Ahead of the publication of Carrie Underwood's book Find Your Path, the music superstar talks to EW about the books that have shaped her

By David Canfield
March 02, 2020 at 12:00 PM EST
Carrie Underwood book feature
Cameron Premo

She's sold over 60 million records and won virtually every major music award out there, but this week, Carrie Underwood adds "published author" to her resume.

Underwood's debut book is Find Your Path, a tome which reflects her philosophy that fitness is a "lifelong journey." She mixes advice on health and well-being, part of her signature Fit52 workout, with personal reflection, delving into her passion for sports as a kid and the pressure she felt, after winning American Idol, to look perfect and fit the mold of a music star.

In advance of the book's publication, Underwood caught up with EW to reveal the books that have shaped her life. Check out her answers below. Find Your Path is available for pre-order.

HarperCollins

My favorite book as a child: When I was young, I loved things that were strange or spooky. Shocker, because as an adult I actually love super scary things so it only makes sense that I would love the R.L. Stine books as a child. I had quite the collection and would get super excited whenever I was in school and they’d have those Scholastic magazines and stuff like that. Or I’d go to the bookstore when we were away from our hometown — because I don’t think we had a bookstore in Checotah — and I would look to add books to my collection and I would just tear through those things and I loved them. I’ve always loved things that were creative, imaginative, and a little bit on the spookier side.

An illicit book I snuck as a child: I don’t think I ever had to sneak any books when I was a kid. My mom was and still is an avid reader, also of things that are in the scary-type genre. But I don’t think I ever wanted to read anything that I shouldn’t be reading.

The book that cemented me as a writer: I don’t know if there is one book that really made me want to be a writer. I do geek out over books that talk about diet and exercise or food and crops or how we raise our food. I remember years ago reading Eat Right For Your Type and just being super interested about how different people’s bodies process foods differently and how a lot of it could be genetic. I’ve read a few books by people that are celebrity fitness gurus, and also by people on the lesser-known side that write about different studies that have been published. I take it all with a grain of salt of course because there’s a lot of information out there, but I enjoy getting different people’s perspectives on health and fitness especially.

The last book to make me laugh: I don’t think I have read any comedic books… [My husband] Mike has this book that he will read from that I got him for Christmas that’s Awful Dad Jokes. I guess I laugh at those!

The last book to make me cry: It made me cry the entire way through. I read it a while back ago because, again, I don’t feel like I read too many super emotional books either; it’s either scary or it’s health and fitness-related. But, the last book that really made me cry was A Dog’s Purpose, and I bawled my way through that book. I couldn’t put it down even though it made me cry, and I know there’s a second one but I just could not get myself to read it because I did not want to cry that much again. It was a good book, but I just don’t electively want to cry. Haven’t you heard, you can’t “Cry Pretty”? But yeah, that’s the last book that really made me bawl like a baby.

A book I've read over and over: I feel like I have actually been reading my own book for a couple years, over and over again! For various reasons, like just making sure it’s perfect and editing, editing, editing. But, I feel like maybe I’m done reading my own book now and I’m looking for something else to read!

A movie adaptation of a book I've loved: I remember early on I read The Shining a couple times, and of course that is an iconic movie. I feel like lots of Stephen King books that have been turned into movies have been really well done and have just been absolutely iconic. Even ones that weren’t necessarily on the scary side like Stand By Me and The Green Mile. It’s pretty cool that an author like that can write, of course about the strange things, but also write very poignant books. A lot of them are kind of good [versus] evil, which is really cool, and good usually wins.

What people might be surprised to learn I love: My fans know this, but the general public probably wouldn’t know that I do like the horror genre quite a bit. I just love things that are imaginative. I love things that could never really happen in real life because I feel like I get a lot of “real life” in my own life and it’s nice to have that escape.

A book I've pretended to read, but haven't: I’m sure there are books that I’ve pretended to read but haven’t read, but it was probably more from when I was in school. Like, if you had to read something for a class discussion or something. I do remember getting Cliff’s Notes a couple times in college, but I can’t tell you what they were for, I don’t remember. It was probably for some literary masterpiece that didn’t have enough imagination for me, I’m sure.

If I could only read one genre...: I actually don’t know if I would pick health and fitness books or scary/imaginative books, because I can always go watch scary/imaginative movies… but I’m not so great with the food documentaries. There’s a lot I don’t want to see, I’d rather read it. So maybe I’d pick health and fitness books. I just love information and being able to geek out over it.

The book that changed my life: It’s probably going to sound a bit cliché, but this is something that I do try to read daily if possible, even if it’s just a little bit, and that’s the Bible. I know it’s not just a book, it’s the living breathing Word of God, and I feel like that’s the book that has changed my life and many, many lives.

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