100 books like Waking

By Matthew Sanford,

Here are 100 books that Waking fans have personally recommended if you like Waking. 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 Autobiography of a Yogi

Kathryn E. Livingston Author Of Yin, Yang, Yogini: A Woman's Quest for Balance, Strength and Inner Peace

From my list on yoga memoirs to inspire you on your path.

Who am I?

Nearly 20 years ago, I awkwardly stumbled into a yoga class after a therapist informed me that I needed to do something about my anxiety issues (“Take your pick,” she said, “I’ll prescribe pills or you can try yoga.”) From the very first class, I was drawn not only to the physical practice, but to the sense that yoga could lead me deeper into my own heart and soul. I wrote a memoir about my journey—and about how yoga helped me later face and conquer breast cancer. I now teach yoga, and I love reading about how yoga changes lives—as it almost always does. 

Kathryn's book list on yoga memoirs to inspire you on your path

Kathryn E. Livingston Why did Kathryn love this book?

One can’t put together a yoga memoir list without including this classic. So much has been written about it (including that it was George Harrison’s favorite book) but I’ll add my two cents, which is that this memoir helps one believe that there’s a greater force, source, being, or something out there orchestrating some of the uncanny stuff we meet up with in our lives. Yogananda was a revered spiritual teacher, but he was also a human being. When he couldn’t be with his mother at her death, he writes that the “Intervening Hand” arranged his absence because his presence would have been too painful to bear, a profound sharing that helped me face my own guilt about a similar experience. His story is wild, crazy, and so unbelievable that it makes you believe. 

By Paramahansa Yogananda,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Autobiography of a Yogi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Autobiography of a Yogi is at once a beautifully written account of an exceptional life and a profound introduction to the ancient science of Yoga and its time-honored tradition of meditation. Profoundly inspiring, it is at the same time vastly entertaining, warmly humorous and filled with extraordinary personages.

Self-Realization Fellowship's editions, and none others, include extensive material added by the author after the first edition was published, including a final chapter on the closing years of his life.

Selected as "One of the 100 Best Spiritual Books of the Twentieth Century", Autobiography of a Yogi has been translated into more…


Book cover of Premka: White Bird in a Golden Cage: My Life with Yogi Bhajan

Kathryn E. Livingston Author Of Yin, Yang, Yogini: A Woman's Quest for Balance, Strength and Inner Peace

From my list on yoga memoirs to inspire you on your path.

Who am I?

Nearly 20 years ago, I awkwardly stumbled into a yoga class after a therapist informed me that I needed to do something about my anxiety issues (“Take your pick,” she said, “I’ll prescribe pills or you can try yoga.”) From the very first class, I was drawn not only to the physical practice, but to the sense that yoga could lead me deeper into my own heart and soul. I wrote a memoir about my journey—and about how yoga helped me later face and conquer breast cancer. I now teach yoga, and I love reading about how yoga changes lives—as it almost always does. 

Kathryn's book list on yoga memoirs to inspire you on your path

Kathryn E. Livingston Why did Kathryn love this book?

Once a mover and shaker in the Kundalini yoga world, Dyson (aka Premka) was the right-hand woman to Yogi Bhajan, the fallen guru who brought Kundalini yoga to the west in the late 1960s. The memoir chronicles Dyson’s introduction to yoga, her rise within the Kundalini yoga community, her personal (and sexual) relationship with Bhajan, and the eventual realization that she’d been betrayed. For yogis venturing out on the path, Dyson’s story underscores what all true yogis know: The real guru resides within one’s own heart. As a Kundalini yoga teacher I found Dyson’s story riveting, but it will resonate with anyone who finds themselves seeking answers outside—rather than inside—one’s self. 

By Pamela Saharah Dyson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Premka: White Bird in a Golden Cage is a compelling and beautifully unfolding tale, offering a haunting look into a teacher/student relationship. This intimate memoir, written by one of Yogi Bhajan’s prized teachers and exalted students, is full of devotion, love, dedication, betrayal, loss and the healing unification of the self. It also reads as a love letter to a unique time in history—the ‘60s in Los Angeles and New Mexico, where love, music, art, spiritual exploration, often led to self-transformation. As a historical treatise and a spiritual mystery, this book offers unique insight into the origins of the Western…


Book cover of Yoga for Life: A Journey to Inner Peace and Freedom

Kathryn E. Livingston Author Of Yin, Yang, Yogini: A Woman's Quest for Balance, Strength and Inner Peace

From my list on yoga memoirs to inspire you on your path.

Who am I?

Nearly 20 years ago, I awkwardly stumbled into a yoga class after a therapist informed me that I needed to do something about my anxiety issues (“Take your pick,” she said, “I’ll prescribe pills or you can try yoga.”) From the very first class, I was drawn not only to the physical practice, but to the sense that yoga could lead me deeper into my own heart and soul. I wrote a memoir about my journey—and about how yoga helped me later face and conquer breast cancer. I now teach yoga, and I love reading about how yoga changes lives—as it almost always does. 

Kathryn's book list on yoga memoirs to inspire you on your path

Kathryn E. Livingston Why did Kathryn love this book?

I really liked this book because beautiful, blonde, former model Saidman Yee (wife of the popular yoga teacher Rodney Yee) seems so perfect on the outside that one couldn’t imagine she’d ever have had a notable problem—let alone a seizure disorder or substance abuse issues. Growing up in Indiana, one of seven kids, the author ended up posing for glamour shots and making a name for herself in the fashion world. But inside she experienced anxiety and fear of failure. Saidman Yee’s vulnerability and authenticity shine in this candid story of how yoga helped her go within and honor her true self. Wonderful yoga sequences designed by Saidman Yee are included.

By Colleen Saidman Yee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The very first time Saidman Yee took a yoga class, she left feeling inexplicably different-something inside had shifted. She felt alive-so alive that yoga became the center of her life, helping her come to terms with her insecurities and find her true identity and voice. From learning to cope with a frightening seizure disorder to navigating marriages and divorces to becoming a mother, finding the right life partner, and grieving a beloved parent, Saidman Yee has been through it all-and has found that yoga holds the answers to life's greatest challenges.

Approachable, sympathetic, funny, and candid, Saidman Yee shares personal…


Betting on Bernie: A Memoir of A Marriage

By Martha Marks,

Book cover of Betting on Bernie: A Memoir of A Marriage

Martha Marks Author Of Rubies of the Viper

New book alert!

Who am I?

I made my first visit to Pompeii at age seven. That day, I told my parents that I had been there before. It was all very familiar. And that sense of déjà vu has never left me. I feel it whenever I go back to Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the Roman Forum. I don’t believe in reincarnation, but... As an adult, I’ve returned many times to those places and visited others featured in my books: the Etruscan necropolis at Caere, which was already 1,000 years old at the time of my novels; Athens; and the ancient ports of Piraeus in Greece and Itanos in Crete. I earned a Ph.D. at Northwestern University, taught for many years, and enjoyed a million marvelous experiences, but my lifelong love of ancient Rome is the direct result of that long-ago visit to Pompeii with my parents.

Martha's book list on the Roman Empire in 1st Century AD

What is my book about?

Bernard Marks and Martha Alford met by chance. The odds were long that they would hit it off. That wasn’t in the cards they’d been dealt at birth. But, as gamblers in love, they rolled the dice. And then they worked hard, took risks, caught lucky breaks, built satisfying careers, enjoyed terrific travels, and won their own version of the lottery of life. Over four decades, Lady Luck smiled on them, until one day, she didn’t. Out of the blue, Fortune spun her wheel and taught them that no one is immune to tragedy and heartbreak.

Betting on Bernie is Martha Marks’s memoir of their improbable courtship, happy and prosperous marriage, and not-so-golden “golden years.” It will make you think, wonder, laugh, and cry.

Betting on Bernie: A Memoir of A Marriage

By Martha Marks,

What is this book about?

Bernard Marks and Martha Alford met by chance. No real reason for it, just a series of fluky coincidences. The odds were long that they would hit it off. That wasn’t in the cards they’d been dealt at birth. “It’ll never last,” people whispered after they got engaged. “Poor probability of success” was the general consensus when they married. But Bernie and Martha ignored the naysayers. Gamblers in love, they rolled the dice.

And then they worked hard, took even more risks, caught a few lucky breaks, built satisfying careers, enjoyed terrific travels, and won their own version of the…


Book cover of Breakfast with Buddha

Kathryn E. Livingston Author Of Yin, Yang, Yogini: A Woman's Quest for Balance, Strength and Inner Peace

From my list on yoga memoirs to inspire you on your path.

Who am I?

Nearly 20 years ago, I awkwardly stumbled into a yoga class after a therapist informed me that I needed to do something about my anxiety issues (“Take your pick,” she said, “I’ll prescribe pills or you can try yoga.”) From the very first class, I was drawn not only to the physical practice, but to the sense that yoga could lead me deeper into my own heart and soul. I wrote a memoir about my journey—and about how yoga helped me later face and conquer breast cancer. I now teach yoga, and I love reading about how yoga changes lives—as it almost always does. 

Kathryn's book list on yoga memoirs to inspire you on your path

Kathryn E. Livingston Why did Kathryn love this book?

True, it’s fiction, so not really a memoir at all. But it reads like one in part because it’s the spiritual journey of a likable doubting Thomas (named Otto Ringling) who thinks that all that New Age-y stuff is a bunch of malarkey (there’s also an actual journey from the east coast to North Dakota). If you’ve ever questioned anything “woo-woo,” you’ll be charmed by Otto’s unlikely travel companion—an enigmatic spiritual teacher named Volya Rinpoche. At the onset, Otto is a dry, snarky, judgmental guy but he learns to listen to his heart and accept others. I used to be a lot like Otto, so his path from doubter to a believer-of-sorts spoke to me personally. Merullo has also written sequelsinvolving lunch and dinner, of course.

By Roland Merullo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When his sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed skeptic, is not amused. Six days on the road with an enigmatic holy man who answers every question with a riddle is not what he'd planned. But in an effort to westernize his passenger--and amuse himself--he decides to show the monk some "American fun" along the way. From a chocolate factory in Hershey to a bowling alley in South Bend, from a Cubs game at Wrigley field to his family farm near Bismarck, Otto is given the remarkable opportunity to…


Book cover of How to Walk Away

Kathleen Basi Author Of A Song for the Road

From my list on finding beauty in the crap life throws at you.

Who am I?

I suspect my passion for this topic was born when my doctor came into my C-section recovery room and uttered the words “chromosomal abnormality.” My daughter has Down syndrome, and full disclosure: I had zero interest in being a disability mom. Yet as I fell in love with this beautiful, funny, sassy girl, my whole worldview shifted. I am a far better person than I was when she entered my life. She has taught me the beauty and the blessing wrapped up in the things that first appear to be the most difficult. 

Kathleen's book list on finding beauty in the crap life throws at you

Kathleen Basi Why did Kathleen love this book?

Sometimes you hear about someone who’s experienced something truly terrible, and you think two things in quick succession: “Thank God that’s not me” and “How can anyone possibly recover from that?” Some people who find themselves contemplating the unthinkable—like, say, instant and permanent paralysis, as the main character of How to Walk Away—sink into bitterness, wallowing in their victimhood.

But some rise to meet the challenge and find richness and joy and a meaning to life that they didn’t even know they were missing.

That’s this book. It’s heartbreaking and inspiring and absolutely gorgeous.

By Katherine Center,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Walk Away as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she's worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiance she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiance, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting…


Book cover of Cycle of the Werewolf

Katie Marie Author Of A Man in Winter

From my list on horror with child protagonists that are not for kids.

Who am I?

Horror is my passion and most things I read and everything I write fits neatly into the genre. But I am also passionate about telling stories from a unique perspective, or if not entirely unique then at least one that is underused. My novella A Man in Winter is told from the perspective of an elderly chap with dementia for instance. I have also found that many people think books with child protagonists must be children’s books and it makes me sad to think of all the wonderful work is being missed out on, I hope that my list has convinced you to try one of the above books.

Katie's book list on horror with child protagonists that are not for kids

Katie Marie Why did Katie love this book?

I had to include at least one King book, I’m a big fan of King and this is one of his lesser-known books. 

I love this book because it’s a good and interesting story that hooked me from the first chapter and kept me till the end. 

But also, I am passionate about good representation (particularly disability representation) in the horror genre, I’m writing my PhD thesis on it. King is a mixed bag when it comes to good and bad representation but he does a good job in this one. Marty is a 10-year-old paraplegic boy who suspects a werewolf is in his town.

The story revolves around Marty hunting and defeating the beast. It’s a high stakes, exciting, and utterly plausible (if you suspend belief for the werewolf lol).

By Stephen King, Bernie Wrightson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Cycle of the Werewolf as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic masterpiece by #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King—illustrated by the legendary artist Bernie Wrightson!

Terror began in January—by the light of the full moon...

The first scream came from the snowbound railwayman who felt the werewolf’s fangs ripping at his throat. The next month there was a scream of ecstatic agony from the woman attacked in her cozy bedroom. Now scenes of unbelievable horror unfold each time the full moon shines on the isolated Maine town of Tarker’s Mills. No one knows who will be attacked next. But one thing is sure. When the full moon…


Book cover of Getting Undressed: From Paralysis to Purpose

John Willkom Author Of Walk-On Warrior: Drive, Discipline, and the Will to Win

From my list on inspiration.

Who am I?

As a former Division 1 basketball player at Marquette University and current ecommerce executive, I’m always looking for new sources of inspiration. Please enjoy my list and send me any comments on what you find inspiring!

John's book list on inspiration

John Willkom Why did John love this book?

David had a spinal aneurysm at the age of 15, and his dreams of sports, college, and his future seemed to be halted. Yet, through faith and determination, his life took on a whole new journey full of awesome experiences, people, and lessons. Similar to Goggin’s book, this story opens up your mind as to what’s possible, what matters, and why we live.

By David Cooks, Eric Wolffersdorff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

2018 Winner of the Midwest Book Awards in the category Inspiration

David's journey from the playgrounds of Milwaukee to Cameron indoor stadium and beyond, is captivating and provides a framework to find a new perspective and to build a life filled with passion and purpose. Getting Undressed is inspiring and proof that you can win in life, regardless of the circumstances.

-Mike Krzyzewski, Head Coach, Men s Basketball, Duke University

At the age of 15, high school sophomore and basketball player David Cooks experienced a spinal aneurism, leaving him a T-6 paraplegic. Refusing to let the wheelchair determine the man,…


Book cover of Crash

Leighton Gray Author Of Dream Daddy

From my list on to completely ruin your day.

Who am I?

I like to create silly, fun things. This is not the kind of content I consume. If something makes me feel bad, I generally like it; if it is also beautiful, I will like it a lot. It is through the generosity of the Shepherd team that I was allowed to flip a promo for a gay dad comic into a way for me to peer pressure you into consuming media that will make you feel bad. Consider this list an aperitif for the feel-goodness of Dream Daddy, a delicate shot glass of cyanide after a hearty meal. Bon appetit!

Leighton's book list on to completely ruin your day

Leighton Gray Why did Leighton love this book?

Cronenberg’s 1996 movie adaptation (not the one that won many Oscars and is bad) captures Ballard’s sensual mechanical fetishism and apocalyptic consumerism perfectly. It is a 120-minute-long sex scene in a carousel of mangled metal. It is probably the best adaptation of prose to film I can think of, which is bolstered by the sheer strength of the book itself. Crash (again, not the 2006 one, the car crash sex one) is by far Cronenberg’s horniest feature, and that’s saying something. Uh. I didn’t mean to just talk about the movie. I should probably talk about the book. The book is very good. I’m deathly afraid of car accidents, and reading about them through Ballard’s dreamy, eroticized lens is a capital-E Experience. Truly one of my favorites.

By J.G. Ballard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The definitive cult, post-modern novel - a shocking blend of violence, transgression and eroticism - reissued with a new introduction from Zadie Smith.

When Ballard, our narrator, smashes his car into another and watches a man die in front of him, he finds himself drawn with increasing intensity to the mangled impacts of car crashes. Robert Vaughan, a former TV scientist turned nightmare angel of the expressway, has gathered around him a collection of alienated crash victims and experiments with a series of auto-erotic atrocities, each more sinister than the last. But Vaughan craves the ultimate crash - a head-on…


Book cover of Concrete Island

Leah Modigliani Author Of Counter Revanchist Art in the Global City: Walls, Blockades, and Barricades as Repertoires of Creative Action

From my list on moving through the city with newly critical eyes.

Who am I?

Since the age of seven, I've been conscious of the need to bypass how one is supposed to do things. I realized then that my grandmother could not pursue a writing career because she was also a woman and a wife; a cautionary tale I took to heart since I was already beginning to identify as an artist. I'm driven to uncover how we recognize what we see, and how forces beyond our control engender or foreclose upon new ways of being in the world. A professional life lived in the arts has allowed the fullest flexibility for exploring these ideas as one is generally encouraged to think differently.

Leah's book list on moving through the city with newly critical eyes

Leah Modigliani Why did Leah love this book?

This castaway story, about a man trapped on a concrete island under and between converging freeways on the outskirts of London, still stands the test of time.

I found it especially resonant during the imposed isolation of the global pandemic; all of us each marooned in our living rooms. The protagonist, architect Robert Maitland, has to learn to survive and thrive in reduced and restricted circumstances, and he can’t buy or build his way out of it.

When he finally discovers a way off the island he no longer really wants to leave, reminding us that we are sometimes most effectively imprisoned by our own minds and desires.  

By J.G. Ballard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On a day in April, just after three o'clock in the afternoon, Robert Maitland's car crashes over the concrete parapet of a high-speed highway onto the island below, where he is injured and, finally, trapped. What begins as an almost ludicrous predicament soon turns into horror as Maitland-a wickedly modern Robinson Crusoe-realizes that, despite evidence of other inhabitants, this doomed terrain has become a mirror of his own mind. Seeking the dark outer rim of the everyday, Ballard weaves private catastrophe into an intensely specular allegory in Concrete Island.


Book cover of A Death in the Family

Nicholas Montemarano Author Of If There Are Any Heavens: A Memoir

From my list on grief: literary companions after loss.

Who am I?

My most recent book, If There Are Any Heavens, tells the story of my mother’s death from COVID-19 at the peak of the pandemic in America. As I wrote this book, I returned to some of the most powerful books I had read about grief. Because my book is a memoir in verse, I found myself reading mostly memoirs and poetry. My previous books are all fiction—three novels and a short story collection. No matter the book or genre, I’m attuned to the sonic qualities of the writing. My favorite writing, the kind I aspire to, strives for the emotional immediacy of music.

Nicholas' book list on grief: literary companions after loss

Nicholas Montemarano Why did Nicholas love this book?

James Agee might be one of the most underappreciated American writers of the 20th century and one of its great stylists. I splurged for a first-edition hardcover of this novel: its pages smell like 1957, the year it was published, two years after Agee died suddenly at 45. It won the Pulitzer Prize. Its famous prologue, “Knoxville: Summer 1915,” is a masterpiece. This autobiographical novel, largely based on the death of Agee’s father in 1915, tells the story of a boy’s father killed in a car accident. It is an alternately quiet and lyrical work that is as much about love as loss.

By James Agee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Death in the Family as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic American novel, re-published for the 100th anniversary of James Agee's birth

Published in 1957, two years after its author's death at the age of forty-five, A Death in the Family remains a near-perfect work of art, an autobiographical novel that contains one of the most evocative depictions of loss and grief ever written. As Jay Follet hurries back to his home in Knoxville, Tennessee, he is killed in a car accident-a tragedy that destroys not only a life, but also the domestic happiness and contentment of a young family. A novel of great courage, lyric force, and powerful…


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