Prodigal Summer book cover

Photo: J Muckel/Studio D

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Prodigal Summer
By Barbara Kingsolver

"What I loved about this book in particular were the women. I really connected with them." Kingsolver's novel, set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, features earthy, sensual, self-sufficient female characters deeply in touch with nature—like MacDowell herself, an avid hiker. "I'm strong," she says. "I'm outspoken. I feel like I'm equal to men. I can walk in the woods just as much and as far as a man can. Yet I'm still female. I'm very female. And I loved her women because they were like that." MacDowell, who has also read the author's Poisonwood Bible, about a family of missionaries in Africa, says, "I think Kingsolver is a genius. For me the best part is the way she goes back and forth in different voices."

MacDowell's next pick: Jung's Map of the Soul by Murray Stein
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