Inspirational / Spiritual
by ANTHONY RECZEK
Plot/Idea: Reczek delivers a stunning homage to New England landscape and seasons, organized by each month of the year, through dramatic, expressive photography. He offers readers compact descriptions of the backdrop to each photograph, covering the wildlife, people, and lifestyles of the region.
Prose: The prose is natural and free flowing as Reczek describes the distinctive settings in each photograph. His stories of the local people, businesses, and way of life unique to New England are well-crafted and striking.
Originality: A patchwork of stark photography and absorbing storytelling, Reczek’s book will transfix readers. The snippets he includes for background on each photograph contain their own unique storylines and anchor the visuals in time and place.
Character/Execution: This is an arresting portrait of New England living, brimming with history and personality. Reczek’s photography sparks conflicting emotions in several renderings—the solemn alongside the awe-inspiring, the poignant juxtaposed with the lively—that give it an almost otherworldly feel at times.
by Meg Gibbs
Plot/Idea: Spiritually Parented provides an engaging recounting of the author's life with a heavy focus on her upbringing and how it shaped her. Readers will discover a unique and often fascinating perspective on self and spirituality that doesn't demand strict adherence to a single set of beliefs.
Prose: The author is a strong writer whose words are not only informative but soothing. She gently invites readers to open their minds to possibilities without indoctrination or platitudes.
Originality: Gibbs's experiences and perspective are decidedly unique. Readers will glean powerful insights both into the outer world and their inner journeys.
Character/Execution: Gibbs effectively stays on topic, while also providing rich autobiographical content. Readers will appreciate her affirming and unconventional point of view.
by Jack Rasmussen
Plot/Idea: Rasmussen takes a complex idea and successfully simplifies it. The author, who grapples with anxiety and perfectionism early in life, shares the benefits of having discovered not only faith but also a sense of calm and tranquility. He portrays his idea of true education while also describing the history and meaning behind the Yin Yang symbol for all readers to understand.
Prose: Rasmussen’s tone is soothing and easy to follow despite the weighty topic. The author maintains a positive outlook but remains authentic and honest, speaking volumes while remaining concise. Rasmussen’s focus on the writing stands so powerfully on its own, that the insets of pictures and a bonus section of the book may strike readers as unnecessary.
Originality: This work stands apart from other titles focused on spirituality and meditation through its added focus on social issues, relationships, and work/life balance. His deep dive into the Yin Yang symbology and its real-life applications is both compelling and inspiring.
Character/Execution: Rasmussen ultimately delivers an empathetic, well-informed guide to achieving balance and peace, and reclaiming hope in trying times.
You Are Your Healer: The Ultimate Guide to Heal Your Past, Transform Your Life & Awaken to Your True Selfby Yol Swan
Plot/Idea: Swan has created a striking guide to self-awareness and spiritual freedom, drawing from Vedic teachings. Her knowledge of Eastern spirituality will expand readers’ minds and assist them along their own journeys toward healing.
Prose: Swan’s calm tone will appeal to readers, as will her ability to convey complex topics in a manner that is understandable and personally relevant. Swan’s inner peace rings through her words, which will keep readers wanting more.
Originality: While similar to other spiritual guides, Swan’s is a step above as she has practiced Eastern spirituality and relates her experience with knowledge and ease.
Character/Execution: Swan provides clear and approachable examples to assist in understanding Eastern teachings, along with valuable exercises and actionable steps to implement her ideas.
by Ray Catania
Plot/Idea: Catania demystifies the concept of how universal laws apply to personal achievement, belonging, and self-fulfillment. The material is wide ranging, covering topics such as body frequencies, higher consciousness, and dark energy, among others, offering readers several strategies—including meditation and thought correction—to help implement Catania’s ideas.
Prose: The material is complex, but Catania includes personal reflections and journal entries to assist readers in unraveling the guide’s theories. For such complexity, the prose is surprisingly readable and effortless.
Originality: Catania’s infusion of personal insight gives the guide a deeper meaning, allowing readers to see its concepts played out in real life.
Character/Execution: Catania takes the time to clarify concepts that would otherwise be dense to wade through, making this book graspable and easy to follow. The message stays clear throughout, and the guide strikes an easy balance of abstract and straightforward.
by Maya Delaney
Plot/Idea: Delaney endeavors to differentiate justified belief from opinion as a self-styled student of epistemology in this conceptual medley of poetry, research, and conviction. She touches on a mélange of topics, ranging from chakras to grief to self-love, offering readers a multilayered perspective on spirituality.
Prose: Where Dandelions Grow reads similar to an intimate journal as Delaney studies a broad collection of ideas and beliefs. The prose borders on didactic at times but avoids condescension, and the writing is steeped in metaphysical symbolism and design.
Originality: Delaney explores the impact that epistemology has had on her thought patterns and life in general, introducing a multitude of visionary ideas for a broad range of believers.
Character/Execution: The immensity of the book's range causes it to lack unity and flow, but Delaney's thoughts are clear and her points engrossing. She provides ample research to back her ideas while drawing conclusions that will leave readers deeply contemplating their own views.