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The Book That Matters Most

A Novel

by Ann Hood

The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood X
The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2016, 288 pages

    Aug 2017, 368 pages


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There are currently 46 member reviews
for The Book That Matters Most
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  • Claire M. (Wrentham, MA)
    The Book that Matters Most
    I read this as an ARC and was not disappointed. Anne Hood delivers a thoughtful and well-plotted novel that travels some familiar territory that should please her fans. Providence and Paris again feature in the action and are wonderful supporting players. The terrain of the book group is quite familiar - I lead discussion groups - and is authentically communicated. (What lengths we facilitators will go to with garb and gourmet treats to draw out the introvert bookworm!)

    The many sides of grief are laid out for the reader to choose from for engaging with empathy. The classic mother-daughter dynamic is explored and there is a depth of understanding exhibited in these pages that is truly heartbreaking. The terrifying world of addiction and the youthful vulnerability to predators is as horrifying as the forest of grief. You may not like these characters but you will not be able to look away.

    As for the power of books, Hood gives us a classic list of choices to beef up our own reading lists and doses her novel quite masterfully with the most alluring of literary devices and themes of each. And what tragic story does not crave a redemptive happy ending?

    Elegantly drawn characters and the strong sense of place, added to my reading groups' familiarity with the nearby setting of Providence, will seed our book discussion with many piquant questions.
  • Eve A. (Henderson, NV)
    The Book That Matters Most
    What could be better than a book by Ann Hood about books? One of my favorite authors does not disappoint. I have never belonged to a book club but find the concept here fascinating - each member of this book club picks the book that matters most to them and then everyone reads it. The main character is going through some major changes in her life which is why she joins the book club in the first place - looking to connect with people. This takes her down a totally unexpected path. We also learn about her daughter who is on a search for herself. The ending brings the story to a satisfying conclusion. I think book clubs would definitely enjoy this book.
  • Gail B. (Albuquerque, NM)
    Attn: Bookies
    What book matters most to you? If your book club is searching for a good reading list, here you are.

    Even in childhood Ava thought of herself as inferior to her perfect sister Lily, who died so young. Then her perfect mother Charlotte could not survive the loss, Ava's perfect marriage crashed, and finally daughter Maggie did her utmost to destroy herself.

    The parallel stories of mothers and daughters are linked by addiction as well as a love of books. Maggie dreams of being the new Hemingway, Charlotte opens a book store. And Ava joins a book club.
  • Sheila S. (Supply, NC)
    The Book That Matters Most
    I really enjoyed this book. The title is an attention- grabber for anyone who loves to read. In this case it refers to the year's selection of books chosen by a Providence, RI book club. The book revolves around these choices and how they have effected the group's members, particularly Ava who is undergoing some profound changes in her life. There are many different story lines, but the author wraps them up neatly with a surprise twist at the end. I liked the character development but could have used a little less of Maggie's drug addiction. To offset that heavy topic, there is a humorous description of a new form of graffiti called yarn bombing. This is the first Ann Hood novel I have read but will be reading more by her.
  • Betty B. (Irving, TX)
    A Story About Books and Bookstores
    First, I really enjoyed the organization of this book... Ava, recently divorced after a 25 year marriage, joins a book club where each of the 10 members chooses a book for the club to read and discuss during 10 months of the year. Their theme this year is The Book That Matters Most. Thus as each chapter unfolds we read about the book being read by the group that month. Their discussions are interesting and we see Ava grow and learn independence as each book becomes relevant to her. Not only is she dealing with the divorce, but with a daughter missing in Italy where her mother believes Maggie is studying art in Florence. But Maggie is in Paris where she finds comfort and solace in a bookstore. Maggie's quest to find her daughter and the book that matters most to her ultimately offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives. A very satisfying book to read. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves to read.
  • Jean G. (Rockford, IL)
    Book Lovers Rejoice
    This novel should be an automatic "like" for all reviewers as the story involves books and book clubs. The author does a fantastic job of intertwining themes of so-called important books with the plot. The author's method of devoting each chapter to a particular character seamlessly moves the plot along. Be prepared for family members who are going through a lot of tough times but are well developed. Wished for a few less French words when characters are in Paris. Hard to put down. Needless to say, book clubs would have a good time with this.
  • Tracey S. (Largo, FL)
    A great read!
    I loved this book! I could not put it down! The book follows Ava, a woman who is divorced and bitter about the situation who reluctantly joins her friend's book club. The theme of the year is "The book that matters most" to each member of the book club. It was interesting to see which books were chosen and the book that Ava chose for herself which has something to do with Ava's childhood and losing her mother and sister when she was young. Intermingled with the book club meetings is the story of Ava's daughter who has gone off to study abroad and how her life is going with that. I recommend this book to anyone! It kept my interest the entire way through the book!

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