June’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, you can choose to have their selections automatically put on hold for you.

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Jenna Bush Hager has selected Swift River by Essie Chambers for her June pick.

Curious what Swift River is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

It’s the summer of 1987 in Swift River, and Diamond Newberry is learning how to drive. Ever since her Pop disappeared seven years ago, she and her mother hitchhike everywhere they go. But that’s not the only reason Diamond stands out: she’s teased relentlessly about her weight, and since Pop’s been gone, she is the only Black person in all of Swift River. This summer, Ma is determined to declare Pop legally dead so that they can collect his life insurance money, get their house back from the bank, and finally move on.

But when Diamond receives a letter from a relative she’s never met, key elements of Pop’s life are uncovered, and she is introduced to two generations of African American Newberry women, whose lives span the 20th century and reveal a much larger picture of prejudice and abandonment, of love and devotion. As pieces of their shared past become clearer, Diamond gains a sense of her place in the world and in her family. But how will what she’s learned of the past change her future?

A story of first friendships, family secrets, and finding the courage to let go, Swift River is a sensational debut about how history shapes us and heralds the arrival of a major new literary talent. – Simon & Schuster

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Reese Witherspoon has selected The Unwedding by Ally Condie for her June pick.

Curious what The Unwedding is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

Ellery Wainwright is alone at the edge of the world.

She and her husband, Luke, were supposed to spend their twentieth wedding anniversary together at the luxurious Resort at Broken Point in Big Sur, California. Where better to celebrate a marriage, a family, and a life together than at one of the most stunning places on earth?

But now she’s traveling solo.

To add insult to injury, there’s a wedding at Broken Point scheduled during her stay. Ellery remembers how it felt to be on the cusp of everything new and wonderful, with a loved and certain future glimmering just ahead. Now, she isn’t certain of anything except for her love for her kids and her growing realization that this place, though beautiful, is unsettling.

When Ellery discovers the body of the groom floating in the pool in the rain, she realizes that she is not the only one whose future is no longer guaranteed. Before the police can reach Broken Point, a mudslide takes out the road to the resort, leaving the guests trapped. When another guest dies, it’s clear something horrible is brewing.

Everyone at Broken Point has a secret. And everyone has a shadow. Including Ellery.  – Grand Central Publishing

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May’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, you can choose to have their selections automatically put on hold for you.

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Jenna Bush Hager has selected Real Americans by Rachel Khong for her May pick.

Curious what Real Americans is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

Real Americans begins on the precipice of Y2K in New York City, when twenty-two-year-old Lily Chen, an unpaid intern at a slick media company, meets Matthew. Matthew is everything Lily is not: easygoing and effortlessly attractive, a native East Coaster, and, most notably, heir to a vast pharmaceutical empire. Lily couldn’t be more different: flat-broke, raised in Tampa, the only child of scientists who fled Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Despite all this, Lily and Matthew fall in love.

In 2021, fifteen-year-old Nick Chen has never felt like he belonged on the isolated Washington island where he lives with his single mother, Lily. He can’t shake the sense she’s hiding something. When Nick sets out to find his biological father, the journey threatens to raise more questions than it provides answers.

In immersive, moving prose, Rachel Khong weaves a profound tale of class and striving, race and visibility, and family and inheritance—a story of trust, forgiveness, and finally coming home.

Exuberant and explosive, Real Americans is a social novel par excellence that asks: Are we destined, or made? And if we are made, who gets to do the making? Can our genetic past be overcome? – Knopf

This title is also available in large print.

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Reese Witherspoon has selected How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang for her May pick.

Curious what How to End a Love Story is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

Helen Zhang hasn’t seen Grant Shepard once in the thirteen years since the tragic accident that bound their lives together forever.

Now a bestselling author, Helen pours everything into her career. She’s even scored a coveted spot in the writers’ room of the TV adaptation of her popular young adult novels, and if she can hide her imposter syndrome and overcome her writer’s block, surely the rest of her life will fall into place too. LA is the fresh start she needs. After all, no one knows her there. Except…

Grant has done everything in his power to move on from the past, including building a life across the country. And while the panic attacks have never quite gone away, he’s well liked around town as a screenwriter. He knows he shouldn’t have taken the job on Helen’s show, but it will open doors to developing his own projects that he just can’t pass up.

Grant’s exactly as Helen remembers him—charming, funny, popular, and lovable in ways that she’s never been. And Helen’s exactly as Grant remembers too—brilliant, beautiful, closed off. But working together is messy, and electrifying, and Helen’s parents, who have never forgiven Grant, have no idea he’s in the picture at all.

When secrets come to light, they must reckon with the fact that theirs was never meant to be any kind of love story. And yet… the key to making peace with their past—and themselves—might just lie in holding on to each other in the present. – Avon

This title is also available in large print.

Join Simply Held to have Oprah, Jenna, and Reese’s adult selections automatically put on hold for you!

April’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, you can choose to have their selections automatically put on hold for you.

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Jenna Bush Hager has selected The Husbands by Holly Gramazio for her April pick.

Curious what The Husbands is about? Check out the following description provided by the publishers.

When Lauren returns home to her flat in London late one night, she is greeted at the door by her husband, Michael. There’s only one problem—she’s not married. She’s never seen this man before in her life. But according to her friends, her much-improved decor, and the photos on her phone, they’ve been together for years.

As Lauren tries to puzzle out how she could be married to someone she can’t remember meeting, Michael goes to the attic to change a lightbulb and abruptly disappears. In his place, a new man emerges, and a new, slightly altered life re-forms around her. Realizing that her attic is creating an infinite supply of husbands, Lauren confronts the question: If swapping lives is as easy as changing a lightbulb, how do you know you’ve taken the right path? When do you stop trying to do better and start actually living? – Doubleday

This title is also available in large print.

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Reese Witherspoon has selected The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo for her April pick.

Curious what The Most Fun We Ever Had is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

In this “rich, complex family saga” (USA Today) full of long-buried family secrets, Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, blithely ignorant of all that awaits them. By 2016, they have four radically different daughters, each in a state of unrest.

Wendy, widowed young, soothes herself with booze and younger men; Violet, a litigator turned stay-at-home-mom, battles anxiety and self-doubt; Liza, a neurotic and newly tenured professor, finds herself pregnant with a baby she’s not sure she wants by a man she’s not sure she loves; and Grace, the dawdling youngest daughter, begins living a lie that no one in her family even suspects.

With the unexpected arrival of young Jonah Bendt—a child placed for adoption by one of the daughters fifteen years before—the Sorensons will be forced to reckon with the rich and varied tapestry of their past. As they grapple with years marred by adolescent angst, infidelity, and resentment, they also find the transcendent moments of joy that make everything else worthwhile. – Vintage

This title is also available in large print.

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March’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(Oprah has picked a new title as well)! Reminder that if you join Simply Held, you can choose to have their selections automatically put on hold for you.

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Jenna Bush Hager has selected two titles for March: The Great Divide by Cristina Henríquez and The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.

Curious what The Great Divide and The House on Mango Street are about? Check out the following description provided by the publishers.

The Great Divide by Cristina Henríquez

A powerful novel about the construction of the Panama Canal, casting light on the unsung people who lived, loved, and labored there

It is said that the canal will be the greatest feat of engineering in history. But first, it must be built. For Francisco, a local fisherman who resents the foreign powers clamoring for a slice of his country, nothing is more upsetting than the decision of his son, Omar, to work as a digger in the excavation zone. But for Omar, whose upbringing was quiet and lonely, this job offers a chance to finally find connection.

Ada Bunting is a bold sixteen-year-old from Barbados who arrives in Panama as a stowaway alongside thousands of other West Indians seeking work. Alone and with no resources, she is determined to find a job that will earn enough money for her ailing sister’s surgery. When she sees a young man—Omar—who has collapsed after a grueling shift, she is the only one who rushes to his aid.

John Oswald has dedicated his life to scientific research and has journeyed to Panama in single-minded pursuit of one goal: eliminating malaria. But now, his wife, Marian, has fallen ill herself, and when he witnesses Ada’s bravery and compassion, he hires her on the spot as a caregiver. This fateful decision sets in motion a sweeping tale of ambition, loyalty, and sacrifice.

Searing and empathetic,The Great Divide explores the intersecting lives of activists, fishmongers, laborers, journalists, neighbors, doctors, and soothsayers—those rarely acknowledged by history even as they carved out its course. – Ecco

This title is also available in large print.

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The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

In her acclaimed debut work, Cisneros tells the story of Esperanza Cordero, a young girl growing up in the Latino section of Chicago. Esperanza’s thoughts and emotions are expressed in her fable-like poems and stories, which portray the alternating beauty and desolation of her life and its realities. Esperanza doesn’t want to belong—not to her rundown neighborhood, and not to the low expectations the world has for her. Esperanza’s story is that of a young girl coming into her power, and inventing for herself what she will become. – Penguin Random House

This title is also available in Spanish.

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Reese Witherspoon has selected Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez for her March pick.

Curious what Anita de Monte Laughs Last is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

1985. Anita de Monte, a rising star in the art world, is found dead in New York City; her tragic death is the talk of the town. Until it isn’t. By 1998 Anita’s name has been all but forgotten—certainly by the time Raquel, a third-year art history student is preparing her final thesis. On College Hill, surrounded by privileged students whose futures are already paved out for them, Raquel feels like an outsider. Students of color, like her, are the minority there, and the pressure to work twice as hard for the same opportunities is no secret.

But when Raquel becomes romantically involved with a well-connected older art student, she finds herself unexpectedly rising up the social ranks. As she attempts to straddle both worlds, she stumbles upon Anita’s story, raising questions about the dynamics of her own relationship, which eerily mirrors that of the forgotten artist.

Moving back and forth through time and told from the perspectives of both women, Anita de Monte Laughs Last is a propulsive, witty examination of power, love, and art, daring to ask who gets to be remembered and who is left behind in the rarefied world of the elite. – Flatiron Books

This title is also available in large print.

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Oprah has selected The Many Lives of Mama Love by Lara Love Hardin for her March pick.

Curious what The Many Lives of Mama Love is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

No one expects the police to knock on the door of the million-dollar two-story home of the perfect cul-de-sac housewife. But soccer mom Lara Love Hardin has been hiding a shady secret: she is funding her heroin addiction by stealing her neighbors’ credit cards.

Lara is convicted of thirty-two felonies and becomes inmate S32179. She finds that jail is a class system with a power structure that is somewhere between an adolescent sleepover party and Lord of the Flies. Furniture is made from tampon boxes, and Snickers bars are currency. But Lara quickly learns the rules and brings love and healing to her fellow inmates as she climbs the social ladder and acquires the nickname “Mama Love,” showing that jailhouse politics aren’t that different from the PTA meetings she used to attend.

When she’s released, she reinvents herself as a ghostwriter. Now, she’s legally co-opting other people’s identities and getting to meet Oprah, meditate with the Dalai Lama, and have dinner with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. But the shadow of her past follows her. Shame is a poison worse than heroin—there is no way to detox. Lara must learn how to forgive herself and others, navigate life as a felon on probation, and prove to herself that she is more good than bad, among other essential lessons.

The Many Lives of Mama Love is a heartbreaking and tender journey from shame to redemption, despite a system that makes it almost impossible for us to move beyond the worst thing we have ever done. – Simon & Schuster

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February’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, you can choose to have their selections automatically put on hold for you.

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Jenna Bush Hager has selected Good Material by Dolly Alderton for her February pick.

Curious what Good Material is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

Andy loves Jen. Jen loved Andy. And he can’t work out why she stopped.

Now he is. . .

Without a home

Waiting for his stand-up career to take off

Wondering why everyone else around him seems to have grown up while he wasn’t looking

Set adrift on the sea of heartbreak, Andy clings to the idea of solving the puzzle of his ruined relationship. Because if he can find the answer to that, then maybe Jen can find her way back to him. But Andy still has a lot to learn, not least his ex-girlfriend’s side of the story…

In this sharply funny and exquisitely relatable story of romantic disaster and friendship, Dolly Alderton offers up a love story with two endings, demonstrating once again why she is one of the most exciting writers today, and the true voice of a generation. – Knopf

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Reese Witherspoon has selected Redwood Court by DéLana R. A. Dameron for her February pick.

Curious what Redwood Court is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

“Mika, you sit at our feet all these hours and days, hearing us tell our tales. You have all these stories inside you: all the stories everyone in our family knows and all the stories everyone in our family tells. You write ’em in your books and show everyone who we are.”

So begins award-winning poet DéLana R. A. Dameron’s debut novel, Redwood Court. The baby of the family, Mika Tabor spends much of her time in the care of loved ones, listening to their stories and witnessing their struggles. On Redwood Court, the cul-de-sac in the all-Black working-class suburb of Columbia, South Carolina, where her grandparents live, Mika learns important lessons from the people who raise her: her exhausted parents, who work long hours at multiple jobs while still making sure their kids experience the adventure of family vacations; her older sister, who in a house filled with Motown would rather listen to Alanis Morrisette; her retired grandparents, children of Jim Crow, who realized their own vision of success when they bought their house on the Court in the 1960s, imagining it filled with future generations; and the many neighbors who hold tight to the community they’ve built, committed to fostering joy and love in an America so insistent on seeing Black people stumble and fall.

With visceral clarity and powerful prose, Dameron reveals the devastation of being made to feel invisible and the transformative power of being seen. Redwood Court is a celebration of extraordinary, ordinary people striving to achieve their own American dreams. – The Dial Press

This title is also available in large print.

Join Simply Held to have Oprah, Jenna, and Reese’s adult selections automatically put on hold for you!

January’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 Waters by Bonnie Jo Campbell for her January pick.

Curious what The Waters is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

A master of rural noir returns with a fierce, mesmerizing novel about exceptional women and the soul of a small town.

On an island in the Great Massasauga Swamp—an area known as “The Waters” to the residents of nearby Whiteheart, Michigan—herbalist and eccentric Hermine “Herself” Zook has healed the local women of their ailments for generations. As stubborn as her tonics are powerful, Herself inspires reverence and fear in the people of Whiteheart, and even in her own three estranged daughters. The youngest—the beautiful, inscrutable, and lazy Rose Thorn—has left her own daughter, eleven-year-old Dorothy “Donkey” Zook, to grow up wild.

Donkey spends her days searching for truths in the lush landscape and in her math books, waiting for her wayward mother and longing for a father, unaware that family secrets, passionate love, and violent men will flood through the swamp and upend her idyllic childhood. Rage simmers below the surface of this divided community, and those on both sides of the divide have closed their doors against the enemy. The only bridge across the waters is Rose Thorn. – W.W. Norton & Company

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Reese Witherspoon has selected First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston for her January pick.

Curious what First Lie Wins is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

Evie Porter has everything a nice, Southern girl could want: a perfect, doting boyfriend, a house with a white picket fence and a garden, a fancy group of friends. The only catch: Evie Porter doesn’t exist.

The identity comes first: Evie Porter. Once she’s given a name and location by her mysterious boss Mr. Smith, she learns everything there is to know about the town and the people in it. Then the mark: Ryan Sumner. The last piece of the puzzle is the job.

Evie isn’t privy to Mr. Smith’s real identity, but she knows this job will be different. Ryan has gotten under her skin, and she’s starting to envision a different sort of life for herself. But Evie can’t make any mistakes–especially after what happened last time.

Because the one thing she’s worked her entire life to keep clean, the one identity she could always go back to—her real identity—just walked right into this town. Evie Porter must stay one step ahead of her past while making sure there’s still a future in front of her. The stakes couldn’t be higher–but then, Evie has always liked a challenge… – Pamela Dorman Books

This title is also available in large print.

Join Simply Held to have Oprah, Jenna, and Reese’s adult selections automatically put on hold for you!

December’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 We Must Not Think of Ourselves by Lauren Grodstein for her December pick.

Curious what We Must Not Think of Ourselves is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

On a November day in 1940, Adam Paskow becomes a prisoner in the Warsaw Ghetto, where the Jews of the city are cut off from their former lives and held captive by Nazi guards to await an uncertain fate. Weeks later, he is approached by a mysterious figure with a surprising request: Would he join a secret group of archivists working to preserve the truth of what is happening inside these walls?

Adam agrees and begins taking testimonies from his students, friends, and neighbors. He learns about their childhoods and their daydreams, their passions and their fears, their desperate strategies for safety and survival. The stories form a portrait of endurance in a world where no choices are good ones.

One of the people Adam interviews is his flatmate Sala Wiskoff, who is stoic, determined, and funny—and married with two children. Over the months of their confinement, in the presence of her family, Adam and Sala fall in love. As they desperately carve out intimacy, their relationship feels both impossible and vital, their connection keeping them alive.

But when Adam discovers a possible escape from the Ghetto, he is faced with an unbearable choice: whom can he save, and at what cost ?

Inspired by the testimony-gathering project with the code name Oneg Shabbat, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Grodstein draws readers into the lives of people living on the edge. Told with immediacy and heart, We Must Not Think of Ourselves is a piercing story of love, determination, and sacrifice. – Algonquin Books

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Reese Witherspoon has selected Before We Were Innocent by Ella Berman for her December pick.

Curious what Before We Were Innocent is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

A summer in Greece for three best friends ends in the unthinkable when only two return home. . . .

Ten years ago, after a sun-soaked summer spent in Greece, best friends Bess and Joni were cleared of having any involvement in their friend Evangeline’s death. But that didn’t stop the media from ripping apart their teenage lives like vultures.

While the girls were never convicted, Joni, ever the opportunist, capitalized on her newfound infamy to become a motivational speaker. Bess, on the other hand, resolved to make her life as small and controlled as possible so she wouldn’t risk losing everything all over again. And it almost worked. . . .

Except now Joni needs a favor, and when she turns up at her old friend’s doorstep asking for an alibi, Bess has no choice but to say yes. She still owes her. But as the two friends try desperately to shake off their past, they have to face reality.

Can you ever be an innocent woman when everyone wants you to be guilty? – Penguin Random House

This title is also available as a Libby eBook and in large print.

Join Simply Held to have Oprah, Jenna, and Reese’s adult selections automatically put on hold for you!

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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October’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 How to Say Babylon: A Memoir by Safiya Sinclair for her October pick.

Curious what How to Say Babylon is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

With echoes of Educated and Born a Crime, How to Say Babylon is the stunning story of the author’s struggle to break free of her rigid Rastafarian upbringing, ruled by her father’s strict patriarchal views and repressive control of her childhood, to find her own voice as a woman and poet.

Throughout her childhood, Safiya Sinclair’s father, a volatile reggae musician and militant adherent to a strict sect of Rastafari, became obsessed with her purity, in particular, with the threat of what Rastas call Babylon, the immoral and corrupting influences of the Western world outside their home. He worried that womanhood would make Safiya and her sisters morally weak and impure, and believed a woman’s highest virtue was her obedience.

In an effort to keep Babylon outside the gate, he forbade almost everything. In place of pants, the women in her family were made to wear long skirts and dresses to cover their arms and legs, head wraps to cover their hair, no make-up, no jewelry, no opinions, no friends. Safiya’s mother, while loyal to her father, nonetheless gave Safiya and her siblings the gift of books, including poetry, to which Safiya latched on for dear life. And as Safiya watched her mother struggle voicelessly for years under housework and the rigidity of her father’s beliefs, she increasingly used her education as a sharp tool with which to find her voice and break free. Inevitably, with her rebellion comes clashes with her father, whose rage and paranoia explodes in increasing violence. As Safiya’s voice grows, lyrically and poetically, a collision course is set between them.

How to Say Babylon is Sinclair’s reckoning with the culture that initially nourished but ultimately sought to silence her; it is her reckoning with patriarchy and tradition, and the legacy of colonialism in Jamaica. Rich in lyricism and language only a poet could evoke, How to Say Babylon is both a universal story of a woman finding her own power and a unique glimpse into a rarefied world we may know how to name, Rastafari, but one we know little about.  – Simon & Schuster

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Reese Witherspoon has selected Starling House by Alix E. Harrow for her October pick.

Curious what Starling House is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

I dream sometimes about a house I’ve never seen….

Opal is a lot of things—orphan, high school dropout, full-time cynic and part-time cashier—but above all, she’s determined to find a better life for her younger brother Jasper. One that gets them out of Eden, Kentucky, a town remarkable for only two things: bad luck and E. Starling, the reclusive nineteenth century author of The Underland, who disappeared over a hundred years ago.

All she left behind were dark rumors—and her home. Everyone agrees that it’s best to ignore the uncanny mansion and its misanthropic heir, Arthur. Almost everyone, anyway.

I should be scared, but in the dream I don’t hesitate.

Opal has been obsessed with The Underland since she was a child. When she gets the chance to step inside Starling House—and make some extra cash for her brother’s escape fund—she can’t resist.

But sinister forces are digging deeper into the buried secrets of Starling House, and Arthur’s own nightmares have become far too real. As Eden itself seems to be drowning in its own ghosts, Opal realizes that she might finally have found a reason to stick around.

In my dream, I’m home.

And now she’ll have to fight.

Welcome to Starling House: enter, if you dare.  – Tor Books

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September’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 Amazing Grace Adams by Fran Littlewood for her September pick.

Curious what Amazing Grace Adams is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

Grace Adams gave birth, blinked, and now suddenly she is forty-five, perimenopausal and stalled—the unhappiest age you can be, according to the Guardian. And today she’s really losing it. Stuck in traffic, she finally has had enough. To the astonishment of everyone, Grace gets out of her car and simply walks away.

Grace sets off across London, armed with a £200 cake, to win back her estranged teenage daughter on her sixteenth birthday. Because today is the day she’ll remind her daughter that no matter how far we fall, we can always get back up again. Because Grace Adams used to be amazing. Her husband thought so. Her daughter thought so. Even Grace thought so. But everyone seems to have forgotten. Grace is about to remind them . . . and, most important, remind herself.

This title is also available as a Libby eBook.

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Reese Witherspoon has selected Mother-Daughter Murder Night by Nina Simon for her September pick.

Curious what Mother-Daughter Murder Night is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

High-powered businesswoman Lana Rubicon has a lot to be proud of: her keen intelligence, impeccable taste, and the L.A. real estate empire she’s built. But when she finds herself trapped 300 miles north of the city, convalescing in a sleepy coastal town with her adult daughter Beth and teenage granddaughter Jack, Lana is stuck counting otters instead of square footage—and hoping that boredom won’t kill her before the cancer does.

Then Jack—tiny in stature but fiercely independent—happens upon a dead body while kayaking. She quickly becomes a suspect in the homicide investigation, and the Rubicon women are thrown into chaos. Beth thinks Lana should focus on recovery, but Lana has a better idea. She’ll pull on her wig, find the true murderer, protect her family, and prove she still has power.

With Jack and Beth’s help, Lana uncovers a web of lies, family vendettas, and land disputes lurking beneath the surface of a community populated by folksy conservationists and wealthy ranchers. But as their amateur snooping advances into ever-more dangerous territory, the headstrong Rubicon women must learn to do the one thing they’ve always resisted: depend on each other.

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