons.

I have listed just Volume 1 of his collected poems, but I also recommend Volume 2. He writes out of a consciousness that poems are found and shaped out of a life of observation, effort, and passion.

By A. R. Ammons, Robert M. West (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A.R. Ammons produced some of the twentieth century's most innovative and enduring poetry, collected here for the first time in its entirety. Volume I follows Ammons's development through his National Book Award-winning Collected Poems 1951-1971 and his daring work of the 1970s. The second volume rounds out Ammons's rich middle phase and startling later work, including the posthumously published Bosh and Flapdoodle.

The Complete Poems of A.R. Ammons offers authoritative texts of every published poem and includes over one hundred previously uncollected poems by "unquestionably among the best-loved poets of our time" (David Lehman).


Book cover of A Fortune for Your Disaster

Kendra Allen Author Of The Collection Plate: Poems

From my list on finding inspiration and motivation.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a person who reads solely for pleasure regardless of research, I make it a mission while writing to read books I actually enjoy on topics I wanna learn more about. I chose the books on this list because I’m also a person who reads multiple books at once in various genres, it keeps me honest; aware of holes and discrepancies in my own work and pushes me towards some semblance of completion. All the writers on this list do multiple things at once and I admire their skill and risk in coupling creativity with clarity.

Kendra's book list on finding inspiration and motivation

Kendra Allen Why did Kendra love this book?

Hanif Abdurraqib has a way of making you forget you’re reading poetry while also reminding you that nothing else could be as poetic as one of his poems. They always unravel in a way only his unique way of storytelling permits. It’s truly a skill that is mastered beautifully in this collection.

By Hanif Abdurraqib,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Fortune for Your Disaster as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“When an author’s unmitigated brilliance shows up on every page, it’s tempting to skip a description and just say, Read this! Such is the case with this breathlessly powerful, deceptively breezy book of poetry.” ―Booklist, Starred Review

In his much-anticipated follow-up to The Crown Ain't Worth Much, poet, essayist, biographer, and music critic Hanif Abdurraqib has written a book of poems about how one rebuilds oneself after a heartbreak, the kind that renders them a different version of themselves than the one they knew. It's a book about a mother's death, and admitting that Michael Jordan pushed off, about forgiveness,…


Book cover of Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry

Janet Sternburg Author Of Janet Sternburg - I've Been Walking

From my list on discovering how to see.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer and a late-life fine arts photographerFor eight years I had been writing a book set in the personal and historical past. I would sit at the computer, shut my eyes, and say to myself, “Go deeper.” Eventually, I was able to recall long-forgotten details. When I looked up from those years of writing, the memoir, entitled Phantom Limb, was finished and being published. However, I discovered that I could no longer see – really see – what was around me. Along the way, I had lost that alert attention to the way light falls, to colors that used to hit me between the eyes. I felt the loss deeply. I’ve always loved to look. I had to do something to summon it back.

Janet's book list on discovering how to see

Janet Sternburg Why did Janet love this book?

In order to retrieve my sense of seeing in the present, I went to my second home in Mexico, read a little each morning, and then went walking without any destination. This is the book I was reading those mornings in Mexico, before my walks. It may seem odd to start with a book about poetry, but this one opened the gate to seeing and to taking my first photograph.

By Jane Hirschfield,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Gate Enables passage between what is inside and what is outside, and the connection poetry forges between inner and outer lives is the fundamental theme of these nine essays.

Nine Gates begins with a close examination of the roots of poetic craft in "the mind of concentration" and concludes by exploring the writer's role in creating a sense of community that is open, inclusive and able to bind the individual and the whole in a way that allows each full self-expression. in between, Nine Gates illumines the nature of originality, translation, the various strategies by which meaning unfolds itself…


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