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 […]

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 […]

Linda Furiya does a wonderful job of evoking place throughout her memoir Bento Box In the Heartland: My Japanese Girlhood in Whitebread America. Although I read it as part of my challenge travel through Indiana, it also has parts that take place in Japan and New York City, and, to a lesser degree, New Jersey […]

In terms of my challenge–to read 3-5 books set in each of the United States, with an emphasis on books where the setting becomes an integral part of the story–I have mixed feelings about Bento Box In the Heartland: My Japanese Girlhood in Whitebread America by Linda Furiya. The author grew up as the daughter […]

In the immortal words of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, “And now, for something completely different!” Indiana. The first things that come to my mind when I think of Indiana are the Indy 500 race, and the song “Gary, Indiana” from The Music Man. (Sorry! If it’s any consolation, it’s stuck in my head too, now.) […]