10 books like Everything That Rises Must Converge

By Flannery O'Connor,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Everything That Rises Must Converge. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

American Gothic Tales (William Abrahams)

By Joyce Carol Oates (editor),

Book cover of American Gothic Tales (William Abrahams)

As the best introduction to the American Gothic chosen by one of the most prolific modern masters of the genre, this anthology spans two centuries. It offers insightful context and an engaging historical road map to the current site of the genre, the weird and wounded world of the suburbs.

Joyce Carol Oates, who has written some of the most chilling contemporary examples of American Gothic fiction, dissects the shadowy heritage of our national preoccupation with the macabre themes that haunt the American Dream. From Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville through James and Wharton to Anne Rice, Raymond Carver, Stephen King, and several lesser-known writers, Oates provides readers with a provocative selection that probes beneath superficial normality to reach the dangerous psychological abnormalities of our national identity.

American Gothic Tales (William Abrahams)

By Joyce Carol Oates (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked American Gothic Tales (William Abrahams) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This remarkable anthology of gothic fiction, spanning two centuries of American writing, gives us an intriguing and entertaining look at how the gothic imagination makes for great literature in the works of forty-six exceptional writers.

Joyce Carol Oates has a special perspective on the "gothic" in American short fiction, at least partially because her own horror yarns rank on the spine-tingling chart with the masters. She is able to see the unbroken link of the macabre that ties Edgar Allan Poe to Anne Rice and to recognize the dark psychological bonds between Henry James and Stephen King.

In showing us…


The Virgin Suicides

By Jeffrey Eugenides,

Book cover of The Virgin Suicides

Intensely voyeuristic, The Virgin Suicides is a novel that locks the reader deep in the minds of neighboring obsessed teenage boys. They unravel the mystery of the Lisbon household with a distance that is both far and near in a way that shows Jeffrey Eugenides’ mastery of the written word. The novel is told by the collective of boys after they’ve become men, all still unable to let go. Their childish male gaze turned adult insight into the secrets that surround both the Lisbon daughters and those close to them are haunting. Also, the prose is stunning.

The Virgin Suicides

By Jeffrey Eugenides,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Virgin Suicides as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Introducing the Collins Modern Classics, a series featuring some of the most significant books of recent times, books that shed light on the human experience - classics which will endure for generations to come.

That girl didn't want to die. She just wanted out of that house. She wanted out of that decorating scheme.

The five Lisbon sisters - beautiful, eccentric and, now, gone - had always been a point of obsession for the entire neighbourhood.

Although the boys that once loved them from afar have grown up, they remain determined to understand a tragedy that has defied explanation. The…


Dark Tales

By Shirley Jackson,

Book cover of Dark Tales

The possibility of evil. Not only is this the title of the first selection in this collection of classic and newly printed stories by the queen of suburban gothic – it is the essence of her uncanny literary witchcraft, where subtle twists and sudden turns force readers to confront a creeping unease in post-WWII America. No hideous monsters or grotesque horrors here. Instead, sinister insinuation and irrational fears invade the “safe” suburban spaces. A man believes someone is stalking him on his way home from work.  Anonymous poison pen letters threaten a community. A runaway teenager reappears several years later … and seems to be someone else.

The deconstruction of so-called normality is what makes these stories so unsettling. Who knows what evil lurks behind the white picket fences? Shirley Jackson does.

Dark Tales

By Shirley Jackson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dark Tales as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The perfect read for Hallowe'en, this new hardback volume of Jackson's finest stories reveals the queen of American gothic at her unsettling, mesmerising best

There's something nasty in suburbia. In these deliciously dark tales, the daily commute turns into a nightmarish game of hide and seek, the loving wife hides homicidal thoughts and the concerned citizen might just be an infamous serial killer. In the haunting world of Shirley Jackson, nothing is as it seems and nowhere is safe, from the city streets to the country manor, and from the small-town apartment to the dark, dark woods...


Ghost World

By Daniel Clowes,

Book cover of Ghost World

I don’t think I like Ghost World, but it belongs on this list. When I think of Clowes’ work I think of caricature, but the environments in Ghost World pull most of the storytelling weight. You can hear the hum of the fluorescents in the grocery store and the wind between buildings on an empty street.

Ghost World

By Daniel Clowes,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ghost World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1998 Ignatz Award Winner, Outstanding Graphic Novel: The inspiration for the feature film and one of the most acclaimed graphic novels ever.

Ghost World has become a cultural and generational touchstone, and continues to enthrall and inspire readers over a decade after its original release as a graphic novel. Originally serialized in the pages of the seminal comic book Eightball throughout the mid-1990s, this quasi-autobiographical story (the name of one of the protagonists is famously an anagram of the author's name) follows the adventures of two teenage girls, Enid and Becky, two best friends facing the prospect of growing up,…


The Complete Stories

By Flannery O'Connor,

Book cover of The Complete Stories

Southern Gothic author Flannery O’Connor is an incredible storyteller with characters often described as grotesque and morally flawed. Having been raised in the South, I find her characters so real it is as if I know them or have met them personally.

I know she disliked any of her stories being labeled ‘horror’ and instead called them ‘hard’. But you have to admit that a lot that happens naturally in life is indeed ‘horror’, so I use the term as a high compliment to her. But that alone would be too much, so she tempers it with her sardonic wit and has me chuckling at all the characters in “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” but the story itself hits in a very different way.

The Complete Stories

By Flannery O'Connor,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Complete Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

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 lifetime--Everything 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…


The Hidden Wound

By Wendell Berry,

Book cover of The Hidden Wound

Two people who worked for Wendell Berry’s family when he was a child had a profound effect on his life—“Aunt Georgie” Ashby and Nick Watkins. With the simplicity of their lives birthing profound wisdom, Berry credits them for helping to expose the hidden wound of racism and putting his feet on a path to reject the deeply ingrained racism of his youth. The result is a deeply thoughtful book of reflections and wisdom on the cancer that infects our society and what we must do to lance and heal it—if we will. A “must read” on your bookshelf.

The Hidden Wound

By Wendell Berry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hidden Wound as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An impassioned, thoughtful, and fearless essay on the effects of racism on the American identity by one of our country’s most humane literary voices.

Acclaimed as “one of the most humane, honest, liberating works of our time” (The Village Voice), The Hidden Wound is a book-length essay about racism and the damage it has done to the identity of our country. Through Berry’s personal experience, he explains how remaining passive in the face of the struggle of racism further corrodes America’s great potential. In a quiet and observant manner, Berry opens up about how his attempt to discuss racism is…


Killers of the Dream

By Lillian Smith,

Book cover of Killers of the Dream

This autobiography of white Civil Rights activist Lillian Smith unpacks the society that shaped her as she struggled against her childhood lessons about how to interact with Whites and Blacks in the South. Smith deftly immerses you into her world with anecdotes, leading the reader through the interactions that shaped her and other white children across the South, including her experiences with racial violence and racism. Despite being written more than half a century ago, connections remain to our world. My recommendation is to read the 1994 version with an updated introduction placing the work into context.

Killers of the Dream

By Lillian Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Killers of the Dream as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Published to wide controversy, it became the source (acknowledged or unacknowledged) of much of our thinking about race relations and was for many a catalyst for the civil rights movement. It remains the most courageous, insightful, and eloquent critique of the pre-1960s South.

"I began to see racism and its rituals of segregation as a symptom of a grave illness," Smith wrote. "When people think more of their skin color than of their souls, something has happened to them." Today, readers are rediscovering in Smith's writings a forceful analysis of the dynamics of racism, as well as her prophetic understanding…


Vengeance and Justice

By Edward L. Ayers,

Book cover of Vengeance and Justice: Crime and Punishment in the Nineteenth-Century American South

This is a classic, pioneering study of the major elements of southern crime and punishment at a time that saw the formation of the fundamental patterns of class and race—and how they shaped the South’s criminal justice system.  Ayers studies the inner workings of the police, prison, and judicial systems, and the nature of crime, while at the same time adeptly linking the antebellum with the post-bellum criminal justice system. 

Vengeance and Justice

By Edward L. Ayers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Vengeance and Justice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Exploring the major elements of southern crime and punishment at a time that saw the formation of the fundamental patterns of class and race, Ayers studies the inner workings of the police, prison, and judicial systems, and the nature of crime.


The Water Dancer

By Ta-Nehisi Coates,

Book cover of The Water Dancer

This novel is set in the Southern U.S. prior to the Civil War, a time and place I seem drawn to in my reading. Slave Hiram Walker is the illegitimate son of the plantation owner. His mother was sold away when he was young, and though Hiram has a photographic memory, he can’t remember her, a fact that troubles him. Unforeseen circumstances reveal he also has the gift of conduction—an ability to transport himself across great distances, a skill that comes in handy as he escapes and becomes involved in the Underground Railway. The fantasy element aside, this is primarily historical fiction at its finest with multiple storylines that are all eventually resolved. Coates creates a time and place that truly come alive.

The Water Dancer

By Ta-Nehisi Coates,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Water Dancer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NEW YORK TIMES #1 BESTSELLER

OPRAH BOOK CLUB PICK

'One of the best books I have ever read in my entire life. I haven't felt this way since I first read Beloved . . .' Oprah Winfrey

Lose yourself in the stunning debut novel everyone is talking about - the unmissable historical story of injustice and redemption that resonates powerfully today

Hiram Walker is a man with a secret, and a war to win. A war for the right to life, to family, to freedom.

Born into bondage on a Virginia plantation, he is also born gifted with a…


Lee Considered

By Alan T. Nolan,

Book cover of Lee Considered: General Robert E. Lee and Civil War History

Alan Nolan became one of the first to challenge the Lee myth that had been created in the decades after the general’s death in 1870. He starts with the premise that Lee was a good man whose actions have been distorted beyond all recognition. He then subjects the historical record to a withering cross-examination. Nolan asks: Why did Lee commit treason? Did he really oppose slavery? Did his stubborn persistence harm his beloved state of Virginia? What did he do to unite the nation after the war? Nolan even challenges to the traditional belief that Lee was magnanimous to his enemies, writing, “The historical record shows that Lee constructed a demonic image of the Federals.” This book takes no quarter and may infuriate Lee’s supporters.

Lee Considered

By Alan T. Nolan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lee Considered as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a careful re-examination of the historical evidence, Alan Nolan explodes many long-standing myths about Robert E. Lee and the American Civil War. The book may change readers' perceptions of the South's premier icon, as Nolan separates the Lee of reality from the Lee of mythology. The book should be of interest to general readers as well as Civil War buffs.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the South, racism, and African Americans?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the South, racism, and African Americans.

The South Explore 126 books about the South
Racism Explore 119 books about racism
African Americans Explore 507 books about African Americans