Summary and book reviews of The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood

The Book That Matters Most

A Novel

by Ann Hood

The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2016, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2017, 368 pages

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Book Summary

An enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets, friendship, and the healing power of literature, by the bestselling author of The Knitting Circle.

Ava's twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group's goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Ava rediscovers a mysterious book from her childhood?one that helped her through the traumas of the untimely deaths of her sister and mother. Alternating with Ava's story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who, living in Paris, descends into a destructive relationship with an older man. Ava's mission to find that book and its enigmatic author takes her on a quest that unravels the secrets of her past and offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives.

Ava

Ava saw it as soon as she turned the corner. She stopped, squinting as if that would change what she was looking at. It was a week before Christmas on Weybosset Street in downtown Providence. The Christmas lights already shone, even at five o'clock, because the day was so dark and gray. The air had that festive holiday feeling that came from people bustling about with oversized shopping bags, cold air, tired decorations, a guy selling Christmas trees on the corner.

But Ava felt anything but festive.

She stood staring at the Providence Performing Arts Center marquee. She knew it was backlit in white with black letters announcing The Lion King, because she'd come here just last night, the tickets given to her by a colleague from the French department trying to cheer her up. But she couldn't actually see the marquee. No. The marquee was covered in red and green cable knit yarn, almost like it was wearing a sweater. Except Ava knew that it wasn't wearing a ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

This is a great book for book clubs with plenty of themes for discussion: divorce, parenting and personal growth. The added bonus of additional books to read will be much appreciated.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).

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Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Whether or not they think of themselves as bookish, readers of all stripes will enjoy cycling through these characters' lives and discovering their shared, mysterious past.

Publishers Weekly

This is a gripping, multifaceted novel about recovering from different kinds of loss and the healing that comes from a powerful story.

Library Journal

Hood's effortlessly readable story is sure to divide readers—between those who are captivated and those who desire a more detailed story line.

Author Blurb Lily King, author of Euphoria
The Book That Matters Most is an exhilarating celebration of all that books awaken within us: joy, love, wisdom, loss, solace. Ann Hood is a captivating storyteller?I devoured this novel.

Author Blurb Christina Baker Kline, bestselling author of Orphan Train
A love of words, of reading, propels the characters from heartbreak to discovery. Book groups ? indeed, book lovers of all kinds?will delight in this compulsively and effortlessly readable novel.

Author Blurb Elizabeth Berg, author of The Dream Lover
Engrossing…I admire this graceful and intimate writer for her literary sleight of hand: you don’t so much read about her characters as you inhabit them.

Author Blurb Ann Leary, New York Times bestselling author of The Good House
[It’s] the delicate exploration of human fallibility – of love, loss, regret and redemption that make this one of those rare and wonderful books that truly matter.

Reader Reviews

Laurie

She Gets It
I loved this book because Ann Hood expresses the heartache associated with divorce with such clarity and humanity. Plus, she's got amazing taste in books!

Renee K. (Salem, UT)

The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood
Thank you for allowing me to review this book. In 2002 I began to emerge from the rock I'd been hiding under, as Ava had done when Jim had left. Though my depressed state was similar to Ava's, the reasons were entirely different and in retrospect, ...   Read More

Shirin M. (Beverly Hills, CA)

Books and Friendship
Books and friends! What better combination to make for an enjoyable read. The story framed by a book discussion group, in which the choice of book reveals something about each one, just as much as their dialogue and interactions with each other. ...   Read More

smash

Truly a "book that matters"!
Once I picked this book up, it was so difficult to put it down. I had been drawn to selecting this book because I have always been a reader and instantly wondered what book I would choose for "the book that matters most". I was surprised to find ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Books About Books

In The Book That Matters Most, literature turns out to be an important lifeline to Ava as she joins a book club to offer her some soul sustenance through trying times. Here a few other recommendations for books about other books, whose theme is the joy of the written word.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry The cantankerous owner of a small independent New England bookstore is widowed and sales are lagging but he gets a new lease on life when an exciting package arrives at his doorstep. Voted a BookBrowse favorite, this memorable novel packs in a whole host of literary references and other nods to book lovers while wrapping its story around themes of redemption and second chances.



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