Though we first met her onscreen as our favorite writer, Carrie Bradshaw, actress Sarah Jessica Parker has quickly become one of our favorite off-screen readers as well. Whether she’s balancing grocery bags with a new haul of books from Three Lives in Greenwich Village or reading behind Tom Hanks at a sporting event in this iconic photo, SJP has become a passionate advocate for books—sharing bestselling novels like THE NIX and A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW alongside history books like SECONDHAND TIME and THE GILDED RAGE on Instagram. She also acts as the Honorary Co-Chair of the American Library Associations’s Book Club Central program and is heading up a new imprint of her own, SJP for Hogarth. Here is a list of some of her shared favorites for you to add to your shelf!
Ayobami Adebayo's debut novel follows a married couple, Yejide and Akin, who have been together since their university days. Though they originally rejected their cultural tradition of polygamy, Yejide is unable to conceive a child, and four years into their marriage, a new wife is brought into their home. Shocked and furious, Yejide knows that the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant—but at a far greater cost than she ever could have anticipated. SJP perfectly described it as a "heartbreaking tale of love, loyalty, and betrayal," and we agree that this story will stay in your mind long after you finish.
Never has SJP been more like us than when she posted a photo of Stephanie Danler's blockbuster debut novel and simply wrote: "I can't stop. No one talk to me." Set in the New York restaurant world, the book follows Tess, a 22-year-old who lands a job at a celebrated downtown spot. There, as she navigates coming of age against the odd hours, exclusive back rooms, and chaotic relationships, she receives an education she never expected—inside the kitchen and out. SWEETBITTER was recently adapted for the little screen and the series is now airing on Starz.
Read with a Glass of Rosé
If you want to experience a wild life vicariously, just sit down with a nice glass of chilled rosé and enjoy SWEETBITTER. Stephanie Danler’s debut gives a peek into the world of a twentysomething who’s just landed a job at a downtown New York City restaurant with a pricey wine menu. It’s there that she learns important lessons about wine, about love, and about the world.
A fan of the "divine" Hogarth Shakespeare series, which asks contemporary authors to reimagine classic Shakespearean tales (Margaret Atwood, Howard Jacobson, and Tracy Chevalier have also contributed), SJP recommended DUNBAR—Edward St. Aubyn's interpretation of King Lear, last summer. Instead of Lear, we have Henry Dunbar, the once-powerful head of a global media company who is planning his escape from a sanitarium in rural England as his family members seize control of his empire and try to stop him. It's a fascinating examination of power, forgiveness, family, and legacy.
Like any good reader, SJP brings a book wherever she goes, and it looks like she had this classic novel to keep her company between takes on the set of her new show, Divorce. The first of three novels in Chinua Achebe's acclaimed "Africa Trilogy," THINGS FALL APART tells the story of colonization through the eyes of Okonkwo—a wealthy and fearless warrior who must resist and reconcile the changes to his community and culture as outsiders force themselves in—and conveys the tragedy and trauma of our history.
Chinua Achebe’s legendary novel encompasses the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul. It is an illuminating monument to modern Africa as seen from within.
When writer Ariel Levy arrived on assignment in Mongolia in 2012, she was married, pregnant, and happy. But when she suffered a painful miscarriage, her entire world was turned upside down. In this moving and intimate memoir, Levy takes the reader through her past and present as she tries to rebuild her life. Perfect for fans of WILD and THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING, THE RULES DO NOT APPLY is an emotional, engrossing page-turner that SJP said she would read "in between takes on [Divorce], subway rides, van drive home from work, and any chance I get."
Like the characters SJP has played throughout her career, the leading ladies of CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS, Frances and Bobbi, are multidimensional, modern women whose friendship is thrown into chaos when they meet a well-known photographer named Melissa. It's a sharply intelligent, complicated, and messy novel about friendship, one of the most realistic we've seen. SJP wrote that she read it in one day—and you will too.
On the night of a massive hurricane, Armie, Josef, and their sister, Charlie, are told that their father is dying. For the first time in years, they return to their childhood home in upstate New York—where their family's antique store has been destroyed by the storm—and find that their father has left them one final task that will bring secrets and realizations to the forefront of their relationships. SJP posted about this book's unexpected arrival and promise, and we couldn't agree more. If you liked THE NEST or THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU, this one belongs on your shelf.
Sometimes the best review you can give a book is short and sweet: "Oh man am I digging this book" was basically all we had to see from SJP before adding ZERO K to our to-read list. It follows Jeffrey Lockhart, the son of billionaire Ross Lockhart, who is called home for his stepmother, Artis's, final days. Ross and Artis live on a remote compound where bodies are preserved until medicine can heal them. Though Jeffrey heartily disagrees with the approach, he abides by their request and is faced with important questions. What results is a wise and funny meditation about what it means to live life, to embrace death, and to be a family.
In contemporary Ireland, a grandmother named Maureen Phelan is surprised in her home by an intruder and clocks him over the head with a Holy Stone, killing him. THE GLORIOUS HERESIES follows the aftermath of this unintentional murder through the lives of four misfits-Ryan, a 15-year-old drug dealer; his alcoholic father; a sex worker who joins a born-again movement to escape her life; and Jimmy Phelan, Maureen's estranged son. SJP rightfully compared McInerney to Colum McCann, Frank McCourt, "and all the Irish greats," so if those authors are some of your favorites, her debut should be your next stop.
With a publishing imprint of her own, it's no surprise that SJP was looking to learn from one of the industry's best. Robert Gottlieb is one of the most celebrated editors of his time, and this candid memoir recounts his decades-long career working with authors like Joseph Heller, Toni Morrison, Katharine Graham, Michael Crichton, Lauren Bacall, Nora Ephron, and Bill Clinton, as well as the time he spent as editor of The New Yorker. Though it is a book about books, Gottlieb's life contains lessons about much more: family, friends, love, loss, and work.
SJP featured this novel from bestselling author Herman Koch as one of her traveling "essentials," and, as usual, she's right on the mark. This novel follows M, a writer whose suspense novel based on a real-life disappearance was a great success, but who is now seeing his career fade. But he soon notices his neighbor is watching him, and the people around him are seemingly connected in ways he never could have expected. Told from alternating points of view, Koch weaves together a fascinating and intricate tale in which no one can be trusted-perfect for a plane, train, or automobile.
The first novel from her eponymous imprint, SJP for Hogarth, A PLACE FOR US explores the lives of an Indian-American Muslim family as they gather together to celebrate the eldest daughter, Hadia's, wedding. When Amar, the youngest of the siblings, who has not been home in three years, arrives for the festivities, everyone is forced to contend with the choices they've made, the home they have created, the culture they have tried to maintain, and the things that have brought them together as much as they have torn them apart.