Reading America VIII

They say reading takes you places, and our ‘Reading America’ project is designed to do just that. Each Friday, we put out a short video 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 five more books from across the USA that we really think you should ‘check out’.

BALTIMORE NOIR
State: Maryland
Read the E-book here

For mystery fans, Baltimore is a mecca for crime fiction. In this collection, edited by Laura Lipman, the reader encounters 16 detective stories, which deal with mobster and murders, drug dealers and bullies. All the while, each story gives readers a feel for the darker side of one of America’s original 13 colonies — the gritty underbelly of (the actually quite charming if you ever happen to visit) Baltimore.

HOUSE MADE OF DAWN
State: New Mexico
Read the E-book here

House Made of Dawn, by N. Scott Momaday, is a book often credited with starting the American Indian literary renaissance. Set on a reservation in New Mexico, the plot follows the struggles of Abel, who has extreme PTSD after fighting in World War Two. Abel lives both inside and outside of American Indian society, and the book follows him as he struggles to find where he fits in the world, offering a compelling portrayal of the geography of New Mexico, and the emotional struggles of loss in the process.

FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS
State: Nevada
Read the E-book here

The most well-known work from iconoclast journalist Hunter S. Thompson, ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ is based on a road trip Thompson took with Chicano activist Oscar Zeta Acosta. While the book had mixed reviews at the time, it is now known for its unique style of writing — a mix of prose poetry, and its drug addled portrayal of one of the most decadent American cities.

PIGS IN HEAVEN
State: Oklahoma
Read the E-book here

The first of Barbara Kingsolver’s books to appear on the New York Times bestseller list, ‘Pigs in Heaven’ follows the story of Taylor Greer and her adopted Cherokee daughter, Turtle. The book examines the issues that arise when indigenous children are adopted out of tribal society, looks at ways to mitigate this, focusing especially on the traditions of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma in the process.

A WALK IN THE WOODS
State: Tennessee
Read the E-book here

In the late 90s, Bill Bryson and his friend Stephen Katz decided to hike the Appalaichan Trail, a hiking trail through the Appalaichan Mountains in America that stretches all the way from Georgia to Maine. The book is a hilarious and poignant piece of travel/nature writing that showcases many American states, but especially Tennessee, where Bryson and Katz take a significant break.

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One response to “Reading America VIII

  1. Joanne

    Love Laura Lippman! I started reading her books a few years after moving to Baltimore, and I love how the city is another character in each novel. She paints such a perfect picture that you can close your eyes and feel like you’re in Charm City taking part in the book. Fun fact: Laura is married to David Simon, who created The Wire. They used to be reporters at The Baltimore Sun.

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