Ok, I admit I was wrong to wait so long to read this! It’s beautiful and savage, and the characters are so wonderfully drawn. On the one hand, I totally agree with McMurtry himself, who said it was overly-romanticized: “Would you want your menfolk to act like that?” And on the other hand, I feel […]

Harrigan’s inclusion of a botanist as one of the fictional characters we follow across Texas, makes this book a great one for this challenge, but the pervasive mythology of the Alamo makes it an essential one. I am reading my way across the USA–5 or so books from each state, with an emphasis on those […]

Wow! If you want a good look at race relations in the 1930s, this is your book. It takes place in the Sabine River bottoms–which occupy several hundred miles along the border between Louisiana and Texas, south of Shreveport to just north of the Gulf of Mexico. Somewhere I read that the Sabine also marks […]

Texas. The Lone Star State. The Alamo. Oil. Guns. Football. Border politics. Where do we start? My husband and I drove with my sister-in-law from California to the east coast along the southern route late one fall sometime in the early to mid-’00s. On that trip we drove across Interstate 20, through Abilene, Dallas, and […]

This book is a wonderful look at the Trail of Tears! It’s told in little vignettes from multiple points of view, and it follows one group of Cherokee from the moment the soldiers show up at their small village to remove them. We hear most often from Maritole, but we also get little snippets from […]

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 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 […]

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve encountered a number of urban fantasy books over the years that are firmly set in our world and give a wonderful sense of the cities in which they are located, and I’m pleased to say that Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older is one of these! I am reading my way […]

I love to see books with unusual main characters–it seems like there has been a lot written recently about the importance of seeing yourself in books, and that goes for kids with special needs too. From that perspective, The Islands at the End of the World seems like a big win, although I have absolutely […]

Wow! This book has it all when it comes to setting and our reading challenge–geography, history, all the different people who make up Hawaii–and the setting is so integral to the story! So many aspects of the story are uniquely Hawaiian, there’s nowhere else it could be set. I am reading my way across the […]