Thursday, October 22, 2015

Four Books to read with Truth and Beauty

In Truth and Beauty, Ann Patchett writes about her relationship with fellow writer Lucy Grealy. I loved how Patchett presented a really honest picture of their friendship. It's tempting to portray ourselves and the ones we love best as always kind and always good. But that's not the case. We all make selfish decisions. We all hurt each other sometimes. Ann writes about not really wanting to be roommates with Lucy at the beginning of their relationships and she recalls the times when Lucy was less than kind or considerate to her. 

Truth and Beauty

Truth and Beauty is a great book to read as readers think about what makes a good friendship and the marks that our relationships leave on our lives. And of course Patchett is an incredible writer, so it is a pleasure to read each and every page.It was especially interesting to see how Patchett (unsurprisingly) talks about many other books and authors. This would be a great choice to read in tandem with some other books. Here are my picks for Truth and Beauty companion reads!

1. Bel Canto is probably Ann Patchett's most beloved novel and it is also the book that catapulted her to literary stardom. The novel is about a group of terrorists takes a birthday party of dignitaries as hostages. It is beautifully written and will make readers reflect on the connections we make in unexpected situations.

2. Autobiography of a Face is Grealy's memoir about her many surgeries and living with a face that didn't look like everyone else's. She writes candidly about the advantage of getting special treatment but the pain of being ostracized and wanting to look like and be like the people around her. 

            Bel Canto  Autobiography of a Face

3. Elizabeth McCracken was a colleague and friend of both Ann and Lucy. I've always heard great things about short stories, but now I am determined to finally read some. I love finding all of the connections among writers!

4. MFA vs. NYC explores the benefits of having an MFA and those of just writing without the constraints of a degree program. There are long stretches of Truth and Beauty where Patchett remembers the stress of handing in work for classes, finding fellowships, and applying for the scholarships that would allow the two friends to keep writing.

            Thunderstruck & Other Stories  MFA vs. NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction


  1. Ooh, I love the idea of recommending companion books! I didn't have my socks knocked off by Bel Canto, but I'd be willing to try other things by Patchett.

  2. Thank you for such an informative post.

  3. I recently read State of Wonder by Patchett and I wasn't as blown away as I expected to be, but I have Bel Canto on my shelves and will probably give her another try :)

  4. I've read the first two recommendations and thought they were brilliant. haven't read the second two (although I've read McCracken's novel) and I might have to pick them up.