Reese Witherspoon Announces First Book Club Pick For 2019, ‘The Library Book’

Reese Witherspoon at the Tiffany & Co. 2017 Blue Book Collection Gala at St. Ann's Warehouse on April 21, 2017, in New York City.
Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images for Tiffany & Co.

For people that have put “read more books” on their New Year’s resolutions lists, Reese Witherspoon has a recommendation for you. The actress has named the first tome of the year that she wants members of her book club to read.

On Instagram on Wednesday, January 2, the Legally Blonde star announced that the The Library Book by Susan Orlean is her first pick of 2019 for Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine.

“This book is a love letter to libraries, and made me nostalgic for the long hours I used to spend there when I was a kid,” Witherspoon explained about her choice.

“The story follows the investigation of the huge fire that destroyed the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986, and the mystery, history and people that surround it. It’s a captivating story and I can’t wait for y’all to read it with me.”

The 42-year-old posted a photo of herself holding the nonfiction hardcover. She looks cozy — in a yellow sweater, blue jeans, black-framed glasses, and bare feet — sitting on a cream-colored sofa with blue and green patterns on it, and matching fluffy, knit pillows.

The Library Book, which was released in October of 2018, is a New York Times bestseller and was named one of the Washington Post’s top 10 books of 2018, according to publisher Simon & Schuster.

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Our January book pick (and the first one this year!) is #TheLibraryBook by @susanorlean. It's a nonfiction story about the fire that destroyed the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986, and the mystery that surrounds the crime. You'll meet an eclectic cast of characters: a feminist librarian who refused to surrender her position to a man, a pastor known as "The Human Encyclopedia," and of course, the arsonist… or is he? Woven through these tales is a long love letter to libraries, which will make you remember why you love reading in the first place. It's the perfect way to kick off this year—we can't wait to have you read along with us and @reesewitherspoon!

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The 336-page book was called “captivating” and “delightful” by Christian Science Monitor and “mesmerizing” and “riveting” by Booklist. The New York Times said it was “exquisitely written, consistently entertaining.”

Upstate New York resident Susan Orlean has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since 1992 and has penned seven books, including Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup, and Saturday Night.

The 2002 movie Adaptation was based on the 63-year-old’s book The Orchid Thief. The film was directed by Spike Jonze and starred Meryl Streep (playing a fictionalized version of Orlean), Nicolas Cage, and Chris Cooper. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, and Cooper won the best supporting actor Oscar. It was also nominated for six Golden Globe Awards and won two — best supporting actor for Cooper and best supporting actress for Streep.

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Signing some stock; be still my carpal tunnel

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“So excited about this,” Orlean wrote on Twitter in response to Witherspoon’s announcement that her book was chosen for the book club.

“The life and times and near-death experience of the Los Angeles Public Library was a story that felt urgent to tell, and gave me a chance to pay tribute to these marvelous places that have been such an essential part of my life,” the author wrote on her official website.