Run by Ann Patchett (2007) was an amazing read and just great for my reading challenge–we really feel not just the New England snowstorm, but also many of the Massachusetts people.  I am reading my way across the USA–5 or so books from each state, with an emphasis on those where the setting becomes its […]

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones was a great addition to my challenge reading list for Georgia… or Louisiana. The story was split–Roy’s family lives in Louisiana, and that’s where he is wrongfully convicted and serves five years in prison. Celestial grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and she received her childhood home as a wedding […]

Among the Living by Jonathan Rabb is set among the Jewish community in Savannah, Georgia, immediately after World War II. I am reading my way across the USA–3-5 books set in each state, with an emphasis on those books where the setting becomes another character, or those that help me learn a bit about the […]

This was an unexpected addition to my list, and it was a great one! I read this snippet from an interview with the author and just had to add it: One journalist kindly alerted me to the fact that there was a hoax in my Wikipedia entry, a claim that I was writing about “the […]

While I was investigating young adult and young reader choices for California, I stumbled across Ana of California by Andi Teran (2015), which is meant to be a modern take on Anne of Green Gables, the much loved classic book by Lucy Maud Montgomery from 1908. While the original took place in Canada, Ana of […]

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 […]

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 […]

You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children. — Madeleine L’Engle Clare Vanderpool has this quote on her website, and I’d have to agree–sometimes books for young readers are incredible in their depth, perception, and bravery […]

When most people think of Kansas, we tend to think, “flat.” And, after all, in Dorothy Must Die, author Danielle Paige called the Kansas town Flat Hill. I’ve already talked a bit about the Wizard of Oz movie and book (mis)perceptions of Kansas (including that Baum’s original descriptions were based on his unhappy experiences of […]