The best Leo Tolstoy books 📚

Browse the best books on Leo Tolstoy as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of My Religion, What Shall We Do? & The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

My Religion, What Shall We Do? & The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

By Leo Tolstoi

Why this book?

When a clearly enlightened spiritual master speaks to us, our first reaction is often resistance because the message is designed to end the reign of egocentricity and return us to Authentic Being. To me, everything Leo Tolstoy wrote in his maturity offers the same possibility, but none so starkly as My Religion. As with reading Mahatma Gandhi, we have the opportunity to witness the deep practice of an aspirant grappling with transcending the suffering of the human condition, in much the same way John of the Cross describes the “dark night of the soul.” It illustrates every person’s spiritual…

From the list:

The best books about Zen awareness practice

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Book cover of Papa Panov's Special Christmas

Papa Panov's Special Christmas

By Leo Tolstoy

Why this book?

This heart-warming tale is a true Christmas classic. A lonely old shoemaker dreams that Jesus will come and visit him, so he eagerly anticipates the event, hoping to make him a special pair of shoes. Instead, his heart is tugged by others in need, and he helps three different people, from a street sweeper to a beggar. Finally, he gives up waiting for Christ to visit and realizes it was only a dream. But then he hears the voice of Jesus and learns that Jesus came to him in every person he helped that day.
From the list:

The best classic Christmas books

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Book cover of The Death Of Ivan Ilych

The Death Of Ivan Ilych

By Leo Tolstoy

Why this book?

Though written 150 years ago, Tolstoy’s novella describes the life of an intensely goal-oriented person who is very much like many of our contemporaries—perhaps very much like us. Intent on marrying well, ascending to the top of social order, achieving wealth and power, he is marvelously successful—until he begins to have a pain in his side that turns out to be world-shattering. This may seem to be too dark for a “best book on spiritual breakthrough.” But perhaps such breakthroughs happen differently from how we imagine them.

From the list:

The best books on spiritual breakthrough

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Book cover of The Forged Coupon: and Other Stories

The Forged Coupon: and Other Stories

By Leo Tolstoy

Why 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. 

From the list:

The best books on religious experience

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Book cover of Laurus: The International Bestseller

Laurus: The International Bestseller

By Eugene Vodolazkin, Lisa C. Hayden

Why this book?

This book is brimming with themes that are super meaningful to me—love, loss, healing, the nature of reality, time travel, spirituality, faith, and redemption. He does this through language that waxes poetic in a formal, archaic voice, dropping into and out of time, occasionally lapsing into a hilarious, modern tone. Laurus, the protagonist, reminds me of myself, a holy fool, who believes in the healing power of mercy and compassion. As well, he keeps one foot in this world and the other in a mystical realm to which he longs to return.   

From the list:

The best fantasy books that explore love, loss, family, healing, and redemption

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Book cover of Du côté de chez Swann

Du côté de chez Swann

By Marcel Proust

Why this book?

When it comes to finding inspiration in our memories, Marcel Proust is literature’s gold standard. The French novelist devoted the balance of his life to the art of refracting his memories through the lens of his writerly self. Proust understood implicitly that our memories are triggered by sensory experiences—sights, sounds, smells, and touch, to be sure—but most especially through the pleasures of the text. In Du côté de chez Swann, the first volume of his epic À la recherche du temps perdu, Proust interrogates the ways in which memory is catalyzed by the senses, while comprehending, at the…

From the list:

The best novels for finding inspiration

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