100 books like Shunned

By Bonnie Zieman,

Here are 100 books that Shunned fans have personally recommended if you like Shunned. 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 A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are

Linda A. Curtis Author Of Shunned: How I Lost My Religion and Found Myself

From my list on endings and beginnings.

Why am I passionate about this?

Linda mentors individuals who are going through major life events to experience honorable closure and move into the future, unencumbered by the past. The best-selling author of Shunned – How I Lost My Religion and Found Myself  her work draws on contemporary neuroscience, wisdom traditions, social science, and her own life experience navigating ends large and small.

Linda's book list on endings and beginnings

Linda A. Curtis Why did Linda love this book?

I come back to these short essays again and again. The author provides a very powerful way to look at ‘reality’ and question our assumptions about what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and what we (or others) ‘should’ do.

By Stephen Mitchell, Byron Katie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Thousand Names for Joy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Byron Katie is one of the truly great and inspiring teachers of our time. I encourage everyone to immerse themselves in this phenomenal book.” –Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

In her first two books, Loving What Is and I Need Your Love–Is That True? Byron Katie showed how suffering can be ended by questioning the stressful thoughts that create it. Now, in A Thousand Names for Joy, she encourages us to discover the freedom that lives on the other side of inquiry.

Stephen Mitchell–the renowned translator of the Tao Te Ching–selected provocative excerpts from that ancient text as a stimulus for…


Book cover of The Way Of Transition: Embracing Life's Most Difficult Moments

Linda A. Curtis Author Of Shunned: How I Lost My Religion and Found Myself

From my list on endings and beginnings.

Why am I passionate about this?

Linda mentors individuals who are going through major life events to experience honorable closure and move into the future, unencumbered by the past. The best-selling author of Shunned – How I Lost My Religion and Found Myself  her work draws on contemporary neuroscience, wisdom traditions, social science, and her own life experience navigating ends large and small.

Linda's book list on endings and beginnings

Linda A. Curtis Why did Linda love this book?

This is a poignant and beautifully written book filled with the wisdom and lived experience of the author. Major life transitions (like leaving a religion, job loss, or ending a relationship) throw us into the ‘neutral zone’ that can only be navigated with time and care.

By William Bridges,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

William Bridges' lifelong work has been devoted to a deep understanding of transitions and to helping others through them. When his own wife of thirty-five years died of cancer, however, he was thrown head-first into the kind of painful and confusing abyss he had known before only in theory. An honest account of being in transition, this uncommonly wise and moving book is a richly textured map of the personal, professional, and emotional transformations that grow out of tragedy and crisis. Demonstrating how disillusionment, sorrow, or confusion can blossom into a time of incredible creativity and contentment, Bridges highlights the…


Book cover of A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life

Jonathan Ellerby Author Of The Seven Gateways of Spiritual Experience: Awakening to a Deeper Knowledge of Love, Life Balance, and God

From my list on spiritually-focused books to awaken your heart, mind, and soul.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love books! I wrote my first book as a science project at age 11. As a writer, books are my passion. Specifically, I have been interested in the nature of consciousness and healing since I was 12 years old. I started reading everything I could get my hands on at that time and continued voraciously until I completed my Ph.D. around the age of 30. Many themes in transformation and spirituality I read almost exhaustively – Indigenous studies, cross-cultural healing, the nature of mind, and the nature of the soul. I have always needed to keep books around me just to feel at home.

Jonathan's book list on spiritually-focused books to awaken your heart, mind, and soul

Jonathan Ellerby Why did Jonathan love this book?

This was the absolute best book I have ever read that explains the spiritual path.

I love that this book is so balanced and whole. Jack Kornfield helped me understand spiritual growth early in my journey through simple but sophisticated psychology and deep nondual philosophy and experience.

He covers everything clearly, with amazing stories and a fantastic writing style that I found inspiring, challenging, and comforting all at once.

By Jack Kornfield,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Jack Kornfield's A Path with Heart has been acclaimed as the most significant book yet about American Buddhism-a definitive guide to the practice of traditional mindfulness in America today.

On this audio edition, Kornfield teaches the key principles of Buddhism's cherished vipassana (insight) tradition, and puts them into direct service, with the unique needs of the contemporary seeker in mind.


Book cover of The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Diana Drake Long Author Of Dream It, Design It, Live It: The Ultimate Guide to Manifesting Your Next-Level Life

From my list on creativity, happiness and success in life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been enthralled with the idea of “dreams come true” for as long as I can remember. In middle school, I discovered the field of psychology. I made weekly trips to the library and read books on personal development, spirituality, and memoirs. This commitment to learning and growth has never wavered. Those early seeds that I planted and nurtured have bloomed into my long-standing career of professional coaching, facilitation, and leading transformational retreats. My passion is empowering others to believe in their dreams and goals and bring them to life. 

Diana's book list on creativity, happiness and success in life

Diana Drake Long Why did Diana love this book?

This is another book that I consider a classic and, for years, has held a place of honor on my bookshelf. I go back to it from time to time. It's like visiting a wise friend who inspires you to be the most self-expressed you can be. Julia is a great guide, and I enjoy the author's writing style, which is easy to read and relate to. As a prolific author of dozens of books, she is intelligent and generous, and she encourages readers to go deeper and wider in their creative lives. She leads the reader through a twelve-week program in the book to unleash one's creative genius.

Her signature "field work" for readers is an exercise called "morning pages," a practice of writing down your unedited thoughts each morning to clear out the old thoughts and make space for new perspectives and ideas to come forth. I have…

By Julia Cameron,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Artist's Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Artist's Way provides a twelve-week course that guides you through the process of recovering your creative self. It aims to dispel the 'I'm not talented enough' conditioning that holds many people back and helps you to unleash your own inner artist. Its step-by-step approach enables you to transform your life, overcome any artistic blocks you may suffer from, including limiting beliefs, fear, sabotage, jealousy and guilt, and replace them with self confidence and productivity. It helps demystify the creative process by making it a part of your daily life. Whatever your artistic leanings, this book will give you the…


Book cover of Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life

Brian Rush McDonald Author Of The Long Surrender: A Memoir about Losing My Religion

From my list on people who left life-defining ideologies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became involved in a rigid religious movement as a teen and prepared for the ministry at a fundamentalist college and seminary. I took this ideology to its logical extreme and became a foreign missionary. I know from the inside how such an ideology takes hold of a person and how difficult it is to escape its grasp, especially when family and career are intertwined. Through my own struggle with depression and anxiety, I scoured books to help understand myself and faith development, eventually earning a Ph.D in counseling, emphasizing developmental theory. I know from personal experience what it means to walk away from a way of thinking that has defined much of your life.

Brian's book list on people who left life-defining ideologies

Brian Rush McDonald Why did Brian love this book?

The author grows up in the Jehovah’s Witness faith and, along with her husband goes to China as a ‘preacher.’ She is increasingly unhappy with her religion and marriage. While working at a podcast to support herself, she corresponds with an American who challenges her religious beliefs. Deciding to leave the church, she tells her husband she wants a divorce and returns to the US to begin reconstructing her life. To make such a life-altering change while living in a foreign country without any support, even from her husband shows incredible courage. I am amazed at how the desire to leave an oppressive ideology can embolden a person to make nearly unthinkable choices.

By Amber Scorah,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"À la Tara Westover's Educated, Scorah's pensive, ultimately liberating memoir chronicles her formative years as a Jehovah's Witness...and captures the bewilderment of belief and the bliss of self-discovery."--O, The Oprah Magazine, Named one of "The Best Books by Women of Summer 2019"

"Scorah's book, the bravery of which cannot be overstated, is an earnest one, fueled by a plucky humor and a can-do spirit that endears. Her tale, though an exploration of extremity, is highly readable and warm."--The New York Times Book Review

A riveting memoir of losing faith and finding freedom while a covert missionary in one of the…


Book cover of Cult Girls

Vennie Kocsis Author Of Cult Child

From my list on children growing up in cults.

Why am I passionate about this?

Because I was brought up in a cult, I'm determined to serve as a voice for children. I'm an advocate for assisting children born into cults or taken into them in finding their true identities outside of the indoctrination they received. It's important to me that there is a network of support available to those who want to learn how to lead a balanced life. As a post-cult adult, I went on to study creative writing and art at the University of Tennessee. I have a deep appreciation for poetry as a form of expression, and I recommend using it as a method to work through the complex range of feelings.

Vennie's book list on children growing up in cults

Vennie Kocsis Why did Vennie love this book?

It was a brilliant decision on Natalie's part to create a graphic novel that lays out the many facets and layers that make up the dynamics of cults. It has been a pleasure for me to get to know Natalie. A former member of the Jehovah's Witnesses, she is now a dynamic and independent individual. This graphic novel explores a wide variety of aspects of the tactics used by Jehovah's Witnesses, including shunning, the reasons why cult family members will disavow non-cult family members, and a great deal more. This seemed to me to be an excellent option for storytelling geared for minds that have a tendency to gravitate toward visuals.

By Natalie Grand, Cassandre Bolan (illustrator), N. Scott Robinson (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cult Girls based on a true story, tells the story of Talia and her friends as they struggle with growing suspicions that their faith is a patriarchal religious cult. It's a story of tremendous courage and female empowerment as Talia as her friends successfully free themselves told through a feminist lens with cautionary humor. Read this first place BookFest award winning Girls and Women YA Graphic novel.


Book cover of Without Warning and Only Sometimes

Jools Abrams Author Of Girl in the Mirror

From my list on un-miserable memoirs with tricky family history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a life writer since I kept my first Mary Quant, Daisy diary in 1973. Reading and writing memoir, I’ve written thirty as a ghostwriter in the last six years and am working on my own. I’m fascinated by life stories. After an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, I won the Wasafiri Life Writing Prize, which led to a novel in biographical form, based on the life of my nan in the last century, Girl in the Mirror. I write stories, short and long, for adults and children, performing nationally and in London, was Writer in Residence for Talliston House, and have been published by Walker Books and Mslexia.

Jools' book list on un-miserable memoirs with tricky family history

Jools Abrams Why did Jools love this book?

Kit and I share some life similarities, she’s a working-class girl with a Birmingham background, published later in life, and I was keen to read her story. Written as scenes from childhood with sharp observation and wit, her book illustrates an unpredictable childhood. The daughter of an Irish mother and Caribbean father in a large and sometimes chaotic family, where there is love in the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but not always at home. There are the familiar places, the family dynamics observed with the clarity of a child, and the tit-for-tat games her parents play - dad buys a new car, the next week, mum a harmonica and Davy Crockett hat. All quirks observed and challenging situations related with a lightness of touch and wit, a genuine pleasure to read.

By Kit de Waal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Without Warning and Only Sometimes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Vivid and compelling and so moving... both painful and comforting to read' Marian Keyes
**SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKS ARE MY BAG READERS AWARD AND AN POST IRISH BIOGRAPHY OF THE YEAR 2022**
**AS BROADCAST ON BBC RADIO 4**

Kit de Waal grew up in a household of opposites and extremes. Her haphazard mother rarely cooked, forbade Christmas and birthdays, worked as a cleaner, nurse and childminder sometimes all at once and believed the world would end in 1975. Meanwhile, her father stuffed barrels full of goodies for his relatives in the Caribbean, cooked elaborate meals on a whim and splurged…


Book cover of The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible

Corinne Maier Author Of The Conquest of the Red Man

From my list on tongue-in-cheek about social classes and clashes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a french writer, I like to write satires and tongue-in-cheek books about society. Work, children, France, social classes... When you find the right angle almost everything can be funny. With my writing I want to entertain, but give the reader something to think about. I hope this list will make you laugh as much I did. 

Corinne's book list on tongue-in-cheek about social classes and clashes

Corinne Maier Why did Corinne love this book?

A. J. Jacobs, a journalist, decides to read the Bible and try to follow it literally for a whole year, to the point of eating locusts, throwing small pebbles at couples he suspects of adultery, slaying idolatry, and speaking the naked truth… Struggling to follow archaic rules, he lives a disconcerting experience under the perplexed eyes of his family and becomes quickly out of step with the present time. The Year of Living Biblically depicts a clash of worlds with a caustic humor and I’ve burst out laughing a couple of times. I recommend it to believers and non-believers, both will be amused by this witty book that gives us food for thought.

By A.J. Jacobs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of The Know-It-All comes a fascinating and timely exploration of religion and the Bible.

Raised in a secular family but increasingly interested in the relevance of faith in our modern world, A.J. Jacobs decides to dive in headfirst and attempt to obey the Bible as literally as possible for one full year. He vows to follow the Ten Commandments. To be fruitful and multiply. To love his neighbor. But also to obey the hundreds of less publicized rules: to avoid wearing clothes made of mixed fibers; to play a ten-string harp; to stone adulterers.

The resulting…


Book cover of The Clash of Ideas in World Politics: Transnational Networks, States, and Regime Change, 1510-2010

Peter S. Henne Author Of Religious Appeals in Power Politics

From my list on religion’s messy impact on international relations.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a religious person, I’ve always believed religion is a force for good while being constantly reminded of the horrors it causes. This became a real-world concern with the 9/11 attacks (which happened my second week in college) and the faith-tinged US response. I spent ten years in Washington, DC working at the intersection of faith and counterterrorism, hopeful religion could solve our problems but worried it will only make things worse. I’ve continued that work as a Professor at the University of Vermont. This book reflects that tension and my desire to resolve it. 

Peter's book list on religion’s messy impact on international relations

Peter S. Henne Why did Peter love this book?

This is a “big picture” book, providing a grand sweep of international history to readers.

Owen argues world politics involves recurring ideological divides that lead states to forcefully intervene in others’ politics. He looks at Catholic-Protestant tensions in Europe, republican-monarchical conflicts in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the 20th century fight between democracy and totalitarianism.

He then argues the contemporary secular-Islamist division is another case of such a transnational divide, both highlighting the significance of this struggle and rejecting those who would argue there is something exceptionally disruptive about political Islam.

While my scope is much narrower—specific cases of states trying to use religion as a foreign policy tool—I drew on Owen to argue that this is most likely in the case of broad transnational ideological struggles. 

By John M. Owen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Clash of Ideas in World Politics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Some blame the violence and unrest in the Muslim world on Islam itself, arguing that the religion and its history is inherently bloody. Others blame the United States, arguing that American attempts to spread democracy by force have destabilized the region, and that these efforts are somehow radical or unique. Challenging these views, "The Clash of Ideas in World Politics" reveals how the Muslim world is in the throes of an ideological struggle that extends far beyond the Middle East, and how struggles like it have been a recurring feature of international relations since the dawn of the modern European…


Book cover of The Mysticism of Sound and Music: The Sufi Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan

Ib Vindbjerg Author Of The First Book I Wish I'd Had at Art College

From my list on creativity and consciousness.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having graduated as a teacher before undertaking an art degree has made me think that art is not just the kind of stuff we encounter in galleries, but it is about creativity in a much broader sense. Two decades in art education and galleries across London have taught me that as creatives and teachers, we do not only teach others, but we all teach each other on our journeys through life. Creativity is intricately woven into the fabric of our lives and the list of books here are some of my favourite books on the subject.

Ib's book list on creativity and consciousness

Ib Vindbjerg Why did Ib love this book?

The first time I came across this book was in the late '90s in the National Gallery bookshop in London. I worked part-time at the gallery while studying for my art degree and had watched Bill Viola set up work for an exhibition there. The bookshop had dedicated a table with Viola's book recommendations, and Hazrat Inayat Khan's The Mysticism of Sound and Music was one of the titles put on display. My memory of the book is tied to the excitement of being an art student watching an inspiring artist at work. Yet, it is probably one of the most important books I have read that beautifully interweaves creativity, the web of life, music, and the spiritual, which are all themes close to my heart.  

By Hazrat Inayat Khan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first teacher to bring Islamic mysticism to the West presents music’s divine nature and its connection to our daily lives in this poetic classic of Sufi literature
 
Music, according to Sufi teaching, is really a small expression of the overwhelming and perfect harmony of the whole universe—and that is the secret of its amazing power to move us. The Indian Sufi master Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882–1927), the first teacher to bring the Islamic mystical tradition to the West, was an accomplished musician himself. His lucid exposition of music's divine nature has become a modern classic, beloved not only by…


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