Books You Gotta Read

Where Buddha Meets Business

Touched By The Sun by Carly Simon

While Reading Carly Simon’s, Touched By the Sun – totally inspired me to write this book review and ask this question — Have you ever read a book where you were so enthralled and engrossed that you couldn’t put it down?

Or, when you had to put it down, you kept thinking about it and wanting to jump back into the story and learn more.

Then maybe you were sad when you finished it and started Googling everything to devour more about the story.

That happened to me after reading Carly Simon’s latest book – Touched By The Sun.

This quote below is actually the last stanza of
Carly’s song – “Touched By the Sun.”

” I’ve got to learn from the greats,
Earn my right to be living,
With every breath that I take,
Every heartbeat
And I, I want to get there
I, I want to be one, One who is touched by the sun…”
~ Carly Simon

What’s so special about this song is that she wrote it for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis about a month before she died.

It’s a beautiful glimpse into her friendship of 10 years with Jackie. And a perfect name for her latest book that came out late last year. It totally summed up what inspired me about this book.

Many special things about this book were just so sweet and inspiring, including how I received my copy of it.

One of my favorite people in the world, my coach, mentor, and friend Debbie Phillips, Founder of, sent it to me before moving from her long-time home on Martha’s Vineyard.
She had wrapped it up so special. And one of the sweetest parts was she had gotten Carly to write an inscription to me.

(An aside – Debbie’s friendship with Carly began during her 20 years living on Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, Rob Berkley, who was also my coach and mentor. And who passed away almost two years ago.) It meant so much to me. I felt like Debbie and Carly were cheering me on in my own writing and creating this blog! Check it out:

Carly Simon’s sweet note to me.

Well, of course, I REALLY LOVED this book, so I’m sharing it with you now!

This book spoke to me on so many different levels:

  • A fascinating journey of a long-term friendship between two very established women in history and culture – a 70’s rockstar and former first lady.
  • Getting a glimpse of a beautiful friendship that lasted over a 10-year period, and their age difference, Jackie being 16 years older.
  • Seeing a genuine side of both women and how one was so refined and of a different era, and the other was so open and free-spirited. And how Jackie was an incredible support and motherly figure for Carly during some difficult times.
  • Both of them being famous – I loved learning how their lifestyles were eerily familiar, having to be careful to scrutinize people in their lives more carefully, as many were fame seekers.
  • They both had to be very guarded about their whereabouts, what they say, who they talk to, and whom they socialize with for the reason above.
  • I loved the snapshot of how they honestly are both so real and have their challenges in life. One just married a president, and the other a famous rock star musician, songwriter, and author.
  • What happens to a woman whose husband was assassinated over 30 years ago and who still has to endure that trauma? She had to create a new life and keep her kids safe. Despite movies being made about her husband’s assassination and books being written. I could not imagine what that would have been like, to live like that daily.

Several times while reading this book, I had to go to Google to look up either people, events, or places – I loved that.

It really made me think and want to learn more about both women. (And I do love Martha’s Vineyard and have been there many times over the 20 years Debbie and Rob lived there.)

I was a child during the ’70s, and my mom loved Carly Simon, and we’d listen to her songs often. Who knew I’d be reviewing one of her books so many years later? I love how the Universe works.

One of the things I knew about Carly was that her father was one of the founders of Simon and Schuster.

I had no idea that they had lost the company after his death and had no part of it anymore. I thought that was really sad. Especially because I worked for Simon and Schuster for many years. I met Rob, Debbie’s husband, there, who would go on to mentor me and be a strong force in helping me create my business.

I would highly encourage you to get a copy of this book or give it to someone as a gift this holiday season. It’s written so beautifully. The prose is so descriptive that I had such a real picture of what it must have been like for Carly to have Jackie as such a strong, powerful, and kind long-time friend.

Some Inspiration and Quick Book Review to Entice You to Get and Read it!

Quick Summary: A chance encounter at a summer party on Martha’s Vineyard grew into an unlikely yet enduring friendship. This is definitely an intimate, vulnerable, and insightful portrait of the bond that grew between two iconic and starkly different American women. It’s a sharing of a friendship that spanned ten years, in loving detail Carly and Jackie shared. It is a wonderful story about how people unexpectedly enter our lives and change their course in such a beautiful way that I’d call it kismet.

WHO Ought to Read this Book: Anyone who wants to explore and look at a deep friendship between two iconic women. If you’re curious and want a glimpse of what it must have been like in the world of fame and being famous, and what it looks and feels like. Also, if you need some inspiration and pick me up – you gotta read it!

Why Read this Book? Jackie Onassis was such an iconic figure. She also was a very private person. Reading this book gives you a wonderful peek at her fun, playful, and compassionate side. You also get a glimpse of her being a mom. Carly wrote this book in such a beautiful and thoughtful way. So much happened in both of their lives through their 10-year friendship, and Carly shares it in such a real, warm, and gracious way.

A Couple of Things You Will Discover: Some wonderful stories about their adventures to the Opera, to a Mick Jagger concert, to a Broadway play, and more. The story weaves this beautiful thread of both women’s lives and their different experiences—Carly shares about her then-husband, Jim Hart, and her friendship with Mike Nichols. Plus, I really connected to Carly’s struggle with substance abuse because I am in recovery and have been sober for over four years.

Quotes (from the book) that I Loved…
Role Models & Crossroads:
“Uncle Peter has always sounded so much like my own father,” Jackie said once. “Isn’t it just like us to meet at the transit, the crossroads of role models?” (Referring to Carly’s Uncle Peter.)

She Found Comfort & Solace:
“Around me, Jackie may have felt more like she could be herself. Just possibly, she found in our friendship the comfort and solace a hostess feels when a high-stakes dinner party is over, and she changes back into her unironed housecoat or sloppy jeans.”

Childlike Innocence Lost or Found:
“I remember asking Jackie once – The innocence of belief we’re born with slowly getting replaced by the pained recognition that nothing and no one is really as they seem? Was there magic in the world? I believed there was – and Jackie did, too, but to admit that in polite circles put you squarely in the categories of ‘child’ and even ‘lunatic.’ So what?”

Recapturing a Person:
“I started these pages by describing how hard it is to recapture a person you love. How despite all your efforts, in the end, you’re left with only bits and scraps of clay, and color, partial versions of the real thing…”

The Merciless Craving of Human Beings:
“I remember sitting by myself most of the time drinking pina colada’s and reading the Alcoholics Anonymous ‘Big Book.’ I found it incredibly helpful, as nothing else I’d ever read zeroed in so well on the merciless fixation human beings have on finding something, anything, ‘outside the self…’ that satisfies the craving for God, for relief, and mercy, and centeredness, and Mother, and Father, and infinity, and safety, and peace – a peace that also lasts.”

About the Author – Carly Simon:

Carly Elisabeth Simon is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and children’s author. She found great success as a solo artist with her 1971 self-titled debut album Carly Simon, which won her the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Over the course of her career, Simon has amassed 24 Billboard Hot 100 charting singles, 28 Billboard Adult Contemporary charting singles, and has won two Grammy Awards. AllMusic called Simon, “One of the quintessential singer/songwriters of the ’70s”.

For her 1988 hit “Let the River Run,” from the film Working Girl, Simon became the first artist in history to win a Grammy Award, an Academy Award, and a Golden Globe Award for a song composed and written, as well as performed, entirely by a single artist. She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994, inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for “You’re So Vain” in 2004, and awarded the ASCAP Founders Award in 2012.

Where I Would Recommend You Get Your Copy:
Touched By The Sun by Carly Simon

Other Books By Carly Simon:
Boys in the Trees: A Memoir

Children’s Books:
Amy The Dancing Bear
The Boy of the Bells
Mother Gooses’ Basket Full of Rhymes
Midnight Farm
The Nighttime Chauffeur

Soulfully Yours,

Shannon McCaffery

Shannon McCaffery

Strategic Marketing Coach & Consultant

Previous Book Review

Book Review Touched By The Sun

Touched By The Sun by Carly Simon


Hey there, I'm Shannon! Being a voracious reader and passionate about learning, I started this site in the hopes of sharing my thoughts and my love of inspiring nonfiction books that can help you. It's kind of like Buddha meets business. I truly hope you enjoy!

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