Celebrity Book Recommendations
Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon is an American actress, producer, and entrepreneur. She picks a favorite book each month for her "Hello Sunshine" book club members.
Daisy Jones and The Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Everyone knows DAISY JONES & THE SIX, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now. The making of the legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.
The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?
One Day in December, by Josie Silver
Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.
Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn't exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there's a moment of pure magic...and then her bus drives away.
One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.
The Other Woman, by Sandy Jones
SHE LOVES YOU: Adam adores Emily. Emily thinks Adam’s perfect, the man she thought she’d never meet.
BUT SHE LOVES YOU NOT: Lurking in the shadows is a rival, a woman who shares a deep bond with the man she loves.
AND SHE'LL STOP AT NOTHING: Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother Pammie. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever.
Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life--until the unthinkable happens.
Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
Oprah Winfrey is an American media executive, actress, talk show host, television producer and philanthropist. She is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011 in Chicago.
Below are just a few recent selections from Oprah's famous book club...
Becoming, by Michelle Obama
An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former first lady of the United States.
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites listeners into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her - from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work to her time spent at the world's most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it - in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations - and whose story inspires us to do the same.
The Sun Does Shine, by Anthony Ray Hinton
In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free. But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution.
The Sun Does Shine is an extraordinary testament to the power of hope sustained through the darkest times. Destined to be a classic memoir of wrongful imprisonment and freedom won, Hinton’s memoir tells his dramatic thirty-year journey and shows how you can take away a man’s freedom, but you can’t take away his imagination, humor, or joy.
Behold The Dreamers, by Imbolo Mbue
Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.
However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades.
When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.
The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the #1 New York Times bestseller from Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South.
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day.
An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward—with hope and pain—into the future.
Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, releases each year a list of his favorite books. Below are a few of the titles from his 2018 list...
Becoming, by Michelle Obama"Obviously my favorite!" Obama wrote about his wife's bestselling memoir. In the book, Michelle Obama chronicles her life before and after becoming the first African-American first lady in US history.
She invites readers to her childhood home in Chicago and walks them through her stories of academic success, family life, and personal struggles.
In "Becoming," the former first lady opens up about her disappointments and triumphs and even shares some headline-making details about life in the White House.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie"Americanah," a 2013 novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, tells the story of Ifemelu, a young Nigerian woman who moves to America for college.
Ifemelu, bright and ambitious, leaves Nigeria and her teenage sweetheart Obinze behind in search of an education away from the country's military dictatorship.
In the US, she struggles with racism and discovers what it means to be black in America. Ifemelu's experiences lead her to create a popular blog detailing her "Americanization."
Ngozi Adichie has received wide praise for her tackling of different societies and tensions among populations — particularly her depiction of blackness across America, Britain, and Nigeria.
The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die, by Keith PayneKeith Payne's book, which Obama described as a "highly readable account," examines the physical, psychological, and moral effects of inequality.
Payne explores how not just being poor but feeling poor matters in both personal and national development.
Payne touches on how women in poor countries tend to have more children and at a younger age, how people's perception of their social status affects their political views, and how poverty raises stress levels as effectively as physical threats.
By dissecting inequality this way, "The Broken Ladder" shows readers how our world — and our worldview — is shaped by our socioeconomic standing.
Factfulness, by Hans RoslingIn "Factfulness," Hans Rosling explains why, when asked simple questions about global trends, most humans - including journalists, teachers, and investment bankers — tend to get the answers wrong.
Rosling, a professor Obama lauded as "an outstanding international public health expert", writes about the 10 "instincts" that distort our perspective. These include how we tend to divide the world in two (us vs. them), how we consume media with fear, and how we constantly perceive progress by believing that everything is getting worse.
Our problem, Rosling writes, is that we often let our biases take a hold of us, instead of facts.
Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging, by Alex WagnerAlex Wagner's "Futureface" takes readers down the author's obsession to find out more about her family's racial and ethnic history.
The daughter of a Burmese mother and a white American father, Wagner always thought of herself as a face from the future — when "all races would merge into a brown singularity." But then a family secret draws her to the world of ancestry and DNA testing.
In this memoir, Wagner, a journalist, wades through the history of genetics, science, and sociology to explain why we are so obsessed with making sense of our ancestry and genes in order to make us feel like we belong.
Business magnate, investor, author, philanthropist, humanitarian,
and principal founder of Microsoft - shares the "top books I loved in 2018".
Educated, by Tara Westover.
Tara never went to school or visited a doctor until she left home at 17. I never thought I’d relate to a story about growing up in a Mormon survivalist household, but she’s such a good writer that she got me to reflect on my own life while reading about her extreme childhood. Melinda and I loved this memoir of a young woman whose thirst for learning was so strong that she ended up getting a Ph.D. from Cambridge University.
Army of None, by Paul Scharre.
Autonomous weapons aren’t exactly top of mind for most around the holidays, but this thought-provoking look at A.I. in warfare is hard to put down. It’s an immensely complicated topic, but Scharre offers clear explanations and presents both the pros and cons of machine-driven warfare. His fluency with the subject should come as no surprise: he’s a veteran who helped draft the U.S. government’s policy on autonomous weapons.
Bad Blood, by John Carreyrou.
A bunch of my friends recommended this one to me. Carreyrou gives you the definitive insider’s look at the rise and fall of Theranos. The story is even crazier than I expected, and I found myself unable to put it down once I started. This book has everything: elaborate scams, corporate intrigue, magazine cover stories, ruined family relationships, and the demise of a company once valued at nearly $10 billion.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari.
I’m a big fan of everything Harari has written, and his latest is no exception. While Sapiens and Homo Deus covered the past and future respectively, this one is all about the present. If 2018 has left you overwhelmed by the state of the world, 21 Lessons offers a helpful framework for processing the news and thinking about the challenges we face.
The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness, by Andy Puddicombe.
I’m sure 25-year-old me would scoff at this one, but Melinda and I have gotten really into meditation lately. The book starts with Puddicombe’s personal journey from a university student to a Buddhist monk and then becomes an entertaining explainer on how to meditate. If you’re thinking about trying mindfulness, this is the perfect introduction.