February’s Book To Live By

I’ve got to learn from the greats / Earn my right to be living / With every breath that I take / Every heartbeat / I want to get there / I want to be one / One who is touched by the sun

— From the song “Touched by the Sun” by Carly Simon

Carly Simon, the legendary singer-songwriter, brings beauty into the world. And nobody does it better.

I recently had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Carly in her cozy living room on Martha’s Vineyard talking about her life and work.

She is, as always, creative and busy. In addition to an upcoming tribute concert, “The Music of Carly Simon,” at Carnegie Hall in March, she recently released a remastered single and has an acclaimed new memoir on best-seller lists.

We spoke at length about her beautiful book, and I am excited to announce that our February Book To Live By is:

Touched by the Sun: My Friendship with Jackie by Carly Simon (*paid link).

Touched by the Sun is the sequel to her 2015 autobiography, Boys in the Trees. Carly offers more stories about her private world and the men she has shared it with, her illustrious career in music, and a social life hobnobbing in the stratosphere.

It is a New York Times best-seller and one of People magazine’s Top 10 books of 2019.

In particular, it chronicles her decade-long friendship with a woman considered to be one of the iconic figures of the 20th century, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The title comes from a song Carly wrote for and about Jackie, released in 1994, the year Jackie died.

Touched by the Sun is told in a conversational tone that draws you into intimate moments. The details are sometimes poignant, frequently funny, but always candid.

When speaking of herself, Carly acknowledges her own vulnerability and self-doubt. She often boldly shows herself in an unflattering light. But her stories of Jackie shine with love and pure admiration. They are respectful of Jackie’s privacy, yet illuminate her warmth, keen intelligence, and humanity.

Throughout their relationship, Jackie was more than a trusted friend. Professionally, she was Carly’s editor for her children’s books published with Doubleday in the 1980s and ’90s. Privately, she acted as Carly’s mentor, advocate, and Greek chorus all rolled into one.

In this loving tribute, Carly shares favorite moments together, cherished conversations and letters, and even a few pranks carried out by the former first lady. The reminiscences reveal in Jackie a spirit that longed to be as free as what she recognized in Carly.

Carly’s writing is open-hearted and, yes, lyrical. In Touched by the Sun *, you will discover a love song, a time capsule, and a very good story.

The book is available from Amazon and in bookstores everywhere. And if — somehow — you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to check out Carly’s nearly three dozen albums. They are sure to uplift, move and delight you. I can’t imagine my life without them!


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