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 associate Idaho with several of my cousins who grew up in Eureka, Montana–the “nearby” mid-sized towns included Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho, in the panhandle. But Idaho also makes me think of Craters of the Moon National Monument, a volcanic site near the center of the state. And Picabo Street, the Olympic skier, who grew up […]

When I think of Minnesota, I think of Lake Wobegon, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” I loved Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, and I think any contemplation of Minnesota must include some sort of reference to it, despite the allegations of […]

New Hampshire? Weren’t we just in Massachusetts? If you’re confused as to how we got here, I can’t blame you–I haven’t gotten to New Hampshire officially yet. But a couple of recent books have taken place, at least in part, in New Hampshire and have had some great descriptions of the Granite State. It’s one […]

After spending so much time in California the first time around (13 books!), I feel a little abashed to be revisiting the state so soon. However, I’ve recently read two books that I really want to highlight here. I am reading my way across the USA–5 or so books set in each state, where the […]

When I got to Nebraska, I was surprised at how many options there were for books that were set in the state and that looked interesting to me, and there were several that I just didn’t get to at the time. This post is a follow-up, to cover a couple that I have eventually gotten […]

In the early- to mid-1990s, I lived in Massachusetts, outside of Lawrence, along New Hampshire’s tiny coastal strip, and worked for a Girl Scout council on the North Shore, which included Lawrence, Lowell and Lynn, Salem, Marblehead and Gloucester. I also did an internship a bit to the west, around Worcester. What I remember the […]

Georgia’s on my mind. We spent so much time in California, with 13 books read (!), that I knew I had to head somewhere completely different–and soon! So I decided to head to the Deep South. But what to do when I’ve already read most of the books that top everyone’s list for Georgia? Gone […]

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! […]

As I worked my way through my picks for Kansas, I began to wonder about the differences between Kansas and its neighboring states, and I decided to stay in the area for a while longer. So I’m going to be reading Nebraska next. I was also interested in the “bleakness” and “mean spirit” I saw […]