the book that matters most by Ann Hood (which certainly reads better than The Little Paris Bookshop)

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Here we have another book from another book discussion group I’m in, but the book that matters most is far superior to The Little Paris Bookshop. While both of them speak to the love of literature, and Paris, the novel by Ann Hood lacks the gagging treacle effect that Nina George is so adept at creating. There are no platitudes here, just an interesting story which is well written.

The premise is that each member of Cate’s book club must choose a book that mattered most to them; each month one of the books from their list will be discussed. The titles listed brought back marvelous memories for me, from Anna Karenina (my personal favorite) to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, I loved remembering each one and longed to reread it as one does with favorite books.

But, there is a secondary story here involving Ava and her daughter Maggie, who is supposed to be studying abroad. Instead, Maggie is in Paris involved with drugs, and all the wrong kinds of choices that accompany them. Ava has troubles of her own, as her husband of 20 years has just left her. To top it off, she is still struggling to cope with the death of her sister, and then subsequently her mother, when Ava was still a child.

Rather than sounding trite, or artificially crafted for the sake of telling a story, the novel’s issues seemed pertinent and real. I was fully engrossed in this book, connecting to the members of the book club as well as Ava’s trials with a less than cautious child.

Plus, my yearning to reread Anna Karenina grows with every passing day.

The books listed within:

  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Like Water for Chocolate
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Anna Karenina
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • The Lord of The Rings
  • The Golden Notebook
  • Dinner at The Homesick Restaurant
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  • Thr Leopard
  • Dr. Zhivago
  • The House of Mirth
  • Slaughterhouse-Five
  • As You Like It
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13 comments

  1. I love the idea of picking the book that matters most–it’s kind of like which book would you “be” in a Fahrenheit 451 world. LOTR and Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant are certainly on my short list of possibilities (along with The Restaurant at the End of the Universe and Othello).

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    1. It is an intriguing idea, isn’t it? The only part for me is, matters most when? I’ve had different books effect me quite powerfully according to the mood, or age, when I read them. But, this novel has me mentally composing a list of bookS that have mattered most to me. To be revealed in a future post…but, I agree with you that The Lord of The Rings would have to be in included.

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  2. As I read the first chapter of this book, I wondered what single book has mattered the most to me in my life. I couldn’t come up with just one. I do know that there were a couple about grief that really helped me as I struggled to come to grips with my loss, almost a dozen years ago, but that almost seems to easy to name those. I need to read this book and maybe I’ll come up with a list. Have you read The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe? It’s one I hope to read again, it was so good.

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  3. I keep wanting to read this one. I know it wasn’t a hit with everyone, but who wouldn’t like a book about books? I’ve enjoyed other books by Ann Hood and I’ll get to this one at some point, maybe this year. As to a book that mattered most – wow. Different books at different times of my life? I will say that Atul Gawande’s BEING MORTAL is right up there for me. Non-fic, but still. And A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN.

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  4. This sounds like a book I would love. The idea of choosing books that matter most is lovely. What a great way to discuss and share your favorites! Glad you enjoyed this one so much. I have it on my kindle and can’t wait to read it now 🙂

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  5. Ann Hood was a guest instructor at our Geneva Writers’ Group conference last year (2016) and she was fabulous, a huge hit with all of the attendees for her charisma and knowledge and encouragement. Her books sold out in about 10 seconds as well, so I didn’t get a chance to read any (I was manning the conference bookshop but had to give priority to the others).

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  6. Aha, thank you! I have been on the brink of reading The Little Paris Bookshop many times, but then…I put it down. And this post has convinced me that I was right about my Little Paris Bookshop misgivings, and that ‘the book that matters most’ might be a better option.

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