Nine Books on Hope in Troubled Times

SUBMITTED BY JENÉ WATSON

Bibliotherapy is based on the idea that books can play an important part in coping with trauma and varied life challenges.  This list is intended as literary antidote to the spate of global violence in recent headline news, and all selections can be found in the GCPL catalog. Also, please stay tuned for a related post featuring books for children.  

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All About Love: Favorite Selections from In the Spirit on Living Fearlessly by Susan L. Taylor

Before Oprah, Susan Taylor (former Editor-in-Chief of Essence magazine) was one who many turned to for spiritual advice.  This book collects the insights shared in her long-running column.

 

Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations edited by Matthew Fox

Fox is a former priest and spiritual elder.  Here, he brings together the words of ancient and modern voices to celebrate the “love of the earth and the body, and a fierce commitment to community, compassion, celebrative rituals and justice-making.”

 

The Cushion in the Road: Meditation and Wandering as the Whole World Awakens to Being in Harm’s Way by Alice Walker 

Alice Walker’s writings often draw upon her Southern Protestant upbringing, her reverence for nature and her Buddhist practice.  This collection includes letters, observations about current events and chapters bearing titles like “A Recipe for Difficult Times: Anxiety Soup.”

 

Good Citizens: Creating Enlightened Society by Thich Nhat Hanh  

Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh has earned a devoted following because of his unwavering commitment to promoting individual as well as global peace.  Here, he directly addresses concerns such as violence and terrorism.

 

Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott 

Novelist and nonfiction writer Anne Lamott’s signature blend of humor and sincerity has caused her to be recognized by many as the “People’s Author.” In this sleek, slender volume she speaks on the no-nonsense way to approach problems through prayer.

 

In a Single Garment of Destiny: A Global Vision of Justice by Martin Luther King, Jr. 

A collection of King’s speeches addressing topics such as poverty, global community and the need for interfaith dialogue with each thematic section introduced by historian, author and professor Lewis V. Baldwin.

 

One Buddha Is Not Enough: A Story of Collective Awakening by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Monks and Nuns of Plum Village  

This book speaks about the importance of the sangha or spiritual community and “is dedicated to the idea that awakening is a collective process, and that we and our community are our own most important teachers.”

 

Healing Your Grieving Soul: 100 Spiritual Practices for Mourners by Alan Wolfelt

Though expressly written for those coping with the loss of immediate friends or loved ones, this text offers straightforward exercises likely to also be effective for those wounded by collective loss.

 

Visions of a Better World: Howard Thurman’s Pilgrimage to India and the Origins of African American Nonviolence by Quinton Dixie and Peter Eisenstadt 

Thought-leader and clergyman Howard Thurman had a profound influence on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.  This book traces the ways that Gandhi’s teaching by way of Thurman helped galvanize the 20th century U.S. Civil Rights Movement.