Mark Nepo is the only author with a spiritual bent that I consistently read. And his May 2020 book, The Book of Soul: 52 Paths to Living What Matters is no exception. It’s a peaceful, warm, and caring respite from a world on fire.

Nepo talks about topics such as how we show up in the world, how wide our circle is, and our true inheritance. Importantly, another section is focused on how we keep each other awake. As with some of his other books, the chapters are divided into short bursts. They’re suitable for a daily reading. But rest assured, they’re meaty. I found myself reading sentences multiple times, just to let the meaning sink in more deeply.

And Nepo also gives journal writing and conversation prompts with each chapter. This is a contemplative book that can be savored over time, because he offers so much to digest.

It’s hard to encapsulate and review a spiritual book. I think each reader takes away different content, even varying with each reading. But Nepo’s main focus is two-fold. First, finding comfort in yourself—who you are and how you feel. And second, finding out how you fit into the world and develop relationships. But of course, your mileage may vary.

My conclusions

The Book of Soul felt calming and enriching to read. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ideas to ponder. In fact, I could probably start rereading one chapter a day right now, even though I just finished.

Nepo doesn’t write with a particular religious tradition in mind. His perspective enlightens the Universe around us, and the humanity within us. He writing is about valuing each other, and above all, valuing ourselves. This time, I connected to his words about where we focus and spend time listening. And how to listen with an open heart, in order to silence the roaring noises around us.

I recommend The Book of Soul if you’re looking for a soul-searching respite. It’s a timely and meaningful antidote to the news.

Honestly, you can pair this book with anything. So I’ll leave that up to you this time.


Many thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press / St. Martin’s Essentials, and the author for a digital ARC of this book in exchange for this honest review.