Here are six of our own Khristine Hopkins’ all-time favorite books.

Can’t we talk about something more pleasant? , by Roz Chast
Hilarious, heartbreaking, and uncomfortable all at the same time, this graphic novel / memoir by Roz Chast, chronicles the last years of her parents in extreme old age. It’s a window on an experience that many of us already have, or will have, to deal with.

A Month in the Country, by J.L. Carr
As an older man, an artist recollects an unforgettable summer as a young man in Yorkshire when he lived in the loft of a country church while uncovering a medieval fresco. He had recently experienced hell on earth as a soldier in the “Great War” followed by a broken marriage. The bittersweet nature of his healing is at the heart of this remarkable novella, now considered a classic.

Looking at Mindfulness: Twenty Five Ways to Live in the Moment Through Art , by Christophe Andre
Two words come to mind regarding this visually and spiritually rich book: profound and beautiful. Christophe Andre, a French psychiatrist and meditation teacher, uses twenty five paintings, each a chapter in itself, to engage us in the practice of being present to our own lives.

The People of the Sea , by David Thomson
First published in 1954, this beautifully written book recounts stories which Thomson heard directly from the folk of the remote coastal regions of Scotland and Ireland regarding the “selchies” (seal people). I found this book to be poignant, magical, and potent with imagery which later turned up in my dreams. Some of the passages were lifted almost verbatim by John Sayles for his movie “The Secret of Roan Inish.

The Brain’s Way of Healing, by Norman Doige
I had to renew this illuminating and accessible study of neuroplasticity more than once, because it was so fascinating, I wanted to re-read several of the stories. Norman Doidge is a Canadian psychiatrist who has for years been doing in depth interviews with remarkable individuals who have healed themselves of seemingly hopeless disorders through the workings of neuroplasticity.

Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living , by Krista Tippett
Krista Tippett is a person who has “conversations” with people, rather than interviewing them, as you will hear on her award winning NPR programs / podcasts “On Being.” Great thinkers, both familiar and unfamiliar to me, share that which is essential, in the quest to become wise rather than “knowledgeable.”