I’ve always loved to read. When I was six my teacher sent a note home to my mam telling her that she had to find me new books as I’d read everything in the school library. My dreamiest day always includes a leisurely wander around a bookstore and some of my most prized possessions are of the literary variety! I love to gift books and receive them from others — I never feel more ‘seen’ or cherished than when I’m given one.

Throughout my life, much of my reading was about acquiring knowledge. I filled my head with all manner of things ‘just in case’. I also read to escape, from whatever madness or sadness was going on around me, as many of us do.

Then several years ago, I realised I was ready to read for a different reason — for perspective and for expansion, and I started to read more broadly. Now many philosophy, spirituality and poetry texts have shifted my centre and expanded my view such that I can see more of myself, more of others and more of the world – and that’s enabled me to live in a more spacious and connected way.

Here are five of my all-time favourite books of this flavour, that I hope can gift you with expansion and perspective too:

The Alchemist — by Paolo Coelho >>

At the heart of this book is the belief that life is a journey and that we’re all universally connected to our own destiny, to each other and to the wider world and beyond. A soulful read, that will offer you perspective, hope and courage.

Silence — Thich Nhat Hahn >>

In a world full of noise, we under-value silence. Rarely in life do we get it or allow others to take it. Written by a widely respected Buddhist monk, this book will increase your comfort with silence, so that you can use it more effectively in life and benefit from its many gifts.

The Prophet — Kahlil Gibran >>

Almost one-hundred years old, this book, written by philosopher Kahlil Gibran is a sequence of fables, that offer an alternative take on universal aspects of life, such as work, love and time. The essence of the book is one of the power of relinquishing control and the peace of living in the moment.

The Little Prince — Antoine De Saint-Exupery >>

Originally written in French and translated into many languages, this classic book is relevant to children and adults alike. For all of us, the lesson is not to take life too seriously, and to value the simple things. One to dip in to when you’re feeling uptight or overwhelmed with complexity.

The Untethered Soul — Michael A. Singer >>

A soulful but accessible read — if you’re keen to begin or continue deep inner work, then this book is for you. Reading it will ignite your curiosity about who you are in the world, and about how you want your life to be.

If you read any of these books I’d love to hear your reflections – you can tweet me @space_with_in

Take care for now, Laura.

Follow Laura on social media or get in touch for one-to-one coaching sessions and group retreats. Twitter: @space_with_in, Instagram: @space.with_in, Facebook: @spacewithindevelopment.