“The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman

Regardless of your political affiliation, I think we can all agree that Amanda Gorman’s spoken word on Inauguration Day from Capitol Hill was powerful, moving and made us feel like one nation during a tumultuous time. “The Hill We Climb” is a printed copy of the inspiring words read on that January morning. It’s a short read that will only take a few minutes in one sitting to read, but its impact will stay with you long after. The book also features a forward by Oprah Winfrey highlighting Gorman’s talents and the road she is paving.

“How Far You Have Come: Musings on Beauty and Courage” by Morgan Harper Nichols

Many have probably seen Morgan Harper Nichols’ words floating around Instagram and other corners of the social media world or one of her poetry books. Different from her poetry books, this time Nichols includes essays of transitional moments in her life, appropriately named by the state she was visiting at the time. She also includes her signature artwork and illustrations to display her words and feelings.

“Live Your Life” by Amanda and Anna Kloots

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us and not many understand that better than Amanda Kloots, who lost her husband, actor and Broadway star Nick Cordero, to the virus more than a year ago. In the book, Kloots, along with her sister, Anna, recalls her last memories with Cordero before he passed — from the days leading up to his hospital visit, the uncertain times of not knowing whether he would make it through the night, as well as his last moments. In spite of the heavy subject matter and recalling the last year, Kloots’ message is filled with faith, hope and love. Throughout the moments of the last year, Kloots also weaves happier times of when she first met Cordero and other significant moments during their relationship, including the birth of their son, Elvis. It’s poignant, heartfelt and incredibly real.

“The Family” by Mario Puzo

Mario Puzo, the man who gave us “The Godfather,” also gives us the story of the original crime family, the Borgias. Set in Italy during a time when the country’s unification as the papal states were “iffy” to say the least, one Roderigo Borgia sets his sights on doing just that. To do it, he enlists the help of his family, Cesare, his competitive and ambitious son, Lucrezia, his sweet and perceptive daughter, and Juan, his arrogant and braggart son. With enemies lurking around every corner and the belief of God on his side, how thin does the line tread between what’s good and what’s sinful? A book with twists and turns and a protagonist that enlists both sympathy and dislike, what better way to spend your time than reading “The Family.”