Jessica Simpson wears many hats (all of them quite fashionable). The singer, songwriter, actor, entrepreneur, designer, and philanthropist also became a best-selling author this year with the release of Open Book, an intimate and engaging chronicle of her life so far.
Despite her busy schedule, Ms. Simpson still manages to carve out time to curl up with a good book. Here are some favorites she’s been revisiting this summer.
The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd
Growing up in a Southern Baptist home, I was hesitant to read a fictional account of Jesus’ adult life, his own family relations, and the introduction of a romantic relationship. I know the ending to this story, so what could I possibly learn? However, my curiosity got the best of me, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved how the author humanized Jesus in a way I hadn’t seen him described before. I knew about his adoration for his mother, his intense sense of responsibility and his steadfast purpose, but I had never considered the down to earth humanity within those qualities: the love of laughter, warm interpersonal connections with siblings, and day-to-day decision-making. The other fascinating character was, of course, his love interest Ana. You see Jesus through this strong, feisty woman’s eyes and cannot help but weep with her when she loses her greatest love. As this historical moment that I had faithfully studied for all of my life unfolded, I was so involved in the story that I forgot everything aside from the passion, love and sacrifice these two figures shared. Sue Monk Kidd provides the ultimate gift that any writer has to offer their reader: the ability to climb inside the hearts and minds of her characters, feel their pain and celebrate their love. What an experience.
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Normal People is one of the most realistic and heart-wrenching depictions of how young love nestles itself within the universal, vulnerable heart. It is a story that lays bare the beauty and brutality of coming-of-age discovery and first love with all of its divine, euphoric highs and melancholy, longing lows. The truth embodied in these characters makes you want to jump right into the pages to express your own empathy for what is being said and left unsaid. We have all lived these honest moments of connection and miscommunication in the soulful, connective force that is love. If I had to give this book a rating with stars I would give it a shooting star indeed.
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
One of my all-time favorite novels is The Paris Wife. I am fascinated by Ernest Hemingway’s storytelling, so I loved reading about his own story and getting to know the heart of his incredibly strong and complicated muse, Hadley. I found myself transported back to the Jazz Age in Paris, one of the most romantic time periods, and totally mesmerized by the love, dependency and devotion that these two iconic characters had for each other.
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz
This is a life-changing read. Even after the 25th time I find myself learning pure truth and gaining introspection for the deceptively small but very impressionable moments of choice in my journey. I keep these powerful words of compassionate awareness on my nightstand as a reminder to continue living my life with certainty and trying my very best.
This summer, the singer, songwriter, actor, entrepreneur, designer, and best-selling author is revisiting some favorites.