Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Reading Across the Fifty States

Isn't this fun? At Lit Hub, Emily Temple lists 100 Books Across America: Fiction and Nonfiction for Every State in the Union. For many years, I've worked on a perpetual challenge, Around the World in 80 Books, and whenever I travel around the US, I read books reflective of the state. Why haven't I attempted to read fiction and nonfiction from every state? I like the idea of this challenge.

Temple's choices are quite surprising. She picks a fiction book and a nonfiction book (excluding travel stories) and what she calls the obvious choice from each state. I love lists and decided to create a list for myself as a Google Sheet: 100 Books Across America. I have read 51 of her 150 (one fiction, one nonfiction, one obvious choice for each state) books. The only states I've read nothing from Temple's list are Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. (Don't worry. I have read a good and representative book from each of these: Kentucky - Hillbilly Elegy; Mississippi - Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry; Montana - Yellow Raft in Blue Water; Nevada - Roughing It; New Jersey - Independence Day by Richard Ford; North Dakota - Peace Like a River; South Dakota - Little Town on the Prairie; Wyoming - Josefina Story Quilt)

Here are ten that both well represent their states and are amazing reads. Can you guess the states?

Bless Me, Ultima
Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories
Olive Kitteridge

True Grit
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

The Coast of Chicago
Up in the Old Hotel

The Secret History

Answers:  Bless Me, Ultima - New Mexico; Woman Hollering Creek - Texas; Olive Kitteridge - Maine; Gilead - Iowa; True Grit - Oklahoma; Fried Green Tomatoes - Alabama; Coast of Chicago - Illinois; Up in the Old Hotel - New York; The Secret History - Vermont; and Plainsong - Colorado.

And, if you liked Lit Hub's list, you might also like to take a look at Business Insider's The Most Famous Book That Takes Place in Every State. I did a little better with this list: 26 out of 50. Here's my Google Sheet: Most Famous Book from Each State.

August 29Ten Hidden Gem Books in X Genre: Pick a genre and share with us some books that have gone under the radar in that genre!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!


  1. This is a great idea !
    I also like to read books set in the place I'm visiting.

    I've been aiming to do something with Australian books for about 4 yrs now - it's time I sorted something out ๐Ÿ˜Š

  2. Great idea. Would love to see a list like these with books set in Europe.

    Carmen / Carmen`s Reading Corner

    1. Carmen, you can ask Rosie, she organizes the European challenge every year: http://www.rosecityreader.com/p/the-european-reading-challenge-january_19.html.
      You can fin already a good bunch on my international list: https://wordsandpeace.com/2012/01/04/around-the-world-in-52-books/

  3. awesome! after my 52 countries challenge, I started this one as well, but have not done much.
    anther blogger has been organizing this one for years, and she has amazing lists, but you have to click on each state:

  4. I did guess The Fried Green tomatoes one, thank goodness. Didn't do so great with most of the rest. I'll definitely be looking at this list.

  5. This is such a fun idea! And a fun list to look at too! I'm going to have to look into these on your list!

    Thank you for stopping by our TTT at Owl Always Be Reading!

  6. Friend Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe was such a good story. Kudos for including it on your list!

    Here is our TTT

  7. I've been wanting to do a "Read Across the 50 States" challenge for awhile. I plan to do it once I've gotten through at least some of my mountain-sized TBR. This is a really cool list, thank you for sharing!


  8. I love this idea! I read True Grit for a class, and I really enjoyed it!

  9. I love geography and combining it with reading so I keep track of where my books are set, even putting them on a Google Map each year.


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