Born in small-town Georgia in 1948, Sue Monk Kidd is an award-winning American writer whose work explores themes of faith, family, and feminism in the American South. When her debut novel The Secret Life of Bees was published in 2002, it became a bonafide literary sensation – spending more than 2½ years on the New York Times bestseller list. A coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, it’s since been translated into 36 languages and sold over 8 million copies worldwide.

Kidd’s other notable works include 2005’s The Mermaid Chair, 2014’s The Invention of Wings, and 2020’s much-anticipated The Book of Longings a radical reimagining of the New Testament as told through the eyes of Ana, a rebellious writer striving to give voice to the silenced women surrounding her. While discussing the book with TCU Magazine last year, Kidd was kind enough to share some of her own favorite reads, both fiction and non-fiction.

From Alice Walker to Rainer Maria Rilke, find her recommendations below.

Sue Monk Kidd’s Reading List


Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (also rec’d by Hillary Clinton & Morgan Freeman)

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

The Awakening by Kate Chopin (also rec’d by Cheryl Strayed & Rose Byrne)

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

Lying Awake by Mark Salzman

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

The Color Purple by Alice Walker (also rec’d by Anita HillChimamanda AdichieEmma WatsonGabrielle UnionGlennon DoyleGloria SteinemHillary ClintonJane Elliott, Janet Mock & Viola Davis)

Thirteen Stories by Eudora Welty


Holy Misogyny by April Deconick

Time and the Soul by Jacob Needleman

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke (also rec’d by Jodie Foster & Matt Haig)

An Interrupted Life by Etty Hillesum

Memories, Dreams, Reflections by C.G. Jung

Cassandra Speaks by Elizabeth Lesser

The Heart of Christianity by Marcus J. Borg (also rec’d by Brené Brown)

New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton

(via TCU Magazine)

Categories: Writers