It’s a new year, and 2023 Must Read Books is here to help you set your reading goals with the perfect mix of fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks, dramas, love stories, and empowering reads. For all the book lovers out there, these books are sure to bring joy and knowledge to your nightstand!
And for those Podcast lovers out there, binge on episodes during your morning or afternoon walks, on a commute, or when getting ready for bed with the Really Personal Podcast in your ears. From Dating attachment styles to masculine roles in relationships to self-discovery… it’s all on the podcast. Subscribe and Explore. Cheers!
Must-Read Fall Books
Villa Aestas in Orvieto is a high-end holiday home now, but in 1974, it was known as Villa Rosato, and rented for the summer by a notorious rock star, Noel Gordon. In an attempt to reignite his creative spark, Noel invites up-and-coming musician, Pierce Sheldon to join him, as well as Pierce’s girlfriend, Mari, and her stepsister, Lara. But he also sets in motion a chain of events that leads to Mari writing one of the greatest horror novels of all time, Lara composing a platinum album––and ends in Pierce’s brutal murder.
As Emily digs into the villa’s complicated history, she begins to think there might be more to the story of that fateful summer in 1974. Inspired by Fleetwood Mac, the Manson murders, and the infamous summer Percy and Mary Shelley spent with Lord Byron at a Lake Geneva castle––the birthplace of Frankenstein––The Villa welcomes you into its deadly legacy.
Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet whom she herself never had. But in the thick of motherhood’s exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter—she doesn’t behave as most children do.
Or is it all in Blythe’s head? Her husband, Fox, says she’s imagining things. The more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity, and the more we begin to question what Blythe is telling us about her life as well.
The Push is a tour de force you will read in a sitting, an utterly immersive novel that will challenge everything you think you know about motherhood, about what we owe our children, and what it feels like when women are not believed.
Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.
The masterpiece of Steinbeck’s later years, East of Eden is a work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love’s absence.
A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.
The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.
Berlin, 1930—When a wave of change sweeps a radical political party to power, Sofie von Meyer Rhodes’s academic husband benefits from the ambitions of its newly elected chancellor. Although Sofie and Jürgen do not share the social views growing popular in Hitler’s Germany, Jürgen’s position with its burgeoning rocket program changes their diminishing fortunes for the better. But as Sofie watches helplessly, her beloved Berlin begins to transform, forcing her to consider what they must sacrifice morally for their young family’s security, and what the price for their neutrality will be.
When scandalous rumors about the Rhodes family’s affiliation with Hitler’s regime spread, idle gossip turns to bitter rage, and the act of violence that results will tear apart Sofie’s community and her family before the truth is finally revealed.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award, GILEAD is a hymn of praise and lamentation to the God-haunted existence that Reverend Ames loves passionately, and from which he will soon part.
In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames’s life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowan preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition: He “preached men into the Civil War,” then, at age fifty, became a chaplain in the Union Army, losing his right eye in battle.
This is also the tale of another remarkable vision–not a corporeal vision of God but the vision of life as a wondrously strange creation. It tells how wisdom was forged in Ames’s soul during his solitary life, and how history lives through generations, pervasively present even when betrayed and forgotten.
This is a book about self-sabotage. Why we do it, when we do it, and how to stop doing it—for good. Coexisting but conflicting needs create self-sabotaging behaviors. This is why we resist efforts to change, often until they feel completely futile. But by extracting crucial insight from our most damaging habits, building emotional intelligence by better understanding our brains and bodies, releasing past experiences at a cellular level, and learning to act as our highest potential future selves, we can step out of our own way and into our potential. For centuries, the mountain has been used as a metaphor for the big challenges we face, especially ones that seem impossible to overcome. To scale our mountains, we actually have to do the deep internal work of excavating trauma, building resilience, and adjusting how we show up for the climb. In the end, it is not the mountain we master, but ourselves.
Ironically this sounds a lot like he’s trying to convince you to cook, but he’s really not. Is this selling the cookbook? The point is that the food in this book is an invitation that speaks for itself. Great cooking does, and should, take time. Now is the time to double down and get your head in the cooking game. Or you know, don’t. Maybe get someone else to cook this stuff for you…that works too.
While you’re at it, give it the Joshua Weissman—or your own—twist. As Joshua would say, “If you don’t like blue cheese, then don’t use blue cheese.” From simple staples to gourmet to deep-fried, you are the master of your own kitchen, and you’ll make it all, on your terms.
With no regrets, excuses, or apologies, Joshua Weissman will instruct you how with his irreverent humor, a little bit of light razzing, and over 100 perfectly delectable recipes.
If you ask him if he’s happy, even though he’s suffered the loss of his country, the Dalai Lama will give you an unconditional yes. What’s more, he’ll tell you that happiness is the purpose of life and that the very motion of our life is toward happiness. How to get there has always been the question.
Together with Dr. Howard Cutler, he explores many facets of everyday life, including relationships, loss, and the pursuit of wealth, to illustrate how to ride through life’s obstacles on a deep and abiding source of inner peace. Based on 2,500 years of Buddhist meditations mixed with a healthy dose of common sense, This book crosses the boundaries of traditions to help readers with difficulties common to all human beings.
Have you ever wondered “Why did I do that?” or “Why can’t I just control my behavior?” Others may judge our reactions and think, “What’s wrong with that person?” When questioning our emotions, it’s easy to place the blame on ourselves; holding ourselves and those around us to an impossible standard. It’s time we started asking a different question.
Here, Winfrey shares stories from her own past, understanding through experience the vulnerability that comes from facing trauma and adversity at a young age. In conversation throughout the book, she and Dr. Perry focus on understanding people, behavior, and ourselves. It’s a subtle but profound shift in our approach to trauma, and it’s one that allows us to understand our past in order to clear a path to our future―opening the door to resilience and healing in a proven, powerful way.
An ancient conversation for a modern audience – anyone who has ever asked ‘what is the purpose of life? or ‘who am I?’ will find something in this book. The Bhagavad Gita has been around for a long time but remains little known outside India. This edition sets out to change that. The ancient Gita is a world text dealing with the mysteries of life. At its heart is a conversation between the soul and God. Ranchor Prime’s version adopts a non-sectarian approach, making the Gita relevant to those of all religions or none, and emphasizing the link between religion and self-development. It is distinguished by its easy accessibility. His section-by-section commentary opens the text to the spiritual seeker. He never loses sight of the audience for his book, and he wants his readers to understand the Gita in a personal way.
In this authentic self-help book, Jordan Tarver, an introspective author, and world traveler, guides you on a journey of self-discovery. A close call with death at the age of 19 and a soul-searching solo backpacking trip at 21 taught Jordan how to live. Since then, he’s dedicated himself to living a life infused with meaning and empowering others to do the same.
By the end of You Deserve This Sh!t, you’ll have a newfound awareness of yourself and the world around you, the courage to always go outside your comfort zone, and the passion for living an intentional life. You will feel empowered to make choices that align with your goals and feel deserving of the exact life you want to live.