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Ranking Author Barbara Kingsolver’s Best Books (A Bibliography Countdown)

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

We took all of the books written by Barbara Kingsolver 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 Barbara Kingsolver

15 ) Unsheltered

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 14
  • Amazon: 12
  • LibraryThing: 12

2016 Vineland Meet Willa Knox, a woman who stands braced against an upended world that seems to hold no mercy for her shattered life and family – or the crumbling house that contains her. 1871 Vineland Thatcher Greenwood, the new science teacher, is a fervent advocate of the work of Charles Darwin, and he is keen to communicate his ideas to his students. But those in power in Thatcher’s small town have no desire for a new world order. Thatcher and his teachings are not welcome. Both Willa and Thatcher resist the prevailing logic.

14 ) Homeland

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 11
  • Amazon: 12
  • LibraryThing: 11

A collection of wry short stories set in a wide American landscape and bound by a strong sense of place and the compelling ties of love and family. The author has also written “The Bean Trees” which is published simultaneously with this book.

13 ) Holding the Line

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 9
  • Amazon: 14
  • LibraryThing: 10

Novelist Barbara Kingsolver began her writing career with “Holding the Line”. It is the story of how women’s lives were transformed by an 18-month strike against the Phelps-Dodge Copper Corporation. Set in the small mining towns of Arizona, the story is partly oral history and partly social criticism, exploring the process of empowerment which occurs when people work together as a community.

12 ) Small Wonder

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 4
  • Amazon: 15
  • LibraryThing: 13

On my desk sits a beautiful engraving, published in another century, that promises me: “Out of the chaos the future emerges in harmony and beauty.” Promises and prayers contain their own kinds of answer, as consecrated aspiration. I need this one now…’ In her new essay collection, written in the aftermath of September 11th, the author of High Tide In Tucson and The Poisonwood Bible brings to us out of one of history’s darker moments an extended love song to the world we still have. From its opening parable gleaned from recent news about a lost child saved in an astonishing way, the book moves on to consider a world of surprising and hopeful prospects ranging from an inventive conservation scheme in a remote jungle to the backyard flock of chickens tended by the author’s small daughter

11 ) Flight Behavior

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 13
  • Amazon: 11
  • LibraryThing: 6

Flight Behavior transfixes from its opening scene, when a young woman’s narrow experience of life is thrown wide with the force of a raging fire. In the lyrical language of her native Appalachia, Barbara Kingsolver bares the rich, tarnished humanity of her novel’s inhabitants and unearths the modern complexities of rural existence. Characters and reader alike are quickly carried beyond familiar territory here, into the unsettled ground of science, faith, and everyday truces between reason and conviction. Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at seventeen. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she has settled for permanent disappointment but seeks momentary escape through an obsessive flirtation with a younger man. As she hikes up a mountain road behind her house to a secret tryst, but instead encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire.

10 ) The Lacuna

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 12
  • Amazon: 10
  • LibraryThing: 7

In her most accomplished novel, Barbara Kingsolver takes us on an epic journey from the Mexico City of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of Pearl Harbor, FDR, and J. Edgar Hoover. The Lacuna is a poignant story of a man pulled between two nations as they invent their modern identities. Born in the United States, reared in a series of provisional households in Mexico – from a coastal island jungle to 1930s Mexico City – Harrison Shepherd finds precarious shelter but no sense of home on his thrilling odyssey. Life is whatever he learns from housekeepers who put him to work in the kitchen, errands he runs in the streets, and one fateful day, by mixing plaster for famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. He discovers a passion for Aztec history and meets the exotic, imperious artist Frida Kahlo, who will become his lifelong friend. When he goes to work for Lev Trotsky, an exiled political leader fighting for his life, Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution, newspaper headlines and howling gossip, and a risk of terrible violence. Meanwhile, to the north, the United States will soon be caught up in the internationalist goodwill of World War II.

9 ) Pigs in Heaven

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 6
  • Amazon: 4
  • LibraryThing: 13

Brings together Taylor, Turtle and Alice from “The Bean Trees” together with a new cast – Jax, Barbie Sugar Boss, Oklahoma and Annawake Fourkiller. When six-year-old Turtle witnesses a freak accident at the Hoover Dam, her insistence, and her mother’s belief in her, leads to a man’s rescue.

8 ) High Tide in Tucson

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 15
  • Amazon: 4
  • LibraryThing: 3

A collection of pieces in which Barbara Kingsolver, author of the novel “Pigs in Heaven”, explores her trademark themes of family, community and the natural world. The topics include Kentucky, housework, promiscuity, health clubs, the Canary Islands, rock and roll, space rockets, and Thoreau.

7 ) Animal Dreams

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 1
  • Amazon: 7
  • LibraryThing: 13

Animals dream about the things they do in the day time just like people do. If you want sweet dreams, you’ve got to live a sweet life. So says Loyd Peregrina, a handsome Apache trainman and latter-day philosopher. But when Codi Noline returns to her hometown, Loyd’s advice is painfully out of her reach. Dreamless and at the end of her rope, Codi comes back to Grace, Arizona to confront her past and face her ailing, distant father. What the finds is a town threatened by a silent environmental catastrophe, some startling clues to her own identity, and a man whose view of the world could change the course of her life. Blending flashbacks, dreams, and Native American legends, Animal Dreams is a suspenseful love story and a moving exploration of life’s largest commitments. With this work, the acclaimed author of The Bean Trees and Homeland and Other Stories sustains her familiar voice while giving readers her most remarkable book yet.

4 ) The Bean Trees

Review Website Ranks:

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

Taylor Green becomes the guardian of an abandoned baby girl she calls Turtle. In Tucson they meet the proprietor of an auto-repair shop with a safe-house for Central American refugees upstairs and there she builds a life for herself and her child.

4 ) Last Stand: America’s Virgin Lands

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 8
  • Amazon: 2
  • LibraryThing: 9

America’s virgin lands are not always where you’d expect to find them – in national parks or other preserves. They’re scattered in often small, sometimes barely known pockets across the continent. These are the remnants that remind us of what wildness once meant – and what will be lost if it disappears. In her moving introduction and in the essays that open each chapter, Kingsolver discusses the ways of wilderness, the threats against it, its natural imperatives and what it needs to survive in the different forms featured in the chapters – as grassland, wetland, dryland, coast, and woodland. Annie Griffiths Belt’s evocative colour and hand-tinted photographs capture the essence of these diverse bioregions. The images take you from the tallgrass prairies of Kansas and Nevada to the Arctic tundra of Alaska, from the endangered coral reefs off the Florida Keys to the Pacific-pounded coast of Oregon, from the deserts of the Southwest to the sky-piercing redwoods of California.

4 ) Another America

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 10
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 8

3 ) Prodigal Summer

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 5
  • Amazon: 7
  • LibraryThing: 4

Over the course of a long, hot summer, Kingsolver’s big-hearted characters begin to grudgingly reconcile themselves with nature and find they can love one another, too. At the center of this sprawling tale is a pack of coyotes that has wandered into the territory that park ranger Deanne Wolfe patrols in the aftermath of her divorce. For two years Wolfe has subsisted alone, her solitude proof that she didn’t need marriage in the first place. The coyotes are her only companions until Eddie Bondo shows up, with a 30-30 rifle slung over his muscled shoulder, wearing a winning smirk. Within a few hours of meeting they are tearing off each other’s clothes as they writhe across the plank floors of Wolfe’s log cabin. She eventually discovers that Eddie is more than just a freelance hunter and lothario: He’s on a bounty mission to catch and kill her precious coyotes. Lusa Maluf Landowski faces a more wrenching choice between tending to her land and protecting her heart. A young widow burdened with a heavily mortgaged farm and ornery in-laws, she realizes it might be easier to mend her wounds if she moves on.

2 ) Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 3
  • Amazon: 4
  • LibraryThing: 2

“As the U.S. population made an unprecedented mad dash for the Sun Belt, one carload of us paddled against the tide, heading for the Promised Land where water falls from the sky and green stuff grows all around. We were about to begin the adventure of realigning our lives with our food chain. “Naturally, our first stop was to buy junk food and fossil fuel. . . .” Hang on for the ride: With characteristic poetry and pluck, Barbara Kingsolver and her family sweep readers along on their journey away from the industrial-food pipeline to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Their good-humored search yields surprising discoveries about turkey sex life and overly zealous zucchini plants, en route to a food culture that’s better for the neighborhood and also better on the table. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life and diversified farms at the center of the American diet.

1 ) The Poisonwood Bible

Review Website Ranks:

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

Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible paints an intimate portrait of a crisis-ridden family amid the larger backdrop of an African nation in chaos. Critics and readers alike have acclaimed the novel as the greatest achievement of one of America’s foremost living authors. This Barnes & Noble Reader’s Companion takes you inside The Poisonwood Bible:How does the tragedy of the Price family mirror the political unrest in the Congo?What is the novel’s message about religion? About marriage?How does Kingsolver reconcile the demands of art with her belief that her writing should support a political cause?

Barbara Kingsolver’s Best Books

Barbara Kingsolver Review Website Bibliography Rankings

BookGoodreadsAmazonLibraryThingOveral Rank
The Poisonwood Bible 2 2 1 1
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle 3 4 2 2
Prodigal Summer 5 7 4 3
The Bean Trees 7 7 5 4
Last Stand: America’s Virgin Lands 8 2 9 4
Another America 10 1 8 4
Animal Dreams 1 7 13 7
High Tide in Tucson 15 4 3 8
Pigs in Heaven 6 4 13 9
The Lacuna 12 10 7 10
Flight Behavior 13 11 6 11
Small Wonder 4 15 13 12
Holding the Line 9 14 10 13
Homeland 11 12 11 14
Unsheltered 14 12 12 15
A.M. Anderson

Published by
A.M. Anderson

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