Best Books of 2016

Best Books of 2016

S&H’s Favorite Guides for Walking the Seeker’s Path Book Giveaway: Visit by January 31, 2017, and enter to win a collection of select titles.

S&H’s Favorite Guides for Walking the Seeker’s Path

Book Giveaway: Visit by January 31, 2017, and enter to win a collection of select titles.

When Breath Becomes Air 0

When Breath Becomes Air 

by Paul Kalanithi Random House

Written with eloquence, insight, and a healthy measure of humor, When Breath Becomes Air captures the thoughts and memories of neurosurgeon Kalanithi just before his death from lung cancer in March 2015. Having devoted his previous 10 years to the preservation of life, Kalanithi was in a unique position to reflect on mortality as he faced it himself at age 37.  —Damon Orion

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Grace without God 

The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age by Katherine Ozment Harper Wave

Ozment went on a quest to find grace without God, and during her exploration, met with everyone from theoretical physicists to grief experts to “agnostic-atheist-humanists,” to see how they and others are creating meaningful rituals and connected lives, sans religion.  —Kathryn Drury Wagner

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A Search for Faith in a Violent Religious World by Dennis Covington Little, Brown

Covington interweaves his personal stories into his accounts of travels to violent places, where he searches for signs of faith and hope. What he mostly finds, and describes vividly, is religious strife and brutality, with small moments of grace.  —Sam Mowe

Grace In Living

The Grace in Living 

Recognize It, Trust It, Abide in It by Kathleen Dowling Singh Wisdom Publications

Singh offers an intriguing how-to on a contemplative exercise: spiritual biography. It has its roots in namtars, a practice used centuries ago in Tibet, and writing one offers us a vantage point from the middle of our life’s journey—it’s a way to see and acknowledge the times we have already brushed against grace.  —KDW

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Tears to Triumph 

The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment by Marianne Williamson HarperOne

When depression is seen as the problem, Williamson believes we are not looking deeply enough at the human condition. She says that depression is, at its heart, a symptom of being disconnected from the divine.  —Kalia Kelmenson

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Two Dogs and a Parrot 

What Our Animal Friends Can Teach Us About Life by Joan Chittister BlueBridge

Why do we love pets? Because, through them, we “cling to nature in a world made of glass and steel that has divided us from it,” maintains the author of this deceptively simple set of lessons that our animal companions can teach us about living in this crowded world. —Anneli Rufus

Buddhas Daughters

In Search of Buddha’s Daughters

A Modern Journey Down Ancient Roads by Christine Toomey The Experiment

In chapters that trace the author’s journey around the world, Toomey tells readers of nuns in Nepal practicing kung fu, a Zen Buddhist nun in Japan who has won literary prizes for erotic fiction, and other surprising and inspiring stories that shed light on what is for many the unfamiliar world of Buddhist women.  —SM

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Inner Engineering

A Yogi’s Guide to Joy by Sadhguru Spiegel & Grau

“Fun” isn’t usually the first word to spring to mind when it comes to the writings of Indian gurus, but that description applies to the latest in a long list of books by Jaggi Vasudev, better known as Sadhguru. He has honed his ability to communicate mystical concepts in an informal, accessible way, presenting perspectives and practices designed to further the author’s stated goal of helping “make joy your constant companion.”  —DO

Awake At The Bedside

Awake at the Bedside 

Contemplative Teachings on Palliative and End-of-Life Care Edited by Koshin Paley Ellison and Matt Weingast Wisdom Publications

Through a wide range of voices, Awake at the Bedside explores both the personal and social aspects of caregiving at the end of life. Many of the essays, poems, and teachings suggest that, while the process of dying is often difficult and painful, there is something beautiful and true about fully showing up for it.  —SM

Call To Mercy

A Call to Mercy 

Hearts to Love, Hands to Serve by Mother Teresa Image Books

Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata was canonized by Pope Francis on September 4th, coinciding with the conclusion of his Year of Mercy jubilee, honoring those engaged in works of mercy. It’s hard to comprehend how she could have such superhuman fortitude; such unbelievable selflessness; such passion for Christ; such an ability to transcend physical disgust. Then you realize, Ah, of course. That’s what makes her a saint.  —KDW

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A Mind of Your Own

The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim their Lives by Kelly Brogan, MD Harper Collins

Based on extensive research and work with her patients, Dr. Brogan explores the role of inflammation in mental disorders. She emphasizes the importance of healing the body in order to heal the mind.  —KK

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The Mind–Gut Connection 

How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health by Emeran Mayer, MD Harper Wave

It’s no surprise to the reader that diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome are connected to the delicate balance of flora in the gut. More shocking, though, is the role of microbes in disorders such as anxiety and depression, and our reactions to stress.  —KDW

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A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant Crown Publishing Group

New research is revealing the close interaction between our brains and our immune systems, and how this power can be harnessed to heal the body in profound ways.  —KDW

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