Reading the States: Nonfiction Complete!

Monday, April 29, 2024

In 2014 I decided to read one work of fiction and nonfiction for every state in the nation. I created lists of possible reads for myself (and others) to help. And now, just shy of my 40th birthday and 10 years after starting the project, I’m done! I just finished my Missouri read and below are the nonfictions books I read for each state.

I tried to always choose books that describes the state or deal with an essential piece of the state’s history. I feel like I’ve learned so much about the country that I didn’t know before I began this.

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.

: All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg,  The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

Alaska: Into the Wild* by Jon Krakauer
Arizona: Half Broke Horses* by Jeannette Walls
Arkansas: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
California: Freedom Writers* by Erin Gruell, The Soloist by Steve Lopez, A Crack in the Edge of the World by Simon Winchester
Colorado: Columbine* by Dave Cullen
Connecticut: Me: Stories of my Life by Katharine Hepburn, Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman
Delaware: Promises to Keep by Joe Biden
Florida: The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean, Marley and Me by John Grogan
Georgia: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr by MLKJ
Hawaii: Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell
Idaho: Educated by Tara Westover, The Big Burn by Timothy Egan
Illinois: The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, The Girls of Murder City by Douglas Perry
Indiana: A Fever in the Heartland Timothy Egan, A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
Iowa: The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson, Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron, The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow
Kansas: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Kentucky: Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Louisiana: Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans by Dan Baum, Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink
Maine: Elsewhere by Richard Russo 
Maryland: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore
Massachusetts: Walden by Henry David Thoreau, The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger, The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
Michigan: Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
Minnesota: Under a Flaming Sky by Daniel James Brown
Mississippi: Black Boy by Richard Wright
Missouri: Jesse James, Last Rebel of the Civil War by T. J. Stiles
Montana: Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean
Nebraska: I Am a Man by Joe Starita
Nevada: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
New Hampshire: I'm a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson 
New Jersey: The Radium Girls by Kate Moore
New Mexico: American Prometheus by Kai Bird
New York: Tis by Frank McCourt, Here is New York by E.B. White, 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, The Great Bridge by David McCullough, Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, Just Kids by Patti Smith
North Carolina: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris 
North Dakota: Grand Forks by Marilyn Hagerty 
Ohio: The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan
Oklahoma: The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan, The Innocent Man by John Grisham, Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
OregonBlue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, Blue Moon Over Thurman Street by Ursula K. LeGuin
Pennsylvania: The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
Rhode Island:  Gilded by Deborah Davis 
South Carolina: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
South Dakota
The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin
Tennessee:  American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham, Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett
Texas: The Liar's Club by Mary Karr, Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Utah: Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
Vermont:  Wandering Home by Bill McKibben
Virginia: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Washington: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
Washington DC: Inventing a Nation by Gore Vidal, All the President's Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
West Virginia: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Wisconsin: Blankets by Craig Thompson
Wyoming: American Wolf by Nate Blakeslee
Road Trips: Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck, April 1865 by Jay Winik, The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson, Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon, Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose, Roughing It by Mark Twain