Jenna Bush Hager, twin sister Barbara discuss love of reading

By Annie Martin

Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Jenna Bush Hager and her twin sister, Barbara Pierce Bush, share a lifelong love of reading.

Hager and Bush, both 38, the daughters of president George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush, talked about their favorite books during Thursday's episode of Today.


Hager and Bush both love the Louisa May Alcott novel Little Women, which is being adapted as a feature film starring Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Eliza Scanlen.

"I fell in love with reading from reading Little Women with you and mom," Bush said.

"We would fight over who was Jo," Hager added.

Hager and Bush also recalled how George W. Bush and Laura Bush would read to them as children.

"Mom and dad would read to us at night. We would all lie in bed and cuddle together," Bush shared. "I just remember feeling really cozy and safe and warm, and also really excited. I think we fell in love with reading 'cause it opened out imaginations to all different worlds when we were little."


Bush recommended three favorite books: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She also suggested the mystery books The Witch Elm by Tana French and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

"It's scary... and suspenseful," Bush said of The Thirteenth Tale.

Bush isn't as partial to romance novels, but recommended On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan.

"I like a sad romance novel," she said. "I like a romance novel that doesn't work out. I like sadness in that way."

Bush said reading is "magical" in that it transports people to different worlds.

"I think it's amazing that you can feel all these different feelings about characters that you'll never get to meet in real life, but that you fall in love with when you're reading about them and exploring their worlds," she said. "I've traveled to so many places just by reading that I'll never get to go in real life."

Hager started hosting a new Today book club in March. Her December pick is Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl, which she described this month as a "reflective and gorgeous" read.

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