“What are Flannery O’Connor’s Best Books?” We looked at all of O’Connor’s authored bibliography and ranked them against one another to answer that very question!
We took all of the books written by Flannery O’Connor 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.
The Top Book’s Of Flannery O’Connor
12 ) Wise Blood
- Goodreads: 11
- Amazon: 11
- LibraryThing: 11
Wise Blood, Flannery O’Connor’s astonishing and haunting first novel, is a classic of twentieth-century literature. It is a story of Hazel Motes, a twenty-two-year-old caught in an unending struggle against his innate, desperate faith. He falls under the spell of a “blind” street preacher named Asa Hawks and his degenerate fifteen-year-old daughter, Lily Sabbath. In an ironic, malicious gesture of his own non-faith, and to prove himself a greater cynic than Hawkes, Hazel Motes founds The Church of God Without Christ, but is still thwarted in his efforts to lose God. He meets Enoch Emery, a young man with “wise blood,” who leads him to a mummified holy child, and whose crazy maneuvers are a manifestation of Hazel’s existential struggles.
- Goodreads: 12
- Amazon: 4
- LibraryThing: 12
Flannery O’Connor was among the greatest American writers of the second half of the 20th century; she was a writer in the Southern tradition of Eudora Welty, William Faulkner, and Carson McCullers, who wrote such classic novels and short stories as Wise Blood, The Violent Bear it Away, and A Good Man is Hard to Find. She is perhaps as well known for her tantalizing brand of Southern Gothic humor as she is for her Catholicism. That these tendencies should be so happily married in her fiction is no longer a surprise. The real surprise is learning that this much beloved icon of American literature did not set out to be a fiction writer, but a cartoonist. This seems to be the last well-kept secret of her creative life. Flannery O’Connor: The Cartoons, the first book devoted to the author’s work in the visual arts, emphasizes O’Connor’s most prolific period as a cartoonist, drawing for her high school and college publications in the early 1940s. While many of these images lampoon student life and the impact of World War II on the home front, something much more is happening. Her cartoons are a creative threshing floor for experimenting and trying out techniques that are deployed later with such great success in her fiction. O’Connor learns how to set up and carry a joke visually, how to write a good one-liner and set it off against a background of complex visual narration.
- Goodreads: 8
- Amazon: 10
- LibraryThing: 8
First published in 1960, The Violent Bear It Away is now a landmark in American literature. It is a dark and absorbing example of the Gothic sensibility and bracing satirical voice that are united in Flannery O’Conner’s work. In it, the orphaned Francis Marion Tarwater and his cousins, the schoolteacher Rayber, defy the prophecy of their dead uncle–that Tarwater will become a prophet and will baptize Rayber’s young son, Bishop. A series of struggles ensues: Tarwater fights an internal battle against his innate faith and the voices calling him to be a prophet while Rayber tries to draw Tarwater into a more “reasonable” modern world. Both wrestle with the legacy of their dead relatives and lay claim to Bishop’s soul. O’Connor observes all this with an astonishing combination of irony and compassion, humor and pathos.
8 ) Three
- Goodreads: 5
- Amazon: 12
- LibraryThing: 6
The quintessential Southern writer, O’Connor wrote fiercely comic, powerful fiction. This anthology includes the masterpieces Wise Blood. The Violent Bear it Away, and Everything that Rises Must Converge.
- Goodreads: 7
- Amazon: 9
- LibraryThing: 7
This now classic book revealed Flannery O’Connor as one of the most original and provocative writers to emerge from the South. Her apocalyptic vision of life is expressed through grotesque, often comic situations in which the principal character faces a problem of salvation: the grandmother, in the title story, confronting the murderous Misfit; a neglected four-year-old boy looking for the Kingdom of Christ in the fast-flowing waters of the river; General Sash, about to meet the final enemy.
7 ) A Prayer Journal
- Goodreads: 9
- Amazon: 4
- LibraryThing: 8
I would like to write a beautiful prayer,” writes the young Flannery O’Connor in this deeply spiritual journal, recently discovered among her papers in Georgia. “There is a whole sensible world around me that I should be able to turn to Your praise.” Written between 1946 and 1947 while O’Connor was a student far from home at the University of Iowa, A Prayer Journal is a rare portal into the interior life of the great writer. Not only does it map O’Connor’s singular relationship with the divine, but it shows how entwined her literary desire was with her yearning for God. “I must write down that I am to be an artist. Not in the sense of aesthetic frippery but in the sense of aesthetic craftsmanship; otherwise I will feel my loneliness continually . . . I do not want to be lonely all my life but people only make us lonelier by reminding us of God. Dear God please help me to be an artist, please let it lead to You.” O’Connor could not be more plain about her literary ambition: “Please help me dear God to be a good writer and to get something else accepted,” she writes.
- Goodreads: 9
- Amazon: 1
- LibraryThing: 10
During the 1950s and early 1960s Flannery O’Connor wrote more than a hundred book reviews for two Catholic diocesan newspapers in Georgia. This full collection of these reviews nearly doubles the number that have appeared in print elsewhere and represents a significant body of primary materials from the O’Connor canon. We find in the reviews the same personality so vividly apparent in her fiction and her lectures–the unique voice of the artist that is one clear sign of genius. Her spare precision, her humor, her extraordinary ability to permit readers to see deeply into complex and obscure truths-all are present in these reviews and letters.
- Goodreads: 6
- Amazon: 8
- LibraryThing: 5
Flannery O’Connor was working on Everything That Rises Must Converge at the time of her death. This collection is an exquisite legacy from a genius of the American short story, in which she scrutinizes territory familiar to her readers: race, faith, and morality. The stories encompass the comic and the tragic, the beautiful and the grotesque; each carries her highly individual stamp and could have been written by no one else.
- Goodreads: 3
- Amazon: 6
- LibraryThing: 2
Winner of the National Book Award The publication of this extraordinary volume firmly established Flannery O’Connor’s monumental contribution to American fiction. There are thirty-one stories here in all, including twelve that do not appear in the only two story collections O’Connor put together in her short lifetimeEverything That Rises Must Converge and A Good Man Is Hard to Find. O’Connor published her first story, “The Geranium,” in 1946, while she was working on her master’s degree at the University of Iowa. Arranged chronologically, this collection shows that her last story, “Judgement Day”sent to her publisher shortly before her death—is a brilliantly rewritten and transfigured version of “The Geranium.”
- Goodreads: 4
- Amazon: 2
- LibraryThing: 3
At her death in 1964, O’Connor left behind a body of unpublished essays and lectures as well as a number of critical articles that had appeared in scattered publications during her too-short lifetime. The keen writings comprising Mystery and Manners, selected and edited by O’Connor’s lifelong friends Sally and Robert Fitzgerald, are characterized by the directness and simplicity of the author’s style, a fine-tuned wit, understated perspicacity, and profound faith. The book opens with “The King of the Birds,” her famous account of raising peacocks at her home in Milledgeville, Georgia.
- Goodreads: 2
- Amazon: 3
- LibraryThing: 4
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Special Award “I have come to think that the true likeness of Flannery O’Connor will be painted by herself, a self-portrait in words, to be found in her letters . . . There she stands, a phoenix risen from her own words: calm, slow, funny, courteous, both modest and very sure of herself, intense, sharply penetrating, devout but never pietistic, downright, occasionally fierce, and honest in a way that restores honor to the word.
- Goodreads: 1
- Amazon: 6
- LibraryThing: 1
In her short lifetime, Flannery O’Connor became one of the most distinctive American writers of the twentieth century. By birth a native of Georgia and a Roman Catholic, O’Connor depicts, in all its comic and horrendous incongruity, the limits of worldly wisdom and the mysteries of divine grace in the “Christ-haunted” Protestant South. This Library of America collection, the most comprehensive ever published, contains all of her novels and short-story collections, as well as nine other stories, eight of her most important essays, and a selection of 259 witty, spirited, and revealing letters, twenty-one published here for the first time.
Flannery O’Connor’s Best Books
Flannery O’Connor Review Website Bibliography Rankings
|Flannery O’Connor: Collected Works||1||6||1||1|
|Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose||4||2||3||2|
|The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor||2||3||4||2|
|The Complete Stories||3||6||2||4|
|Everything That Rises Must Converge||6||8||5||5|
|The Presence of Grace: and Other Book Reviews||9||1||10||6|
|A Prayer Journal||9||4||8||7|
|A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories||7||9||7||8|
|The Violent Bear It Away||8||10||8||10|
|Flannery O’Connor: The Cartoons||12||4||12||11|