10 books like The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

By Emily Dickinson,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Siddhartha

By Hermann Hesse,

Book cover of Siddhartha

Herman Hesse’s Indian tale follows the ancient journey of Siddhartha, a fictional character on a spiritual path to find meaning in a world full of suffering and greed by renouncing his family and all worldly possessions to become a wandering holy man (Samana).

Along his journey he discovers and meets the actual Buddha (Gautama Buddha), and although he was deeply impressed with the Buddha’s honorable teachings, Siddhartha, disappointed, chose instead to follow his own path believing that one cannot find enlightenment by only following the words of a teacher but instead by experiencing and embracing all aspects of life personally to understand the true nature of enlightenment.

The story itself is captivating because the answers Siddhartha seeks are questions we’ve all asked ourselves, and the answers he discovers help explore the contradictions between the sacred texts of organized religion and the frustrated individual’s approach to find meaning within themselves despite…

Siddhartha

By Hermann Hesse,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Siddhartha as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here the spirituality of the East and the West have met in a novel that enfigures deep human wisdom with a rich and colorful imagination.

Written in a prose of almost biblical simplicity and beauty, it is the story of a soul's long quest in search of he ultimate answer to the enigma of man's role on this earth. As a youth, the young Indian Siddhartha meets the Buddha but cannot be content with a disciple's role: he must work out his own destiny and solve his own doubt-a tortuous road that carries him through the sensuality of a love…


The Razor's Edge

By W. Somerset Maugham,

Book cover of The Razor's Edge

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 Razor's Edge

By W. Somerset Maugham,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Razor's Edge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Larry Darrell is a young American in search of the absolute. The progress of this spiritual odyssey involves him with some of Maugham's most brillant characters - his fiancee Isabel, whose choice between love and wealth have lifelong repercussions, and Elliot Templeton, her uncle, a classic expatriate American snob. The most ambitious of Maugham's novels, this is also one in which Maugham himself plays a considerable part as he wanders in and out of the story, to observe his characters struggling with their fates.


A Country Called Childhood

By Jay Griffiths,

Book cover of A Country Called Childhood: Children and the Exuberant World

It is something of a commonplace that the most important subjects in life are somehow the least amenable to the long essay. Where are the great books on love, grace, revelation, understanding, or peace? 

And what about childhood? Everyone has one, and many people want to be parents, but where are the transformative and indispensable books on this subject? Now we have one, at last, this capacious, passionate, searching, learned book, by one of the most gifted prose stylists writing in English in the present day. It’s beautiful to read, and essential for our cultural moment. 

A Country Called Childhood

By Jay Griffiths,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Country Called Childhood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

While traveling the world in order to write her award winning book Wild, Jay Griffiths became increasingly aware of the huge differences in how childhood is experienced in various cultures. One central riddle, in particular captured her imagination: why are so many children in Euro-American cultures unhappy – and why is it that children in traditional cultures seem happier?

In A Country Called Childhood, Griffiths seeks to discover why we deny our children the freedoms of space, time and the natural world. Visiting communities as far apart as West Papua and the Arctic as well as the UK, and delving…


The Storyteller's Daughter

By Saira Shah,

Book cover of The Storyteller's Daughter: One Woman's Return to Her Lost Homeland

An extraordinary book by an extraordinary woman. Saira Shah recounts her journeys in Pakistan and Afghanistan, in the context of her upbringing in a family with deep roots in the region. She is on the ground during the rise of the Taliban and the fight against the Russian occupation, and the story is hair-raising, enlightening, revelatory, informed, and insightfully detailed. Ms. Shah went on to make the celebrated documentary Beneath the Veil, risking her life daily to shoot video during the first phase of Taliban control. Unforgettable, and indispensable for understanding Afghanistan.

The Storyteller's Daughter

By Saira Shah,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Storyteller's Daughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Imagine that a jewel-like garden overlooking Kabul is your ancestral home. Imagine a kitchen made fragrant with saffron strands and cardamom pods simmering in an authentic pilau. Now remember that you were born in London, your family in exile, and that you have never seen Afghanistan in peacetime.

These are but the starting points of Saira Shah’s memoir, by turns inevitably exotic and unavoidably heartbreaking, in which she explores her family’s history in and out of Afghanistan. As an accomplished journalist and documentarian–her film Beneath the Veil unflinchingly depicted for CNN viewers the humiliations forced on women under Taliban rule–Shah…


First Among Sufis

By Widad El Sakkakini, Nabil Safwat (translator),

Book cover of First Among Sufis: The Life and Thought of Rabia al-Adawiyya, the Woman Saint of Basra

A book about a saint of the eighth century, whose life and declarations offer an in-depth and clear portrait of the Sufi path. Her miracles were casual and instrumental, her encounters serve for all of us as material for reflection, and her sayings are beautiful and transformative of the mind. Two examples: “I will not serve God as a laborer, in expectation of my wages.” And “Lord, if I worship you from desire for Paradise, deny me Paradise; if I worship you from fear of Hell, cast me into Hell.”

First Among Sufis

By Widad El Sakkakini, Nabil Safwat (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Born in Basra in the 8th century of an impoverished family, orphaned and sold into slavery, Rabia al-Adawiyya, rose to become one of the greatest Sufi teachers. An extraordinary kaleidoscope of myth and reality, of imagination and fact... is it not of importance that a woman of such stature and independence of mind existed so early in the story of Islam, to show what women could be, and how they could be regarded?

Introduction by Doris Lessing


Even Now

By Jill Sabella, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer,

Book cover of Even Now

This rare book is a collaboration between Ms. Sabella, an artist, and Rosemerry Trommer, a poet. A series of drawings, all distinct and all of three lines only, are given corresponding three-line poems, and the result is enlivening, mischievous, moving, full of insight and subtlety, and graced with declarations of love and startling bolts of beauty. It’s a short book and it’s a most excellent companion and a gentle powerhouse.

Even Now

By Jill Sabella, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Poetry. Art. Illustrated by Jill Sabella. EVEN NOW pares Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer's expansive work down to three lines, each paired with a spare 'japanese-style' brush-stroke drawings by artist Jill Sabella. The image-poem pairs float on the page and evoke fundamental thoughts, feelings of long ago, bonfires burning out of control, tough hope, and the possibility of Spring.

"I like this book a lot, EVEN NOW, by Rosemerry Trommer & Jill Sabella. It shows some of their wonderful talent. And the title- poem brings to mind a Rumi translation that I feel is of such worth it may someday appear in…


Duino Elegies

By Rainer Maria Rilke, Edward Snow (translator),

Book cover of Duino Elegies

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.

Duino Elegies

By Rainer Maria Rilke, Edward Snow (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angelic
orders? and even if one of them pressed me
suddenly to his heart: I'd be consumed
in that overwhelming existence. For beauty is nothing
but the beginning of terror, which we can just barely endure,
and we stand in awe of it as it coolly disdains
to destroy us. Every angel is terrifying.
-from "The First Elegy"

Over the last fifteen years, in his two volumes of New Poems as well as in The Book of Images and Uncollected Poems, Edward Snow has emerged as one of Rainer Maria…


In Search of the Miraculous

By P.D. Ouspensky,

Book cover of In Search of the Miraculous

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.

In Search of the Miraculous

By P.D. Ouspensky,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New


Caleb's Crossing

By Geraldine Brooks,

Book cover of Caleb's Crossing

When Caleb’s Crossing came out I couldn’t wait to read it. Not only was it written by one of my favorite authors, it was inspired by a true story and set in the same place and time period as the novel I was working on. Brooks’ depiction of the love between a Puritan minister’s daughter and the son of a Wampanoag leader is fraught with tension as two very different cultures collide. The novel brings to life the forces driving the conflict through the characters of Bethia and Caleb as they struggle to navigate a perilous time and the looming prospect of war.

Caleb's Crossing

By Geraldine Brooks,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Caleb's Crossing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A bestselling tale of passion and belief, magic and adventure from the author of The Secret Chord and of March, winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Bethia Mayfield is a restless and curious young woman growing up in Martha's vineyard in the 1660s amid a small band of pioneering English Puritans. At age twelve, she meets Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a secret bond that draws each into the alien world of the other. Bethia's father is a Calvinist minister who seeks to convert the native Wampanoag, and Caleb becomes a prize in the contest…


Patriotic Treason

By Evan Carton,

Book cover of Patriotic Treason: John Brown and the Soul of America

Engagingly written, this book humanizes John Brown by portraying him as a man “of deep, varied, and sometime conflicting capacities.” Carton describes Brown’s family, business failures, friendships, and deep Calvinistic faith. By fledging out the human picture, Carton challenges simple categorizations of Brown as bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, or criminally insane. Carton places Brown against the background of debates over politics, slavery, and racial issues.

Patriotic Treason

By Evan Carton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With a combination of scrupulous original research, new perspective, and a sensitive historical imagination, Patriotic Treason vividly recreates the world in which John Brown and his compatriots lived as well as the biography of John Brown and the history of the events leading up to the Civil War. Evan Carton narrates the dramatic life of the first U.S. citizen committed to absolute racial equality. In defiance of the culture around him, Brown lived, worked, ate, and fought alongside African Americans. Inspired by the Declaration of Independence and the Golden Rule, he collaborated with black leaders such as Frederick Douglass, Martin…


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