50 Books For 50 States

Honor America by reading!

1. Alabama

Author Nelle Harper Lee who won the Pulitzer Prize winning novel in 1960 for her classic novel,TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. which she wrote in 1959 and published in July 1960. She contributed to the present popularity of Monroeville, her mother town.

2. Alaska

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

3. Arizona

Inspired by the Gila and Salt River Indian reservations outside of Phoenix, HOOKED is not your average love story.

4. Arkansas

The coming-of-age story of Maya Angelou’s adolescence is set in Stamps, Arkansas.

5. California - Northern

A love letter to the birth city of Hurwitz- San Francisco’s back alleys and class struggles add to the dark allure of the story

California - Southern

Christmas 1951, Los Angeles: a city where the police are as corrupt as the criminals. Six prisoners are beaten senseless in their cells by cops crazed on alcohol. For the three LAPD detectives involved, it will expose the guilty secrets on which they have built their corrupt and violent careers.

6. Colorado

Set in Estes Park, CO King’s novel is a haunting ode to the Stanley Hotel set among mountainous beauty but holding a dark secret.

7. Connecticut

Author Wally Lamb was born in Norwich, CT and he sets most of his novels in nearby towns.

8. Delaware

Sorry Delaware, there isn’t much.

Except this novel by SE Hinton, who is also the author of The Outsiders.

9. Florida

Okay Florida, you get a book about a serial killer. But at least he’s a vigilante serial killer, getting revenge on the bad guys.

10. Georgia

Savannah is probably how most of the world sees Georgia. But it’s haunting and beautiful.

11. Hawaii

Obama is a pretty lucky guy, he grew up in Hawaii and is now the President.

12. Idaho

Delmore Schwartz said about The Cantos: “They are one of the touchstones of modern poetry.” Pound was born in the Idaho territory in the mid- 1800’s

13. Illinois

Set in the city of big shoulders, O’DEMOCRACY! is a hilarious and heartbreaking story about American politics, one woman’s quarter-life crisis, and the difficult business of being a good citizen.

14. Indiana

Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis and went on to become the quintessential American counter culture novelist.

15. Iowa

Jane Smiley isn’t originally from Iowa, but she earned her MFA and PhD from Iowa University. This novel is set in her adopted state.

16. Kansas

Set in the wild prairie’s of Kansas, this wholesome coming-of-age tale of Laura Ingalls Wilder was probably on your shelf growing up.

17. Kentucky

Born in Louisville, Hunter S Thompson created Gonzo journalism and this pretty trippy novel about his experience in Las Vegas.

18. Louisiana

What? You thought it was going to be True Blood? New Orleans was the birthplace of Anne Rice and her legendary vampire character, Lestat, way before Sookie Stackhouse ever stepped on the scene.

19. Maine

It is said that EB White used his farmhouse in Maine as inspiration for the setting of the novel.

20. Maryland

Not only is Nora Roberts from Maryland, she’s also one of the most prolific writers around.

21. Massachusetts

Author Kristin Bair O’keeffe is based in Andover and her upcoming novel, THE ART OF FLOATING, chronicles one writer living in a small MA beach town.

22. Michigan

The achingly humorous and tender story of the brief lives of the five entrancing Lisbon sisters. perhaps set in Michigan where its author hails?

23. Minnesota

Keillor’s home state continues to influence his work as an author and radio personality. Reading about Lake Wobegon is like looking at a Norman Rockwell panting.

24. Mississippi

In this searing courtroom drama, best-selling author John Grisham probes the savage depths of racial violence…as he delivers a compelling tale of uncertain justice in a small southern town…Clanton, Mississippi.

25. Missouri

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He was lauded as the “greatest American humorist of his age”,

26. Montana

Set on Booker Ranch in Montana, the horse whisperer tames horses and hearts.

27. Nebraska

Willa Cather is the preeminent author of early American life, and she set many of her novels in Nebraska.

28. Nevada

Author Ellen Hopkins lives in Carson City and her YA novels are applauded for their realistic portrayal of teenage life. This one takes place in Nevada too!

29. New Hampshire

Born in New Hampshire, prolific author John Irving also set this novel in his home state.

30. New Jersey

Culturally rich and hilarious, this novel reflects growing up in New Jersey as an immigrant.

31. New Mexico

There’s no better place to “get away” than New Mexico, the setting of this YA murder mystery.

32. New York

The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg.

33. North Carolina

Born in Asheville, North Carolina, Charles Frazier captures the beauty and cruelty of the state in this Civil war era novel.

34. North Dakota

Louise Erdrich is one of the most gifted, prolific, and challenging of contemporary Native American novelists. Tracks is set in North Dakota when Indian tribes were fighting to keep what remained of their homeland.

35. Ohio

Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.

36. Oklahoma

Dustbowl = Oklahoma. This children’s novel is one girl’s struggle to survive during the depression.

37. Oregon

Born Beverly Atlee Bunn in McMinnville, Oregon, Cleary was an only child and grew up in a town so small there wasn’t a library. That may explain why she writes for children.

38. Pennsylvania

Meant for elementary school kids and set in Two Mills Pennsylvania, the “myth” of Maniac Magee change the lives in this small town.

39. Rhode Island

Toward the end of the Vietnam era, in a snug little Rhode Island seacoast town, wonderful powers have descended upon Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie, bewitching divorces with sudden access to all that is female, fecund, and mysterious.

40. South Carolina

He’ll probably tell you he’s the most influential person in America and we’re kind of hoping this South Carolina native runs for office.

41. South Dakota

We learn the story of Brokaw’s boyhood in small town South Dakota up to the time of his graduation from college in 1962. The reader also discovers a great deal about the context of an all-american upbringing during a hugely important transitional period — post-World War II America.

42. Tennessee

Written by Nashville author and bookseller, Ann Patchett, TAFT chronicles an ex-musician and curator of a Memphis dive bar.

43. Texas

A book about a 19th century cattle drive? It doesn’t get more Texas than this.

44. Utah

Much of Walter M. Miller, Jr.’s post-apocalyptic novel A Canticle for Leibowitz is set near or directly within Utah. The “hero” of the first part of the novel, the novice Brother Francis Gerard, is from Utah.

45. Vermont

Written by Vermont author and Vermont college graduate, Jennifer McMahon, this debut mystery is set on a hippie commune in her home state.

46. Virginia

A lifelong Virginian, David received his Bachelor’s degree in political science from Virginia Commonwealth University and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. This novel takes off in a posh suburb of Virginia.

47. Washington

The author hails from Washington and set this wildly popular book on a fictional island in the Puget Sound.

48. West Virginia

Armed only with a rifle and their love of each other, two brothers must travel across West Virginia battling zombies. And as a WV author, T. Michael Martin is the perfect man to write the story.

49. Wisconsin

It gets cold in Wisconsin, so curl up with a blanket and this graphic novel…BLANKETS.

50. Wyoming

Wyoming native Annie Proulx is well-known for Brokeback Mountain but this collection really captures the landscape.

Well, there it is! 50 books for 50 states!

But please, no applause.

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