Jenna Bush Hager announces December book club pick

"It was a beautiful walk in the woods," said Jenna Bush Hager.
/ Source: TODAY
By Stephanie Larratt

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It is hard to believe that 2019 is about to come to an end, but Jenna Bush Hager has picked the perfect book to close out the year.

For December, the Read With Jenna pick is "Late Migrations" by Margaret Renkl.

"It’s beautiful and it is a slower pace but I kind of loved that at the end of the year," Jenna said. "We end with something slow and reflective and gorgeous."

"Late Migrations," by Margaret Renkl

Late Migrations is a compilation of essays written by author Margaret Renkle that weave together to touch on themes of love, loss and hope.

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"For a really long time, I had no idea I was writing a book. I was just writing in the same way that I’ve always written since I was a little girl; to try to make sense of what was happening to me," Renkl told TODAY. "I started writing the very first essay not long after my mother died and not long before my mother-in-law died"

It wasn't until a friend in her writing group made a comment that she realized the short essays she was writing could come together as a book.

The book begins with the story Renkl was told about the birth of her mother and ends with her death. Throughout the book, her essays paint a picture of her complicated but loving family.

Interspersed in Renkl's personal stories are essays in which Renkl writes about her own observation of nature in her suburban backyard in Nashville, Tennessee. Her observations of the natural world are deliberately placed to comment on themes that complement her personal stories.

Jenna said, "The way that she put it all together felt like a beautiful collage."

The book also includes a series of artworks done by Renkl's brother, Billy Renkl.

"As an artists, his work is very aesthetically similar to my writing." said Renkl, "From the very beginning I knew I wanted to include him in this project because, of course, he was grieving our mother's death just as much as I was, just as much as our younger sister was."

The essays tackle complicated subjects including mental health, grief and the complicated transition from child to caregiver.

"It was a beautiful walk in the woods, you stopped and took in all of these beautiful things about life," Jenna said, "About relationships, about family, about friendships, about finding who you are."

For past #ReadWithJenna book club picks, you can read the announcements for her March pick, April pick, May pick, June pick, July pick, August pick, September pick, October pick and November pick. Also, check out our Read With Jenna page.

To stay involved all month long, be sure to follow us on Instagram (don't forget to tag your photos with the hashtag #ReadWithJenna), join our Read With Jenna Facebook group and follow along on Goodreads to continue the conversation about "Late Migrations."

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