Josh & Megan's "Books of Inspiration"

By Underground Books

By Underground Books

The Power of Myth

Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers

$17.00 $15.64

Josh ~ Campbell's book helped translate my early obsession with fantasy literature into a more sophisticated understanding of how we use stories to create meaning in our lives, and turned me on to other scholarly works related to mysticism and spirituality.

Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 1

Neale Donald Walsch

$24.00 $22.08

Josh ~ The CWG series of books by Neale Donald Walsch was my first introduction to the "New Thought" movement, and outlined the a comprehensive new age cosmology that was very mind opening for me at the time.


Daniel Quinn

$18.00 $16.56

Josh ~ Quinn's classic fictional work of a Socratic ape guiding us through a fundamental questioning of many of our culture's foundational myths was nothing short of earth shattering for me when I first read it as a high school student. It didn't quite stand up to my expectations when revisiting it decades later, but many of the ideas in it remain influential on my thinking today.

God Is Red: A Native View of Religion, 30th Anniversary Edition (Anniversary)

Vine Deloria Jr

$24.95 $22.95

Josh ~ Native American activist and scholar Vine Deloria offers an introduction to the understanding of indigenous peoples' religious views of the world, as well as a devastating critique of American Christianity. I first read this as a college student majoring in philosophy and minoring in religious studies at Western Kentucky University, and it blew my mind.

The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

Alan Watts

$15.00 $13.80

Josh ~ Alan Watts offered my first introduction to eastern thought and Buddhist philosophy. He's a wonderful translator of complicated and foreign ideas for a western mind and this remains a book I recommend often.

The Gift

Hafiz and Daniel Ladinsky

$22.00 $20.24

Josh ~ The Sufi poetry of both Rumi and Hafiz is pure gold.

The Essential Rumi - Reissue: New Expanded Edition

Coleman Barks

$17.99 $16.55

Josh ~ The Sufi poetry of both Rumi and Hafiz is pure gold.

A People's History of the United States

Howard Zinn

$21.99 $20.23

Josh ~ Not a "spiritual" book per se, this book still shook my world. Zinn's famous work has awakened many to the carnage of American history that is usually left out of the normal classroom versions, and it turned me into a lifelong social justice activist.

Breakfast of Champions

Kurt Vonnegut

$17.00 $15.64

Josh ~ Like all of Vonnegut's work, Breakfast of Champions is funny, weird, smart, and full of wisdom. The enlightened liberal humanism of Vonnegut was famously inspired by the trauma he experienced as WWII P.O.W. during the firebombing of Dresden in Germany. Never has a writers exposure to the worst in humanity inspired books that bring so much playful joy, wisdom, and insight into humanity.

Still Life with Woodpecker (Reissue)

Tom Robbins

$17.00 $15.64

Josh ~ This was the first work of fiction I read after graduating college, and period of about 6 years of reading almost exclusively nonfiction. It is a slim, quirky tale that packs a lot of playful intellectual dynamite into its simple story. Plus, Megan and I used the "love is an outlaw" passage in our wedding vows. :)

Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia, Revised and Expanded: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings (Revised, Expanded)

Rob Brezsny

$21.00 $19.32

Josh ~ Astrology is not something that has ever held much interest to me, but America's most famous astrology writer, Rob Breszny created such a special inspirational gem with this book. Pronoia is the antidote to paranoia, or the idea that the universe is conspiring to shower you with blessings. It came to me at a time in my life when I really needed its "cagey optimist" (as he calls it). I've often credited it with giving me the inspiration to open the bookstore to begin with.

Braiding Sweetgrass

Robin Wall Kimmerer

$18.00 $16.56

Josh ~ A modern masterpiece of nature writing. Robin Walls Kimmerer's book is a go to recommendation, especially good for those with a skeptical/scientific mind but who are interested in exploring spiritual dimensions.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Yuval Noah Harari

$24.99 $22.99

Josh ~ I consider Harari's book to be the most profound I have read in the last several years. He does an amazing job of distilling complicated ideas from the field of linguistic anthropology into easy-to-understand passages about the way we use language to create cooperative structures of meaning through shared stories.

For Small Creatures Such as We: Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World

Sasha Sagan

$26.00 $23.92

Josh ~ Megan and I actually listened to this one on audiobook through during a car trip last year, and we loved it. Sasha Sagan shared the secrets of meaning-making from a life raised in one of the world's most famous atheist households, as her parents were none other than Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan.

Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life

Lulu Miller

$26.00 $23.92

Josh ~ a slim, brilliant exploration into how we make life meaningful in a world with no scientific anchor for absolute truth or morality. NPR science correspondent Lulu Miller approaches the topic through a natural blend of memoir and historical-biographical research into the life of David Starr Jordan, a prominent early 20th century taxonomist and the first president of Stanford University.

The Hero and the Crown

Robin McKinley

$8.99 $8.27

Megan ~ Likely the book I've read more times than any other, The Hero and the Crown is a Newbery Award-winning fantasy with everything you could want from the genre--marginalized and ultimately heroic princesses, powerful mages, DRAGONS, faithful steeds, and the scientific method, come on! Forever favorite.

Ronia, the Robber's Daughter

Astrid Lindgren

$6.99 $6.43

Megan ~ Written by Pippi Longstocking author Astrid Lindgren, this book was a staple of my childhood and involves castles torn in two by lightning, rival families of thieves, harpies, wild woods, and two friends who overcome the odds, of course!

Little Women

Louisa May Alcott

$16.00 $14.72

Megan ~ Books were a source of moral values I wasn't instructed in at home. The March family's Transcendentalist focus on self-improvement made a deep impression on me. I also have such a vivid memory of reading Little Women at the office where my mother worked when it was deserted on the weekends. I looked down on the character of Amy right up until the school master throws her limes out of the window, at which point I burst into tears for her. I reread Little Women late last year to prepare for the Greta Gerwig adaptation, and it remains as relevant and moving as ever.

Anne of Green Gables

L. M. Montgomery

$16.00 $14.72

Megan ~ Anne Shirley's exuberant imagination is a solace to her, an inspiration, and has a moral dimension. Anne's fervent love of poetry and nature continue to make me feel like her kindred spirit. I also think our world could use a dose of Anne's radical optimism.

Harry Potter Special Edition Paperback Boxed Set: Books 1-7

J. K. Rowling, Kazu Kibuishi, et al.

$100.00 $92.00

Megan ~ I am at least half Harry Potter books at this point. The good versus evil storyline was never my favorite part of Harry Potter. What most appealed to me as a young reader was the idea of education as sorcery and transformation (or transfiguration), of school as a salvation from family you can’t depend on, and of family as something you can create from friends, mentors, and teachers.

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself

Kristin Neff

$16.99 $15.63

Megan ~ Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff is a groundbreaking book on the subject and influential for the work of Brene Brown. This book can be hard to read if you aren't accustomed to being gentle with yourself. I think it's worth bearing your teeth and gritting through some of the sweetness inside. Self-compassion is not self-pity, rather it allows us to take greater responsibility and bolder action, able to face our failings, suffering, and humanity with clearer vision and wiser hearts.

Man's Search for Meaning

Viktor E. Frankl

$15.00 $13.80

Megan ~ When someone comes into the bookstore and asks for a book that will change their life, this is the one I put in their hands. Victor Frankl’s survival of Nazi concentration camps is inspiring. What I most got out of this book is the human responsibility and opportunity to make meaning from the raw experience of life. The idea that meaning isn’t a fact, sitting somewhere complete and factual as a stone but something we each have to make for ourselves was revolutionary for me when I read it and has been a guide for me as I navigate what spirituality means to me today.

Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of Rain

Tara Brach

$28.00 $25.76

Megan ~ This self-compassion meditation by psychologist and Buddhist teacher Tara Brach is so powerful, life-giving, and so easy to incorporate into daily life!

First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety

Sarah Wilson

$26.99 $24.83

Megan ~ In First, We Make the Beast Beautiful, Sarah Wilson guides us in accepting and appreciating the gifts of anxiety as a means of managing its ill effects. That sounds so serious, but reading this book is like having the best, deepest, most therapeutic and raucous and tearful and cathartic conversation with a friend (or a stranger, those can happen) and then the feeling afterward, maybe at 4 in the morning, when you’re just resting together in the peace of laying all your cards on the table and knowing and being known. Highly recommended for its practical advice on anxiety-management, including self-compassion techniques, for anyone struggling with anxiety.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Becky Chambers

$17.99 $16.55

Megan ~ I still turn to sci-fi/fantasy for visions of what could be. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers is like sci-fi self-care to me and I find its radically hopeful and inclusive vision of the future to be so powerful. Emily Dickinson wrote “Tell all the truth but tell it slant…” I believe fiction can get us closer to the truth by taking us farther from it, giving us distance to see the picture more clearly. Sci-fi/Fantasy is my favorite method for this.

Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver

$30.00 $27.60

Megan ~ The poetry of Mary Oliver sits around our house like a spiritual text, and it seems there’s a poem to memorize for all my most difficult times in life. “Wild Geese” is my all-time favorite poem, and I recite it to myself frequently.

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate--Discoveries from a Secret World

Peter Wohlleben

$24.95 $22.95

Megan ~ Books about nature and about science have recently been helpful to me. Reading The Hidden Life of Trees expanded my view of the world and of consciousness, and I think it can be a powerful spiritual act and a consolation to consider the world from the perspective of trees, whose experience of community, selfhood, and time are so different from and yet so similar to our own.

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

Ed Yong

$17.99 $16.55

Megan ~ Recently I've come to find books on science so informative spiritually. Ed Yong writes so enthusiastically about the expansive microbial world and our human understanding of it, past and present, that these science and research packed pages are a joy to read. More remarkable is Yong’s insistence on the moral of the story: it is the balanced mutual self-interest of community, not dog eat dog competition, that is the beating heart of life. At the same time, the more you learn about your microbiome, the more you'll question what the "self" in "self-interest" even means!


Glennon Doyle

$28.00 $25.76

Megan ~ I read Untamed by Glennon Doyle TWICE. Part-memoir, part-inspirational book, part-self-improvement, this book defies easy synopsis. The memoir part is about how Christian stay-at-home-mom blogger Glennon Doyle left an unhappy marriage to a man to marry her wife Abby Wambach, but this book is so much bigger than that. Glennon’s meditations on the radical act of trusting yourself and the spiritual practice of imagining the truest and most beautiful story you could tell about your current struggles are both lessons I’m pretty sure I’ll be trying to absorb for the rest of my life.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Elizabeth Gilbert

$17.00 $15.64

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Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business

Paul Downs


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Simon Sinek

$16.00 $14.72

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