I’ve been reading Barbara Kingsolver for the past 15 years and with each book I recommit to her oeuvre. With a beautiful voice and a steady hand she guides the reader through emotionally complex novels introducing the reader to places and people they might never encounter otherwise. Here are three books that I think would make a great introduction to her work.
With both a Pulitzer Prize nomination and an Oprah Book Club endorsement, The Poisonwood Bible is arguably the best place to begin your journey with Kingsolver. Written from the perspective of a mother and her four daughters moved to the Congo as missionaries by their evangelical minister husband/father, The Poisonwood Bible falls into a collection of novels that take us to a different place and time to examine the beliefs we hold based on science and religion. Books this reminded me of were Euphoria by Lily King and State of Wonder by Anne Patchett.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle has been on my TBR pile since I heard the Kingsolver interview by Krista Tippett on the podcast On Being. In it, Kingsolver departed from her usual fictional work and penned a memoir about the year in her family’s life when they chose to grow everything they ate on a farm in rural Virginia. This book is a must read for anyone who enjoyed The 100-Mile Diet or Trauma Farm.
Many of Kingsolver’s books are long, so if you’re looking for a quicker introduction to her work, why not read Homeland? A collection of 12 stories, Homeland ranges from Norther California, to Kentucky, to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia exploring family ties and the choices we all must ultimately make alone.
And did you know, each of these is available through Shelfie? So get yourself to your local bookstore and pick up a print copy, and then you can download the ebook for when you’re on the go!