The Book That Matters Most: A Novel (Hardcover)

The Book That Matters Most: A Novel By Ann Hood Cover Image
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August 2016 Indie Next List

“Hood offers the parallel stories of Ava, who is struggling to build a new life after the end of a long marriage, and her daughter, Maggie, living in Paris and descending into addiction. Ava is invited to join a book club whose members each suggest the book that matters most to them. In Ava's case, a book remembered from her childhood leads to the unraveling of family secrets and a chance to move forward without old sorrows. Hood is a master at revealing the nuances of family interactions and exploring the fine line between love and pain.”
— Jenny Stroyeck (W), The Homer Bookstore, Homer, AK


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.

About the Author

Ann Hood is the author of a dozen books of memoir and fiction, including the best-selling novels The Book That Matters Most and The Knitting Circle, and editor of the anthologies Knitting Yarns and Knitting Pearls. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island, and New York.

Praise For…

Hood’s novel is rich with pleasures, and will
no doubt launch a thousand book club discussions.
— USA Today

Hood examines the push and pull between mothers
and grown children and the transformative power of fiction.
— People

Great novelists can envelop you in relatable plot lines that make you feel like you’re part of the story. That’s what Ann Hood, author of the much beloved The Knitting Circle, does in her latest.

— Minneapolis Star Tribune

Ann Hood has given us a remarkable musing on memory, loss, regret and, to an extent, redemption and salvation. She does so with elegant prose and gentle but appropriate tugs on the heartstrings.
— Providence Journal

[The Book That Matters Most] touches all of your emotions.

— The Missourian

The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood works on so many levels. First, it’s a delightful read. Second, it’s full of great book suggestions. And third, it’s inspiration for book groups.

— BookReporter

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.

— Lily King, author of Euphoria

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.
— Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train

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.
— Elizabeth Berg, author of The Dream Lover

Ann Hood’s eye for the absurd, her masterful prose and vivid characters instantly draw you into this compelling story about mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and lovers. But 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.
— Ann Leary, New York Times bestselling author of The Good House
Product Details
ISBN: 9780393241655
ISBN-10: 0393241653
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: August 9th, 2016
Pages: 368
Language: English