In the last year, a lot of people have struggled to cope with the effects the pandemic has had on their mental health.

One of the ways to cope with the stress of tough times is to read books, especially those that explore personality and state of mind.

There are quite a few religious and spiritual genres to read, and Skylark Books’ owner Carrie Koepke recommends the following.

Zen BuddhismZen is generally considered a state of mind where people are at peace, generally achieved through rituals and traditions in Eastern cultures.

The following titles are a few notable books about Zen, all by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, poet, spiritual leader and peace activist.

• “Silence: The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise.”

• “Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life.”

• “Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm.”


Meditation books are intended to help teach and help people in their journey of mindfulness, peaceful thought, relaxation and tranquility.

The following titles are good introductions to meditation:

• “Meditation for Beginners,” by Jack Kornfield.

• “How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind,” by Pema Chödrön.

• “8 Minute Meditation Expanded: Quiet Your Mind. Change Your Life,” by Victor Davich.


Introspection is defined as the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes. These titles discuss the benefits of introspection:

• “7 Mindsets to Master Self-Awareness,” by Elizabeth Diamond.

• “Self-Aware: A Guide for Success in Work and Life,” by Robert Pasick and Dunrie Greiling.

• “The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have,” by Mark Nepo.

Religious diversity

Aside from these genres, there are also books about acceptance, diversity and accountability among different religions. Here are a few suggestions:

• “Worlds Within a Congregation: Dealing with Theological Diversity,” by W. Paul Jones.

• “Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era: An Introduction to the Bahá’í Faith,” by J.E. Esslemont.

All of these titles can be helpful for those coping with tough times and for those just trying to learn more about their faith or the faith of others, Koepke said. They can also be beneficial if someone is trying to understand more about themselves and the human mind.

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