Carrie Bradshaw Wouldn't Be Caught Dead Reading Sarah Jessica Parker's Favorite Books

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Carrie Bradshaw has pioneered many fashion and beauty trends and even gifted us countless memorable quotes throughout "Sex and the City" and its revival series "And Just Like That..." Most of her quotes have stood the test of time, with one particularly famous one standing out: "I like my money right where I can see it, hanging in my closet." However, it looks like the real-life Carrie Bradshaw, aka Sarah Jessica Parker, likes to invest her money somewhere else: neatly stacked on her bookshelves.

An avid reader, Parker often shares her favorite books. What's more, in partnership with Zando Projects, she now has her own publishing imprint, SJP Lit. Plus, the actor is the honorary chair of the American Library Association's Book Club Central.

Parker's portrayal of Carrie Bradshaw has led to many esteemed awards, including four Golden Globes, two Emmys, and three SAG Awards. Yet, her much-beloved character, who's perhaps a touch vainer than Parker, wouldn't be caught dead reading Parker's favorite books, which are quite thought-provoking. So, we scoured her recommendations over the years and curated a top-five list, ensuring that we included different genres for a well-rounded TBR of SJP-backed reads. 

New Grub Street by George Gissing

"New Grub Street" by George Gissing is one of Sarah Jessica Parker's top recommendations. "This story about publishing and love is one of the great, turn-of-the-century sweeping tales. It's one of my all-time favorites," Parker told Goop. The 1891 novel is based on the author's struggles to make ends meet in late Victorian London's literary scene. At the time, "hack literature" described a low-quality and equally low-paying literary genre for which many writers wrote, including Gissing. These writers and publishers typically resided on Grub Street, hence the book's title. 

The story follows two writers: Edwin Reardon, a great novelist who's sadly not received much publishing favor, and Jasper Milvain, who preferred the easier "hack" way out, sacrificing the quality of his writing for money. The two men view writing very differently: For Reardon, writing equates to self-expression, but for Milvain, it's self-preservation. Throughout the book, Gissing touches on how the Victorian era's capitalism suppressed the free expression of writers who had to work within the "hack" system to survive.

While you won't find this tome listed among the best books on Kindle Unlimited — it was written 133 years ago, after all — its core meanings are still true today. Where do artists draw the line between excellence and survival? One Amazon reviewer said, "The tension between the need to produce (to make one's livelihood) and the rigor to do nothing short of excellent is frequently on display. The stresses and aims can be understood well by more than just people who make their living by writing." 

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt fascinated Sarah Jessica Parker and made its way into her recommended book lists. "Where to begin? Simply put, I'm indescribably jealous of any reader picking up this masterpiece for the first time. And once they do, they will long remember the heartrending character of Theo Decker and his unthinkable journey," the actor told Goop.

At the tender age of 13, young New Yorker Theo Decker loses his mother during a bombing incident while visiting a museum to view a famous painting called "The Goldfinch." Theo survives and, in the bomb's shrouded aftermath, takes the famous painting with him. Abandoned by his father and plagued by survivor's guilt, Theo moves in with his friend's wealthy family and grows up in esteemed circles. While navigating his new life and missing his mother, the boy finds himself in the mysterious world of art that culminates when he begins working at an antique store years later.

"The Goldfinch," hailed by Stephen King as "a book that connects with the heart as well as the mind," has over 125,000 reviews on Amazon and 900,000 ratings on Goodreads. As one reviewer commented, Tartt forces us to question "how quickly can the circumstances of one's life alter? In less than a heartbeat, it would seem – or in the brief seconds in which a bomb blast can occur ... [and examine] how transitory are the conditions that govern our lives."

Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

As honorary chair of the American Library Association's Book Club Central, Sarah Jessica Parker has recommended several books, including "Stay with Me" by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀. As she told Goodreads, "That book is about political climate, a story of culture, a story of men's and women's roles. How women look at each other, how they value each other. I think that's a great conversation, because we all have opinions about how others should behave or how we see ourselves in those stories."

Published in 2017, the story follows Yejide and Akin, who met and fell head over heels for each other while studying for their college degrees. Contrary to societal expectations that would have Akin take on multiple wives, the couple marries and agrees that polygamy isn't a route they want to explore. But as infertility knocks on their door, Akin's second wife appears out of the blue. Yejide knows she needs to get pregnant — and quickly — if she's going to save the life she knows and loves, but at what cost?

While not a romance book BookTok is currently raving about, "Stay with Me" is essentially a love story and "an electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, that asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family," according to its official synopsis. As one Amazon reviewer wrote, "I am a sucker for romance novels, so I was automatically drawn to it. Let me just premise by saying I was not prepared for the journey this book was about to take me on."

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink

Sarah Jessica Parker wholeheartedly recommends the nonfiction book "Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital" by Sheri Fink. "This brilliant, nonfiction book is brutal and minutely-researched: It describes, in shocking detail, the horrific conditions and chaotic, terrifying, and unfortunate days of a big public hospital in New Orleans struggling to serve its community in the five days following Hurricane Katrina," Parker described to Goop. "Just as importantly, it is a graphic portrait of the complicated, difficult, and highly-controversial decisions the doctors and nurses had to make."

Investigative journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Sheri Fink spent six years investigating, interviewing, and reporting on the events that led to multiple patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital right after Hurricane Katrina hit the area in 2005. Ravaged by the hurricane — and as floodwater rose and the power failed — physicians and nurses had to race against time to help patients and deliver the best care possible while maintaining "life amid chaos," as the book's synopsis describes it. Nevertheless, in the hurricane's aftermath, "several of those caregivers faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths," the synopsis continues.

Is there truth to this claim, and were the doctors forced to ration healthcare? If so, what factors govern our decisions in these scenarios? Ultimately, this book is a must-read for anyone seeking to comprehend what happened during those tragic days.

The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy

Another standout among Sarah Jessica Parker's book recommendations is Ariel Levy's "The Rules Do Not Apply." The heartbreaking memoir chronicles Levy's life as it takes a sudden turn for the worst when the pregnant journalist flies to Mongolia to cover a story. Levy writes in The New Yorker, "People were alarmed when I told them where I was going, but I was pleased with myself. I liked the idea of being the kind of woman who'd go to the Gobi Desert pregnant...And I liked the idea of telling my kid, 'When you were inside me, we went to see the edge of the earth.'" However, while in Mongolia, Levy suffered a miscarriage.

Up until that point, Levy's life had seemed very straightforward. She worked for a prestigious magazine, traveled the world, and was married to the love of her life. Just before turning 40, Levy got pregnant through a sperm donor. She thought she had everything, and she did. As she put it in the book, "I had managed to solve the Jane Austen problems that women have been confronting for centuries – securing a provider for your children, finding a mate to pass the time with, and creating a convivial home – in an entirely unconventional way."

She left New York happily married, working a job she loved, and ready to embrace motherhood — she was successful in her own way. However, after landing in Mongolia, everything would change forever. She wanted nothing more than to be "the kind of woman who is free to do whatever she chooses," according to the book's synopsis, but you'll need to pick this book up to learn how everything ultimately fared for Levy.