My first two books on my eReader are Lit by Mary Karr and Braindead Megaphone by George Saunders — two of my favorite writers. George Saunders is one of America’s best and landed on my list at #25. Will Mary Karr be on this list? Time will tell. Still both writers are inspiring by their talent at storytelling and ability to use smart language in all of their works. These two books are no exception.
And now counting down from 20…
Chaos and Beyond
by Robert Anton Wilson
This odd collection of essays feels either out of date or far ahead of its time. When I first read this book in the mid-1990s, C&B was groundbreaking. It opened doors to philosophical ideas that still remain ajar in my mind. While written mostly by, one of my personal favorite writers, Wilson, other contributors include: Timothy Leary, Linus Pauling, George Carlin and Barbara Marx Hubbard, among others. After reading this one, all I did was write for a month. I believe Chaos and Beyond is long out of print and a tough find. So, I recommend the Cosmic Trigger series as a fun RAW substitute.
The World’s Religions
by Huston Smith
Whether you are a believer of not, there is no denying religion as a driving force to much of humanity. I would argue, believers or not, it is simply not enough to know something about one religion and almost nothing about others. Smith offers a unique insight into some of the world’s most influential religions in a positive intuitive way. As a reader, I can see his passion in attempting to get at the roots of all of religion and his enthusiasm is infectious. Smith finds the humanity in each and comes away as honest in his assessment and authentic in his explanations.
by Three Initiates
It would take far too long to discuss and explain who the “Three Initiates” were and the origins of Hermetic philosophy. I have added this book here because I have read it countless times and always find something intriguing in its pages that can be viewed as life affirming or life-changing. When I read it, I was young and open and this tomb from 1912 tapped into a personal well-spring that wanted to believe everything in the world could make sense. At the time, it made me say, “Wow!” I went on to produce a ton of bad, but hopeful, poetry. 100 hundred years later, I still find it relevant.
Writing Down the Bones
by Natalie Goldberg
I think this was the first book I bought about writing, and I loved it. I was in my early twenties and the idea of writing from the heart and creating a writer’s life was new. I wrote story after story and fell in love with many of short essays Goldberg had written. Twenty-something years later, I am not sure the book holds the same water it once did, but for a time it was incredibly inspirational and a useful tool for a newer writer
The Things They Carried
by Tim O’Brien
One of the best examples of truth in fiction. Sure, the book is technically a work of fiction (not fact), but there is no doubt to its authenticity (truth) on every page. After reading a few pages, there is not reason to be concerned about its factual-ness due to its ability to touch the reader with something far more important than simple information or storytelling.