I’m not sure what happened with this one. It was a great one for setting–Frazier gives us some fabulous descriptions of North Carolina. And it’s not just the area around Cold Mountain itself–Inman walks away from the hospital where he is recovering, across much of the state. But I lost interest in the story pretty […]

I’ll be reading more by Ron Rash (though perhaps not for this challenge)! One reviewer on Goodreads quipped that Ron Rash’s novel Serena is “like Macbeth in a logging community, with a Greek chorus,” and I kept coming back to that description as I read–especially in the Greek chorus bits! I was also reminded of […]

I really enjoyed the music references in this book–and I got a kick out of the main character, Shoe, having an Uncle Albert, given all the Paul McCartney references. Plus, I’m reading it after having watched the movie Yesterday, so I’m getting a double dose of McCartney nostalgia. But the book really shone a light […]

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 […]

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 […]

Lake of the Woods is the perfect getaway. Tim O’Brien’s novel is set, in part, in that little bit of land, connected to Manitoba, and separated by the lake from the state of Minnesota of which it is actually a part. … an old yellow cottage in the timber at the edge of Lake of […]

I can see why this book won the 1963 National Book Award, and why it’s considered a classic for the disillusioned working class–think inept colleagues, vindictive superiors, and fruitless and boring busywork with Father Urban as a successful, charming, handsome traveling salesman. It is a slow build to its comic climax, and it is more […]

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 […]

Wow! If Run by Ann Patchett was the best pick for (somewhat) contemporary Boston (1990s), then Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks was the clear winner for historical Massachusetts, covering Martha’s Vineyard and Cambridge. I am reading my way across the USA–5 or so books from each state, with an emphasis on those where the setting […]

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 […]