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 really interesting book that was surprisingly relevant in terms of the bitter vitriol spewed on both sides of the political aisle over communism–much like today’s arguments over socialism and race. I wasn’t aware of the 1949 Peekskill riots, but the apparent flashpoint for the riots was the misrepresentation by the Associated Press […]

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve encountered a number of urban fantasy books over the years that are firmly set in our world and give a wonderful sense of the cities in which they are located, and I’m pleased to say that Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older is one of these! I am reading my way […]

Wow! This is going to be a difficult one for me. It was fairly plain from the publisher’s blurb that “what happened” to Marianne Mulvaney was some type of sexual assault. But I want to warn potential readers that if you are easily triggered by rape and sexual assault, you will probably want to avoid […]

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 […]