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Between the upcoming election, the ongoing pandemic and the fact that parts of the West Coast are literally on fire, we’re living in stressful times—to say the absolute least. It makes sense, then, that many of the month’s new books deal directly with that stress, whether through lessons on turning your anxieties into superpowers or soothing stories to read when stress is preventing you from getting to sleep. For more on those and all the other new titles we’re excited about, read on.

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1. The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart by Alicia Garza

In 2013, Garza wrote what she calls “a love letter to Black people” on Facebook, in the aftermath of the acquittal of the man who murdered 17-year old Trayvon Martin. One of the creators of Black Lives Matter, her first book is an essential guide to building the type of movements that can address the challenges of our time. She offers reflections on how making room amongst the woke for those who are still waking can inspire and activate more and more people to join the fight for the world we all deserve. So timely and so necessary.

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2. Ex Libris: 100 Books to Read and Reread by Michiko Kakutani

In this collection, Pulitzer Prize–winning literary critic Kakutani shares 100 personal, thought-provoking essays about books that have mattered to her and that help illuminate the world we live in today—alongside beautiful illustrations. As Kakutani writes, “In a world riven by political and social divisions, literature can connect people across time zones and zip codes, across cultures and religions, national boundaries and historical eras. It can give us an understanding of lives very different from our own, and a sense of the shared joys and losses of human experience.”

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3. The Queer Advantage: Conversations with LGBTQ+ Leaders on the Power of Identity by Andrew Gelwicks

Gelwicks is a former Conde Nast editor turned fashion stylist turned author. For The Queer Advantage, he interviewed trailblazing queer folks like Lee Daniels, Dan Levy, Billie Jean King, Margaret Cho and more about how their queerness has given them a precious, powerful edge. It's an inspiring collection of stories from people whose journeys can affect change for generations to come.

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4. Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman

Nostalgia alert: For the 25th anniversary of her novel Practical Magic, best-selling author Hoffman goes back with the origin story of her beloved Owens family. A celebration of life and love, Magic Lessons unveils the story of Maria Owens, accused of witchcraft in Salem, and matriarch of a line of the amazing Owens women and men featured in Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic.

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5. Be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

The author of the New York Times bestselling book, How to Be An Antiracist, Kendi pointed us toward new ways of thinking about ourselves and our society. Antiracism, though, is not a destination, but a journey—one that takes deliberate, consistent work. Be Antiracist is an essential roadmap for this journey, with more that 150 original prompts, questions and quotes from the bestselling book that will help you consider your personal history with race and new ways of thinking about ourselves and our society.

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6. Things You Think About When You Bite Your Nails by Amalia Andrade

This is a book about fear: how it works, how it can quickly turn into anxiety, how it can feel all-encompassing and overwhelming and how every person struggles with it. In this light-hearted workbook, illustrator and author Andrade teaches you how to find a bit of humor in our fears that might, in turn, help us overcome them. Think: Lessons, exercises and personal stories to help you learn how to turn those feelings of fear into your friends and your superpowers.

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7. Nothing Much Happens by Kathryn Nicolai

Nicolai has nearly two decades of experience as a yoga and meditation teacher. She also hosts the popular podcast, Nothing Much Happens, where she narrates soothing bedtime stories for adults that—combined with her calming tone and carefully interwoven mindfulness techniques—quickly lull listeners to sleep. Her first book features sixteen new stories never aired on the podcast, along with whimsical illustrations, easy-to-make recipes for healthy comfort food, crafting exercises and unique meditation guides. Basically, it’s a calming tome to pick up before bed to ensure a restful night’s sleep.

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8. Undaunted by Kara Goldin

Goldin is the founder and CEO of the water brand Hint. Part autobiography, part business memoir, her first book covers the building of her company and shows how you can learn from failures and frustrations to keep advancing towards your true purpose. Whether you want to start a company, get healthy, find a new career or just grow in life, Undaunted aims to help you get there. In these uncertain times, it’s a much-needed dose of inspiration and motivation.

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