Tag Archives: Anna Quindlen



Miller’s Valley
Author: Anna Quindlen
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Random House (2016)
Hardcover Edition: 25 pages

This is Anna Quindlen’s best book so far. The reader keeps turning the pages, floating through this emotional story, utterly transported to Miller’s Valley, a place where great change is constantly threatening. The central character Mimi Miller guides the reader with a sure and loving hand.

Mimi’s family has lived on a farm in Miller’s Valley for 200 years. It’s a wet place and the sump pumps in the basement create an urgent rhythm for the events that often threaten to overwhelm her family. Each member of the family is so alive, so believable, a reader can’t decide who is the most beloved, the most likely to keep the family afloat.

Even as Mimi holds out hope through thick waters, and thin times, the threat of just what the government plans for Miller’s Valley rises like the water: flood waters, water table, creek waters. But, in spite of what is about to disappear, heart and home, as created by Quindlen, are so sturdy, so full of grace, so quick with life and truth, readers know family will survive. A ramshackle house, or the deep woods of the valley, or the cattle and their barn may be forever changed; but the true structure of family and place will live on.

Yes, lives change, family structures give up secrets as they realign. There are devastating loses. Mimi keeps breathing and loving. Both for Mimi and for the reader, Miller’s Valley and its people are unforgettable.

For this reader, Miller’s Valley is the best fiction so far this year! I’ve no doubt said this before about other books. But for pure reading joy, this novel attains 2016’s top fiction prize. What will the rest of the year bring? More good reads is always the hope. Paulette’s Best List may change, some titles will even vanish, but I predict Miller’s Valley will be remembered as one of the most satisfying and lovely reads of the year.



How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson (Jan. 2014)
This author is one of my favorite poets. I loved her biography in poems of George Washington Carver. She has been a National Book Award Finalist, recipient of the Robert Frost Medal and a Newbery Honor winner. Here her poems tell readers about her development as a young woman and as an artist. I’ve added this book to my library and can’t wait to read more of her powerful poems.


The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (Jan. 2014)
This novel delivers a fascinating story of brave women who meet life’s challenges at a difficult time in our country’s history. The story is set in the South before the Civil War. There are two central characters and two narrators.


My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead. (Jan. 2014)
According to those who have written about it, this is a book about a book. The author celebrates George Eliot and makes you want to read Middlemarch. It might be described as part memoir and part biography, a bibliomemoir. It was reviewed on the front page of the New York Times Book Review by Joyce Carol Oates and sounds to me like a must-read.


Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen. (Jan. 2014)
This novel may well have you thinking about change and second chances. This writer has many fans. She is a prize-winning writer.


The Visionist by Rachel Urquhart (Jan. 2014).
The author writes a tale set in the Shaker Community in 1840’s New England. A fifteen-year-old girl sets fire to a family farm. She finds shelter with some Massachusetts Shakers. Early reviews and summaries suggest you will find mystery and inventiveness in this beautifully written story.


Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure of Books by Wendy Lesser. (Jan. 2014)
This book has been described as conversational and insightful. I always think I love to read about reading. Can’t wait to take a closer look at this book.


Your Life Is Calling by Jane Pauley (Jan. 2014)
This favorite former news anchor and television personality writes about change. And especially, if you are a fan, you’ll find stories of her life interesting. I love how she is always up for what’s next even when she doesn’t know what that is to be.

I do not read all the books I dream of reading. Still, the dreaming is part of the fun. Which of these would you pick up first? Which one have you already read? Do let us know what you think.