Connecting readers with phenomenal books has been a cornerstone of Oprah’s mission since the very start of her life as a public figure. Over the years, whether through her talk show, book club or magazine, she's brought us a trove of unforgettable recommendations—from luminary self-help books that sparked our biggest ‘aha!’ moments to epic novels that left an indelible mark on our souls.

If you’re searching for stories that shed light on a particular theme—the pursuit of love and happiness, or anxiety around death and aging—you are sure to find them here. These 10 reads from Oprah’s vault of book selections offer a lesson for each and every season of life.

Build the Life You Want1. On Happiness: Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier by Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey and acclaimed behavioral social scientist Arthur C. Brooks join forces in this new, definitive guidebook on living happier. Drawing on cutting-edge science and their years of work helping people translate ideas into action, Winfrey and Brooks show us how to reframe happiness as a direction—not a destination. The bottom line? You can get happier, even if you have problems. In some cases, you can live happier because you have problems.

Listen to Oprah and Arthur C. Brooks' conversation on Oprah's Super Soul Podcast: Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3


The Garden Within2. On Creativity: The Garden Within: Where the War with Your Emotions Ends and Your Most Powerful Life Begins by Dr. Anita Phillips

We're often instructed to view our emotions as an inconvenience to be suppressed, managed or mastered. But what if, instead, we believed that emotions aren't our enemy? That, in fact, we must tap into our emotional core in order to flourish in this life? In The Garden Within, mental health expert Dr. Anita Phillips boldly asserts that embracing emotion is paramount to reaching our highest creative potential. Blending faith, the latest discoveries in neurobiology and her own research and work as a licensed trauma therapist, Dr. Phillips shows us how to cultivate a state of emotional well-being that can renew the mind, strengthen the body and unleash a new level of creative, spiritual power.

Listen to Oprah and Dr. Phillips' conversation on Oprah's Super Soul Podcast.


The Covenant of Water3. On Death: The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese

The second novel from writer and physician Abraham Verghese, Covenant follows three generations of a family in the coastal state of Kerala, India, where they're haunted by a devastating condition: In every generation, someone in the family dies by drowning. Spanning the years between 1900 and 1977, as historical events of both British and then independent India unfold, we experience love and loss through an ever-evolving cast of characters, reminding us of the inexorable march of time and the joys inherent to progress, change and rebirth—which would not be possible without death.

Listen to Oprah and Dr. Verghese's six-part conversation on The Convenant of Water Companion Podcast.


The Parenting Map4. On Family: The Parenting Map: Step-by-Step Solutions to Consciously Create the Ultimate Parent-Child Relationship by Dr. Shefali Tsabary

As the epistemological chasm between parent and child reaches extremes, this groundbreaking new work from clinical psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Shefali Tsabary could not have come at a more critical time. A follow-up to The Conscious Parent and The Awakened Family, Dr. Tsabary's The Parenting Map articulates the unique, 21st-century pressures hampering today's parent-child dynamic with stunning clarity. By teaching us how to disrupt our most deeply ingrained and unproductive beliefs, Dr. Tsabary equips us with the tools to face parenting with inner calm and certainty. This is an absolute must-read for anyone who is ready to embrace the challenging self-work of building authentic connections with their children.

Listen to Oprah and Dr. Tsabary's conversation on Oprah's Super Soul Podcast.


Wellness5. On Love: Wellness by Nathan Hill

Leaping from the '90s Chicago grunge scene to the detox-dieting suburbs of the 2010s, Wellness is the quintessential love story for our modern age. The book follows Jack and Elizabeth as they navigate marriage and midlife immersed in a marketing-driven culture that hawks a fix for everything from growing waistbands to lukewarm sex. Somehow, miraculously, Hill holds onto a faithful optimism about love in the 21st century. The myopic pursuit of "optimization"—no matter how misguided—suggests we still haven't given up on one another.


Wild 6. On Finding Your Purpose: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

At 26 Cheryl Strayed was, by her own admission, a total mess. Her beloved mother had just died; she'd broken up her young marriage; she was dating a junkie and was well on her way to becoming one herself. Strayed ultimately rights herself by setting out on a 1,100-mile hike up the Pacific Crest Trail. How she did it—and what she learned about life, love and survival of the emotional and physical sort—is the subject of her transformative memoir.

Listen to Oprah and Cheryl Strayed's conversation on Oprah's Super Soul Podcast.


A Lesson Before Dying7. On Friendship: A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

Set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940s, A Lesson Before Dying tells the story of an unlikely friendship between two Black men from different walks of life: Jefferson, a plantation worker who is wrongly convicted of the murder of a white shopkeeper, and Grant Wiggins, a college-educated teacher who visits Jefferson on death row at the behest of the accused's family. Brought together through no choice of their own, the two men come to believe that resistance itself is an act of heroism.


Olive, Again8. On Aging: Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge, Strout’s first collection of vignettes, introduces the prickly protagonist we can’t help but love. The second installment, Olive, Again, follows the title character, now older and wiser, as she confronts regret, poor health and other unwelcome changes. Strout's remarkable insights about growing older—voiced by her characters in moments of loneliness, terror and occasions of happiness—are at times shocking in their profundity and produce a sense of universal camaraderie between fellow mortals


Finding Me9. On Perseverance: Finding Me by Viola Davis

Viola Davis, the first Black actor to earn the "Triple Crown of Acting,” details her rise from poverty to emerge as an iconic American artist in this spellbinding memoir. Oprah had this to say about the book: "There are so many lessons to be learned from this breathtaking memoir about triumphing over adversity and trauma. Viola Davis leaves it all on the page—from her beginnings in South Carolina as the fifth of six children born in a sharecropper's shack to acclaim as an actor, producer and philanthropist."

Listen to Oprah and Viola Davis' conversation on Oprah's Super Soul Podcast.


That Bird Has My Wings10. On Spirituality : That Bird Has My Wings by Jarvis Jay Masters

Written from death row in San Quentin State Prison, Masters’ extraordinary memoir plumbs the depths of a horrific childhood, which propelled him into a lengthy prison sentence—culminating in the conviction of a murder he did not commit. Caught in the undertow of our failed foster care and justice systems, Masters nevertheless goes on to become a devoted Buddhist and award-winning poet. His story, ultimately, is one of finding light in the darkest place. He shares it with the hope that it will help others regain their faith.

Listen to Oprah and Jarvis Jay Masters' conversation on Oprah's Super Soul Podcast.

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