Conversations, VOLUME 3

Discussion Question #1: Best Wendell Berry Book.

One of the things we like most about books is the opportunity they create for conversation.  While most of the books we review are brand new and our reviews serve primarily to inform people of these books (which is not particularly conducive to conversation), we thought we would throw a discussion question into the mix every Friday to get people thinking and talking about what they’re reading.

As most long-time readers of The Englewood Review will recognize, we have a deep appreciation for the works of Wendell Berry.  So, our first discussion question is:

What is your favorite Wendell Berry book? And why?  Do you find yourself reading more of his fiction, his essays or his poetry?

Please use the comments below to discuss.  Note: We do get hit with a good deal of spam, so we have to moderate your comments.  We ask your patience, as we try to get your comments moderated as quickly as possible.

C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at:

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  1. My favorites are definitely his essays and poems. I have a hard time reading fiction (though Berry’s is wonderful…)

    I’d say my favorite books are WHAT ARE PEOPLE FOR? (Essays) and SABBATHS (poems)

    Chris Smith

  2. I’ve read many essays. I go back to The Unsettling Of America: Culture and Agriculture most and What Are People For?

  3. The Gift of Good Land is still my favorite.

  4. Despite the many wonders of all of his fiction, “A Place on Earth” still amazes me … and touches me deeply. In my one & only very brief conversation with Mr. Berry, he mentioned getting “a lot of hell” for his revision of it in ’83. Yes, much “essential” detail had to be sacrificed (for those of us who insist on treating the characters as real people), but I don’t get how anyone could fail to recognize the intense focus on loss that he achieved in the revision. Great stuff.

  5. I’ll have to say: The Unsettling of America.

  6. Mad Farmer Revolution. It’s on my coffee table and I read it at least twice a month.

    Had a hard time with the fiction, too, but then again, i’m not a big fiction guy.

  7. Hannah Colter is my absolute favorite, although I love all the fiction. I love reading Nathan Colter, then reading Hannah Colter and then thinking about how events are experienced so uniquely by each of us even when we think we have experienced them together.
    Folks used to say, “I cannot tell what Wendell Berry’s theological views are.” to which I reply, “READ HIS FICTION!”

    My favorite essay book is Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community.

  8. I really like all his short stories. So very, very, good. My favorite of Wendell’s essays are whichever collection I am currently reading (just finished Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community: it’s currently my favorite). Mad Farmer Revolution is my favorite poem.

    He is “one righteous dude”. =)

  9. Fidelity, his masterpiece collection of short stories. Every story is beautiful in a different way. I appreciate his essays, I like his poetry, and I love his novels, but these five stories are the best of all.

  10. Any book of essays is fantasic (I must also recommend the newest, IMAGINATION IN PLACE).

    But I come back to the poetry more than anything else, and most particularly GIVEN.

  11. This is like having to decide which is your favorite toe or finger. Anyway tonight I would say The Hidden Wound. It’s simply one of the best books that anyone in America has ever written about race.

  12. I have to agree that “The Hidden Wound” is my favorite book of Berry’s. We still have this wound in America, because of the lies that we were told. I like the way that he ties together the wound of racism and the connection to the land. As Europeans, came they saw profit… never having a connection to the land. Is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago.