I. Favorite books for adults
The books featured here are my inspiration. I will add titles as I continue to learn about alternative economies, creativity, generosity, kindness, mind-body balance, T’ai chi, Aikido, meditation, and philosophies of existence, Zen & Tibetan Buddhism, and Stoicism. The meaning of life, and how to live a life of meaning in troubled disheartening times. How to conspire with my brethren among Black Americans, so the future is better for all. I welcome suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bayles, David and Ted Orland. Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking. Santa Barbara, CA: Capra Press, 1993.
Benjamin, Walter. Illuminations. Trans. Harry Zohn. New York: Schocken Books, 1969. Esp. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” pp. 217-251.
Berger, Sioux. Dix minutes pour être zen. Paris: Marabout, 2013.
Bregman, Rutger. Utopia for Realists and How We Can Get There. Trans. Elizabeth Manton. London: Bloomsbury, 2017.
Brinkmann, Sven. Stand Firm: Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze. New York: Wiley, 2017.
Cohen, Gabriel. “Of Course I’m Angry.” In Right Here with You: Bringing Mindful Awareness into our Relationships. Ed. Andrea Miller et al. Boston: Shambhala, 2011, pp. 142-149.
Dickens, Charles. David Copperfield. (1850). New York: Penguin Classics, 2004.
Dobson, Terry and Victor Miller. Aikido in Everyday Life: Giving in to Get Your Way. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1993.
Epictetus. The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness. Trans. Sharon Lebell. New York: HarperCollins, 1995.
Frankl, Viktor E. Man’s Search for Meaning. Trans. Ilse Lasch. Boston: Beacon Press, 1959.
Also inspiring is this rare video footage of Viktor Frankl, “Why Believe in Others.”
Gibson-Graham, J.K. A Postcapitalist Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006.
Gilman, Michael. 101 Réflexions sur le taïchi-chuan. Trans. Serge Mairet. Noisy-sur-Ecole : Budo Editions, 2000.
Giovanni, Nikki. A Good Cry: What We Learn from Tears and Laughter. New York: William Morrow, 2017.
Hahn, Thich Nhat. The Art of Mindful Living. New York: Sounds True, 2000.
Harper, Michele. The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir. New York: Riverhead Books, 2020.
Hui, Ta. Swampland Flowers: The Letters and Lectures of Zen Master Ta Hui. Trans. Christopher Cleary. New York: Grove Press, 1977.
Kalanithi, Paul. When Breath Becomes Air. New York: Random House, 2016.
Katie, Byron with Stephen Mitchell. Loving What Is: Four Questions that can Change Your Life. New York: Three Rivers Press (Random House), 2003.
Kingsolver, Barbara. The Poisonwood Bible. New York: Harper Perennial, 1999.
Klein, Bob. Movements of Magic: The Spirit of T’ai-Chi-Chuan. North Hollywood, CA: Newcastle Pub. Co., 1984.
Klein, Bob. Movements of Power: Ancient Secrets of Unleashing Instinctual Vitality. North Hollywood, CA: Newcastle Pub. Co., 1990.
Lama Surya Das, Buddha Is as Buddha Does. The Ten Original Practices for Enlightened Living. New York: HarperOne, 2008.
Lama Surya Das, Buddha Standard Time. Awakening to the Infinite Possibilities of Now. New York: HarperOne, 2011.
Linn, Vaddhaka. The Buddha on Wall Street: What’s Wrong with Capitalism and What We Can Do About It. Cambridge, UK: Windhorse Pub., 2015.
Llewellyn, Tom. “Man’s Best Friend? How about Man’s Best Teacher!” Tacoma News Tribune (Jan. 1, 2018).
Louden, Sharon, ed. Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists. Chicago and Bristol: Intellect, University of Chicago Press, 2013.
Marcus Aurelius. Meditations. Trans. George Long. Mineola, NY: Dover Pub. Inc., 1997.
Marglin, Stephen A. The Dismal Science: How Thinking Like an Economist Undermines Community. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008.
Mason, Paul T. and Randi Kreger. Stop Walking on Eggshells, 2nd. ed. Oakland, CA: New Harbingers Pub., 2010.
McClane, Kenneth A. Color: Essays on Race, Family, and History. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009.
Merullo, Roland. Breakfast with Buddha. New York: Algonquin, 2008. For ND and Midwestern friends: you’ll love his visit to Youngstown OH and South Bend, IN, including meals at Siam restaurant and a colorful taqueria downtown and a memorable lecture before a reluctant audience at Notre Dame!
Merullo, Roland. Lunch with Buddha. New York: AJAR Contemporaries, 2012.
Merullo, Roland. Dinner with Buddha: A Novel. New York: Algonquin, 2016. All three of these road trip / meditation lessons / humorous novels of family life and comments on American and Tibetan cultures are worth reading and rereading. The audiobooks are wonderful thanks to the comedic timing and Tibetan accent of the reader playing the Rinpoche (brother-in-law of the hero): a sage who proffers wisdom as they drive around the American West. These three Buddha books (via audiobooks from the Seattle Public Library) were a delightful pandemic-time discovery…
Mingyur, Yongey, Rinpoche with Eric Swanson. Joyful Wisdom: Embracing Change and Finding Freedom. NY: Harmony, 2009.
Nelson, Miriam E., PhD and Sarah Wernick, PhD. Strong Women Stay Young. New York: Bantam, 2006.
Osler, William, Sir. Osler’s ‘Way of Life’ and Other Addresses, with Commentary and Annotations, ed. Shigeaki Hinohara and Hisae Niki. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001.
Ozeki, Ruth. A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel. New York: Penguin, 2013.
Parry, Robert. Taïchi. À tout âge, à tout moment, en tout lieu. Paris: Editions de l’éveil, 1997.
Perl, Grazyna. Quand la fleur se fâne, où s’en va son parfum? Enseignements d’un maître zen. Paris : Seuil, 2011.
Pontoppidan, Henrik. Lucky Per. (1904). Trans. Naomi Lebowitz. New York: Everyman’s Library, 2019.
Ralston, Peter. Cheng Hsin: The Principles of Effortless Power. Berkeley, CA: Blue Snake Books, 1989.
Sacks, Oliver. The River of Consciousness. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017.
Sangharakshita (trans.). Dhammapada (The Way of Truth). Cambridge, UK: Windhorse Publications, 2001.
Shu, Wuling. Path to Peace. Chicago: Amitabha Pub., 2005.
Sincero, Jen. You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Philadelphia: Running Press, 2013.
Subhadramati. Not About Being Good: A Practical Guide to Buddhist Ethics. Cambridge, UK: Windhorse Publications, 2013.
Sze, Mai-Mai. The Tao of Painting: With a Translation of the Seventeenth-Century ‘Chieh Tzŭ Yüan Hua Chuan’ or Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting (1679-1701). 2nd ed. New York: Pantheon, 1963.
Tharp, Twyla. The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use it for Life. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2003.
Thoreau, Henry David. Walden and Civil Disobedience. 1st ed. 1854. Ed. Michael Meyer. New York: Penguin Books, 1983.
Tolle, Eckhart. A New Earth: Awakening to your Life’s Purpose. New York: Penguin “Plume,” 2005.
Ulou, Ijeoma. So You Want to Talk About Race. New York: Seal Press, 2016.
Wan-li, Yang. Heaven My Blanket, Earth My Pillow. Poems from Sung Dynasty China. Trans. Jonathan Chaves. New York: Weatherhill, 1975.
Watts, Alan. The Way of Zen. New York, Vintage, 1957.
Watts, Alan. The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety. New York: Vintage, 1951. (And anything else by Alan Watts.)
Wilhelm, Hellmut. Change: Eight Lectures on the I-Ching. Trans. Cary F. Baynes. Bollingen Series LXII. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1960.
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, 1925.
Yee, Chiang. Chinese Calligraphy: An Introduction to its Aesthetic and Technique. 3rd ed. (1st ed. 1938). Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973. With foreword by Sir Herbert Read.
II. Favorite books for children and their friends
Since one of the lines featured by my new business is original illustrated children’s books, it is only right to share some favorite titles. Many of these books have inspired the altered books created by kids in the free workshops I’ve been teaching since 2012 in the Write YOUR Story program. You can view our books here: “Write YOUR Story.” Enjoy!
***Wonderful Books from the Lands that Gave us Zen and T’ai Chi***
Hsing-pei, Wang. Monkey Subdues the White-Bone Demon. Illus. Chao Hung-pen and Chien Hsiao-tai. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1973.
Mosel, Arlene. Tikki Tikki Tembo. Illus. Blair Lent. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1968.
Pattison, Darcy. The River Dragon. Illus. Jean and Mou-Sien Tseng. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1991.
Sanders, Tao Tao Liu. Dragons, Gods & Spirits from Chinese Mythology. Illus. Johnny Pau. New York: Peter Bedrick Books, 1980.
Sakade, Florence, ed. Urashimo Taro and Other Japanese Children’s Stories. Illus. Yoshio Hayashi. Rutland, VT and Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1959.
*** Other Wonderful Children’s Books ***
Bemelmans, Ludwig. Madeline’s Rescue. New York: Viking Press, 1953.
Brumbeau, Jeff. The Quilt Maker’s Gift. Illus. Gail de Marcken. New York: Scholastic Press, 2000.
Brunhoff, Jean de. The Story of Babar the Little Elephant. Trans. Merle S. Haas. New York: Random House, 1933.
Cali, Davide and Serge Bloch. L’ennemi. Paris: Editions Sarbacane, 2007.
Chamoiseau, Patrick. Creole Folktales. Trans. Linda Coverdale. New York: The New Press, 1994.
D’Aulaire, Ingri and Edgar Parin. D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths. New York: Delacorte Press / Random House, 1962.
Day, Alexandra. The Fairy Dogfather. Seattle, WA: Laughing Elephant / Green Tiger Press, 2012.
Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm. Trans. Lucy Crane (1886 ed.) Illus. Walter Crane. Dover Editions.
Heyward, DuBose. The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes. Illus. Marjorie Flack. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1939.
Johnson, Crockett. Harold and the Purple Crayon. New York: Harper & Row, 1955.
Krauss, Ruth. A Hole is to Dig. A First Book of Definitions. Illus. Maurice Sendak. New York: Harper & Bros., 1952.
Leaf, Munro. The Story of Ferdinand. Illus. Robert Lawson. New York: Penguin, 1936.
Lenski, Lois. The Little Auto. (And entire Mr. Small series of 9 books). New York: Random House, 1934.
Mahy, Margaret. The Great White Man-Eating Shark. A Cautionary Tale. Illus. Jonathan Allen. New York: Puffin / Penguin, 1990.
Mayer, Mercer. The Queen Always Wanted to Dance. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1971.
McCloskey, Robert. Make Way for Ducklings. New York: Viking, 1941.
McDermott, Gerald. Anasi the Spider. A Tale from the Ashanti. New York: Landmark Production, 1975.
McDermott, Gerald. Papagayo, the Mischief Maker. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992.
McDermott, Gerald. Raven. A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest. New York: Harcourt, 1993.
McDonald, Betty. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. Illus. Hilary Knight. (And the series of four Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books). New York: Random House, 1957.
Pelly, Kathleen T. Magnus Maximus, A Marvelous Measurer. Illus. S. D. Schindler. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010.
Perrault, Charles. Puss in Boots. Illus. Fred Marcellino. Trans. Malcolm Arthur. New York: Farar Straus Giroux, 1990.
Polacco, Patricia. Thank You, Mr. Falker. New York: Penguin, 1998. And anything by Patricia Polacco.
Ringgold, Faith. Tar Beach. New York: Dragonfly Books, 1996. And everything by Faith Ringgold.
Ross, Christine. The Whirleys and the West Wind. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin Co., 1993.
Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are; Chicken Soup with Rice, and anything by Sendak!
III. Favorite poems
Angelou, Maya. “Phenomenal Woman” in And Still I Rise (1978)
Brontë, Emily. “Tell Me, Tell Me, Smiling Child” in Poems (1910)
Giovanni, Nikki. “Rita Dove” in A Good Cry (2017)
Hung-tao, Yüan. “Songs of the Bamboo Branches” in Pilgrim of the Clouds, trans. Jonathan Chaves (1978). (Originally written ca. 1588-1610)
Stevenson, Robert Louis. “Foreign Lands” in A Child’s Garden of Verses (1885)
Wan-li, Yang. “Red Peonies in a Vase” and “Reading” in Heaven My Blanket, Earth My Pillow, Poems from Sung-Dynasty China, trans. Jonathan Chaves (1975). (Originally written 1162-1206)