My top 9 must-read inspiring books

Hi Sweet Friends,

The first leaves of fall are starting to pop up at my farmette and the slight chill in the air has me reaching for my cozy sweaters. I don’t know about you, but when the weather starts to cool down, I start thinking about my grade school days. And even though it’s been a decade or two-ish (ahem) since I started my mornings in homeroom, I’m still perpetually in school (and I still buy new notebooks). Life itself has grown into one big ole workshop fueled by inspiring books and I don’t even want to skip class these days!

If you’re familiar with my journey, you know that I became a full-time health sleuth after my diagnosis. Books were my teachers, the Internet was my classroom and blood tests were my grades. Over the years, reading has become as much a part of my health practice as meditating (my nightstand is actually hazardous). I dog-ear pages. I highlight. I re-read and then read again. I scribble in the margins. I have a personal relationship with my books.

Nowadays, what really gets my gray matter fired up is reading about mental, spiritual and emotional health. After years of crunching numbers to figure out all my necessary nutrients and becoming snuggly familiar with anatomy (and my excrements!), I can’t wait to sit down with books that ignite my creative lighter fluid. Whether it’s about writing well, staying sane or exploring why our magnificent brains work in certain ways, I’m immersed in the wellness of the mind.

So, I curated some of my favorite tiles, covering my go-to resources, most loved page-turners, plus a few super-exciting titles that will be hitting the shelves this fall. Sharpen your pencils, friends. Class is in session!

My top 10 must-read inspiring books list

Broken Open, Elizabeth Lesser
Life gets messy. That’s always gonna be true. But it’s what we do in those messy times—and, particularly, what we get out of them—that make them worthwhile and interesting. Elizabeth uses her own deeply personal and gloriously raw experiences to guide readers through being open in the hard times. She’s one of my favorite writers and this book in particular contains countless soul aha’s. It’s sorta like my spiritual woobie.

How to Meditate, by Pema Chodron
Straightforward and kind. Those are two amazing qualities in any person, but they’re especially important in a meditation maestro. Yes, there are many books that tell you why you should meditate, but Pema makes it available to even the most fidgety of folks.

The Law of Divine Compensation, by Marianne Williamson
Putting your principles into action is what this book is all about. Marianne, as many of you probably already know, is one of the country’s best-loved spirituality writers. In this book, she makes the ideas laid out in A Course in Miracles accessible, and applies them to our financial well-being.

Mom & Me & Mom, by Maya Angelou
My mom gave me this book so we could connect further expand our relationship—and we did just that. This book is a spiritual memoir page turner! And the roller coaster ride these two women went on is cinema-worthy—as is the profound love, respect and forgiveness that shaped their relationship. There’s no one quite like Maya to explore what it means to be a daughter, then her own woman, and then discover a relationship with her mother again. Oh, and there is definitely no one like Maya Angelou’s mother! As my own grandma would say “She’s a pistol packing mama”—literally!

Money: A Love Story, by Kate Northrup
What I love about this book is Kate’s approach. Sure, there are a zillion books out there that teach you how to set up savings accounts. But Kate nails the root of our money insecurities. She knows that when we truly value ourselves, we can heal our relationship with money, and then spend in a way that lines up with who we are at our core. Kate recently visited the farmette and I just loved chatting with her in this quick video! Check it out.

Red Hot & Holy, by Sera Beak
Do you have a unique relationship with the Divine (that’s big D, not divine as in chocolate)? My sweet friend Sera does, but it took her years of trial, tribulation and a few ooh la la saucy encounters to settle down. This woman is wild and free and on fire. Red Hot & Holy (another spiritual page turner) will take your on a ride! It’s sexual, ripped open, devout and filled with the sort of realness that very few authors dare to reveal. I. Was. Blown. Away.

The Tapping Solution, by Nick Ortner
Tapping (aka Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT) has been one of the most valuable practices that I’ve embraced in my daily life. It helps me work through mental and physical challenges with relative ease and it’s literally at my fingertips at any moment. I adore this book, and as many of you know, I also adore Nick Ortner. Though he’s my brother from another mother, I’m not playing favorite when I say that this book will change your life. If you’ve ever wondered how tapping really works, Nick backs up the “how” here with the “why,” including the science behind tapping. For a quick introduction, step into my kitchen. In this video, Nick and I lead you through the basic EFT practice—it’ll take five minutes to learn!

True Refuge, by Tara Brach
I’m in deep awe of Tara Brach and I need more of her in my life! This book is a way home—home to yourself. Tara breaks down the illusions and, as she calls them, “false refuges” that can distract us when we’re seeking ourselves. She reminds readers that the true refuge is accepting the present, and all that it brings. Like so many Buddhist teachings, this sounds a lot more simple than it actually is! But Tara really makes it doable with her teachings in this priceless book.

Why I Wake Early, by Mary Oliver
Oh, poetry. Just writing the word makes me feel more interesting. Ha! But in all seriousness, there’s something subtle and grounding about the way that Mary uses her short, neat words. This book in particular celebrates all the many wonderful parts of nature. I often read poetry before I start writing. It gets the muse juices flowing. And since I love spirit and nature so much, Mary is a go-to source. Once again, my mom turned me on to her work (sheesh, that woman has good taste!).

Your turn: What book has inspired you lately?

Peace & page turners,

Kris Carr

P.S. Want more daily inspiration?

Check out my Self-Care for Busy People meditation album by listening to the Pep Talk meditation for free. Each track on the album is under 15 minutes, making it easy to fit a mindfulness practice into your busy, beautiful life.