‘Today Show’: Jenna Bush Hager Reveals March Book Club Pick and Celebrates 3rd Anniversary of ‘Read with Jenna’

Jenna Bush Hager launched her uber-popular book club “Read with Jenna” in March 2019. Now three years and 39 picks later, the Today Show just shared her selection for this month as the calendar marks her literary club’s anniversary.

'Today Show' co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager
‘Today Show’ co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Jenna Bush Hager posted March pick on Instagram

Known for selecting debut novelists with a compelling narrative, Hager’s book for March looks like another page-turner. The Today with Hoda & Jenna star gave a synopsis of this month’s pick on her Instagram account.

“Overjoyed to share that March’s #ReadWithJenna book selection is Groundskeeping by Lee Cole!” Hager wrote. “This debut novel tells the story of Owen, an aspiring writer that finds himself as a groundskeeper at a local college in exchange for writing courses. As Owen tries to navigate Kentucky just before the 2016 election, he also ends up tackling an unexpected love with a writer in residence, Alma.”

With Alma from a liberal family of Bosnian immigrants and Owen raised with southern roots, their clashing cultures still aren’t enough to stand in the way of their flourishing romance. Hager raved of Cole’s storyline and promises readers a heartfelt journey through an intricate love story.

“This story will show you the power behind unconditional love and the strong ties of family,” she posted. “Read with us this month! I love love loved this book!!”

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‘Today Show’ star resonated with the novel’s timely themes

With the plot interspersing themes of identity, class, education, and familial expectations, Groundskeeping‘s backdrop of the 2016 election brings many relatable topics to light.

“It’s a story about love and identity and where we are from,” Hager remarked, according to Today.com. “It is about what makes us a family. I feel like it will lead to a lot of important conversation about what brings us together and what divides us… In a time when our country does seem so divided, I felt like it would be a healing, beautiful book for so many to read.”

Cole maintained that the story of Groundskeeping is fictitious, though he did weave some personal details of his own life throughout the novel.

“While the events of the book are fictional, they do have their basis in my own experiences of homesickness, working as a tree trimmer and just trying to navigate my relationship with Kentucky,” the author said.

Jenna Bush Hager’s picks represent all walks of life

The Today with Hoda & Jenna co-host was a bit apprehensive when she kicked off “Read with Jenna”, knowing that readers would be looking to her for literary endorsements.

“I’m not recommending to one best friend,” Hager told Entertainment Weekly in 2019. “I’m recommending to this huge audience of people that trust us and love our show. That puts pressure on me.”

Now celebrating her book club’s three-year anniversary, Hager recently launched her own production company where she plans on bringing several “Read with Jenna” titles to the big and small screen. The NBC personality always prioritizes giving new authors from various backgrounds a voice in the hopes of providing readers with an understanding of different cultures and upbringings.

“We’ve chosen books that are about identity and family, about finding our own voices,” Hager remarked.

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