Did you know…
Sarah Jessica Parker has a great love for literature and she now has her own imprint, SJP Lit in partnership with Zando Projects. Zando’s mission is to “spark meaningful cultural conversations, reach a devoted new audience of readers…and upend the bestseller list.” The first book being published under SJP’s imprint is due out in June 2023. To give us an idea of the types of books she plans to publish, below are some favorites SJP found “thought provoking and captivating”. In addition, to finish out the year of reading, there’s a list of her top picks for 2022. (originally shared on Instagram)
SJP Lit’s First Book Now Available for pre-order
In A Quitter’s Paradise, the beguiling, hilarious debut by bold, new, contemporary voice Elysha Chang, a young woman does everything she can to avoid the reality of her mother’s recent death and family’s estrangement, even as it becomes increasingly clear that her own story is inextricable from theirs.
Eleanor is doing just fine. Sure, she’s hiding things from her husband. True, she quit her PhD program and is now conducting unauthorized research on illegitimately procured mice. And yes, her mother is dead, and Eleanor has yet to return to her house to go through her things. But what else is she supposed to feel, exactly? What shape can grief take when you didn’t understand the person you’ve lost? What do you inherit from a mother who refused to make herself known, even to the people she loved most?
As A Quitter’s Paradise follows Eleanor’s winding journey to make sense of herself and her grief, her story is interwoven with those of her family members—from her parents’ lives in the military villages of Taipei, to their early days as immigrants in New York City, to Eleanor and her sister’s childhoods. Somehow, despite deep rifts in time, distance, and perspective, the Lius remain a family. But what does that truly mean? Why is it that what holds a family together can also be what pulls it apart?
A striking study of family ties and self-knowledge, A Quitter’s Paradise, is at once a disarmingly provocative and compulsively readable exploration of grief and love, and the extent to which we are willing to guard the secrets of our loved ones, even from ourselves.
Thought Provoking Picks SJP Recommends
A Place for Us unfolds the lives of an Indian-American Muslim family, gathered together in their Californian hometown to celebrate the eldest daughter, Hadia’s, wedding – a match of love rather than tradition. It is here, on this momentous day, that Amar, the youngest of the siblings, reunites with his family for the first time in three years. Rafiq and Layla must now contend with the choices and betrayals that lead to their son’s estrangement – the reckoning of parents who strove to pass on their cultures and traditions to their children; and of children who in turn struggle to balance authenticity in themselves with loyalty to the home they came from.
In a narrative that spans decades and sees family life through the eyes of each member, A Place For Us charts the crucial moments in the family’s past, from the bonds that bring them together to the differences that pull them apart. And as siblings Hadia, Huda, and Amar attempt to carve out a life for themselves, they must reconcile their present culture with their parent’s faith, to tread a path between the old world and the new, and learn how the smallest decisions can lead to the deepest of betrayals.
A deeply affecting and resonant story, A Place for Us is truly a book for our times: a moving portrait of what it means to be an American family today, a novel of love, identity and belonging that eloquently examines what it means to be both American and Muslim — and announces Fatima Farheen Mirza as a major new literary talent.
A brilliant debut novel that brings to life an abandoned hospital where a tough-minded doctor decides to harbor a hunted young girl, with powerful consequences.
In the final days of December 2004, in a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa hides in the woods when her father is abducted by Russian forces. Fearing for her life, she flees with their neighbor Akhmed—a failed physician—to the bombed-out hospital, where Sonja, the one remaining doctor, treats a steady stream of wounded rebels and refugees and mourns her missing sister. Over the course of five dramatic days, Akhmed and Sonja reach back into their pasts to unravel the intricate mystery of coincidence, betrayal, and forgiveness that unexpectedly binds them and decides their fate.
With The English Patient‘s dramatic sweep and The Tiger’s Wife‘s expert sense of place, Marra gives us a searing debut about the transcendent power of love in wartime, and how it can cause us to become greater than we ever thought possible.
A Zambian debut novel that follows three generations of three families, telling the story of a nation, and of the grand sweep of time
On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there was once a colonial settlement called The Old Drift. Here begins the story of a small African nation, told by a swarm-like chorus that calls itself man’s greatest nemesis.
In 1904, in a smoky room at the hotel across the river, an Old Drifter named Percy M. Clark, foggy with fever, makes a mistake that entangles the fates of an Italian hotelier and an African busboy. This sets off a cycle of unwitting retribution between three Zambian families (black, white, brown) as they collide and converge over the course of the century, into the present and beyond. As the generations pass, their lives – their triumphs, errors, losses and hopes – form a symphony about what it means to be human.
From a woman covered with hair and another plagued with endless tears, to forbidden love affairs and fiery political ones, to homegrown technological marvels like Afronauts, microdrones and viral vaccines – this novel sweeps over the years and the globe.
Guido and Vincent are childhood best friends—third cousins, really—living in Cambridge and dreaming about their futures. Guido plans to write poetry while Vincent feels confident he will win a Nobel prize for physics. When Guido spots Holly while exiting a museum, he can immediately sense that she will be difficult, quirky, and hard to live with. He loves her on sight. Vincent, open-minded and cheerful, meets Misty at work. Though she is a bored and misanthropic brunette, he finds himself desperate to know her. Through courtship, jealousy, estrangement, and other perils, Happy All the Time follows four sane, intelligent, and good-intentioned people who manage to find love in spite of themselves.
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward—with hope and pain—into the future.
Rural Trinidad: a brick house on stilts surrounded by bush; a family, quietly surviving, just trying to live a decent life. Clyde, the father, works long, exhausting shifts at the petroleum plant in southern Trinidad; Joy, his wife, looks after the home. Their two sons, thirteen years old, wake early every morning to travel to the capital, Port of Spain, for school. They are twins but nothing alike: Paul has always been considered odd, while Peter is widely believed to be a genius, destined for greatness. When Paul goes walking in the bush one afternoon and doesn’t come home, Clyde is forced to go looking for him, this child who has caused him endless trouble already, and who he has never really understood. And as the hours turn to days, and Clyde begins to understand Paul’s fate, his world shatters–leaving him faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make.
Unique Voices – SJP’s Top Picks 2022
Jonathan Franzen’s gift for wedding depth and vividness of character with breadth of social vision has never been more dazzlingly evident than in Crossroads.
It’s December 23, 1971, and heavy weather is forecast for Chicago. Russ Hildebrandt, the associate pastor of a liberal suburban church, is on the brink of breaking free of a marriage he finds joyless–unless his wife, Marion, who has her own secret life, beats him to it. Their eldest child, Clem, is coming home from college on fire with moral absolutism, having taken an action that will shatter his father. Clem’s sister, Becky, long the social queen of her high-school class, has sharply veered into the counterculture, while their brilliant younger brother Perry, who’s been selling drugs to seventh graders, has resolved to be a better person. Each of the Hildebrandts seeks a freedom that each of the others threatens to complicate.
Jonathan Franzen’s novels are celebrated for their unforgettably vivid characters and for their keen-eyed take on contemporary America. Now, in Crossroads, Franzen ventures back into the past and explores the history of two generations. With characteristic humor and complexity, and with even greater warmth, he conjures a world that resonates powerfully with our own.
A tour de force of interwoven perspectives and sustained suspense, its action largely unfolding on a single winter day, Crossroads is the story of a Midwestern family at a pivotal moment of moral crisis. Jonathan Franzen’s gift for melding the small picture and the big picture has never been more dazzlingly evident.
A candid, compulsively readable, hilarious, and heartbreaking memoir of resilience and redemption by comedic genius Molly Shannon
At age four, Molly Shannon’s world was shattered when she lost her mother, baby sister, and cousin in a car accident with her father at the wheel. Held together by her tender and complicated relationship with her grieving father, Molly was raised in a permissive household where her gift for improvising and role-playing blossomed alongside the fearlessness that would lead her to become a celebrated actress.
From there, Molly ventured into the wider world of New York and Los Angeles show business, where she created her own opportunities and developed her daring and empathetic comedy. Filled with behind-the-scenes stories involving everyone from Whitney Houston to Adam Sandler to Monica Lewinsky, many told for the first time here, Hello, Molly! spans Molly’s time on Saturday Night Live—where she starred alongside Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Cheri Oteri, Tracy Morgan, and Jimmy Fallon, among many others. At the same time, it explores with humor and candor her struggle to come to terms with the legacy of her father, a man who both fostered her gifts and drive and was left with the impossible task of raising his kids alone after the loss of her mother.
Witty, winning, and told with tremendous energy and heart, Hello, Molly!, written with Sean Wilsey, sheds new and revelatory light on the life and work of one of our most talented and free-spirited performers.
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE – A veteran journalist in Hong Kong is caught in a shadowy web of truth and betrayal as he investigates the disappearance of a student protester in this menacing, atmospheric novel written with “shades of Graham Greene and Patricia Highsmith” (Sunday Times) from the celebrated author of The Forgiven–now a major motion picture starring Jessica Chastain and Ralph Fiennes.
“Osborne is a startlingly good observer of privilege, noting the rites and rituals of the upper classes with unerring precision and an undercurrent of malice.”–Katie Kitamura, The New York Times Book Review, on Beautiful Animals
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post, CrimeReads
After two decades as a journalist in Hong Kong, ex-pat Englishman Adrian Gyle has very little to show for it. Evenings are whiled away with soup dumplings and tea at Fung Shing, the restaurant downstairs from his home on Java Road, watching the city–once overflowing with wine dinners and private members’ clubs–erupt in violence as pro-democracy demonstrations hit ever closer to home.
Watching from the skyrises is Adrian’s old friend Jimmy Tang, the scion of one of Hong Kong’s wealthiest families. Just as Gyle prepares to turn his back on Hong Kong, he finds one last intrigue: the mysterious Rebecca, a student involved in the protests, and the latest of Jimmy’s reckless dalliances. But when Rebecca goes missing and Jimmy hides, Gyle feels that old familiar urge to investigate.
Piecing together Rebecca’s final days and hours, Gyle must tread carefully through a volatile world of friendship and betrayal where personal loyalties vanish like the city he once knew so well. On Java Road tells the story of a man between the fault lines of old worlds and new orders in pursuit of the truth.
From an award-winning chronicler of our nation’s history and its legends comes his much-anticipated novel about wealth and talent, trust and intimacy, truth and perception.
Even through the roar and effervescence of the 1920s, everyone in New York has heard of Benjamin and Helen Rask. He is a legendary Wall Street tycoon; she is the brilliant daughter of eccentric aristocrats. Together, they have risen to the very top of a world of seemingly endless wealth. But the secrets around their affluence and grandeur incites gossip. Rumors about Benjamin’s financial maneuvers and Helen’s reclusiveness start to spread–all as a decade of excess and speculation draws to an end. At what cost have they acquired their immense fortune?
This is the mystery at the center of a successful 1938 novel entitled Bonds, which all of New York seems to have read. But it isn’t the only version.
Hernan Diaz’s Trust brilliantly puts the story of these characters into conversation with other accounts–and in tension with the life and perspective of a young woman bent on disentangling fact from fiction. The result is a novel that becomes more exhilarating and profound with each new layer and revelation. Provocative and propulsive, Trust engages the reader in a quest for the truth while confronting the reality-warping gravitational pull of money and how power often manipulates facts. An elegant, multifaceted epic that recovers the voices buried under the myths that justify our foundational inequality, Trust is a literary triumph with a beating heart and urgent stakes.
Percival Everett’s The Trees is a page-turner that opens with a series of brutal murders in the rural town of Money, Mississippi. When a pair of detectives from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation arrive, they meet expected resistance from the local sheriff, his deputy, the coroner, and a string of racist White townsfolk. The murders present a puzzle, for at each crime scene there is a second dead body: that of a man who resembles Emmett Till.
The detectives suspect that these are killings of retribution, but soon discover that eerily similar murders are taking place all over the country. Something truly strange is afoot. As the bodies pile up, the MBI detectives seek answers from a local root doctor who has been documenting every lynching in the country for years, uncovering a history that refuses to be buried. In this bold, provocative book, Everett takes direct aim at racism and police violence, and does so in fast-paced style that ensures the reader can’t look away. The Trees is an enormously powerful novel of lasting importance from an author with his finger on America’s pulse.
It is 1985 in a small Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal merchant and family man faces into his busiest season. Early one morning, while delivering an order to the local convent, Bill makes a discovery which forces him to confront both his past and the complicit silences of a town controlled by the church.
Already an international bestseller, Small Things Like These is a deeply affecting story of hope, quiet heroism, and empathy from one of our most critically lauded and iconic writers.