Oprah says these are the best books to read during stressful times

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Stressing a little more than usual lately? You’re not alone—in fact, a recent study shows that a reported 9 in 10 Americans have admitted to feeling heightened anxiety and stress due to the coronavirus pandemic (but honestly, who is the 1 in 10 who doesn’t feel stress right now?!). 

There are dozens of ways to reduce stress and harness a more positive outlook in spite of the state of the world—but sometimes you just need a good book to feel out what you’re feeling and draw learnings and takeaways from it.

With that in mind, we looked to Oprah’s favorite books to read during stressful times to build up our reading list for the remainder of the year.

These uplifting and thought provoking books range from deep dives into racism and inequality to personal development books to help you work through what you’re currently feeling—but all of which lend themselves perfectly to the current state of the world and will leave you feeling more in control of your stress and anxiety and more clear about exactly where your stress stems from.

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

According to the Oprah magazine, Oprah herself has said that The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle has single handedly changed the course of her life and continues to guide her to this day. The beloved self help anthology walks readers through how to harness the now rather than fussing about the past, or worrying about the future.

The Soul of America by Jon Meacham

The Soul of America by Jon Meacham walks us through the many dark times in US history, while reminding us how all the negative times have been temporary, and how we’ve always bounced back stronger, more resilient, and more progressive.

Devotions by Mary Oliver

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver, Devotions comes as a hand-picked selection of poems by the writer herself, which takes readers on a journey through nature, living things, and joy while reminding us to find pleasure in the little things.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Best-selling author Ta-Nehisi Coates made waves with Between the World and Me when it was released back in 2015 and continues to be one of the most influential books in modern history for its thought-provoking and powerful portrayal of racism and inequality in the US—and how we can honestly face the past and find a way forward.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

This groundbreaking story takes readers back to author James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem and just how difficult it was growing up while navigating racial injustice in America—it’s direct, passionate, and will make you examine your own reality.

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison’s third novel, Song of Solomon, comes as a rich and evocative coming of age novel across four generations of Black families that’s equally sophisticated, humorous, and deeply thought provoking. 

When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: a Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry edited by Joy Harjo

Looking for something you can pick up flip through whenever you need a boost?

This collection of poetry by a lineup of Indigenous poets of North America is bursting with hope, resilience, and perseverance while also coming as a wonderful resource for getting to know Indigenous culture through art.