Some Luck, by Jane SmileyRead about the other entries on the list.
Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jane Smiley returns to the fictional town of Denby, Iowa, to follow the lives of the Langdon family. The first book of a projected trilogy that will span 100 years, Some Luck opens in 1920, as Walter and Rosanna Langdon give birth to their first child and battle to keep their farm going through the Great Depression. Though life is hard, they’re bolstered by their commitment to the land and a time-honored set of values. As their five children—Frank, Joe, Lillian, Henry, and Claire—grow up and for the most part reject farm life, scattering across the country, we see the large-scale changes sweeping across America itself. Whether it’s the nitty-gritty details of plowing a field or the finer points of family relationships, Smiley writes with great empathy and wisdom.