November’s Celebrity Book Club Picks

It’s a new month which means that Jenna Bush Hager and Reese Witherspoon have picked new books for their book clubs! Reminder that if you join Simply Held, these titles will automatically be put on hold for you.

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Jenna Bush Hager has selected The Sun Sets in Singapore by Kehinde Fadipe for her November pick.

Curious what The Sun Sets in Singapore is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

The Lion City has gone by many names and is famous for many things—its decadent street food, its world-class shopping, its lush gardens that burst with tropical blooms. But paradise is always hiding a snake.

For Dara, a workaholic lawyer from the UK, Singapore is opportunity. Every day, brokering deals for her firm’s wealthy clientele, she gets closer to her ultimate goal: making partner. For Amaka, a sharp-tongued banker from Nigeria, Singapore is extravagance. Gucci, Prada, Hermès—she loves nothing more than to luxuriate in the major department stores that call her name on Orchard Road. And for Lillian, a former pianist turned “trailing spouse” from the U.S., Singapore is reinvention. In a stunning apartment with 360° views, the island seems to glitter as far as the eye can see.

But complications are looming in the form of an enigmatic stranger, whose presence exposes cracks in Singapore’s beguiling façade. Dara’s ambitions mean she has no life outside the firm, and her insecurities are threatening to derail the promotion she’s spent the last six years striving for. Amaka is desperate to escape the chaos she left behind at home and hiding a spiraling shopping addiction that’s endangering her very sense of self. And while Lillian’s life may be the envy of outsiders, a new obsession is imperiling everything—and everyone—around her.

In The Sun Sets in Singapore, Kehinde Fadipe captures the richness of this metropolis through the eyes of three tenacious women, who are about to learn that unfinished history can follow you anywhere, no matter how far you run from home. – Grand Central Publishing

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Reese Witherspoon has selected Maybe Next Time by Cesca Major for her November pick.

Curious what Maybe Next Time is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

One Day meets Groundhog Day, in this heartwarming and emotionally poignant novel about a stressed woman who must relive the same day over and over, keeping her family and work life from imploding as she attempts to spare her husband from an unfortunate fate.

It is an ordinary Monday and harried London literary agent Emma is flying out of the door as usual. Preoccupied with work and her ever growing to-do list, she fails to notice her lovely husband Dan seems bereft, her son can barely meet her eye, and her daughter won’t go near her. Even the dog seems sad.

She is far too busy, buried deep in her phone; social media alerts pinging; clients messaging with “emergencies”; keeping track of a dozen WhatsApp groups about the kids’ sports, school, playdates, all of it. Her whole day is frantic—what else is new—and as she rushes back through the door for dinner, Dan is still upset. They fight, and he walks out, desolate, dragging their poor dog around the block. Just as she realizes it is their anniversary and she has forgotten, again, she hears the screech of brakes.

Dan is dead.

The next day Emma wakes up… and Dan is alive. And it’s Monday again.

And again.

And again.

Emma tries desperately to change the course of fate by doing different things each time she wakes up: leaving WhatsApp, telling her boss where to get off, writing to Dan, listening to her kids, reaching out to forgotten friends, getting drunk and buying out Prada. But will Emma have the chance to find herself again, remember what she likes about her job, reconnect with her children, love her husband? Will this be enough to change the fate they seem destined for?

A moving “What if” story of what it is to be a woman in the modern world—never feeling we’re getting it quite right—about learning to slow down and appreciate life that is sure to resonate with women’s fiction readers. – William Morrow

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Oprah’s latest pick is Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward. While Reese and Jenna generally announce a new title each month, Oprah’s selections are more sporadic.

Curious what Let Us Descend is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

“‘Let us descend,’ the poet now began, ‘and enter this blind world.’” —Inferno, Dante Alighieri

Let Us Descend is a reimagining of American slavery, as beautifully rendered as it is heart-wrenching. Searching, harrowing, replete with transcendent love, the novel is a journey from the rice fields of the Carolinas to the slave markets of New Orleans and into the fearsome heart of a Louisiana sugar plantation.

Annis, sold south by the white enslaver who fathered her, is the reader’s guide through this hellscape. As she struggles through the miles-long march, Annis turns inward, seeking comfort from memories of her mother and stories of her African warrior grandmother. Throughout, she opens herself to a world beyond this world, one teeming with spirits: of earth and water, of myth and history; spirits who nurture and give, and those who manipulate and take. While Ward leads readers through the descent, this, her fourth novel, is ultimately a story of rebirth and reclamation.

From one of the most singularly brilliant and beloved writers of her generation, this miracle of a novel inscribes Black American grief and joy into the very land—the rich but unforgiving forests, swamps, and rivers of the American South. Let Us Descend is Jesmyn Ward’s most magnificent novel yet, a masterwork for the ages. – Scribner

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