As I tried to decide how to handle the multiple bird sightings in the books, I chuckled to myself that I could compile a “life list.” And then I stopped chuckling and realized that was actually ideal. Birding life lists are often broken down by geographic regions such as state. The table below can be […]

I’ve decided – I’m reading my way across the United States. Three to five books set in each state of the US – especially books where the setting becomes another character, and those which deal with some aspect of the people, geography, or history of the state.

This was a fun, light read that brought to life a bit of history I was unfamiliar with–the Miss Subway promotional beauty contests that ran from 1941 to 1976. It will probably not go down as the best of our books for New York, but it got us off to a good start. I am […]

I’ve been putting off New York for a while now, but as I finished Hawaii, I decided to come back to the opposite end of the country–and to my roots. I was born and raised in a small town in upstate New York. I have family in the urban areas of upstate–Binghamton, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, […]

I love to see books with unusual main characters–it seems like there has been a lot written recently about the importance of seeing yourself in books, and that goes for kids with special needs too. From that perspective, The Islands at the End of the World seems like a big win, although I have absolutely […]

This was an excellent, thought-provoking look at a little-known historical event which had far-reaching consequences that continue to ripple through today’s headlines. The Ni’ihau Incident was used as a justification for the US government’s policy of imprisoning Japanese-Americans during World War II. Historians today recommend the usage of the phrase “concentration camps” for these places […]

Well, my worst fears were unfounded. This was a charming read and not the over-the-top cliche-laden touristy book I was dreading. It also seemed like it did justice to a certain segment of life in the Hawaiian islands. It certainly had more in-depth descriptions of surfing than in any of the other books I read. […]

Well, I have some mixed feelings about this one. I wasn’t all that into the story itself, and was pretty disappointed at what I felt was an abrupt ending. (To be fair, Murayama wrote a second book about the Oyama family–Five Years On a Rock–so maybe the story picks up where it left off.) In […]

Wow! This book has it all when it comes to setting and our reading challenge–geography, history, all the different people who make up Hawaii–and the setting is so integral to the story! So many aspects of the story are uniquely Hawaiian, there’s nowhere else it could be set. I am reading my way across the […]

This was a really nice book, and a great opening for Hawaii! It’s not only the story of Spencer taking care of his dying mother, it also tells the story of how he unexpectedly went from being the middle son to being the only son. The childhood flashbacks take place in the 1950s and 1960s, […]

I love Hawaii! I’ve visited the Big Island twice, and I love it. However, visiting someplace as a tourist can be very different from living there, and that’s very true of Hawaii. Its physical isolation means that the cost of living is very high, and most items are much more expensive than on the mainland. […]

I loved this book! It took me a little bit to get used to the style, which can be a bit confusing, and if fairly explicit, bisexual, profanity-laced sex is going to bother you, you’ll probably want to avoid this one, but in terms of our books for Idaho, it was definitely a win! I […]