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 […]

This was a really nice book, and a great opening for Hawaii! It’s not only the story of Spencer taking care of his dying mother, it also tells the story of how he unexpectedly went from being the middle son to being the only son. The childhood flashbacks take place in the 1950s and 1960s, […]

I loved this book! It took me a little bit to get used to the style, which can be a bit confusing, and if fairly explicit, bisexual, profanity-laced sex is going to bother you, you’ll probably want to avoid this one, but in terms of our books for Idaho, it was definitely a win! I […]

This one reminds me a bit of the thriller I read and posted about in New Hampshire Pre-Visited–it really didn’t do it for me in terms of plot or characters, but there were some great descriptions of Idaho and Lake Coeur d’Alene that I really wanted to post. I’m reading my way across the USA–5 […]

This was the one I was waiting for! This has been the best one by far for Idaho. The characters are real–and not just because many of them are historical figures–multi-faceted, flawed, real human beings. Yes, there is racism and discrimination, but there are also people who connect on a personal level with the main […]

Ugh! I know this book is highly acclaimed and has won awards. All I can say is that either those people geeked over the loveliness of the prose and ignored that it made no sense, or I’m a lot more stupid than I thought. I don’t claim to be a genius, and I actually don’t […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 was a great peek into one of the historical labor union strikes of the early 1900s that helped make factory work more bearable. And the timing of this read is appropriate since the teachers of Los Angeles Unified School District just finished a labor strike, and Denver Public School teachers have also voted to […]