Culture

Books: Ann Patchett

Patchett landed on the best-seller list with her 2001 novel "Bel Canto," a PEN/Faulkner Award winner about a hostage crisis in South America that has sold more than 1 million copies. Her most recent work is "Run," the story of a fictional mixed-race Boston family. Her list:

My Five Most Important Books
1. "So Long, See You Tomorrow" by William Maxwell. A perfect Swiss watch of a book: it weighs in at a scant 135 pages.

2. "Independent People" by Halldor Laxness. Iceland's Nobel Prize-winning masterpiece: dismal, hysterical and stunning.

3. "The Awkward Age" by Henry James. I'm tempted to recommend a dozen others, because you can't go wrong with James.

4. "Miss Lonelyhearts" by Nathanael West. Sentence by sentence, one of the most beautifully constructed novels I know.

5. "Loving" by Henry Green. He's a master of form, dialogue, character and political tensions brought on by class and war.

A classic book that, upon rereading, disappointed: George Orwell's "Animal Farm." The last time I had read it I was 12. Now I don't think it holds up past the age of 13.

A book you hope parents read to their children: All of Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House on the Prairie" books. The girls grow up to be smart and resourceful. What could be better than that?

Editor's Pick