As I mentioned on the main Minnesota page, this book didn’t seem like a great choice for my reading challenge, although it was an interesting read. For at least 80% of the book, the setting was mostly ignored–even though in the very beginning of the book the main character visits the reservation where her birth […]

This one was set on Cape Cod, and Hoffman did a wonderful job with the setting! This is the Cape Cod of the locals–fishermen and cranberry bogs and wild blueberries. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but I’m glad I added it to my list. I am reading my way across the USA–5 or so […]

In my country, there is an old belief that if a bird flies into your home it is an angel who has come to guide you and you must look at its presence as a blessing from God. —House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III I’m not doing a full review of House […]

I really enjoyed Vikram Seth’s The Golden Gate (1986). I was, understandably, a bit apprehensive about the whole verse thing… The Golden Gate is written in Onegin sonnets (for those interested in rhyme scheme and history, eNotes has an interesting analysis of the sonnet style used, available to the browsing public), but the voice is […]

What a fantastic choice for my reading challenge! The Wild Birds by Emily Strelow really hit the spot for California… or Oregon… or maybe Jefferson… Although the book info and many reviews say it follows three storylines/timelines, I’d actually say it’s more like 2… or 4. There are two main stories, plus two which are closely […]

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 […]

Letters Never Sent by Sandra Moran (2013) was a really good book; it was well-written and an engaging story. I very much enjoyed it, and I’m glad I read it. However, the setting wasn’t really that important to the story. I’m reading my way across the USA, with a focus on books that really help […]

John Nichols knows his New Mexico birds. There’s a good list of birds seen in The Milagro Beanfield War, starting with the flock of nesting killdeer that feature in the opening scene of the book with one of the town’s historic figures, Cleofes Apodaca. There are both literal and figurative buzzards (turkey vultures) and zopilotes (black […]