The most recommended farm books

Who picked these books? Meet our 88 experts.

88 authors created a book list connected to farms, and here are their favorite farm books.
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What type of farm book?


What We Harvest

By Ann Fraistat,

Book cover of What We Harvest

Erica Waters Author Of The River Has Teeth

From the list on girls battling monsters.

Who am I?

Maybe I’ve just watched too much Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I love stories about girls facing down terrifying monsters and coming out triumphant. These are often the kinds of books I like writing too, whether those monsters are ghosts, serial killers, or amorphous supernatural entities. As a writer of supernatural thrillers for teens, I know how empowering and cathartic it is to watch a character who has been through tough experiences face down her fears and fight for all she’s worth.

Erica's book list on girls battling monsters

Why did Erica love this book?

Action-packed and fast-moving, What We Harvest is one of those books that you can’t put down. A horrible (sentient?) blight infecting crops, animals, and people is a terrifying foe, and at times this book is brutal. But its main character and her friends are the most resilient, resourceful crew I’ve encountered in a long time. I rooted for them so hard.

By Ann Fraistat,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What We Harvest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For fans of Wilder Girls comes a nightmarish debut guaranteed to keep you up through the night, about an idyllic small town poisoned by its past, and one girl who must fight the strange disease that's slowly claiming everyone she loves.

Wren owes everything she has to her hometown, Hollow’s End, a centuries-old, picture-perfect slice of America. Tourists travel miles to marvel at its miracle crops, including the shimmering, iridescent wheat of Wren’s family’s farm. At least, they did. Until five months ago.
That’s when the Quicksilver blight first surfaced, poisoning the farms of Hollow’s End one by one. It…

The Quickening

By Michelle Hoover,

Book cover of The Quickening

E.B. Moore Author Of Loose in the Bright Fantastic

From the list on humor about surviving family and dementia.

Who am I?

Throughout my life I found the trick to getting through rough patches meant isolating dark thoughts. I got them out by creating something (artworks, poems, stories), and looked forward to new horizons, though these works could easily be misinterpreted by those around me. When I was fifteen, after my father died and we were forced off the farm, I created a series of disturbing drawings that won the school's art prize and were displayed at graduation. A friend of my mother saw the exhibit and said, “Oh Dorothy, I’m so sorry.” It gave us a laugh later when Mother realized this method of cleansing beat finding a psychiatrist, and the cost couldn’t be beat.

E.B.'s book list on humor about surviving family and dementia

Why did E.B. love this book?

This exquisitely written, dark saga of family intrigue is worth reading over and over, and I do.

The protagonist’s devotion to family and the land that feed her, both physically and emotionally, is rich and consuming.

Events are seen from her point of view and her antagonist’s, giving opposing slants that generate an exquisite tension throughout the book.

This story was instrumental in my education as a writer, as was the author, both showing the use of deep interiority in every character, and a setting that made me live within the story.

By Michelle Hoover,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A July 2010 Indie Next Pick

Enidina Current and Mary Morrow live on neighboring farms in the flat, hard country of the upper Midwest during the early 1900s. This hardscrabble life comes easily to some, like Eddie, who has never wanted more than the land she works and the animals she raises on it with her husband, Frank. But for the deeply religious Mary, farming is an awkward living and at odds with her more cosmopolitan inclinations. Still, Mary creates a clean and orderly home life for her stormy husband, Jack, and her sons, while she adapts to the isolation…


By Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch,

Book cover of Winterkill

Gabriele Goldstone Author Of Crow Stone

From Gabriele's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Explorer Second World War History

Gabriele's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Gabriele love this book?

I loved Marsha Skrypuch’s book, Winterkill, because Marsha's plot-driven, middle-grade historical novels explore tough topics.

This one—about the Holodomor (intentional famine directed by Stalin in 1931/2 Ukraine)—is uncomfortably current even though it's set 90 years ago. My own mother, left Ukraine a year earlier, while my kulak grandfather stayed behind and somehow survived the famine… hiding out in barns to escape arrest. Millions were not so lucky.

Told from 12-year-old Nyl's point of view, the novel has a fascinating Canadian connection through Alice, her father, and Canadian-built tractors. The story of Ukraine's suffering is part of my own family's story and I appreciate Marsha's well-researched efforts to keep it alive.

By Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From acclaimed author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, this incredibly gripping and timely story set during the Holodomor in 1930s Ukraine introduces young readers to a pivotal moment in history-- and how it relates to the events of today.

Nyl is just trying to stay alive. Ever since the Soviet dictator, Stalin, started to take control of farms like the one Nyl's family lives on, there is less and less food to go around. On top of bad harvests and a harsh winter, conditions worsen until it's clear the lack of food is not just chance... but a murderous plan leading all…

The World-Ending Fire

By Wendell Berry,

Book cover of The World-Ending Fire: The Essential Wendell Berry

Kassandra Montag Author Of After the Flood

From the list on our relationship with nature.

Who am I?

As a child, I lived outside as much as possible, finding joy in the company of trees and animals. So naturally, my reading tastes bent in the direction of the natural world; I loved to read about treacherous journeys, wonder-filled meditations, or stories of survival. To this day, I still gravitate toward books that feature the environment as a kind of character, providing it with a voice and a presence. Both on the page and off, my connection with nature remains multi-faceted, heartening, and sustaining.

Kassandra's book list on our relationship with nature

Why did Kassandra love this book?

Wendell Berry writes in multiple forms—poetry, essays, novels—and also practices sustainable farming in rural Kentucky. The World Ending Fire is a compilation of essays spanning over fifty years of his work and displays his wide-ranging intellect and care for the natural world. He emphasizes individual responsibility and stewardship of the earth, but his tone never becomes pedantic or preachy. Instead, his passion and conviction are contagious, and I always feel a sense of gratitude and clarity when I read his words. 

By Wendell Berry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The World-Ending Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'He is unlike anybody else writing today ... After Donald Trump's election, we urgently need to rediscover the best of radical America. An essential part of that story is Wendell Berry. Few of us can live, or even aspire to, his kind of life. But nobody can risk ignoring him' Andrew Marr

'Wendell Berry is the most important writer and thinker that you have (probably) never heard of. He is an American sage' James Rebanks, author of The Shepherd's Life

Wendell Berry is 'something of an anachronism'. He began his life as the old times and the last of the…

Book cover of Far from the Madding Crowd

Kate Wells Author Of Murder on the Farm

From the list on taking you into the world of farming.

Who am I?

I have loved the Malvern Hills my whole life, first living on a sheep farm at their foot and then in my great-grandparents’ old house at the very top. As a teenager I fell for a farmer’s son (now my husband) and spent all my time on his Herefordshire farm. My upbringing firmly engrained a deep love of rural life into me, so it was natural it became integral to my writing. To write with authenticity about a way of life I am so passionate about, I immerse myself in farming research and keep my hand in on a local farm when it comes to busy times such as lambing.

Kate's book list on taking you into the world of farming

Why did Kate love this book?

I first read this classic story in my teens and was instantly besotted by Hardy’s farming world and the characters he filled it with. It is still the one I would take with me to my desert island if I was only allowed a single book to keep me company.

And what company I’d be in. Bathsheba Everdene is the ultimate in strong female protagonists and she was carving her path as a farmer in a man’s world long before she inspired me to write about my own feisty heroine, Jude Gray. 

As a student I fell in love with Bathsheba’s steady shepherd, Gabriel Oak, and their pitted, frustrating but ultimately wonderful relationship is still one of the best love stories I’ve lost myself in.

By Thomas Hardy,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Far from the Madding Crowd as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. Here is one of Thomas Hardy's most popular novels, soon to be released as a major motion picture in May 2015.

'I shall do one thing in this life - one thing certain - that is, love you, and long for you, and keep wanting you till I die'

Independent and spirited, Bathsheba Everdene owns the hearts of three men. Striving to win her love in different ways, their relationships with Bathsheba complicate her life in bucolic Wessex - and cast shadows over their own. With the morals…


By Iain Reid,

Book cover of Foe

K.T. Seto Author Of Parallel: A Collection of Science Fiction Short Stories

From the list on science fiction that will mess with your head.

Who am I?

Do you remember the moment you found the thing you love most? I do. I was 9 and sitting on the floor in the corner of my neighborhood library reading Dune. That little girl is now a grown-up with a passion for books that stick with you. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, and coffee lover who has graduated from Dune to other things. Genres, authors, formats. But Science Fiction is my first and truest love. Especially Science fiction that messes with your head. Now I write what I love to read and strive to give my readers what my idols gave me. An escape.

K.T.'s book list on science fiction that will mess with your head

Why did K.T. love this book?

Released in 2018, Foe is a book recommended to me by a friend who said – Oh, you like trippy fiction, check this out. The premise of the book has been done before – Invasion of the Body Snatchers et al. You got a guy who has a double he didn’t agree to or know about at first. But the twist here is something that grabs you by the throat and makes you stop after some of the chapters and go – man that’s not right- before reading on. I started reading this at night. Put it aside and finished it during the day in one sitting. It was good. But it also made my stomach clench uncomfortably and sent me down too many rabbit holes of thought. It is very entertaining and you will not be unhappy spending your time with this tale.

By Iain Reid,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Foe is a tale of implacably mounting peril that feels all the more terrifying for being told in such a quiet, elegantly stripped-down voice. Iain Reid knows how to do ‘ominous’ as well as anyone I’ve ever read.” —Scott Smith, author of The Ruins and A Simple Plan

A taut, psychological mind-bender from the bestselling author of I’m Thinking of Ending Things.

We don’t get visitors. Not out here. We never have.

In Iain Reid’s second haunting, philosophical puzzle of a novel, set in the near-future, Junior and Henrietta live a comfortable, solitary life on their farm, far from the…

This Heavy Silence

By Nicole Mazzarella,

Book cover of This Heavy Silence

Linda MacKillop Author Of The Forgotten Life of Eva Gordon

From the list on protagonists in intergenerational relationships.

Who am I?

Because of the presence of my four beloved grandparents throughout my growing up years, (all four of my grandparents even attended my wedding), I’ve always enjoyed relationships with older people. My comfort with older people translates into my friendships where many of the women in my life are quite a bit older than me. These intergenerational relationships offer wisdom and experience that informs my own life. I hold an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and have written one novel for adults and one for middle-grade readers. My past jobs include being a television engineer, an adjunct professor, and a publishing professional.

Linda's book list on protagonists in intergenerational relationships

Why did Linda love this book?

Single and self-sufficient Dottie O’Connell farms her 300 acres with strength and independence, not needing anyone. When she finds herself the primary caretaker to her friend’s young daughter Mattie after the girl is orphaned by a tragic fire, Dottie suddenly is thrust into guardianship with a young person she had no desire to raise. While I admired Dottie for taking on such a life-changing responsibility, at times I couldn’t fathom Dottie’s choices involving the girl. Thankfully, the author peels away the layers of Dottie’s wounds, allowing us at least to understand her while maybe not agreeing with her. Each of us has a Dottie story that influences our decisions for good or for bad. 

By Nicole Mazzarella,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Heavy Silence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is an unforgettable debut novel about the nature of forgiveness, the debts we owe, and the mysteries of what we call grace. When Dottie Connell adopts her best friend's daughter out of a combination of spite and loyalty, she must confront her ideas on motherhood, sexuality, and God. Set in rural Ohio, "This Heavy Silence" spans ten years in Dottie's life. She loves the land despite its bitterness and hardship. She raises her adopted daughter and farms her family's three hundred acres in a time and place unaccustomed to independent women. Her struggle to buy back the farm comes…

Sierra Blue

By Suzanne Morgan Williams,

Book cover of Sierra Blue

Jacci Turner Author Of Tree Singer

From Jacci's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Hopeful Creative Warm Fun Encouraging

Jacci's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Jacci's 8-year-old's favorite books.

Why did Jacci love this book?

Sierra Blue is the story of a girl sent to live with her aunt, who has a horse farm. I found this interesting because the main character can see the auras of people and animals, and it gives her insight into how they are feeling and how to help them. There is one scene that was gripping and kept me turning pages past my bedtime.

As a person who started reading because of her love of horses, this was a great read.

By Suzanne Morgan Williams,

Why should I read it?

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


By Haven Kimmel, Robert Andrew Parker (illustrator),

Book cover of Orville: A Dog Story

Nancy Furstinger Author Of The Duchess and Guy: A Rescue-To-Royalty Puppy Love Story

From the list on rescued dogs.

Who am I?

I’ve been speaking up for animals since I learned to talk, and I haven’t shut up yet. My goal in writing books is to enlighten and inspire young readers to have compassion for all creatures great and small while making sure that my own empathy shines through on every page. Kids are thrilled when I bring along my rescued pets—dogs, rabbits, and a chinchilla—to book events, where I spread the “adopt, don’t shop” mantra. After volunteering at animal rescues for 30+ years, I’m excited to see so many pets getting a second chance!

Nancy's book list on rescued dogs

Why did Nancy love this book?

In a story as mournful as a country song, a homeless big black dog resolves to lie down and never get up again. But he does find happiness, although it takes several tries. Themes of disappointment, loneliness, sorrow, yearning, and love are interwoven in the poetic text. As a bonus, Orville gleans people’s dearest wishes just by sniffing them. Watercolor and ink illustrations illuminate this poignant and powerful bond between a dog and his person.

By Haven Kimmel, Robert Andrew Parker (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A big, ugly dog is happy to meet a farmer and his wife who decide to give him a name and a home, but not so happy when they chain him to the barn. All Orville can do is bark to tell the world how unhappy he is, and the more he barks, the more he is left alone. But everything changes when Sally MacIntosh moves into the little house across the road and Orville falls in love.
A beautifully crafted text that blends wry humor with the poignant twang of a country-and-western song is accompanied by dreamy, spare watercolor-and-ink…

The Moonflower Vine

By Jetta Carleton,

Book cover of The Moonflower Vine

Steve Wiegenstein Author Of Slant of Light

From the list on set in the Midwest.

Who am I?

History and historical fiction are my abiding passions, and as a child of the Missouri Ozarks, I’ve always been drawn to depictions of Midwestern and rural life in particular. I have studied 19th-century utopian communities for many years and have always been fascinated by the powerful appeal of such communities, and the internal dynamics that always seem to arise within them. My novel series follows the rise and decline of one such community, using it as a microcosm for American culture in general. What might seem like a byway of American history is to me a powerful source of insight.

Steve's book list on set in the Midwest

Why did Steve love this book?

Unlike the novels of warfare and suffering, The Moonflower Vine is an intimate portrait of family life, set in 1920s Missouri. It was a bestseller when it was first published in the early 1960s, but has since suffered neglect. But it richly rewards the reader with its heartfelt depiction of three sisters and their aging parents, whose passions, aspirations, and failures are portrayed with complex sensitivity. I don’t think historical novels have to focus on historical events – capturing the spirit of an era is just as important. And this novel took me into rural life of a hundred years ago with great generosity.

By Jetta Carleton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Wit, emotion and undiminished boldness. . . . This is a book which celebrates life and warms the heart.” —Tulsa World

A timeless American classic, this beloved family saga of the heartland is “deeply felt . . . dramatic . . . constantly alive” (Harper’s Magazine)

On a farm in western Missouri during the first half of the twentieth century, Matthew and Callie Soames create a life for themselves and raise four headstrong daughters. Jessica will break their hearts. Leonie will fall in love with the wrong man. Mary Jo will escape to New York. And wild child Mathy's fate…

Charlotte's Web

By E.B. White,

Book cover of Charlotte's Web

M. Liz Boyle Author Of Chased

From M. Liz's 6-year-old's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Homeschooling mama Adventure seeker Rock climber Sunshine fan Brainstormer

M. Liz's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, M. Liz's 6, 10, and 12-year-old's favorite books.

Why did M. Liz's 6-year-old love this book?

This is a beloved read-aloud in our family. My 6-year-old loved how Charlotte saved Wilbur’s life and the true, lasting friendship between the two.

She was always entertained by Charlotte’s speeches and extensive vocabulary. The bittersweet ending is more sweet than bitter for young kids, and the beautiful friendship gets a *chef’s kiss*.

Any book that starts with “Where’s Papa going with that axe?” will surely hold readers’ attention! 

By E.B. White,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Charlotte's Web as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Puffin Classics: the definitive collection of timeless stories, for every child.

On foggy mornings, Charlotte's web was truly a thing of beauty . Even Lurvy, who wasn't particularly interested in beauty, noticed the web when he came with the pig's breakfast. And then he took another look and he saw something that made him set his pail down. There, in the centre of the web, neatly woven in block letters, was a message. It said: SOME PIG!

This is the story of a little girl named Fern, who loves a little pig named Wilbur - and of Wilbur's dear friend,…


By Patrick Laurie,

Book cover of Native: Life in a Vanishing Landscape

Charlie Pye-Smith Author Of Land of Plenty: A Journey Through the Fields & Foods of Modern Britain

From the list on that evoke the spirit of the British countryside.

Who am I?

I thought I was going to be a farmer, but some serious practical experience after I finished school put paid to that idea. I then focused my attention on conservation, before turning to travel writing. All of which led, eventually, to a growing interest in development issues and how people can make a living from the land. The result is over a dozen books, some of which are narrative-driven travelogues – many based on my experiences in Africa and elsewhere; and some of which focus on the nitty-gritty of agriculture, agroforestry, and related issues. My most recent book, Land of Plenty, provided a state of the nation account of British farming during the tumultuous year (for farmers, at least) when the UK voted to leave the EU.

Charlie's book list on that evoke the spirit of the British countryside

Why did Charlie love this book?

We are blessed right now with an abundance of farmers who have good stories to tell. Three hill farmers stand out: John Lewis-Stempel, James Rebanks, and Patrick Laurie, whose Native is so lyrical that it reads at times like a prose poem by Seamus Heaney. Laurie’s book is an account, season by season, of his relationship with a roughish bit of land in southwest Scotland. It is part love affair with his small farm, and the curlews and native Galloway cattle in which he has an obsessional interest, and part critique of modern farming and the industrial timber production that threatens much of the open moorland. Native is worth reading just for the quality of the prose, even if you’re not remotely interested in countryside matters.

By Patrick Laurie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Times Bestseller

Shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize for UK Nature Writing 2020

'Remarkable, and so profoundly enjoyable to read ... Its importance is huge, setting down a vital marker in the 21st century debate about how we use and abuse the land' - Joyce McMillan, Scotsman

Desperate to connect with his native Galloway, Patrick Laurie plunges into work on his family farm in the hills of southwest Scotland. Investing in the oldest and most traditional breeds of Galloway cattle, the Riggit Galloway, he begins to discover how cows once shaped people, places and nature in this remote and half-hidden…

The Old Truck

By Jarrett Pumphrey, Jerome Pumphrey (,

Book cover of The Old Truck

Phyllis Root Author Of Anywhere Farm

From the list on growing things.

Who am I?

I write children’s books, both fiction and non-fiction, including One Duck Stuck, Big Momma Makes the World, Rattletrap Car, Plant a Pocket of Prairie, and, in collaboration with Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Liza Ketchum, Begin With A Bee, a picture book about the federally endangered rusty-patched bumblebee. Recently I have been putting my garden to bed for the winter, pulling tomato vines, harvesting beans that have dried on the vine, cutting herbs, and planting cloves of garlic to grow into heads in next year’s garden. In a couple of months snow will bury the garden beds, and the only gardens will be in the pages of books. Here are five of the children’s books that I love about growing things.

Phyllis' book list on growing things

Why did Phyllis love this book?

On a family farm, an old truck works long and hard. As the truck grows older, so does the young girl whose family owns the farm. When the truck is finally too worn out to work anymore, it rests and dreams. When the girl grows up and becomes a farmer, she works on the old truck until, Vroom, once again the truck is a working truck, helping the farmer on the farm. Created by two brothers who both wrote and illustrated the book (using more than 250 different stamps that they made) this book honors persistence and family.

By Jarrett Pumphrey, Jerome Pumphrey (,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When is an old truck something more? On a small, bustling farm, a resilient and steadfast pickup works tirelessly alongside the family that lives there, and becomes a part of the dreams and ambitions of the family's young daughter.

After long days and years of hard work leave the old truck rusting in the weeds, it's time for the girl to roll up her sleeves. Soon she is running her own busy farm, and in the midst of all the repairing and restoring, it may be time to bring her faithful childhood companion back to life.

With an eye-catching retro…


By Hillary Jordan,

Book cover of Mudbound

Toni Morgan Author Of Queenie's Place

From the list on cultural opposites, southern politics and families.

Who am I?

I was a military spouse for 26 years. My husband was stationed at MCAS Cherry Point NC and MCB Camp Lejeune NC, both for two years. We (he and I and our four children) lived on the base. He also served two tours in Vietnam, just like Doreen’s husband, and also at Headquarters, Marine Corps later. The fictional Marine base and town where this takes place is modeled after Camp Lejeune and the adjacent town. I did see the same sign welcoming us to Klan country, on Easter Sunday morning 1972 and have never forgotten it. I also knew Queenie’s counterpart. This novel is in no way autobiographical—I was never as brave as Doreen. 

Toni's book list on cultural opposites, southern politics and families

Why did Toni love this book?

Mudbound is about post-WWII in the Jim Crow south. It tells the stories of two returning soldiers in a muddy farm setting. I was raised on a dairy farm with plenty of mud, so I easily identified with the setting. The situation of the two men, one White, one Black, and their families' struggles, physically with the constant mud, and emotionally with the politics of both the era and the place, were graphic. It was a book that was difficult to put down and also difficult to read. In ways I was reminded of 12 Years A Slave.

By Hillary Jordan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


When Henry McAllan moves his city-bred wife, Laura, to a cotton farm in the Mississippi Delta in 1946, she finds herself in a place both foreign and frightening. Henry's love of rural life is not shared by Laura, who struggles to raise their two young children in an isolated shotgun shack under the eye of her hateful, racist father-in-law. When it rains, the waters rise up and swallow the bridge to town, stranding the family in a sea of mud.

As the Second World War shudders…


By J. M. Coetzee,

Book cover of Disgrace

Benjamin Nugent Author Of Fraternity: Stories

From the list on fiction about being disgraced.

Who am I?

I’m the author of Fraternity: Stories. I don’t consider myself a fraternity bro, but I hold the Greek men and women I write about very close to my heart because I know the feeling of being young and lost and wanting a guidebook for behavior, and how easily the young can be exiled, in one way or another, by their peers. I feel for every young person who’s disgraced and humiliated, whether it’s on social media or in a tumbledown colonial with wooden letters nailed to the front. I also feel for every young person who lives in fear of disgrace and humiliation.

Benjamin's book list on fiction about being disgraced

Why did Benjamin love this book?

David Lurie, an English professor, seduces an undergraduate after he tires of sleeping with sex workers. He proceeds to lose his job, his social status, his home, and his dignity. Along the way, he also loses his solipsism and his vanity. I’ve never messed around with a student, thank God, but the story is true to my life experience nonetheless. When you make mistakes, and suffer losses that seem to erase who you are, you discover a self you didn’t know was there.

By J. M. Coetzee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. J.M. Coetzee's latest novel, The Schooldays of Jesus, is now available from Viking. Late Essays: 2006-2016 will be available January 2018.

"Compulsively readable... A novel that not only works its spell but makes it impossible for us to lay it aside once we've finished reading it." -The New Yorker

At fifty-two, Professor David Lurie is divorced, filled with desire, but lacking in passion. When an affair with a student leaves him jobless, shunned by friends, and ridiculed by his ex-wife, he retreats to his daughter Lucy's smallholding. David's visit becomes an…

The Shepherd's Life

By James Rebanks,

Book cover of The Shepherd's Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape

Susan Cole Author Of Holding Fast: A Memoir of Sailing, Love, and Loss

From the list on huge life changes and the stories behind them.

Who am I?

I have lived on or around sailboats for over thirty years. I had never sailed before meeting my husband. Many people dream of sailing off but few actually go. In 1996, we sailed away to the Caribbean with our seven-year-old daughter. Although I didn’t want to go, by the end of the voyage I found an inner strength that has stayed with me. The books I chose are all about making huge changes, taking leaps of faith. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

Susan's book list on huge life changes and the stories behind them

Why did Susan love this book?

James Rebanks was born in England’s Lake District into a family who valued the hard work and ancient traditions of shepherding in the high hills. Later, he winds up at Oxford, seemingly headed for a life of financial success in the city, and realizes that while the world at large may value such success, he values the quiet, steady, solitary shepherd’s life and chooses that instead. He beautifully depicts a life steeped in tradition, honoring the seasons, and filled with characters. I loved learning about a slice of life that I knew little about.

By James Rebanks,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Shepherd's Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'Affectionate, evocative, illuminating. A story of survival - of a flock, a landscape and a disappearing way of life. I love this book' Nigel Slater

'Triumphant, a pastoral for the 21st century' Helen Davies, Sunday Times, Books of the Year

'The nature publishing sensation of the year, unsentimental yet luminous' Melissa Harrison, The Times, Books of the Year

Some people's lives are entirely their own creations. James Rebanks' isn't. The first son of a shepherd, who was the first son of a shepherd himself, he and his family have lived and worked in and…

Farmer in the Sky

By Robert A. Heinlein,

Book cover of Farmer in the Sky

Sylvia Engdahl Author Of This Star Shall Abide

From the list on YA about imaginary worlds.

Who am I?

I’ve always been interested in worlds other than ours, primarily extraterrestrial worlds because I believe expansion into space is vital to the future survival of humankind, but also fantasy worlds that illuminate ideas and feelings that are universal. I’ve written the Newbery Honor book Enchantress from the Stars and ten other science fiction novels, a classification that limits their discovery because they're often liked better by people who read little if any science fiction than by avid fans of that genre. Because they’re set in imaginary worlds distant from Earth—and are not fantasy because they contain no mythical creatures or magic—there is nothing else to call them. I wish books didn’t have to be labeled with categories!

Sylvia's book list on YA about imaginary worlds

Why did Sylvia love this book?

All of Robert Heinlein's YA novels are good (better, in my opinion, than his adult novels), but this one has special meaning for me because it was the first book I ever read about colonizing an uninhabited world. At the time it was published in 1950 I was sixteen and had been enthusiastic about the possibility of space travel for four years, since long before the general public was familiar with it; but all the space fiction I knew of was about mere adventure, usually adventure focused on fighting. The idea that families could someday settle a new planet--and, despite danger and hardship, accomplish something of immense importance to the future of humankind--made a strong impression on me and became one of my deepest convictions.

By Robert A. Heinlein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Farmer in the Sky

Cross Creek

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,

Book cover of Cross Creek

Janie DeVos Author Of The Art of Breathing

From the list on the flawed but indomitable human spirit.

Who am I?

Being a historical fiction writer, I spend much time researching people and places for my novels with my focus being on the South, particularly Florida, where I’m from, as well as Western North Carolina, where I’ve lived for nearly two decades. Family dynamics and character development have always held a special interest for me; particularly the humanness of being flawed, but also the resilience and strength found within us, too. I enjoy creating characters we can identify with, and become emotionally connected to, so much so that when the final page is turned, readers feel a sense of loss at saying goodbye to characters they’ve come to love.

Janie's book list on the flawed but indomitable human spirit

Why did Janie love this book?

Writing on a theme that is near and dear to my heart, that being Old Florida, the author of the award-winning, The Yearling, accurately portrays her life living on Cross Creek in rural Central Florida. After buying an old orange grove, sight unseen, this divorced Washington, DC writer brought it back to life, and made a life for herself living among the shy and suspicious people on the creek. Rawlings’ accurate use of local dialect and effective nuances in this beautiful vignette of stories is almost poetic, and magically transports the reader to the creek’s mossy banks. Though the writing and her viewpoints are antiquated in places, Cross Creek remains a classic, and a true work of art to be treasured. 

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cross Creek is the warm and delightful memoir about the life of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings—author of The Yearling—in the Florida backcountry.

Originally published in 1942, Cross Creek has become a classic in modern American literature. For the millions of readers raised on The Yearling, here is the story of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings's experiences in the remote Florida hamlet of Cross Creek, where she lived for thirteen years. From the daily labors of managing a seventy-two-acre orange grove to bouts with runaway pigs and a succession of unruly farmhands, Rawlings describes her life at the Creek with humor and spirit. Her…

Book cover of Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm

Emma Bland Smith Author Of Odin, Dog Hero of the Fires

From the list on children’s books about dogs.

Who am I?

I am a librarian and author living in San Francisco. Like many children, I grew up on dog books. I read and re-read Lassie Come Home and The Incredible Journey. James Herriot’s memoirs—many of which feature dogs—were my bedtime stories. Today, I often write about animals as a way to build empathy in child readers and teach the values of loyalty, kindness, and friendship. (My picture books include stories about dogs, alligators, wolves, and ducks!) Although I love a good cry over a book, I have chosen mostly happy books for this list of picture and middle-grade books about dogs. I hope the animal-loving child readers in your life enjoy them!

Emma's book list on children’s books about dogs

Why did Emma love this book?

This is a photo-illustrated version of Jon Katz’s bestselling memoir life with dogs on a picturesque upstate New York farm. I fell immediately for this charming picture book, where each dog has their own important job. Border collie Rose herds sheep. Second border collie Izzy (a rescue with a sad-then-happy history) is a therapy dog who visits hospitals and nursing homes. Tough-looking Frieda guards the farm. But what is Lenore’s job (goes the refrain)? We finally learn that the essential job of fun-loving black lab Lenore is simply to bring love and joy to everyone. This book is basically the equivalent of a warm cup of tea and a quilt on a blustery day.

By Jon Katz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome to Bedlam Farm! Meet Rose, Izzy, Frieda, and Lenore, four dogs that work hard on the farm doing various jobs. They're good friends now, but it wasn't always this way. Just as each dog has a different role on the farm, each has a unique story.

Filled with his captivating photographs, bestselling author Jon Katz's heartwarming account of his dogs' lives on Bedlam Farm is unforgettable.

The Four Winds

By Kristin Hannah,

Book cover of The Four Winds

Jerri Hines Author Of The Waking Bell

From the list on historical mysteries like Rebecca.

Who am I?

I grew up in an extremely rural area before the internet, where there was no cable. So, I read. Reading led to my desire to write, and I have. When Jackie discussed the characters of The Waking Bell with me, I envisioned an American version of Rebecca, where the protagonist is a naïve young woman who follows her heart in a dark, gothic setting. While I didn’t grow up in the mountains, I have experienced the differences between people from different backgrounds that live in the same rural area. Those experiences are where The Waking Bell begins.

Jerri's book list on historical mysteries like Rebecca

Why did Jerri love this book?

I loved The Four Winds because it made me feel a connection to my grandmothers who lived through the Great Depression. They never talked about it to me at all, but the ramifications were seen in their actions. I believe when you can make that kind of connection, it’s a triumph to the author. A great story.

By Kristin Hannah,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"The Bestselling Hardcover Novel of the Year."--Publishers Weekly

From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.

“My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family.”

Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on…