The Nautilus Book Awards‘ mission statement is
Changing the World One Book at a Time.
“The Nautilus Awards recognizes Books and Audio Books that promote spiritual growth, conscious living & positive social change, while at the same time they stimulate the “imagination” and offer the reader “new possibilities” for a better life and a better world. We look for distinguished literary and heartfelt contributions to spiritual growth, conscious living, high-level wellness, green values, responsible leadership and positive social change as well as to the worlds of art, creativity and inspirational reading for children, teens and young adults.“
This award has a very large number of categories. As an example I have chosen to highlight the Memoir and Personal Journey category.
Children of Dust: a memoir of Pakistan, by Ali Eteraz
“Eteraz, known for his blog Islamophere, opens his memoir with a vivid description of his father promising Allah that if God bestowed him with a son, that boy “will become a great leader and servant of Islam.” The rest of the book finds Eteraz, whose given name is Abir ul Islam (which translates as “Perfume of Islam”) trying to come to terms with his father’s mannat, or covenant, and understand the role that Islam will play in his life as well as the role he will play for Islam. Born in Pakistan but raised in the U.S. from age 10, Eteraz moves easily between describing the holy history and tenets of his faith while exploring and explaining the differences between the Islamic world and Western society. As Eteraz’s feelings for Islam change to fit his evolving personal, political and religious views, readers get a glimpse of all aspects of this hot-topic religion, from fundamentalism to reformism, salafism and secularism. A gifted writer and scholar, Eteraz is able to create a true-life Islamic bildungsroman as he effortlessly conveys his coming-of-age tale while educating the reader. When his religious awakening finally occurs, his catharsis transcends the page.” ~ Publisher’s Weekly
Roll Around Heaven: an all-true accidental spiritual adventure, by Jessica Maxwell
“Seasoned travel and adventure writer Maxwell has penned an irresistible combination memoir, travelogue, and soul-searching odyssey. Initially inspired by a vision of her recently deceased father’s face in the sky and spurred on by a spiritual mentor who moonlights as a pig farmer, this self-described nonbeliever embarks upon an unconventional pilgrimage that spans nearly two decades and crosses several continents. Her explorations culminate in a bevy of semi-mystical experiences that include, among others, lunching with Deepak Chopra, dancing with Stephen Hawkins, seeing Celtic visions on the isle of Iona, and trading midnight confidences and theories with the daughters of Islam. Readers who enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love (2007) will hop aboard and enjoy every minute of this rollicking spiritual ride. An inspirational feast for the faithful and enlightening food for thought for the more cynical” ~ Booklist
Mother California: a story of redemption behind bars, by Kenneth E. Hartman
“In this memoir, a magnificent inquiry into the human condition, a man serving a life sentence in the California prison system documents the brutality and inhumanity of life “inside,” where criminals are victimized rather than rehabilitated, and chaos flowers among the despairing. Hartman, an eloquent, middle-aged prisoner convicted of murder at 19, tells a sad but unsentimental story: a rough childhood and a wish for invincibility fueled Hartman’s youth and downfall, but in the time since, he has married in prison, fathered a child, and currently works to improve the broken U.S. prison system. Hartman discovered his talent in a writing class, after having abandoned drugs; using it, he examines up close the “mad, violent circus” of prison life, his place in it, and the fate of his fellow prisoners: “Under the big tent of this brutally unnatural environment, few of us ever take the frightening step of analyzing our deeper motives.” ~ Publisher’s Weekly
Tales of Wonder: adventures chasing the divine, by Huston Smith
“Nearing 90, the author of the classic The World’s Religions: our great wisdom traditions has at last written a memoir. Remarkably brief and humbly written for a man of Smith’s fame and accomplishment, Tales deals simply with his life and his encounters with the great and the good (Eleanor Roosevelt, D.T. Suzuki, and Frithjof Schuon, to name a few). Essential for students of religion and highly recommended for others as well.” ~ Library Journal
Lies My Mother Never Told Me: a memoir, by Kaylie Jones (to be ordered)
“In her riveting memoir Lies My Mother Never Told Me, Kaylie Jones—the daughter of author James Jones (From Here to Eternity) and an acclaimed author in her own right (A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries; Celeste Ascending; As Soon As It Rains)—tells the poignant story of her relationship with her famous father and her alcoholic mother, and of her own struggles with the disease. A true story of privilege, loss, self-discovery, and redemption, Lies My Mother Never Told Me is Jones’s unforgettable account of a not-quite-fairy-tale childhood and adulthood defined by two constants: literature and alcohol.” ~ Publisher