Reading the States: Fiction Complete!

Monday, October 10, 2016



It took me years, but I've finally completed the fiction portion of my Reading the States challenge. My goal is to read one fiction and one nonfiction book set in each state. I try to pick a book that describes the state or really feels like it in someway. Occasionally I'll settle for a book that is just set there if there aren't a lot of options (I'm looking at you Delaware). It's been so fun getting to know each state a bit better through literature. I still have 14 to go on the nonfiction side.

For some of the states I've read multiple books set there and I included a few of my favorites in this list. If you want to see a more complete list of both fiction and nonfiction books set in the state (plus bookstores and authors who live there) check out the complete list here.
Alabama: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Alaska: The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Arizona: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Arkansas: True Grit by Charles Portis (A Painted House by John Grisham) 
California: East of Eden by John Steinbeck (Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler) 
Colorado: Plainsong by Kent Haruf 
Connecticut: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Delaware: Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
Florida: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston
Georgia: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Hawaii: The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Idaho: Lila by Marilynne Robinson
Illinois: The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, The House on Mango Street is Sandra Cisneros)
Indiana: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington)
Iowa: The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Walker (Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella)
Kansas: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (Doc by Mary Dora Russell)
Kentucky: Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
Louisiana: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams)
Maine: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Maryland: The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
Massachusetts: Mystic River by Dennis Lehane
Michigan: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Minnesota: Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Mississippi: The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Missouri: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Montana: Montana 1948 by Larry Watson
Nebraska: O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
Nevada: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
New Hampshire: A Prayer for Own Meany by John Irving
New Jersey: The Plot Against America by Philip Roth, American Pastoral by Philip Roth
New Mexico: Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
New York: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald) 
North Carolina: Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks (The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver) 
North Dakota: The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich
Ohio: Beloved by Toni Morrison (Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld)
Oklahoma: Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts (August: Osage County)
Oregon: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (If I Stay by Gayle Forman)
Pennsylvania: Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Rhode Island: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
South Carolina: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
South Dakota: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
Tennessee: The Firm by John Grisham (An Abundance of Katherines by John Green)
Texas: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (11/22/63 by Stephen King)
Utah: When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka
Vermont: The Secret History by Donna Tartt (Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore)
Virginia: The Known World by Edward P. Jones
Washington: The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen (Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson)
Washington DC: Heartburn by Nora Ephron (Lost Symbol by Dan Brown)
West Virginia: Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Wisconsin: The Story of Edgar Sawtell by David Wroblewski (Loving Frank by Nancy Horan)
Wyoming: Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx

12 comments:

Brona Joy said...

I'm not sue I could say I've done this for the 8 states and territories that makes up Austrslia, let alone 52!!

That's fantastic Melissa - well done!

Bibliophile said...

Well done!
I'm trying to do the same for Europe, although I haven't made a challenge of it - I just have a list that's filling up slowly. It's extremely hard to find novels set in Liechtenstein and Andorra and written in a language I can read, but I'm sure I'll find them in the end.

Kailana said...

Congrats on completing your goal!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Brona - Thanks! Australia would be a fun one to tackle.

Bibliophile - I love that idea! Maybe when I finish my nonfiction list I'll work on Europe. Let me know if you find anything for the elusive countries!

Kailana - Thanks! It's a fun one.

mybookstrings.com said...

This is pretty awesome!

Susan Bybee said...

Well done! I am in awe.

bibliophilica said...

Congrats on finishing this. That's quite an accomplishment! I've only read 15 of the titles you've listed. I'd like to try this someday, but I fear i lack the stick to it-iveness to stay on course over multiple years. :-)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

bibliophilica - I love lists and I never have a problem with planning for a looong challenge. I've been trying to read and watch all of Shakespeare's work for about a decade now!

Unruly Reader said...

Wow -- big congratulations! I love looking through your list -- so many great books.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Unruly Reader - There are so many great ones! I love that each book gives you a little glimpse into life in that area.

Julie @ Smiling Shelves said...

Wow, good for you! That's a huge goal to have accomplished! (And it sounds like a lot of fun and rather tempting...) Congrats!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Julie - It's so much fun! It started because I like to reading books about states we were road tripping to.