Nikki Erlick’s The Measure is the latest pick for Jenna Bush Hager’s Today show book club.
Erlick’s novel, published Tuesday by William Morrow, imagines a day on which every person in the world receives a small wooden box containing a string indicating the number of years they’ll live. The book focuses on eight people who must decide whether they want to know what their lifespans will be.
Hager said the book moved her to tears while she was reading it on an airplane.
“It is a beautiful book that you may need a Kleenex for,” she said. “I think people thought I needed serious help.”
Hager noted that Erlick’s novel “sounds ominous” but is actually “about love and how we choose to spend our days.”
“I think it will make everyone feel immense gratitude for the beautiful little moments,” she said. “After my husband and I read it, we had a long conversation about our life. I think it will lead people to really think about how they live. I know it sounds like a book about death but really it’s a book about how we choose to live.”
Erlick reacted to her book’s selection on Instagram, writing, “I still can’t believe this is real…My heart is bursting!! Thank you so much @jennabhager and @todayshow! I’m over-the-moon and incredibly grateful to be this month’s @readwithjenna pick!”
Michael Schaub, a journalist and regular contributor to NPR, lives near Austin, Texas.