|1. The Liars’ Club: A Memoir
by Mary Karr
This is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s about one of those families were all of these improbable characters get woven together.
|2. A Death in the Family by James Agee
This book is about a very quiet family. It’s one of the very early family books I read, but I recently re-read it. I was terribly moved by what went on in that family and the dynamic of what happened and how it affected all of them.
|3. Olive Kitteridge: Fiction by Elizabeth Strout
This book just won the Pulitzer Prize. It’s eleven short stories, each containing the same character – an older woman. In each story, you see her growing older and her character getting more complex. It’s a really terrific, terrific book.
|4. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
I love this book, which came out a few years ago. It’s a beautifully written story about a woman (Jewish, although she never mentions it) living in German-occupied France.
|5. Collected Short Stories: Volume 4
by Somerset Maugham
I’m a huge Somerset Maugham fan and I have read each of his stories at least twice. I just love his characters and I love the way he has such a clean way of telling complicated stories.
|6. The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor
I like a lot of Southern writers, and Flannery O’Connor is one of my favorites. I don’t know that she tells cozy, family stories – but man does she tell a story.
|7. Spooner by Pete Dexter
I love Pete Dexter. I think he’s one of our best writers. Spooner is his latest book.
|8. What Is the What by Dave Eggers
This is one of the best books I ever read. It’s a story about one of those lost boys who makes that long trip across the Sudan. He comes to America and experiences both this country’s promise and its disappointments. It’s a great story about struggling to understand people you don’t understand – a terrific book
|5. Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt
Like What Is the What this book takes an improbable story and delivers the day-to-day detail so well that it becomes utterly believable. You get to know the characters and feel as if you’ve lived the story with them.