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Ranking Author Ann Beattie’s Best Books (A Bibliography Countdown)

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

We took all of the books written by Ann Beattie 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 Ann Beattie

26 ) Mrs. Nixon

	Mrs. Nixon

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 24
  • Amazon: 18
  • LibraryThing: 19

Dazzlingly original, Ann Beattie’s Mrs. Nixon is a riveting exploration of an elusive American icon and of the fiction writer’s art. Pat Nixon remains one of our most mysterious and intriguing public figures, the only modern First Lady who never wrote a memoir. Beattie, like many of her generation, dismissed Richard Nixon’s wife: “interchangeable with a Martian,” she said. Decades later, she wonders what it must have been like to be married to such a spectacularly ambitious and catastrophically self-destructive man. Drawing on a wealth of sources from Life magazine to accounts by Nixon’s daughter and his doctor to The Haldeman Diaries and Jonathan Schell’s The Time of Illusion, Beattie reconstructs dozens of scenes in an attempt to see the world from Mrs. Nixon’s point of view.

25 ) Walks with Men

	Walks with Men

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 23
  • Amazon: 16
  • LibraryThing: 20

24 ) My Life, Starring Dara Falcon

	My Life, Starring Dara Falcon

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 19
  • Amazon: 21
  • LibraryThing: 18

Contrary to expectations raised by the title of Ann Beattie’s new novel, the protagonist of My Life Starring Dara Falcon is named Jean, not Dara. This is just the first of many ironies Beattie seeds throughout this, her sixth novel. We learn of Dara Falcon’s death on the first page of the novel and discover by the end of the third that in life she was manipulative, self-centered, dishonest, and amoral. But it was not Dara’s bad qualities that first attracted Jean Warner to her 20 years before; in those days, Jean was a 20-year-old bride immersed in her dull but respectable husband’s family and with only the vaguest sense that life was passing her by.

23 ) A Wonderful Stroke of Luck

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 22
  • Amazon: 12
  • LibraryThing: 21

A razor-sharp, deeply felt new novel–the twenty-first book by Ann Beattie–about the complicated relationship between a charismatic teacher and his students, and the secrets we keep from those we love At a boarding school in New Hampshire, Ben joins the honor society led by Pierre LaVerdere, an enigmatic, brilliant, yet perverse, teacher who instructs his students not only about how to reason, but how to prevaricate. As the years go by, LaVerdere’s covert and overt instruction lingers in his students’ lives as they seek some sense of purpose or meaning. When Ben feels the pace of his life accelerating and views his intimate relationships as less and less fulfilling, there seems to be a subtext he’s not able to access. And what, really, did Bailey Academy teach him? While relationships with his stepmother and sister improve, and a move to upstate New York offers respite from his anxiety about love and work, LaVerdere’s reappearance in his life disturbs his equilibrium. Everything he once thought he knew about his teacher–and himself–is called into question.

22 ) Another You

	Another You

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 14
  • Amazon: 22
  • LibraryThing: 17

In the wake of a failing marriage and a stepmother’s impending death, Marshall and Sonja Lockard are thrust into a reassessment of their lives by the arrival of one of Marshall’s colleagues.

21 ) Picturing Will

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 18
  • Amazon: 20
  • LibraryThing: 13

Picturing Will, the widely acclaimed new novel by Ann Beattie, unravels the complexities of a postmodern family. There’s Will, a curious five-year-old who listens to the heartbeat of a plant through his toy stethoscope; Jody, his mother, a photographer poised on the threshold of celebrity; Mel, Jody’s perfect — perhaps too perfect — lover; and Wayne, the rather who left Will without warning and now sees his infrequent visits as a crimp in his bedhopping. Beattie shows us how these lives intersect, attract, and repel one another with dazzling shifts and moments of heartbreaking directness.

20 ) Jacklighting

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 6
  • Amazon: 22
  • LibraryThing: 21

18 ) The Accomplished Guest

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 16
  • Amazon: 11
  • LibraryThing: 21

A magnificent new collection from award-winning author Ann Beattie – featuring recent O. Henry, Pushcart, and Best American Short Story selections. Surprising and revealing, set along the East Coast from Maine to Key West, Ann Beattie’s astutely observed new collection explores unconventional friendships, frustrated loves, mortality, and aging. One theme of The Accomplished Guest is people paying visits or receiving visitors, traveling to see old friends, the joys and tolls of hosting company (and of being hosted). The occasion might be a wedding, a birthday, a reunion, an annual Christmas party, or another opportunity to gather and attempt to bond with biological relatives or chosen families. In some stories, as in life, what begins as a benign social event becomes a situation played for high stakes. The stories in The Accomplished Guest are marked by an undercurrent of loss and an unexpected element of violence, with Beattie’s signature mordant humor woven throughout. Some characters provide welcome diversions; others are uninvited interruptions; all are indelibly drawn by the endlessly amusing and accomplished Ann Beattie. Beattie’s debut collection, Distortions, was published 40 years ago, but her writing is as fresh, funny, and relevant as ever.

18 ) Follies


Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 16
  • Amazon: 16
  • LibraryThing: 16

17 ) Alex Katz

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 6
  • Amazon: 19
  • LibraryThing: 21

16 ) The Doctor’s House

	The Doctor's House

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 21
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 10

The winner of the 2000 PEN/Malamud Prize tells the unsettling story of a sister obsessed with her brother and the women he loves and leaves. THE DOCTOR’S HOUSE opens with a woman exploring her own brother’s sexual appetites, uncovering his myriad betrayals of his wives and lovers, and of her. Nina, a reclusive copy editor, should have better things to do than track her brother’s escapades, but since her husbands death she has become solitary and defensive, and just as obsessive as Andrew. As the novel unfolds, the story of Nina and Andrew is retold by their mother, who at once illuminates and undermines her daughter’s account. Finally, the brother speaks for himself, and the deeper Beattie takes us into Andrew’s mind, the more his perspective suggests that Nina might be both less innocent and less detached than she maintains. In the guise of exploring their memories of the past, Nina and her mother repress them.

15 ) Secrets and Surprises

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 25
  • Amazon: 5
  • LibraryThing: 13

14 ) Perfect Recall

	Perfect Recall

Review Website Ranks:

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

A moving and beautifully written collection of short stories from the award-winning author of FALLING IN PLACE (Vintage). Ann Beattie published her first short story in The New Yorker in 1972. Twenty-eight years later, she received the 2000 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She is, as the Washington Post said, “one of our era’s most vital masters of the short form.” The eleven stories in her new work are peopled by characters coming to terms with the legacies of long-held family myths or confronting altered circumstances, new frailty or sudden, unlikely success. Beattie’s ear for language, her complex and subtle wit, and her profound compassion are unparalleled. From the elegiac story “The Famous Poet, Amid Bougainvillea,” in which two men trade ruminations on illness, art, and servitude, to “The Big-Breasted Pilgrim,” wherein a famous chef gets a series of bewildering phone calls from George Stephanopoulos, PERFECT RECALL comprises Beattie’s strongest work in years. It is a riveting commentary on the way we live now by a spectacular prose artist.

13 ) The State We’re In

	The State We're In

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 20
  • Amazon: 9
  • LibraryThing: 11

For the first time in a decade, the writer that John Updike credited with creating ‘an entirely different kind of short story’ has pinned life by the pen and offered her readers a new piece of work. Cool, ironic, sharply observed and witty, but underpinned with a quiet, barely-breathed tenderness, these stories – mainly set in Maine – explore the glancing epiphanies of daily life. A teenage girl, spending the summer with her aunt and uncle while her mother recovers from surgery, tries to makes sense of some of life’s curiosities, such as what magical realism is supposed to be, exactly; a woman having an affair with her daughter’s best friend’s boyfriend creates a list of their ‘pluses and minuses’ in an attempt to win the man. Conversations that start as literary name drops turn into aching explorations of joy, generosity and anguish; sudden deaths in peaceful plant nurseries reveal suspicion and privately pursued desires. Beattie’s voice is mesmeric and her lessons are lightly taught. The State We’re In is a pitch-perfect meditation on that ultimate non-sequitur, a human life.

12 ) What Was Mine

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 11
  • Amazon: 22
  • LibraryThing: 4

A collection of short fiction, twelve works in all, including two never-before-published novellas. Here are disconnected marriages and uneasy reunions, nostalgic reminiscences and sudden epiphanies–a remarkable and moving collage of contemporary lives.

10 ) Falling in Place

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 12
  • Amazon: 15
  • LibraryThing: 8

An unsettling novel that traces the faltering orbits of the members of one family from a hidden love triangle to the ten-year-old son whose problem may pull everyone down.

10 ) The Burning House

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 25
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 9

The Burning House is Ann Beattie’s third story collection. Ann Beattie continues to find fresh ways to fascinate us, adding new characters to the comedie humaine of dreamers and drifters she has chronicled so memorably in her previous short-story collections.

9 ) Park City

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 5
  • Amazon: 22
  • LibraryThing: 7

For more than twenty-five years, Ann Beattie’s short fiction has held a mirror up to America, portraying its awkwardly welded families, its loosely coupled couples, and much-uprooted children with acuity, humor, and compassion. This triumphant collection includes thirty-six of the finest stories of her career including eight new pieces that have not appeared in a book before. Beattie’s characters embark on stoned cross-country odysseys with lovers who may leave them before the engine cools. They comfort each other amid the ashes of failed relationships and in hospital waiting rooms. They try to locate themselves in a world where all the old landmarks have been turned into theme parks. Funny and sorrowful, fiercely compressed yet emotionally expansive, Park City is dazzling.

8 ) Love Always

	Love Always

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 14
  • Amazon: 8
  • LibraryThing: 11

Lucy Spenser, the Miss Lonelyhearts of a chic counter-cultural magazine, finds her unflappable Vermont life completely upended by her teenaged soap-opera-star niece, Nicole, and her hangers-on.

7 ) Lincoln Perry’s Charlottesville

	Lincoln Perry's Charlottesville

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 2
  • Amazon: 4
  • LibraryThing: 21

Lincoln Perry is justly celebrated for his murals and edgy narrative figure paintings, with their saturated palette and multifaceted architectural compositions – Poussin refracted through de Chirico. This beautiful new book showcases his images of Charlottesville, Virginia – many of them multipanel compositions featuring the University of Virginia and its environs – accompanied by an essay and interview by his wife, the writer Ann Beattie.Perry’s mural The Student’s Progress, which depicts a woman’s education and social experience from matriculation through graduation, is familiar to U.Va. students, faculty, and visitors, but Perry has been painting Charlottesville subjects on and off since 1985, when he first moved to town.

6 ) Spectacles


Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 3
  • Amazon: 22
  • LibraryThing: 1

When Alison puts on Great Grandmother’s glasses, they become magical and enable her to understand some of her great grandmother’s frustrations and unfulfilled aspirations.

5 ) Thousand Words

	Thousand Words

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 1
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 21

4 ) Where You’ll Find Me

	Where You'll Find Me

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 10
  • Amazon: 7
  • LibraryThing: 5

Hailed by the Washington Post Book World as “one of our era’s most vital masters of the short form,” Ann Beattie offers readers unforgettable glimpses of people coming to terms with the world around them. Most of the characters in Where You’ll Find Me grew up in the 1960s and 1970s; when we meet them they are in their twenties and thirties and embody a curious, yet familiar, fusion of hope and despair. In finely crafted, often surprising narratives, Beattie writes of women nursing broken hearts, men looking for love, and married couples struggling to stay together.

3 ) The New Yorker Stories

	The New Yorker Stories

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 9
  • Amazon: 9
  • LibraryThing: 2

2 ) Chilly Scenes of Winter

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 8
  • Amazon: 6
  • LibraryThing: 5

Surrounded by family members and friends not appreciably unlike himself, a twenty-seven-year-old government worker longs to recapture his ex-lover Laura, who has recently returned to her husband, stepdaughter, and A-frame.

1 ) Distortions


Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 4
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 3

Nineteen stories, ranging in mood from contentment to dismal sadness, survey the strange and various forms of happiness and depression and ways of making and dealing with life’s choices.

Ann Beattie’s Best Books

Ann Beattie Review Website Bibliography Rankings

BookGoodreadsAmazonLibraryThingOveral Rank
Distortions 4 1 3 1
Chilly Scenes of Winter 8 6 5 2
The New Yorker Stories 9 9 2 3
Where You’ll Find Me 10 7 5 4
Thousand Words 1 1 21 5
Spectacles 3 22 1 6
Lincoln Perry’s Charlottesville 2 4 21 7
Love Always 14 8 11 8
Park City 5 22 7 9
Falling in Place 12 15 8 10
The Burning House 25 1 9 10
What Was Mine 11 22 4 12
The State We’re In 20 9 11 13
Perfect Recall 13 13 15 14
Secrets and Surprises 25 5 13 15
The Doctor’s House 21 13 10 16
Alex Katz 6 19 21 17
The Accomplished Guest 16 11 21 18
Follies 16 16 16 18
Jacklighting 6 22 21 20
Picturing Will 18 20 13 21
Another You 14 22 17 22
A Wonderful Stroke of Luck 22 12 21 23
My Life, Starring Dara Falcon 19 21 18 24
Walks with Men 23 16 20 25
Mrs. Nixon 24 18 19 26