Reading America III

They say reading takes you places, and our ‘Reading America’ project is designed to do just that. Each week, we have been putting out a video online recommending a book set in a particular American state. In this way, we hope you can get a feel for the different cultures and geographies that make up the United States of America. Here are the the books we recommended in September.

IN COLD BLOOD
State: Kansas
Read the E-book here

Truman Capote’s account of the murder of the Clutter family in Holcolm, Kansas, was an instant success, and arguably launched the “True Crime” genre. The murder had no apparent motive, and few clues. To find out more about the crime and how it was solved, check the book out.

A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES
State: Louisiana
Read the E-book here

Published 11 years after author John Kennedy Toole’s suicide, this picaresque novel was first a cult classic, before moving to become a mainstream success. It was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and, with its exploration of the French Quarter of New Orleans, provides a colorful look at one of the most vibrant areas of the United States.

THE ROUND HOUSE
State: North Dakota
Read the E-book here

A haunting book about justice, gender rights, racial inequality and indigenous rights, Louise Erdrich’s account of a rape on a fictionalized Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota won the 2012 National Book Award for fiction, the Minnesota Book Awards for the novel and short story and was a finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal. Though it was written in the 1980s, the book remains topical, and has been an enduring success.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS
State: Arkansas
Read the E-book here

The first of renowned poet Maya Angelou’s autobiographical series, this book is a poetic and at times tragic look at the deeply segregated and violently prejudiced southern state of Arkansas during the 1930s. The book chronicles Angelou’s life from her earliest memories until the birth of her son when Angelou was only seventeen years old. It is a lyrical look at the life of a brilliant poet.

JUST MERCY
State: Alabama
Read the E-book here

The memoir that spawned the movie, Bryan Stevenson’s autobiography is a rich account of his work representing those who can’t afford their own lawyer. The book delves deeply into Stevenson’s work, and in doing so, provides good understanding of the pervasive inequalities that plague the American justice system.

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