Challenge Update: Where Are You Reading?

Well, you might recall from my last challenge update that I COMPLETED (yay!) two of the three challenges I took on for 2011, and with months to spare, too. Now that the year is drawing nearer to its close, it’s time to concentrate on the last and most difficult one: Where Are You Reading? Sheila at One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books has assigned this one. My job is to read a book set in each of the 50 states, plus bonus points for foreign locations. (Take a look at my map to see where I’ve been.)

So. At this point I’ve completed 24 of the 50 states (plus the District of Columbia!), and it’s time to start picking and choosing those remaining. They are:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Here we are, kids: I need your help! Please to recommend me some books! Do you have a book (or an author of several books) who writes in one of these states that you can recommend to me? I would greatly appreciate it. For example, if you were looking for Louisiana I would GUSH over James Lee Burke to you. But Virginia? Beats me. Help a girl out!

Do you think I’m going to make it?

8 Responses

  1. “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter’ by Tom Franklin is set in Mississippi. It wasn’t one of my favorites, but I know a lot of other people enjoyed it.

    I’ll see if I can come up with any other ideas for you!


  2. Oh…what about “The Lonely Polygamist” by Brady Udall, set in Utah. I haven’t read it yet – I’m due to pick it up from the library on Monday – but I’ve heard good things.


    • I’m definitely in the Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter recommendation camp. For Wisconsin, I loved A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick, but it has been either a loved-it or hated-it book for bloggers. John Hart’s books are set in North Carolina. I like him a lot; have read The King of Lies, Iron House, and The Last Child – all excellent in my opinion. For Virginia, there is The Known World by Edward Jones – won the Pulitzer Prize. And Louisiana, well, you’ve got the whole Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris! :–) Charlaine Harris also has a different mystery series set in Arkansas, the Shakespeare, Arkansas series (such as Shakespeare’s Trollop, Shakespeare’s Counselor, etc.) Not great, but not bad. There’s a mystery writer who sets his books in Delaware named Hunter Morgan, but I’ve not read any. And for Alabama, what could be better than To Kill A Mockingbird? :–)

  3. Kentucky – Ann Patchett’s Patron Saint of Liars
    Virginia – Sapphira and the Slave Girl by Willa Cather – I haven’t read it but I love Cather.

    And I am going to think about more.

  4. Wow, thanks everyone for the great recommendations!! What a list already! I had to go back and check – had I REALLY not read Louisiana yet? But apparently not… I love James Lee Burke for LA but haven’t done Sookie yet; maybe I’ll giver her a try. I did read A Reliable Wife although apparently pre-blog ? – I did like it okay, not spectacularly. I’m so pleased to have these recommendations from you fab folks! Thank you!

  5. You could do Winesberg, Ohio for Ohio. 🙂 Maybe you could read a Revolutionary War book for Virginia? Or a biography of George Washington? Not sure if the challenge is limited to fiction…

  6. These are both on the grim side by Postcards by Annie Proulx for Vermont and River Dogs by Robert Olmstead for New Hampshire. Both get the New England rural thing. As for Pennsylvania, if you’re up for a big honking work of nonfiction, Titan by Ron Chernow — the John D. Rockefeller biography takes place there. And Ohio. And New York. Is one book allowed to count for more than one state?

  7. I’m so enjoying all these recommendations; so glad I asked!!

    Jillian, thanks for mentioning Winesburg – it’s been waiting on my shelf ever since I read Hemingway’s recommendation of it. Definitely! Nan, I’m interested in Annie Proulx…

    I would like to read ALL of your recommendations state by state, with one caveat: I think I might be off chunksters for a little while, having read several over 500 pages in the last month or so, and still have the endings of Gone With the Wind and Don Quixote ahead of me. Lots of reading commitments for my review gig, too. I’m going to cherrypick the slimmer ones but as best I can, I want to read all that have been recommended here; I’m so grateful!

    To answer your questions: fiction or non are equally acceptable, and one book only counts towards one location unfortunately (although I have been known to conveniently choose the one location of two featured in a book, that I’m still seeking!).

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