100 books like The Desert Fathers

By Various, Benedicta Ward (translator),

Here are 100 books that The Desert Fathers fans have personally recommended if you like The Desert Fathers. 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 The Falling Sky: Words of a Yanomami Shaman

Miguel Farias Author Of The Oxford Handbook of Meditation

From my list on religious experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

From about the age of 14, I have been exploring how unusual ideas and experiences might change a person’s life. This led me to become an author and experimental psychologist studying the effects of religious beliefs, rituals, and meditation exercises on our minds and bodies. I have spent a good part of the last 4 years putting together a book which tries to answer many of my questions on the varieties of meditation practices around the world.   

Miguel's book list on religious experience

Miguel Farias Why did Miguel love this book?

Imagine a Martian landing on planet Earth, meeting with people in Europe and the USA, and writing about it. Part of this book is filled with such freshness of vision and its cuts through the problems and vices of our civilization; the other part is no less of an extraordinary tale of a religious leader brought up in the Amazon who seems to move effortlessly between the natural and supernatural realms.

By Davi Kopenawa, Bruce Albert, Nicholas Elliott (illustrator) , Alison Dundy (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Falling Sky is a remarkable first-person account of the life story and cosmo-ecological thought of Davi Kopenawa, shaman and spokesman for the Yanomami of the Brazilian Amazon. Representing a people whose very existence is in jeopardy, Davi Kopenawa paints an unforgettable picture of Yanomami culture, past and present, in the heart of the rainforest--a world where ancient indigenous knowledge and shamanic traditions cope with the global geopolitics of an insatiable natural resources extraction industry.

In richly evocative language, Kopenawa recounts his initiation and experience as a shaman, as well as his first encounters with outsiders: government officials, missionaries, road…


Book cover of Sufis of Andalusia: The Ruh al-quds and al-Durrat al-Fakhirah

Miguel Farias Author Of The Oxford Handbook of Meditation

From my list on religious experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

From about the age of 14, I have been exploring how unusual ideas and experiences might change a person’s life. This led me to become an author and experimental psychologist studying the effects of religious beliefs, rituals, and meditation exercises on our minds and bodies. I have spent a good part of the last 4 years putting together a book which tries to answer many of my questions on the varieties of meditation practices around the world.   

Miguel's book list on religious experience

Miguel Farias Why did Miguel love this book?

A delightful 12th-century spiritual travel book. As a young man, the mystic Ibn Arabi travels through southern Spain, Portugal, and North Africa in search of holy figures. He meets plenty of them, who tell him of their daily spiritual and physical discipline and experiences of God. In one of my favorite depictions, Ibn Arabi is harshly told off by one of the individuals who refuses to acknowledge he is the one whom the young traveler seeks — if people learn of his spiritual eminence, he finally confides, he will never have a moment of peace; there will be a never-ending queue of individuals seeking guidance, healing, and prayers from him.

By Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi, R.W.J. Austin (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Publish By Suhail Acdmy


Book cover of The Forged Coupon: and Other Stories

Miguel Farias Author Of The Oxford Handbook of Meditation

From my list on religious experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

From about the age of 14, I have been exploring how unusual ideas and experiences might change a person’s life. This led me to become an author and experimental psychologist studying the effects of religious beliefs, rituals, and meditation exercises on our minds and bodies. I have spent a good part of the last 4 years putting together a book which tries to answer many of my questions on the varieties of meditation practices around the world.   

Miguel's book list on religious experience

Miguel Farias Why did Miguel love this book?

Tolstoy describes and plays with religious experiences across various of his novels. He doesn’t take them for granted: the initial enthusiasm and prospect of personal change seldom leads to real transformation. Here, though, in one of his last writings, we follow the contagious spell of true conversion of heart. When a serial murderer meets a pure soul his self is transformed and goes on to change the life of others. 

By Leo Tolstoy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Leo Tolstoy (September 9, 1828 – November 20, 1910) was a Russian writer who earned fame and global renown for his novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Writing during the late 19th century, Tolstoy lived during a literary period in which Realism flourished, and today his two novels are considered the apex of realist fiction. Tolstoy is also known for his complex and somewhat paradoxical persona, holding both moralistic and ascetic views during the final decades of his life.


Book cover of Take and Read: Spiritual Reading An Annotated List

Leslie Bustard Author Of Wild Things and Castles in the Sky: A Guide to Choosing the Best Books for Children

From my list on there's no such thing as too many books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've always loved reading to myself and others. I've been an English teacher for years. I love sharing good books and have the reputation of being a good resource, especially for moms with children. I’m happy to share everything from memoirs and history books to classics and children’s picture books. Walking through a library or a bookstore is a favorite activity, so finding not only new books but excellent books about books is always a treat. I love to understand what makes a book work well as a story, thus books that delve into the richness of a story through personal narrative or literary criticism have been favorites to keep on my shelves. 

Leslie's book list on there's no such thing as too many books

Leslie Bustard Why did Leslie love this book?

The words and life of Eugene Peterson have been important to my own spiritual formation, so finding a book that shares the books he read that formed him was a must. He recommends classic books, a wide variety of theologians and Bible scholars, poetry, and contemporary and mystery novels. Eugene Peterson had a large and generous heart and a deep-thinking mind, and finding out that I had read many of his favorites already was an encouragement. And looking for more of his recommendations has proved useful. 

By Eugene H. Peterson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Spiritual reading has fallen on bad times. Today, reading is largely a consumer activity, done for information that may fuel ambitions or careers -- and the faster the better. Take and Read represents Eugene H. Peterson's attempt to rekindle the activity of spiritual reading, reading that considers any book that comes to hand in a spiritual way, tuned to the Spirit, alert to intimations of God.

Take and Read provides an annotated list of the books that have stood the test of time and that, for Peterson, are spiritually formative in the Christian life. The books on this list range…


Book cover of Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation

Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung Author Of Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies

From my list on spiritual formation and Christian virtue.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a moral philosopher, I ask practical questions: What kind of person am I becoming? What kind of life will I live? What loves, hopes, and fears drive my choices and shape my relationships? Character formation moves us from vice to virtue. It starts with self-reflection and moves toward intentional practice. Over time, those practices shape us and add up to a way of life. You will be formed—but how? Glittering Vices, like my job, combines my passions for character development and wise teaching. Enduring the fiery furnace of cancer treatment made formation an urgent, life-changing topic for me. I hope these books open your life to renewal too.

Rebecca's book list on spiritual formation and Christian virtue

Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung Why did Rebecca love this book?

I love Barton’s personal and practical approach to a key cluster of spiritual disciplines in this accessible overview. She explores how to encounter God in Scripture and in prayer, how to practice solitude, self-examination and discernment, how to honor the body and keep sabbath. Individual chapters are framed by an introduction to spiritual formation and book-ended by combining them into a single rule of life. Think of this book as a fresh update of Richard Foster’s classic, Celebration of Discipline. (See her Transforming Center website for more.)

By Ruth Haley Barton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Do you long for a deep, fundamental change in your life with God? Do you desire a greater intimacy with God? Do you wonder how you might truly live your life as God created you to live it? Spiritual disciplines are activities that open us to God's transforming love and the changes that only God can bring about in our lives. Picking up on the monastic tradition of creating a "rule of life" that allows for regular space for the practice of spiritual disciplines, Ruth Haley Barton takes you more deeply into understanding seven key disciplines along with practical ideas…


Book cover of The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God

Malinda Fugate Author Of The Other Three Sixteens

From my list on for Christians to revive a stalled faith journey.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m just an everyday person. I don’t have a fancy title or lots of degrees, but I do have experience being close to God and a never-ending quest to know Him more. His love is so good that it absolutely must be shared. So if I, in all of my ordinariness, can learn extraordinary sacred things, then I can bring others along the journey, too. His presence in my heartaches, struggles, joy, and adventures has sustained my life, and I don’t know any credential that could testify any clearer that a journey with God is worth taking.

Malinda's book list on for Christians to revive a stalled faith journey

Malinda Fugate Why did Malinda love this book?

After reading The Divine Conspiracy twice, I’m ready to dive in again. So many treasures are packed into these pages, waiting to be absorbed.

Anchored in the Sermon on the Mount, the author discusses our discipleship and how we related to Christ. Sometimes, we miss the life that’s in biblical text, but this book offers perspective that makes us take a second look and inspires our hearts.

By Dallas Willard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First published in 1998, The Divine Conspiracy captured the attention of Christians across the world, by offering a timely and challenging call back to the true meaning of Christian discipleship.

Gracefully weaving biblical teaching, popular culture, science and scholarship together, Dallas Willard refuted the view that Christianity is solely about gaining admittance to heaven when we die, and taught that, as disciples, we have access now to the life of the kingdom.

Equally relevant today as it was on publication, The Divine Conspiracy challenges us to step aside from the pieties of contemporary Christian practice and offers instead a practical…


Book cover of The Song of the Bird

Joan Budilovsky Author Of Sages of Young Ages

From my list on new moms to listen and laugh with their children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve taught yoga and meditation for decades to children from ages 3 to 93. My Doctorate is in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. I love to experience personal development and child development has a very special place in my heart. I learn so much from them! It is particularly fun to watch children discover and explore life. Everything old is new again! Sages of Young Ages can open our eyes if we simply open our ears to each child’s unique spoken truths.

Joan's book list on new moms to listen and laugh with their children

Joan Budilovsky Why did Joan love this book?

Short interesting titles to profound short stories. Each story offers a lesson to clearer soulful understandings. Humor, insights, simplicity – all the things I treasure and hope to be as a writer. Anthony deMello has influenced my world with new ways of looking at old things. I find this in children too – their new eyes looking at old things reminds me of how important fresh perspectives are to enjoying and appreciating life.

By Anthony De Mello,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Every one of these stories is about YOU." --Anthony de Mello

Everyone loves stories; and in this book the bestselling author of Sadhana: A Way to God shares 124 stories and parables from a variety of traditions both ancient and modern. Each story resonates with life lessons that can teach us inescapable truths about ourselves and our world.

De Mello's international acclaim rests on his unique approach to contemplation and ability to heighten self-awareness and self-discovery. His is a holistic approach, and in the words of one reviewer: "his mysticism cuts across all times and peoples and is truly a…


Book cover of Crafting a Rule of Life: An Invitation to the Well-Ordered Way

Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung Author Of Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies

From my list on spiritual formation and Christian virtue.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a moral philosopher, I ask practical questions: What kind of person am I becoming? What kind of life will I live? What loves, hopes, and fears drive my choices and shape my relationships? Character formation moves us from vice to virtue. It starts with self-reflection and moves toward intentional practice. Over time, those practices shape us and add up to a way of life. You will be formed—but how? Glittering Vices, like my job, combines my passions for character development and wise teaching. Enduring the fiery furnace of cancer treatment made formation an urgent, life-changing topic for me. I hope these books open your life to renewal too.

Rebecca's book list on spiritual formation and Christian virtue

Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung Why did Rebecca love this book?

This is the most “how-to” book on the list. Whether we are reflective about it or not, our character will be shaped and our lives transformed into something—the only question is In what way? and For what end? John Stott once said that “Spirituality is not a condition into which we can drift.” Steve’s book teaches you how not to drift through life. 

Steve’s ministry (Leadership Transformations) helps Christian leaders and laypeople live renewed and beautiful lives. This book walks you through a process of self-reflection and intentional choice to create a “rule of life”—an intentional rhythm or pattern of our days that primes us for spiritual growth and attentiveness to God.

By Stephen A. Macchia,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Crafting a Rule of Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Your personal rule of life is a holistic description of the Spirit-empowered rhythms and relationships that create, redeem, sustain and transform the life God invites you to humbly fulfill for Christ's glory. All of us have an unwritten personal rule of life. We wake at certain times, get ready for our days in particular ways, use our free time for assorted purposes and practice rhythms of work, hobbies, and worship. There is already a rule in place that you are following. Isn?t it time to give up your unwritten rule and prayerfully write one that more closely matches the heartbeat…


Book cover of Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World

Rebecca Halstead Author Of 24/7: The First Person You Must Lead Is You

From my list on discovering the leader within you and others.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for leading began as an athlete in high school, and being part of a team that depended on me showing up and leading myself. Attending the United States Military Academy as part of the second class of women, ignited my desire to earn the respect of those I would lead by being a person of character and competence. After 31 years of leading teams in the Army, I wanted to continue to serve and lead by sharing my leadership lessons learned and expertise gained from those years of service with the corporate sector. To whom much is given, much is expected.  

Rebecca's book list on discovering the leader within you and others

Rebecca Halstead Why did Rebecca love this book?

This book reached into my heart and soul.

It was completely refreshing to read stories that reminded me that love still matters, especially in our actions, but also in our perseverance and pursuits. It made me think hard about what was fueling my desires, thoughts, actions, and impact, and resulted in my wanting to make sure that it was love for life and others.

This book aligned with my belief that we should take our jobs seriously, but ourselves less so—that it is healthy to see the humor in ourselves and situations. Most significantly, I learned that my focus should be on doing, not just being.    

By Bob Goff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The runaway New York Times bestseller!

Can a simple concept shift your entire world? Bob certainly thinks so. When it comes to loving your neighbors, rather than focusing on having the "right answers" or checking the "right boxes," what if you decide to simply DO love? To shamelessly show love and grace to those around you? What would that look like?

It might look like spending sixteen days in the Pacific Ocean with five guys and a crate of canned meat. It might look like taking your kids on a world tour to eat ice cream with heads of state.…


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