Author Jean Ryan Recommends: Books for Grown-Up Daughters

As part of a series of recommendations from authors, we’re hearing from Jean Ryan who has published a collection of short fiction, SURVIVAL SKILLS, and a novel, LOST SISTER.    First, a little background on her:  Jean, a native Vermonter, lives in Napa, California. Her stories and essays have appeared in a variety of journals, including Other Voices, Pleiades, The Summerset Review and The Massachusetts Review. She has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and is presently working on a second collection of short stories.


Introduction:  I love stories with a tight focus, writing that brings the reader in close. My own goal as a writer is to distill meaning from experience using precise and beautiful language. As a teenager I particularly enjoyed THE OUTSIDERS by S.E. Hinton, CHARLOTTE’S WEB by E.B. White, THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER by Mark Twain and A WRINKLE IN TIME by the extraordinary Madeleine L’Engle. These  writers waste no words, and I recall how their stories captivated me.


Here’s my list for daughters, in no particular order. They are fiction at its best, with engaging stories of special interest to women. I read these books again and again, for pleasure as well as instruction.


TURTLE DIARY  
by Russell Hoban
An intimate and compassionate story told in alternating point of views. I can’t praise this book highly enough. It is a lasting comfort.



THE REVOLUTION OF LITTLE GIRLS 
by Blanche McCrary Boyd  
Funny, lively and poignant


DO NOT DENY ME  
by Jean Thompson 
My favorite collection of short stories EVER. This author is talented beyond measure; everything she writes, I wish I had written.











NOTHING RIGHT 
by Antonya Nelson
Another outstanding writer who creates one masterpiece after another. 
Be sure to read her amazing story, “Shaunterelle,”


BIRDS OF AMERICA 
by Lorrie Moore 



This author is a master of humor and precision. I am most fond of her short stories.








ANOTHER MARVELOUS THING  
by Laurie Colwin

A linked collection of wry and witty stories by an author we lost too soon.




A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY 
by J.L. Carr 

This tender tale will take you far away, to a small town in England where something extraordinary happened a long time ago.









RHINE MAIDENS 
by Carolyn See

An exceptional mother/daughter story. This book is out of print but used copies are out there. It is definitely worth the search.








WRITTEN ON THE BODY 
by Jeanette Winterson


A love story like no other, from a brilliant and innovative writer.







LEAVING BROOKLYN 
by Lynne Sharon Schwartz

This coming of age story knocked the wind out of me.






Other fiction I admire: Margaret Atwood's superb story collection, BEAUTIFUL GIRLS, Midge Raymond's FORGETTING ENGLISH, unforgettable stories that took me around the world. 


Find Jean Ryan online here:


Facebook Page
Twitter: @JeanRyan_


Her books are available here:  


LOST SISTER  
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