Reading the States: Iowa

Friday, April 20, 2012

State: IOWA

Fiction:
- The Bridges of Madison County* by Robert James Walker
- A Thousand Acres* by Jane Smiley
- Gilead* by Marilynne Robinson
- The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson
- Shoeless Joe* by W. P. Kinsella
- The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni
- What's Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges
- The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes
- Back in the Game by Charles Holdefer

Nonfiction:
- The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid* by Bill Bryson
- Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World* by Vicki Myron
- Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
- Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town by Nick Reding
- The Girls from Ames* by Jeffrey Zaslow
- Class A by Lucas Mann
- American Gothic: A Life of America's Most Famous Painting by Steven Howard Biel

Authors Known for Writing in or about the State:
- Peter Hedges

Authors Who Lived Here:
- Bill Bryson
- Norman Maclean

Great Bookstores:

Literary Places to Visit:
Bridges in Madison County
*Books I've Read
Photo by moi.

11 comments:

annieb said...

I always check out the bookstores you list in the states and the website of The Next Chapter listed today is really great! Their review/synopsis of new books makes you want to read them and I guess I will have to look Knoxville, Iowa up on a map because I have no idea where it is. Thanks for going to all the work to research for this feature.

Jeanne said...

I am newly interested in Iowa, since my daughter is going to college there and we've begun driving back and forth. Didn't know Bryson was from there! I saw a new YA title, coming out May 8, called The Princesses of Iowa, too.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

annieb - I love finding the bookstores too! I visit all of their websites to try to find good ones and I always include bookstores I've visited in different states.

Jeanne - My husband's extended family is from Iowa, so we try to make the trip out there once a year. You should read Bryson's Thunderbolt Kid book. It's all about growing up in a small town in Iowa and it's hilarious!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Hey Iowa has some good ones! Who knew! I've got a couple of these waiting to be read, and you just reminded me.

Trish said...

I was just thinking last night that I should re-read Bridges of Madison county. I read it YEARS ago and don't remember it at all.

Gilead. Yick. ;)

Annie Leonard said...

Thanks for the listing! I'm the manager at The Next Chapter, and we really appreciate the kind words! I'd like to add a couple of books and authors to your list: Joe Blair's recent memoir, "By the Iowa Sea" is a worthy addition to your list, and author Zachary Michael Jack is another Hawkeye State standout. We'd love to have any of you visit us here in south central Iowa, about 45 minutes from Des Moines.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Sandy - I was really surprised by how many well-known novels are set there.

Trish - It's been years since I read Bridges too. Gilead is on to TBR list, should I skip it?

Annie Leonard - Thanks for the suggestions Annie! I'll add them in. I hope I have a chance to visit your bookstore on my next trip to Iowa. It looks amazing!

Carla B. said...

Our whole family loves The Next Chapter bookstore! There is something for everyone.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Carla B. - Man, I really have to check it out soon. It sounds wonderful!

nomadreader said...

I am clearly way behind on blog reading, but hooray for Iowa! It's a wonderful, literary place to live, and I sure wish more people did.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

nomadreader - I was curious if you would have discovered any other Iowa authors since you live there.