Every Bret Lott Book Ranked and Described

I've been a Bret Lott fan since college. That means I've been reading his books for 20 years. With the release of his new book, I thought it would be the time to make an annotated list of his books. There are four that I haven't read. I plan to fix that this year, and I will update this post when I do. 




Lott writes in lots of different categories. I'm going to list them according to categories and then rank them and give notes. One of my favorite things about Lott's writing is that he takes chances and doesn't just repeat the same things over and over. You can see that when you put the books into categories.

I am listing them by how I rank them. 

Novels

A Song I Knew by Heart. This is my favorite of his novels. It doesn't do it justice to describe it as a modern retelling of the story Ruth. It is a lovely, slow story of brokenness, redemption, and healing where the places that the two women live become a part of the story. 

Dead Low Tide. This is actually the second of the thriller series, but I liked it better. It felt like it flowed freely and worked as a story better than the first.

The Hunt Club. This is the first in the thriller series that he wrote. I love two things about this. One, he took a chance in writing a thriller. Two, South Carolina is a character in this story. It feels so southern.

The Man Who Owned Vermont. This was his first novel. I liked it a lot when I read it. If you read his non-fiction like in Fathers, Sons, and Brothers, then this book makes more sense because it draws from his experience before he became a writer.

A Stranger's House. I don't remember much about this book except that it feels like fall--if you can imagine Fall feeling like something. I looked back at my notes and saw that I didn't feel like I understood it when I read it.

Jewel. This is the book that he is famous for. As you can tell by how far down the list I put it, I don't think it is his best.

Ancient Highway. I didn't like this one. 

Haven't read:

Reed's Beach

Short Stories

The Difference Between Women and Men: Stories. I really liked this collection, especially "An Evening at the Cusp of the Apocalypse." That story is so amazing.

Haven't read:

How to Get Home

A Dream of Old Leaves

Nonfiction 

Fathers, Sons and Brothers. This is one my favorite of his books. This is a series of stories about the men in his family. The stories in this memoir are so wonderful. Some of them made me laugh out loud. They are meaningful and beautifully written.

Before We Get Started: A Practical Memoir of the Writer's Life. I loved this. This is probably my second favorite of his books. This teaches about writing and reading. If I remember correctly, he is heavily influenced by John Gardner.

Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian. I would compare this to an evangelical version of Flannery O'Connor's Mystery and Manners. I think his non-fiction is probably better than his novels. 

Haven't read:

Gather the Olives.


Edited Collections 

Eyes to See, Vol. II. I liked this volume better than the first. 

Eyes to See, Vol. I. This is a great collection of short stories. It has both old authors with classic stories and modern authors I had never heard of. 

The Best Christian Short Stories (also published as Not Safe but Good). This is an amazing collection. There were several amazing stories in it. It introduced me to living writers that I'd never heard of.

*photo generated with Canva Magic Media ai photo generator.

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