Well Read: The 5 Books You Won't Be Able To Put Down This October

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Reading is undeniably a key wellness practice—and one that many of us have ignored for far too long. It’s proven to build empathy, reduce stress, and even lessen sugar cravings (yes, really!). With that in mind, we’re excited to share Well Read, a column that curates the absolute best fiction and narrative nonfiction picks of the month. Here’s what you should read this October. (Want more book inspo? Here are the picks for JuneJuly, August, and September.)

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

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Barbara Kingsolver's books often take on political or social issues, and this one is no exception. Tackling the economy, health care, the environment, bigotry, and politics, this is a sweeping novel that tells the story of a single house in two time periods: 2016 and the 1860s (the 1860s version actually utilizes real historical figures, to great success). As always, Kingsolver's success comes from cushioning her big ideas in grounded, true-to-life characters—these are people that you know, whether you love them or hate them. While the book can veer into feeling like a lecture at times—Kingsolver is nothing if not passionate—it's a great mix of the escapism inherent in literature and reckoning with the very real issues of our time. Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver (October 16)

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A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

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A man walks into an abortion clinic and begins shooting—and when a cop comes to negotiate the release of hostages, he realizes his daughter and sister are inside. Picoult's writing has come to showcase a signature combination of the incredibly relevant—this book tackles the intersection of the politics of abortion and the politics of racism, while forcing readers to witness the grim aftermath of a mass shooting—and incredibly resonant, with scenes that wrench gasping sobs from your body. This book is also told in reverse (Benjamin Button style), which allows Picoult to carefully, beautifully unfold even more surprises along the way. A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult (October 2)

A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel Of The Vanderbilts by Therese Anne Fowler

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Alva Vanderbilt is largely remembered by history for her grand mansions and an unfortunate forced marriage (later annulled) of her daughter to a British duke—that is, if she's remembered at all. Fowler's book repaints Alva as a feminist icon and early but key supporter of the women's suffrage movement, and in doing so, showcases both how far women have come—and how far women still have yet to go. The writing is fast, incredibly fun, and dripping in grandeur, with all of the lavish parties and service to the notions of class one would expect from the gilded age. A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel Of The Vanderbilts by Therese Anne Fowler (October 16)

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Almost Everything: Notes On Hope by Anne Lamott

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If the constant barrage of negative news feels overwhelming and you're looking for a little, well, hope, Anne Lamott has you covered. Her new book is an exploration of and tribute to the concept of hope, filled with funny, personal anecdote and truth bombs that will knock the wind right out of you. "Fear, against all odds, leads to community, to bravery, and right action, and these give us hope," Lamott writes, and her words will help you along that journey. This slim volume is the perfect reminder that you're strong enough, and brave enough, and that things are better than they might seem. Almost Everything: Notes On Hope by Anne Lamott (October 16)

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

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If you didn't read The Book Thief during your school years, you missed out on one of the most heart-breaking, well-told Holocaust stories of our time. Twelve years later, the author of the internationally acclaimed mega-best seller is back with a family saga about five brothers living in Australia. After their mother dies and their father abandons them, they come to rely on each other, and face different obstacles. This book is a tearjerker—I started crying about 50 pages in, and didn't stop for long until I closed it—but it's also a tenderly told, beautifully rendered story about the bonds of family and the things we hold dear in this world. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak (October 11)

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BONUS: CBD Oil: Everyday Secrets by Gretchen Lidicker

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I'd be remiss to not mention that not one, not two, but three mbg editors have books coming out this October, and they're must-haves for your October shelf. The first, CBD Oil: Everyday Secrets by mbg Health Editor Gretchen Lidicker, will answer every. single. question. you ever had about the super trendy, cannabis-derived substance: Is it legal? Is it safe? What does it help with? How do I use it for anxiety, inflammation, muscle pain, and more? Lidicker dives deep into the science of CBD, but shares her knowledge with the frank accessibility of a (really, really smart) best friend. She also shares 50 recipes to incorporate CBD (topically and internally) into your everyday life. CBD Oil: Everyday Secrets by Gretchen Lidicker (October 9)

BONUS: The Spirit Almanac by Emma Loewe and Lindsay Kellner

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mbg's own Sustainability and Beauty & Lifestyle editors have teamed up to write The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self-Care. The book is filled with rituals for you to do at any time of the year, and it's the perfect antidote to the stress of the modern world. Whether you're a total newbie (my hand is raised) or you've dabbled in astrology, crystals, yoga, meditation or other spiritual practices before, Emma Loewe and Lindsay Kellner spell everything out in a way that's inclusive, informational, and inspiring. The gorgeous illustrations throughout ensure that you'll want to leave this one out on your coffee table. The Spirit Almanac by Emma Loewe and Lindsay Kellner (October 16)

Also, yoga is incredible for keeping your body & mind healthy. Ready to learn about how the power of food can also create a sound body & mind? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.

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