A Wrinkle in Time
My first introduction to the notion of inter-dimensional time travel, tidily disguised as a novel for young readers. First read it in the fourth grade; now I read it every year or so to remind myself of what is real.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Beautifully sparse, another view of alternate dimensions. Also explores afterlives, time and space as optional, and friendship.
When Things Fall Apart
My divorce mediator suggested this one. This book saved my life. Especially valuable to me as a woman in the western mindset. Before becoming the Buddhist nun she is now, Ms Chodron was born in the States, grew up with western ideals, married, had children, divorced and struggled along her own very human path. As much as I love/ respect/revere the Dalai Llama, he has never borne children nor limped from the emotional wreckage that is divorce.
The Secret Life of Bees
Sue Monk Kidd
Never has unresolved grief been so beautifully untangled. Deeply spiritual and so exquisitely written. Explores love, grief, racism, family, Mary and faith. Keep it on the shelf by your bed, I do. (Having seen the movie does NOT count for this one.)
Out on a Limb
Not so much a jump start as a drop off a metaphysical cliff for me in my mid-twenties. An excellent primer in metaphysics. This book gave name to many of the experiences in my early years, as well as terms and names and resources that can be further explored via internet, or the way I did it in the 80s, by making lists and haunting libraries and new age bookstores.