I was hesitant about this one because I’d heard there were some concerns over the way Russo handles his female characters and race, but mostly because it’s a long one–a serious investment of time when I’m feeling behind in my goals for the year. But I’m really glad I gave it a chance–this one nails […]

While most of the reviews I read indicated that people either loved it or hated it, I’m much more ambivalent about this book. I really didn’t like the main character or many of her choices (though I didn’t hate her, and in many cases I could understand those choices). I also could see why some […]

My dad is a history buff, and one of his areas of interest is the conflicts between Native Americans and the pioneers and settlers who took over their land. He always takes the side of the Native Americans. One of his heroes is the great Nez Perce leader Chief Joseph, who led the United States […]

This was a last minute addition, and I’m really glad I found it–Casanova does a really nice job with the northern Minnesota setting in her Young Adult novel Frozen. I am reading my way across the USA–5 or so books from each state, with an emphasis on setting–books where the setting is really tangible, and […]

One of the strengths of this book–at least for me in terms of our reading challenge–is the acknowledged contrast between Chicago and the small town of Cypress, north of Duluth, Minnesota. Several times it’s noted that Cathryn’s infidelity would hardly be noticed in Chicago, but in Cypress she, and even those who associate with her–like […]

Wow! We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge was a really interesting book! The commentary on race and racism were enlightening, and the commentary on families, sisterhood and motherhood were, at times, heart-wrenching. Overall, I’m glad I read it. However, despite a few lovely descriptions of western Massachusetts and less lovely ones of Dorchester, […]

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 […]