Let’s Get Lit-erary: Reese Witherspoon has created a reading empire 

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While most know Reese Witherspoon for her acting, something slightly less-known is the actress’ passion for reading. Witherspoon launched Reese’s Book Club in 2017, making a name for herself in the world of publishing.  

Witherspoon is by no means the only celebrity to make such an endeavor: there’s Oprah’s Book Club, Read with Jenna and so much more. What makes Witherspoon’s book club different, however, is the huge following she has amassed; Reese’s Book Club has over 2.4 million followers on Instagram. Editions of Witherspoon’s monthly picks are printed with her endorsement on the cover and most bookstores put them on special display, capitalizing on the A-list star’s influence.  

Book club members are encouraged to download the Reese’s Book Club app, where they can enter raffles, keep track of the picks they read, participate in discussions with other members and purchase new books. All profits made through the book club’s affiliate links are sent straight to The Readership, an effort to champion diverse writers, support booksellers and increase access to books.  

Reese’s Book Club has also collaborated with several companies to create special products. The club has worked with Buick to create an in-vehicle audiobook app, with Havenly for reading room decor and with Simi to curate book-club-inspired wines.  

Reese’s Book Club sells boxed bundles on their website as well, complete with your choice of book and a vast variety of fun accessories and snacks. Right now, the site is offering a summer box, a beach bundle, a cozy box and a create-your-own box. While the boxes are pricier than other book subscription boxes, all profit is donated to The Readership, paying it forward to the book-lover community.   

In addition to her book club, Witherspoon founded Hello Sunshine, a media company dedicated to storytelling and discovering content that celebrates women. Much of the company’s filmography adapts well-known books into movies or television shows. Some hit titles include HBO’s “Big Little Lies” and Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere,” both of which cast Witherspoon in a lead role.  

Hello Sunshine recently released an adaptation of Delia Owen’s “Where the Crawdads Sing” starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and is currently producing Taylor Jenkins Reid’s “Daisy Jones and the Six.” Ironically, both authors have been under fire recently; Owens has been accused of involvement in the murder of a poacher and Reid is facing criticism for her portrayal of POC characters in her new novel “Carrie Soto Strikes Back.” 

Witherspoon’s company has also announced an adaptation of “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.” Hello Sunshine is also home to three podcasts: “And Especially You” often features authors like Cheryl Strayed and Glennon Doyle. Yet, the company does take on projects outside the realm of literature. For example, with 2023 comes the long-awaited “Legally Blonde 3.”  

Another endeavor Witherspoon took up was the creation of LitUp, a fellowship program for underrepresented writers. Applicants must fit the requirements of LitUp partner We Need Diverse Books’ definition of diversity and submit a manuscript featuring a woman at the center of the story. If selected, fellows will go on an all-expenses-paid writing retreat, participate in a three-month mentorship with a published author and embark on the querying process.  

On top of uplifting authors, Witherspoon has tackled the challenge and become an author herself. In 2018, she released “Whisky in a Teacup,” a book reflecting on her southern heritage. This October, however, she entered the world of children’s literature; Witherspoon, alongside illustrator Xindi Yan, released “Busy Betty,” a picture book about a young girl on a mission to give her dog a bath.  

According to the book’s description, “with an entrepreneurial free spirit, a busy brain, and teamwork, Betty can do anything!” Of course, Reese embodies just that.  

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