The book is so good that I keep reading as I walk off the plane. Tears in my eyes make the words blurry but I have to know what will happen next. Somehow my body knows to move but my heart is in my throat. The flight attendant wishes me a good trip but I can barely nod. Frankly, I can hardly keep it together. I am not just reading the story. I am living it.
The book is called “A Place for Us” and it was written by Fatima Farheen Mirza. She is a first-time novelist and is only 27-years-old.
I heard about the book from Sarah Jessica Parker on her Instagram feed. I knew SJP was an avid reader. She has recommended other books I’ve adored like “The Fates and The Furies” by Lauren Groff and “Sweetbitter” by Stephanie Danler.
What I didn’t realize until recently is that on top of being an actress, producer and designer; Sarah Jessica Parker is now an Editorial Director for the publishing company Hogarth.
Her first acquisition for SJP for Hogarth (in partnership with Molly Stern, Publisher of Crown and Hogarth) “A Place for Us” is being described as a “luminous” and “magical debut novel”. It’s about a Muslim Indian-American family struggling to maintain their culture as they build a new life in California.
“A Place for Us” is flying off the shelves thanks in a large part to the celebrity nudge from Sarah Jessica herself. It has skyrocketed up the New York Times Bestseller list.
How did SJP’s new job come about? “I was at a luncheon and [Hogarth Publisher] Molly Stern was there with [Gone Girl author and former EW television critic] Gillian Flynn” she told Entertainment Weekly. Sarah Jessica hesitated at first when Molly suggested the idea.
“At first I really demurred. I said, “No, I don’t have any business, and I have too much respect for people who’ve been publishing their whole adult lives,” and they really talked me into it. They said, “You will be surrounded by experienced people, people you value and trust who are interested in the same kind of storytelling that you are.””
What kind of story does SJP want to champion? “Books that move me, that cultivate empathy and curiosity, and let us get to know strangers better.” Her plan is to publish 4 books a year through Hogarth.
Sarah Jessica Parker has also partnered with the American Library Association’s Book Club Central. Stephanie Powell Watts (pictured above) wrote SJP’s first book club selection entitled “No One Is Coming to Save Us.”
Sarah Jessica Parker is one of many powerhouse celebrities that share their passion for books publicly. We thought we’d round up a list of celeb book clubs!
Reece Witherspoon brought “Wild” to the big screen and “Big Little Lies” to television. Her media brand Hello Sunshine celebrates women’s storytelling. Reece shares her “book of month” on her Instagram feed using this hashtag.
Her latest venture is bringing “Little Fires Everywhere” to HBO with Kerry Washington. Author Celeste Ng understandably describes celebrity book clubs as “miracle workers”.
Reece’s picks help put books like “All the Light We Cannot See” on the bestseller lists. Her June pick “Something’s in the Water” is being described as THE thriller of the summer.
Reece’s book “Whiskey in a Teacup” come out September 18th!
Author, businesswoman and actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s site goop also shares her and her team’s recommendations. Ariel Levy’s “The Rules Do Not Apply” is one of many titles that goop has helped climb the bestseller lists.
You can follow goop on Instagram for their latest suggestions. Find out more about the goop podcasts here.
Emma Roberts loves reading so much that she started Belletrist with her friend Karah Preiss. Emma told ELLE magazine that she once skipped drinks with friends to keep reading Ariel Levy’s “The Rules Do Not Apply”.
Emma and Karah would share their favorite books with each other so frequently that it became clear they had to turn their passion into a book club. In that same interview Emma says “Every month, we want it to be a surprise of what exactly the material is gonna be. Of course, we'll have the book and we'll have an interaction of sorts with the author. But sometimes that'll be a video, sometimes that'll be an interview, or something completely different…We want to keep every month exciting.”
You can read Emma Robert’s interview with The Joan Didion here. Emma was so excited that she “kissed the ground” when she got the call that Joan had accepted.
Actress and outspoken UN activist Emma Watson also reads voraciously. She recommends her favorite empowering reads to her 47 million followers on Instagram and on Our Shared Shelf on goodreads.
Does this woman even need an introduction? You can follow her book club here.
Have you ever read a book recommended by your favorite celebrity?