February 13, 2014


Vilma Reading a Book, 1912
Tavik Frantisek Simon

Today marks the 8th anniversary of Prairie Horizons (previously known as Lesley's Book Nook). On previous anniversaries, I talked about this wonderful community of book bloggers and how much I value my friendships with each and every one of you. I also talked about the books I've read over the years and offered gift cards to show my appreciation for your loyal readership. This year I was going to list my favorite book for each year of blogging, but as I looked back over my Top Ten lists, I realized that there is no way I can narrow that selection down to merely eight titles. Honestly! Could you?!

So, instead of giving you less than a dozen of my favorite titles, you're going to get a whopping 50. That's right. 50 of my favorite books read in 8 years. How's that for a recommendation list? ;) In no particular order, here they are:

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

The Exact Same Moon: Fifty Acres and a Family by Jeanne Laskas

Oh My Stars by Lorna Landvik

Dispatches From the Edge by Anderson Cooper

Lottery by Patricia Wood

Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos

Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos

In the Woods by Tana French

The Likeness by Tana French

The Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister (print & audio)

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (print & audio)

Mudbound by Hilary Jordan

Lift by Kelly Corrigan

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen 

Faithful Place by Tana French

World Without End by Ken Follett (audio)

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (audio)

Room by Emma Donoghue

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (audio)

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (audio)

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield (audio)

Gone by Mo Hayder

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Little Princes by Conor Grennan (audio)

Paris in Love by Eloisa James

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (audio)

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (audio)

The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus by Sonya Sones

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

Emily, Alone by Stewart O'Nan

Broken Harbor by Tana French

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin (audio)

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Replay by Ken Grimwood

As usual, you can find my reviews by clicking on the links.

These are all amazing books, my friends. Some are very well-known and popular, but there are quite a few hidden gems that I hope you take time to read. Thank you all for your recommendations. Without you, I may never have discovered these fantastic books.

I'd also like to say thank you to all the remarkable authors who have taken the time to either send me private emails or leave comments on my posts. It's always a thrill to hear from an writer and even more so to have an exchange of messages over the years. Each and every one of you in the above list have left an indelible mark on my soul through your writing and I am so thankful for your talent, your wisdom, and your dedication to your craft.

I typically read 50 books a years, so maybe I should take a year off from all the new releases and re-read each of these books. I would certainly be guaranteed a year of fabulous reading, wouldn't I? Not to mention a year off from reviewing. ;)


  1. Oh, good stuff to add to the wish list. The good thing about reading your blog almost as long as you have been blogging is I have most of them either bought or read. :) Happy Blogiversary!

    1. Thanks for hanging out with me all these years! I can't quite believe it's been 8 years!

  2. I would have thought that I had read more of them, but I have done 17 of these. It is a great list!

    1. Well, just think. You now have quite a few to choose from. :)

  3. Happy Blogiversay! I'm pleased to see that I've read 21 of those books and I enjoyed every one of them. I'm making note of some of the other titles.

    1. Thanks, Kathy! Hope you enjoy some from my list. It's probably a good thing I only posted what I loved over the past 8 years. I have so many other favorites from pre-blogging days.

  4. Happy Blogiversary!! You reminded me that I think I have a copy of Kelly Corrigan's book somewhere around here! Always look forward to your recommendations!

    1. Thanks, Kathy!! If you can't find your copy of Corrigan's book, you are welcome to borrow mine. I plan to compose my review today, so give me a few more days and I'll bring it to work.

  5. Congrats Les, that is an amazing achievement! I've read 25 of the books on your list (we do have similar reading taste)

    1. Yes, we do have similar reading taste and I've gotten a lot of great recommendations from your blog reviews! Here's to great books!

  6. Congratulations! Eight years is a long time to keep blogging. You've reported on so many wonderful books and authors over the years. I heard about Lisa Genova from you, for which I'm very grateful.

    1. It is a long time, isn't it, Mary? Every few years I think I'll quit, but I can't pull myself away for very long. It'll be interesting to see just how long I go!

      So glad you discovered Lisa's amazing books from my blog. I'm just about ready to reread Still Alice. It's such a powerful (and informative) novel!

      Thanks for hanging around!

  7. Happy bloggiversary Les! I'm so happy to have met you through blogging--your spirit is such a warm and loving one. And I think about re-reading all of my favorites as well! But then I worry about ALL the other books that I haven't read yet. Maybe just one a month? Glad to see Edgar Sawtelle on your list. I was just wondering this morning if I should donate my unread copy.

    To many many more!

    1. Thanks, my dear! I'm so glad to have met you, too. I love reading about your kiddos, travels and the books you've read. Hope to meet you (and Andi!) some day when I'm down in Texas!

      I hope you give Edgar Sawtelle a chance. I don't know how the print edition is, but I fell in love with the audio. Maybe go that route? The reader is fabulous. I can still picture dozens of scenes...

  8. Your list brings to mind two things first; one, I can't wait to read Emily, Alone. Began the first page and knew it was something special, so I'm saving it 'til after Iron Lake. Secondly, I need to read Cutting for Stone! I've bought it, heard fantastic things about it, and still haven't read it. Well, that goes for many books on your list, but I, too, thoroughly enjoyed:

    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
    Still Alice
    The Help
    Night Circus (I think my favorite from your list that I've read)
    The Light Between the Oceans
    Me Before You

    Love blogging with you, Les. Don't give up writing reviews... xo

    1. I hope you love Emily, Alone as much as I did. It seems like the kind of book I could read every year...

      I finished Iron Lake on Friday night and I'm ready to try #2 in the series! If you had asked me a week ago, I would have given you a completely different answer. ;)

      The audio of Cutting for Stone is amazing. It took a little while to get interested, so don't give up.

      Love blogging with you, too! Don't worry--I won't give up reviewing. They may just take a backseat to other posts for a while. I've posted everything from my pipeline and need to sit down and compose 8 (!!) reviews before I'm caught up. Eeek!


  9. Happy Bloggiversary! How wonderful that you've been blogging for so long and look at all these books to recommend. I see some of my favorites on here too :) Wishing you many more years of blogging!

    1. Thank you so much, Iliana. It's been a lot of fun and I've enjoyed keeping in touch with my blogging friends just as much as I've enjoyed reading all of these books. Thanks for sticking around with me. :)

  10. I'm with you on Guernsey and Emily, Alone! So glad you are in the blogging world, and my world!

    1. Hey, 2 out of 50 isn't bad. ;)

      I'm so glad you're in it, too. Think we'll be blogging when we're in our 80s? :)

  11. Since I've read and loved nearly half your list, the other half could make for the best six months of reading ever!! Now if I could only make myself stick to a list... ;)

    Congratulations on 8 years and here's to many more!

    1. :) I think I have a long list of your favorites to enjoy myself!

      Thanks for being such a faithful reader and friend!

  12. Happy 8 years, my dear!!! I'm so glad you're still here blogging. And that list is AWESOME.

    1. Thanks so much, Andiloo. (I think I've been calling you that in my head ever since Nancy started!)

      I may have gone a bit overboard with that list, but at least I limited it to my blogging years. There are so many others from pre-blogging days that would have made it, as well.

  13. Happy blog anniversary, Les! Eight years is quite an accomplishment! I will be celebrating the same this coming July. Hard to believe we've been at it this long. What a great list! Book Thief, In the Woods, Night Circus are among my favorites too.

    And then several others you mention are books I hope to read at some point. Odd Thomas, Help, and Me Before You, just to name a few.

    1. Thanks, Wendy! I'm amazed it's been 8 years already, can you? Hope you get to some of those books. They truly are outstanding.

  14. Happy blog anniversary, Les! 8 years is quite an achievement, congratulations too. I love how you celebrated it - listing 50 of your favourite books read over those years. That is quite a list, too. I love the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Literary Society, I have Eleanor and Park on reserve at the library, I've read all the Tana French (I like them in varying degrees), and Gone Girl is on my TBR pile. I want to pick up Flight Behaviour some time this year, too. May you have many more years of finding good books and blogging ahead of you :-)

    1. Thanks so much, Susan. 8 years does feel like an achievement, especially since I was tempted to throw in the towel on more than one occasion. ;) Oh, yes! Flight Behavior is excellent. I need to see if I can get the audio from my library for a re-read.

  15. I'd have a lot of the same books on my list and many of them are on my bookshelves. And now I have to add so many more books to my TBR list! Happy blogiversary!

    1. Good luck with all those TBR stacks! I feel like I'm walking around my house with blinders on. So many books waiting to be read. Makes me feel a bit anxious at times!


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