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Ranking Author Alice Walker’s Best Books (A Bibliography Countdown)

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“What are Alice Walker’s Best Books?” We looked at all of Walker’s authored bibliography and ranked them against one another to answer that very question!

We took all of the books written by Alice Walker and looked at their Goodreads, Amazon, and LibraryThing scores, ranking them against one another to see which books came out on top. The books are ranked in our list below based on which titles have the highest overall score between all 3 review sites in comparison with all of the other books by the same author. The process isn’t super scientific and in reality, most books aren’t “better” than other books as much as they are just different. That being said, we do enjoy seeing where our favorites landed, and if you aren’t familiar with the author at all, the rankings can help you see what books might be best to start with.

The full ranking chart is also included below the countdown on the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



The Top Book’s Of Alice Walker



31 ) By the Light of My Father’s Smile

 By the Light of My Father's Smile Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 28
  • Amazon: 29
  • LibraryThing: 26

All your life you have the necessary illusion that you know all there is to know about heartbreak. I hate to be the one to tell you about the heartbreak you will experience after you die… A family goes to the remote sierras of Mexico – the writer-to–be Susannah; her sister Magdalena; their father and mother. There, amid indigenous people called the Mundo, they begin an encounter that will change them more than they ever could have dreamed. This is a deeply sensual novel that explores the richness of female sexuality as a celebration of life, affirming the belief ‘that it is the triumphant heart, not the conquered heart, that forgives. And that love is both timeless and beyond’.

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31 ) Chicken Chronicles, A Memoir

 Chicken Chronicles, A Memoir Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 32
  • Amazon: 20
  • LibraryThing: 31

On a farm north of San Francisco, celebrated writer Walker diligently cares for a flock of chickens. “The Chicken Chronicles” captures her blossoming relationship with her chickens and is an extraordinary document of personal recovery, political commitment, and the joys of relating to animals.

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30 ) The Complete Stories

 The Complete Stories Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 26
  • Amazon: 31
  • LibraryThing: 24

Gleaned from her experiences as a child and young adult in America’s Deep South and her life as an activist, lover, mother and teacher, this resonant collection showcases three decades of the work from one of the most gifted writers of our time.

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28 ) Meridian

 Meridian Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 30
  • Amazon: 20
  • LibraryThing: 29

The second novel written by Alice Walker, preceding The Color Purple is a heartfelt and moving story about one woman’s personal revolution as she joins the Civil Rights Movement. Set in the American South in the 1960s it follows Meridian Hill, a courageous young woman who dedicates herself heart and soul to her civil rights work, touching the lives of those around her even as her own health begins to deteriorate. Hers is a lonely battle, but it is one she will not abandon, whatever the costs. This is classic Alice Walker, beautifully written, intense and passionate.

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28 ) The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult

 The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 29
  • Amazon: 20
  • LibraryThing: 30

The Same River Twice is an exciting collection of work based on Alice Walker’s groundbreaking, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple. It includes the never-used screenplay Walker wrote, never-before-seen diary entries and letters, as well as new writings by the author on such topics as art, motherhood, illness, and relationships. Walker also discusses, for the first time, her work with Steven Spielberg, Quincy Jones, Oprah Winkey, and Whoopi Goldberg on the film based on her book. As it explores the controversy surrounding the movie and the impact of loss, illness, and fame on Walker — The Same River Twice illuminates Walker as woman, healer, and artist.

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27 ) Overcoming Speechlessness

 Overcoming Speechlessness Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 24
  • Amazon: 27
  • LibraryThing: 27

In 2006, Alice Walker, working with Women for Women International, visited Rwanda and the eastern Congo to witness the aftermath of the genocide in Kigali. Invited by Code Pink, an antiwar group working to end the Iraq War, Walker traveled to Palestine/Israel three years later to view the devastation on the Gaza Strip. Here is her testimony. Bearing witness to the depravity and cruelty, she presents the stories of the individuals who crossed her path and shared their tales of suffering and courage. Part of what has happened to human beings over the last century, she believes, is that we have been rendered speechless by unusually barbaric behavior that devalues human life. We have no words to describe what we witness. Self-imposed silence has slowed our response to the plight of those who most need us, often women and children, but also men of conscience who resist evil but are outnumbered by those around them who have fallen victim to a belief in weapons, male or ethnic dominance, and greed.

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26 ) Warrior Marks

 Warrior Marks Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 21
  • Amazon: 30
  • LibraryThing: 21

Alice Walker and Pratibha Parmar expose the secret of female genital mutilation, a practice that affects one hundred million of the world’s women.

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25 ) The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart

 The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 27
  • Amazon: 16
  • LibraryThing: 28

These are the stories that came to me to be told after hte close of a magical marriage to an extraordinary man that ended ina less-than-magical divorce. I found myself unmoored, unmated, ungrounded in a way that challenged everything I’d ever thought about human relationships. Situated squarely in that terrifying paradise called freedom, precipitously out on so many emotional limbs, it was as if I had been born; and in fact I was being reborn as the woman I was to become’ The Way Forward is with a Broken Heart starts with a lyrical, autobiographical story of the breakdown of a marriage during the early years of the civil rights movement. Alice Walker then goes on to imagine stories that grew out of the life following that marriage. Filled with wonder at the capacity of humans to move through love and loss, this is an uplifting read that showcases the authors warmth, wit and wisdom.

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24 ) Collected Poems

 Collected Poems Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 6
  • Amazon: 31
  • LibraryThing: 32

Alice Walker has been writing poetry since the summer of 1965, when she travelled to East Africa and began the collection iOnce/i while sitting beneath a tree facing Mount Kenya. pEncompassing the collections iOnce, Revolutionary Petunias Other Poems, Good Night Willie Lee I’ll See You In The Morning, /i and iHorses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful/i as well as other new poems, this is a wonderful, surprising, entertaining collection. More than just an anthology, the iCollected Poems/i offers a historical perspective on the evolution of both poetry itself and the political and spiritual inspiration behind it – a window into the evolving consciousness of one of the most remarkable and provocative literary voices of our time.

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22 ) A Poem Traveled Down My Arm: Poems And Drawings

 A Poem Traveled Down My Arm: Poems And Drawings Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 31
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 17

In this illuminating book, Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist and acclaimed poet Alice Walker reveals her remarkable philosophy of life. Curiously, this labor of love started with the author’s signature: Faced with the daunting task of providing autographs for multiple copies of one of her poetry collections, Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth, Walker turned an act of repetition into an act of inspiration. For each autograph became something more than a name: a thoughtful reflection, an impromptu sketch, a heartfelt poem. The result is this spontaneous burst of the unexpected. A Poem Traveled Down My Arm is a lovely collection of insights and drawings—by turns charming and humorous, provocative and profound—that represent the wisdom of one of today’s most beloved writers. The essence of Walker’s independent spirit emanates from words and images that are simple but deep in meaning. An empowering approach to life…the inspiration to live completely in the moment…the chance to nurture one’s creativity and peace of mind—all these beautiful elements are evoked by this unusual and original book.

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22 ) You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down: Stories

 You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down: Stories Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 20
  • Amazon: 16
  • LibraryThing: 25

In Alice Walker’s second story collection, women stand their ground in the midst of crisis This collection builds on Alice Walker’s earlier work, the much-praised In Love & Trouble. But unlike her first collection of stories, the women in these tenderly wrought tales face their problems head on, proving powerful and self-possessed even when degraded by others—sometimes by those closest to them. But even as the female protagonists face exploitation, social asymmetries, and casual cruelties, Walker leavens her stories with ample wit and, as always, an eye for the redemptive power of love. A collection that reveals a master of fiction approaching the fullness of her talent, these are the stories Walker produced while penning The Color Purple. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Alice Walker including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.

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21 ) The Temple of My Familiar

 The Temple of My Familiar Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 13
  • Amazon: 26
  • LibraryThing: 20

A visionary cast of characters weave together their past and present in a brilliantly intricate tapestry of tales. It is the story of the dispossessed and displaced, of peoples whose history is ancient and whose future is yet to come. Here we meet Lissie, a woman of many pasts; Arveyda the great guitarist and his Latin American wife who has had to flee her homeland; Suwelo, the history teacher, and his former wife Fanny who has fallen in love with spirits.

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20 ) Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth

 Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 17
  • Amazon: 20
  • LibraryThing: 21

In this exquisite book, Alice Walker’s first new collection of poetry since 1991, are poems that reaffirm her as “one of the best American writers of today” (The Washington Post). The forces of nature and the strength of the human spirit inspire the poems in Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth. Alice Walker opens us to feeling and understanding, with poems that cover a broad spectrum of emotions. With profound artistry, Walker searches for, discovers, and declares the fundamental beauty of existence, as she explores what it means to experience life fully, to learn from it, and to grow both as an individual and as part of a greater spiritual community. About Walker’s Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful, America said, “In the tradition of Whitman, Walker sings, celebrates and agonizes over the ordinary vicissitudes that link and separate all of humankind,” and the same can be said about this astonishing new collection, Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth.

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19 ) Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful

 Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 18
  • Amazon: 27
  • LibraryThing: 10

Alice Walker has always turned to poetry to express some of her most personal and deeply felt concerns. She has said that her poems-even the happy ones-emerge from an accumulation of sadness, when she stands again “in the sunlight.”

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18 ) Once

 Once Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 24
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 15

This first volume of poetry established Walker as a poet of unusual sensitivity and power. All of the poems in this collection were written either in East Africa, where Walker spent the summer of 1965, or during her senior year at Sarah Lawrence College.

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17 ) Finding the Green Stone

 Finding the Green Stone Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 16
  • Amazon: 24
  • LibraryThing: 8

Johnny lives in a town where everyone owns a shiny green stone. He has one, too, until his mean-spirited behavior makes him lose it. His family and the whole town help him search, but to find it, he alone must discover the “bright green sun in his heart.

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16 ) We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For

 We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 21
  • Amazon: 16
  • LibraryThing: 7

A New York Times bestseller in hardcover, Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker’s We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For was called “stunningly insightful” and “a book that will inspire hope” by Publishers Weekly. Drawing equally on Walker’s spiritual grounding and her progressive political convictions, each chapter concludes with a recommended meditation to teach us patience, compassion, and forgiveness. We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For takes on some of the greatest challenges of our times and in it Walker encourages readers to take faith in the fact that, despite the daunting predicaments we find ourselves in, we are uniquely prepared to create positive change. The hardcover edition of We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For included a national tour that saw standing-room–only crowds and standing ovations. Walker’s clear vision and calm meditative voice—truly “a light in darkness”—has struck a deep chord among a large and devoted readership.

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15 ) The Third Life of Grange Copeland

 The Third Life of Grange Copeland Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 13
  • Amazon: 12
  • LibraryThing: 18

Alice Walker’s first book recounts the lives of three generations growing up in Georgia, where the author herself grew up. Grange Copeland is a black tenant farmer who is forced to leave his land and family in search of a better future. He heads North but discovers that the racism and poverty he experienced in the South are, in fact, everywhere. When he returns to Georgia years later he finds that his son Brownfield has been imprisoned for the murder of his wife. But hope comes in the form of the third generation as the guardian of the couple’s youngest daughter, Grange Copeland, who glimpses a chance of both spiritual and social freedom.

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14 ) Possessing the Secret of Joy

 Possessing the Secret of Joy Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 10
  • Amazon: 16
  • LibraryThing: 15

Possessing the Secret of Joy is the story of Tashi, a tribal African woman who lives much of her adult life in North America. As a young woman, a misguided loyalty to the customs of her people led her to voluntarily submit to the tsunga’s knife and be genitally mutilated (pharoanoically circumcised). Severely traumatized by this experience, she spends the rest of her life battling madness, trying desperately through psychotherapy – she is treated by disciples of both Freud and C.G. Jung, and even by Jung himself – to regain the ability to recognize her own reality and to feel. It is only with the help of the most unlikely ally she can imagine that she begins to study the mythological “reasons” invented by her ancient ancestors for what was done to her and to millions of other women and girls over thousands of years. As her understanding grows, so does her capacity to encounter her overwhelming grief. Underneath this grief is her glowing anger. Anger propels her to act. Action brings both feeling – life, the ability to exist with awareness in the moment – and death, of which she finds she has completely lost her fear. While not a sequel to The Color Purple or The Temple of My Familiar, Possessing the Secret of Joy follows the life of a barely-glimpsed character from those books.

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13 ) In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women

 In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 13
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 13

Admirers of The Color Purple will find in these stories more evidence of Walker’s power to depict black women—women who vary greatly in background yet are bound together by what they share in common.Taken as a whole, their stories form an enlightening, disturbing view of life in the South.

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12 ) Sent By Earth: A Message from the Grandmother Spirit After the Bombing of the World Trade Center and Pentagon

 Sent By Earth: A Message from the Grandmother Spirit After the Bombing of the World Trade Center and Pentagon Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 9
  • Amazon: 8
  • LibraryThing: 21

Now more timely than ever, Alice Walker’s Sent By Earth reflects on the tragedy of September 11, 2001, and addresses the anger many Americans felt at the presumed perpetrator of the attack: Osama bin Laden. In powerfully reflective, nuanced, and above all heartfelt prose, Walker explores the seeds of hatred and resentment around the globe, and advances a surprisingly controversial theory: that hatred can never be defeated by hatred, but only by love.

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10 ) Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer’s Activism

 Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer's Activism Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 6
  • Amazon: 24
  • LibraryThing: 3

The passion of lyricism that Alice Walker put to such good use in her novel The Color Purple is here in this collection of essays’ Fay Weldon, Mail on Sunday In a world where cynicism and political apathy is commonplace, it is refreshing and inspiring to read the words of Alice Walker. For she believes that the things we treasure, and the world we live in, can all be saved if only we will act. Beginning with an autobiographical essay about the roots of her own activism, Alice Walker then goes on to explore diverse public issues such as single parenthood, freedom of the press, civil rights and religion.

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10 ) To Hell With Dying

 To Hell With Dying Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 21
  • Amazon: 4
  • LibraryThing: 8

“The tender colors seem lit from within, creating a reverential mood that enhances the story’s compelling narrative. A loving remembrance of a common man whose humanity Walker makes memorable.”

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9 ) Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems

 Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 18
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 13

These poems are about revolutionaries and lovers-about how, both in revolution and in love, loss of trust and compassion robs us of hope. They are also about (and for) those few embattled souls who remain painfully committed to beauty and to love even while facing the firing squad.

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8 ) Good Night, Willie Lee, I’ll See You in the Morning

 Good Night, Willie Lee, I'll See You in the Morning Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 11
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 19

Vivid poems of “breakdown and spiritual disarray.” Writing these, Walker says, “led me eventually into a larger understanding of the psyche, and of the world.” What finally marks this volume is the strong sense of change and, ultimately, of forgiveness as a part of growth.

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6 ) Hard Times Require Furious Dancing: New Poems

 Hard Times Require Furious Dancing: New Poems Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 8
  • Amazon: 11
  • LibraryThing: 6

So writes Alice Walker in this new book of poems, poems composed over the course of one year in response to joy and sorrow both personal and global: the death of loved ones, war, the deliciousness of love, environmental devastation, the sorrow of rejection, greed, poverty, and the sweetness of home. The poems embrace our connections while celebrating the joy of individuality, the power we each share to express our truest, deepest selves. Beloved for her ability to speak her own truth in ways that speak for and about countless others, she demonstrates that we are stronger than our circumstances. As she confronts personal and collective challenges, her words dance, sing, and heal.

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6 ) Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart

 Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 11
  • Amazon: 4
  • LibraryThing: 10

Alice Walker, author of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning The Color Purple—“an American novel of permanent importance” (San Francisco Chronicle)—crafts a bilingual collection that is both playfully imaginative and intensely moving. Presented in both English and Spanish, Alice Walker shares a timely collection of nearly seventy works of passionate and powerful poetry that bears witness to our troubled times, while also chronicling a life well-lived. From poems of painful self-inquiry, to celebrating the simple beauty of baking frittatas, Walker offers us a window into her magical, at times difficult, and liberating world of activism, love, hope and, above all, gratitude. Whether she’s urging us to preserve an urban paradise or behold the delicate necessity of beauty to the spirit, Walker encourages us to honor the divine that lives inside all of us and brings her legendary free verse to the page once again, demonstrating that she remains a revolutionary poet and an inspiration to generations of fans.

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5 ) Living by the Word

 Living by the Word Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 5
  • Amazon: 8
  • LibraryThing: 10

The The Color Purple meditates on planetary concerns as well as on feminist and political issues in her most deeply spiritual work yet. She writes of our intimate connection with nature, focuses on racial questions, reports on trips to China, Bali, and Jamaica, and more.

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4 ) The Color Purple

 The Color Purple Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 4
  • Amazon: 7
  • LibraryThing: 4

The Color Purple is a classic. With over a million copies sold in the UK alone, it is hailed as one of the all-time ‘greats’ of literature, inspiring generations of readers. Set in the deep American South between the wars, it is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually, Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.

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3 ) In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose

 In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 1
  • Amazon: 8
  • LibraryThing: 4

In this, her first collection of nonfiction, Alice Walker speaks out as a black woman, writer, mother, and feminist in thirty-six pieces ranging from the personal to the political. Among the contents are essays about other writers, accounts of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the antinuclear movement of the 1980s, and a vivid memoir of a scarring childhood injury and her daughter’s healing words.

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1 ) Pema Chodron and Alice Walker in Conversation

 Pema Chodron and Alice Walker in Conversation Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 1
  • Amazon: 4
  • LibraryThing: 1

How can human suffering become good medicine? Through “tonglen: ” the ancient Tibetan meditation that transforms pain into compassion on the medium of your own breath. “Pema Ch?dr?n and Alice Walker in Conversation” reveals the revolutionary power of”tonglen” through a dialogue between two hearts and minds forged in very different cultures-and yet deeply joined in the simple practice of compassion. Take a front-row seat as the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker and American-born Buddhist nun Pema Ch?dr?n reflect on anger, joy, fear, and the union of spirituality and social activism. Hear their personal experiences of the “giving and taking” meditation and how it has helped heal their lives. Let their combined wisdom illuminate the realm, available to us all, where the barriers between self and others dissolve.

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1 ) Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems

 Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 3
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 2

Walker’s complete poems, including new and previously unpublished verse, collected for the first time-with author’s notes that provide historical perspective on spiritual and political issues of the last three decades.

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Alice Walker’s Best Books



Alice Walker Review Website Bibliography Rankings

BookGoodreadsAmazonLibraryThingOverall Rank
Pema Chodron and Alice Walker in Conversation 141 1
Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems 312 1
In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose 184 3
The Color Purple 474 4
Living by the Word 5810 5
Hard Times Require Furious Dancing: New Poems 8116 6
Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart 11410 6
Good Night, Willie Lee, I’ll See You in the Morning 11119 8
Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems 18113 9
Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer’s Activism 6243 10
To Hell With Dying 2148 10
Sent By Earth: A Message from the Grandmother Spirit After the Bombing of the World Trade Center and Pentagon 9821 12
In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women 131313 13
Possessing the Secret of Joy 101615 14
The Third Life of Grange Copeland 131218 15
We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For 21167 16
Finding the Green Stone 16248 17
Once 241315 18
Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful 182710 19
Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth 172021 20
The Temple of My Familiar 132620 21
A Poem Traveled Down My Arm: Poems And Drawings 311317 22
You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down: Stories 201625 22
Collected Poems 63132 24
The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart 271628 25
Warrior Marks 213021 26
Overcoming Speechlessness 242727 27
Meridian 302029 28
The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult 292030 28
The Complete Stories 263124 30
By the Light of My Father’s Smile 282926 31
Chicken Chronicles, A Memoir 322031 31