Jenna Bush Hager of the ‘Today Show’ Announces March Pick On Book Club’s One-Year Anniversary

Ready for Read With Jenna’s March pick? Jenna Bush Hager of the Today Show and Today with Hoda and Jenna just announced her third selection of 2020, one full year after the launch of her popular book club.

Jenna Bush Hager on "Watch What Happens Live"
Jenna Bush Hager of the “Today Show” | Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

A year of Read With Jenna

Bush Hager, a former teacher, kicked off her now-famous book club in March 2019. The Today star’s selections soon began to influence book sales, with Entertainment Weekly comparing her value in literary picks to something that hasn’t been “seen since Oprah’s glory days.”

Always placing a priority on making selections that spotlight underrepresented cultures while offering mass appeal, Bush Hager takes her role as book club founder to heart. “I’m recommending to this huge audience of people that trust us and love our show. That puts pressure on me.” Bush Hager said last year. “We’ve chosen books that are about identity and family, about finding our own voices.”

From the author of ‘Euphoria’

For this month’s selection, Bush Hager wanted to take readers on a different path from her previous picks. Choosing Writers & Lovers by Lily King, the novel tells the story of a young woman’s journey dealing with issues of identity, grief, ambition and love.

“I chose Writers & Lovers because I don’t think I’ve chosen a book like this,” Bush Hager said, according to Today.com. “Lily King really explores different themes that our book club hasn’t explored.”

The book focuses on Casey Peabody, who goes back to her college town of Cambridge, Massachusetts following the unexpected death of her mother. Coming to terms with the fact that she is not living the life she envisioned for herself in her early 30s, Casey is faced with some pivotal decisions she needs to make in her professional and personal life.

 “I think after she loses somebody that she loves so very much, she has to decide what her priorities are and how she is going to grow,” Bush Hager commented.

The book’s protagonist also finds herself in a love triangle with a writing professor and his student, complicating her self-reflective journey. “I just loved that there was this love triangle, but not in a cheesy, rom-com way,” the Read With Jenna founder noted. “It was in a real way that she found herself attracted to these guys and wondered if they bring the best out in her.” 

Casey reflects King

The author wrote Writers & Lovers after the death of her own mother, saying that while the story is fictional, she put a lot of herself in the character of Casey.

“I definitely drew from my own emotions at that time, trying to make the choice of a creative life, especially in my 30s when everybody else seemed to be making other choices,” King said. “I was just drawn to writing a more personal book after my mother died.”

Bush Hager sees the novel as a different type of love story, where the narrative is a tribute to self-discovery. “It is in some ways a love story,” the Today star said. “That’s clear from the title, but I think what Lily King did really well was that when you are done with this book, what you find is that as long as you are true to yourself and you really understand what makes you happy, that is the true love story.”

Writers & Lovers hits bookshelves on March 3.