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.

As mentioned on my main California page, Walk On Earth a Stranger is the first in Rae Carson’s Gold Seer trilogy, and it mainly covers Leah’s journey from Georgia to California in 1849–and the historical information is fantastic! Because not much of it actually takes place in California, however, it’s not the best book for […]

Devil In a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley (1990) was a fantastic example of the noir genre, and a gritty private eye story from a black perspective. It was fast-paced, the main character was well-drawn, though I felt the supporting characters were not as convincing. The twist was a surprise (although it probably shouldn’t have […]

California, here we come! My adopted home state. We’ve been here since 2011. The company my husband works for moved from Milwaukee to Los Angeles when its founder did, and we came too. When we found out about the move, we looked at each other and grimaced. Los Angeles? LA-LA land? But we love it! […]

Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman was my young readers’ choice for Nebraska, and I must admit I was kind of disappointed in this one. Granted, the premise pretty much indicates that there’s not much plot to this one beyond the storm(s), but I guess I was expecting more than just a play-by-play–although, again, […]

The Meaning of Names by Karen Gettert Shoemaker (2014) was a nice little book, with a well-done historical setting. Stuart, Nebraska is along the northern border of the state, a bit east of center. At the time of the story, in 1918, it’s a rural farming community and small town with a rail line connecting […]

Nebraska. A place where every child knows the rules regarding thunderstorms, tornadoes, and blizzards. Where the weatherman’s report is listened to as if it were a message from God. Where the Farmer’s Almanac is a second Bible. Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos was a great addition to my challenge list! I’m reading my way […]

BIRDS! Finally, after a bit of a drought, we have birds! The very first paragraphs of The Echo Maker by Richard Powers include some wonderful descriptions of the sandhill cranes that migrate through Nebraska each year, stopping along the Platte River, and feeding on the remains of the harvested field corn and soybeans. They float […]

Wow! Haven’s Wake by Ladette Randolph (2013) was phenomenal for my reading challenge. I’m reading my way across the USA, focusing on books with a strong sense of place that help me “get to know” each state–the landscape, the people, the culture, the history. Haven’s Wake was a perfect choice for Nebraska. That year the […]

Photograph © Andrew Dunn, 13 May 2005.

Raintree County by Ross Lockridge, Jr. was an excellent book for my reading challenge. Take a look at some of the passages below, and you’ll see a small portion of how Lockridge describes Raintree County in west central Indiana. This first one is a description of a book within a book–an illustrated atlas of Raintree […]

You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children. — Madeleine L’Engle Clare Vanderpool has this quote on her website, and I’d have to agree–sometimes books for young readers are incredible in their depth, perception, and bravery […]