The Most Uplifting and Inspiring Books That This Curmudgeon Could Find

I am pretty much ready to book a one way ticket to Nepal. Live with a Zen master in a cave. Try to find bliss by being at one with the itchiness of life (by avoiding it completely). Myself. Others? Oh brother.

Anyway, I've decided to compile a list of potentially inspiring and uplifting books becomes nobody likes a perma-victim (especially not Kate Carraway, and I agree with her):
  1. A New Earth: Don't hate, hater. I'm a quarter of the way through this baby and it is fan-tastic. Are you tired of relating to people through pre-constructed roles? Do you wish that underneath your substantial ego was a strong sense of self-knowledge and self-worth? Are you tired of being unhappy and then using that unhappiness as your primarily raison d'etre? Do you compulsively reiterate your misery tale to yourself and everyone else? Are you a human being?? Then you need this frickin' book! I want to do a post about this when I'm done and we can chat.

  2. Savor: I was ignorant of Thich Nhat Hanh's existence until I read this recent Oprah interview with the Zen Buddhist master. And was totally taken with him. Say what you want about appropriating other culture's religions but I've always had a strong interest in Eastern philosophy. It just jives with me better than Anglicism. You can practically feel this man's positive energy just by reading the interview. That's why I'm looking forward to reading Savor, his recent book about mindful eating.

  3. Discover The Power Within You: This is an old Oprah fave (good old Oprah!) and it's now on my library hold list. It's about discovering the abundance within you which is sort of like Tolle's deal (finding your true self, sans ego). I've noticed that these self-help books really circle around one concept but it's my belief that language is often insufficient to express truth and so it's irresponsible just to read one person's version of that truth. Hell, that's why literary writers will never run out of material.

  4. The Authenticity Hoax: Just in case you think that being "extra authentic" (i.e. eating organic, buying bamboo flooring, using non-toxic paint and staying at an eco-resort) will cure all that ills, this book will cure you of that notion. Potter argues that our desire for authenticity is what makes us unhappy in the first place. According to May's issue of The Walrus, Potter is out to score points against lefties but his hypothesis sure contains food for thought.

  5. Solitude:I'm still holding on to my back up plan of being a cave-dwelling Zen master (or at least booking one of these silent retreats listed in Toronto Life) so Patagonia: Seeking Widsom in Extremes, A Year Alone in the Patagonia Wilderness is right up my ally. The guy only has one leg and he lived on an island off Chile for an entire year. I know you think that's awful enough but can you imagine living alone with your demons and none of the usual distractions of modern life (TV, Internet, 30% off sales at the Gap)? Zeus! I can't wait to read this.

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