The list author says: "I love these books for the range of experience and stories they tell. They were written over a span of one hundred years and present very different tones and stories. However, even though the human narratives can sometimes contain tragedies or hardships, each of these books presents a refreshingly positive perspective on agriculture and the art of growing food. I appreciate that farming is offered as having value for society and individuals — characters succeed at their endeavors in spite of nature’s inevitable dramatic challenges.
Also enjoyable for me is the level of detail included in the farming descriptions. Clearly, these writers are intimately familiar with their subject and realize that how a character chooses to fertilize his potatoes or market her goats can be crucial to a story’s outcome.
Finally, I love these books and recommend them to others simply because they are incredibly good novels. They catch the reader’s interest with fascinating characters, juicy plots, humor, tragedy, lots of romance (and some sex). They are all engrossing enough to be worthy of reading on a plane or poolside."
"O Pioneers! features the story of one woman's family: her homesteading father, her battles over the Nebraskan farm with her narrow-minded brothers, and the tragic swerve in her youngest brother’s life. This novel features all the classic elements: unrequited love, birth, death, jealousy, and friendship."
"Over the course of Farmer Boy, we see four full seasons on the farm. Seen through the ideas of a nine year-old boy, hard farm work is joyful and fun. If you do not enjoy reading juvenile literature for your own sake, this is a great novel to share with your children."
"The dominant theme of Prodigal Summer is most certainly sex: chestnut tree sex, goat sex, moth sex, and — yes — human sex. Three narratives weave through the book, each featuring human characters who are intricately connected to the natural world."
"In All Over Creation, Ozeki tells several interwoven stories of diverse people whose lives all come together in rural Idaho at the end of the 20th century. Over the course of the story, Ozeki manages to explore some big issues without ever breaking stride in the telling of her multi-voice story."
"Lords of Folly is a novel about sexually frustrated novitiate priests in 1950s rural Minnesota who operate a farm, make wine in their barn, and start a baseball team. Does that sound the set-up for a joke? As well it should. This book is hilarious on so many levels. Reads like an R-rated version of Garrison Keillor."