I had an interesting evening at home, last night, with my laptop! As you may have guessed, continuous learning and personal growth are important values to me. Sharing helping others is also an important value. I frequently come into contact with people that are facing a cancer diagnosis, and last night, I began the process of putting together a resource list for cancer patients and their caregivers. Using Amazon.com’s free service, I created a Listmania List of recommended reading for the newly diagnosed, and I sent it off to the mother of a newly diagnosed AML patient.

I then decided to keep going, and created to other recommended reading lists; my favorite fiction, and my favorite personal growth books. Selecting only books which I truly loved, and which have had a lasting impact on me, this process was revealing. As I took the time to write a brief recommendation for each book, I saw common themes emerge. I love fiction that introduces and grows strong characters, that stimulates thinking and even controversial debate. I like fiction that reveals something about human nature, evolution of civilization, evolution of human thought, and tells a great story along the way. My favorite personal growth books were perhaps more diverse in some ways. Common threads were around looking within for answers, finding purpose and meaning in life, deepening my understanding of human nature, the role of free will and personal choice, and growing spiritually. Interestingly, these nonfiction themes also showed up in many of my favorite fiction books!

So I challenge you to make a list of favorites, and then write a sentence or two on why you love these favorites! Then sit quietly with the results for a bit. And let us know what you find!

Visit Melissa W. O’Mara’s About You area on Amazon.com to view reading lists!