Ann Patchett is an American novelist and essayist. She is the author of seven novels, three books of nonfiction, and one children’s book.
Her work has been translated into more than 30 languages. She is a recipient of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction.
Here are some of those books, as recommended by Ann Patchett.
A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
In “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” Flannery O’Connor tells the story of a family’s vacation gone wrong. The mother, who is unnamed, is determined to find a good man, despite the warnings of her family.
When they meet the Misfit, a convicted murderer, the mother’s blind faith in humanity is shattered. The story ends with the brutal death of the entire family at the hands of the Misfit.
O’Connor uses grotesque images and dark humor to explore themes of morality, grace, and redemption. Despite its disturbing events, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is ultimately a hopeful story about the possibility of change.
A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes
A High Wind in Jamaica is a novel by Richard Hughes. The novel is set in the early 19th century and follows the lives of a group of Welsh pirates.
The pirates are eventually captured by the British authorities and are sent to Jamaica to stand trial. The novel chronicles their lives in Jamaica, as well as their eventual return to Wales.
A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib
A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib is a book that explores the complicated and often contradictory relationship between blackness and queerness.
Abdurraqib uses his own experiences as a black, queer man to examine how society both represses and celebrates black queer identity. He also delves into the history of black queer people in America, from early 20th-century drag balls to the present day.
A Little Devil in America is an important and timely book that offers valuable insight into the lives of black queer people in America.
All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg
All Over but the Shoutin’, Rick Bragg tells the story of his childhood in the deep south. Raised by a single mother in abject poverty, Bragg shares his memories of a hardscrabble life filled with family, friends, and food.
With humor and insight, Bragg paints a picture of a time and place that is both unique and universal. His story is one of survival and hope, told with an undeniable love for the people and land that shaped him.
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Atonement is a 2001 historical fiction novel by British author Ian McEwan. The novel was shortlisted for the 2001 Booker Prize and won the 2002 Whitbread Book of the Year Award.
The story spans several decades, beginning in 1935 in England and following a young girl named Briony Tallis as she makes a fateful decision that will forever change the lives of her older sister Cecilia and her childhood friend Robbie Turner.
The novel examines themes of love, guilt, forgiveness, and atonement.
Atonement is widely considered to be one of McEwan’s best works and has been praised by critics for its masterful use of language, its psychological depth, and its complex characters.
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Ten-year-old Opal Buloni has just moved to Naomi, Florida, with her father, a preacher. She is lonely and has trouble making friends. One day, she goes to the local grocery store, Winn-Dixie, and adopts a scruffy dog she names after the store.
With Winn-Dixie by her side, Opal begins to make friends with Naomi and learns about her mother, who left when Opal was three. Because of Winn-Dixie is a heartwarming story about the power of friendship and family.
Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It by Maile Meloy
Maile Meloy’s novel, “Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It”, tells the story of a young woman’s journey of self-discovery.
The protagonist, 28-year-old Greta Gustafson, is at a crossroads in her life. She’s just been fired from her job and her long-term relationship has ended. With no clear direction in her life, Greta decides to take a trip to Europe with her best friend.
On this journey, Greta comes to realize that she wants more out of life than she ever thought possible. She discovers a new sense of freedom and learns to live in the moment. “Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It” is a beautiful novel about finding oneself and learning to love life.
Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat
In her memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, Edwidge Danticat tells the story of her father’s final days and her own journey to find her place in the world.
Danticat was born in Haiti and immigrated to the United States with her parents when she was a child. Her father was a preacher and her mother was a homemaker. Danticat grew up in Brooklyn, New York.
Danticat’s memoir chronicles her father’s battle with lung cancer and his eventual death. The book also details Danticat’s own search for identity as she tries to balance her Haitian heritage with her American upbringing.
Brother, I’m Dying is a moving and powerful story about family, loss, and identity. It is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever struggled to find their place in the world.
Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King
Lily King’s novel, Five Tuesdays in Winter, is a heartwarming story about love and family. Set in the beautiful Maine countryside, the novel follows the lives of five women who meet every Tuesday to knit and gossip. As the winter months pass, the women form a close bond and their lives become intertwined.
King’s novel is a touching portrait of female friendship, and her characters are richly drawn and realistic. The setting is vividly described and readers will feel as though they are right there in the room with the women as they chat and laugh. This is a warm, wonderful novel that will stay with readers long after they finish it.
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
Giovanni’s Room is a novel by James Baldwin. The novel tells the story of an American expatriate, Giovanni, who lives in Paris with his Italian lover, Guillaume.
The novel explores themes of race, sexuality, and identity. Baldwin addresses the issue of racial conflict in America through the characters of Giovanni and Guillaume. He also addresses the issue of homophobia in America through the character of Giovanni.
Baldwin’s novel is a powerful exploration of race, sexuality, and identity. It is a must-read for anyone interested in these topics.
Graceland, At Last by Margaret Renkl
Margaret Renkl’s new book, Graceland, At Last, is a moving and intimate portrait of the iconic Memphis landmark.
Through personal anecdotes and historical context, Renkl brings Elvis Presley’s estate to life, highlighting its unique place in American culture.
Graceland is much more than a tourist destination; it’s a living monument to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. As Renkl shows us, it’s also a place of solace and healing, a refuge for those who need it most.
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
In her book, Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson tells the story of two sisters growing up in the rural town of Fingerbone, Idaho. The novel follows the girls as they move in with their grandparents after their mother’s death and grapple with what it means to be a family.
Robinson’s writing is beautiful and lyrical, and she captures the feeling of small-town life perfectly. The characters are complex and fully developed, and the story is ultimately hopeful and redemptive.
Housekeeping is a masterfully written novel that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it.
Infinite Country by Patricia Engel
Patricia Engel’s novel, Infinite Country, tells the story of a family torn apart by violence and immigration.
The book follows the lives of Mai, a young woman who is forced to flee her home in Columbia after her father is killed by paramilitaries, and her brother, Sebastian, who is left behind.
Engel’s novel is a powerful story of loss, hope, and redemption that will stay with readers long after they turn the final page.
Jungle Night by Sandra Boynton
Sandra Boynton’s book “Jungle Night”, is a bedtime story that takes place in the jungle. The story follows a group of animals as they prepare for bedtime. The animals are excited to go to sleep, but they are also afraid of the dark.
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
Klara and the Sun is Kazuo Ishiguro’s book, and it is a heart-wrenching story about a girl who falls in love with a boy who is dying of cancer.
Klara is an artificial intelligence that has been designed to be a companion for children, and she forms a deep bond with her human charge, Josie. When Josie becomes ill, Klara does everything she can to help her, even though she knows that there is nothing she can do to save her.
Klara and the Sun is a beautiful and tragic story about the power of love and companionship. It will stay with you long after you finish reading it.
Little by Edward Carey
Aptly named, Little is the story of Madame Tussauds in miniature. Told through the perspective of Marguerite, Edward Carey’s novel is a heartwarming tale of someone who goes from being an object to becoming a person.
Born into poverty in 1761, Marguerite is sold to Dr. Philippe Curtius, a wax sculptor who recognizes her potential as an artist. Trained by Curtius, she quickly becomes his apprentice and friend. After his death, she takes over the workshop and continues his legacy.
As the French Revolution erupts, Marguerite must navigate the dangerous political waters while also trying to keep her business afloat. When she befriends Marie Antoinette, Marguerite finds herself in the middle of one of the most tumultuous periods in history.
Little Pieces of Hope by Todd Doughty
In his book, Todd Doughty explores the idea of hope and how it can be found in the darkest of places.
Doughty draws on his own experiences as well as those of others to explore how hope can be a powerful tool in times of trouble.
He offers readers practical advice on how to find hope in their own lives and provides examples of how hope has helped him and others through tough times.
My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
My Name Is Lucy Barton is a novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout. The book tells the story of Lucy Barton, a woman who grows up in poverty in rural America and goes on to become a successful writer.
Lucy Barton is a complex and compelling protagonist, and Strout’s writing is beautiful and moving. My Name Is Lucy Barton is an intimate portrait of a woman’s life, and an exploration of the power of stories to heal and transform us.
My Year Abroad by Chang-Rae Lee
Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout
On Animals by Susan Orlean
Scientist by Richard Rhodes
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell
So We Read On by Maureen Corrigan
Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
The All of It by Jeannette Haien
The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
The Collected Stories by John Updike
The Color of Water by James McBride
The Days of Afrekete by Asali Solomon
The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante
The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
The Souvenir Museum by Elizabeth McCracken
The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
The Story of More by Hope Jahren
The Things They Carried by Tim O’ Brien
The Whole Language by Gregory Boyle
The Zen of Therapy by Mark Epstein
What is the What by Dave Eggers