america-reading-challenge
Books, United States

America Reading Challenge: Books Set In Each State

I’ve always dreamt of taking the great American road trip and reading books set in each state along the way. Some of my most memorable travels in the United States have been woven with literature; like navigating mangroves with Shadow Country throughout Florida and absorbing tropical landscapes with The Descendants in Hawaii. These stories added an extra dimension to my travels and are an incredible way to absorb the local culture and pace. 🚗

The diversity of America is reflected in its literature and these books set in each state (plus Washington DC) aim to help capture it. There are classics from the past (like My Antonia) and bestsellers from the present (such as Little Fires Everywhere) including both fiction and non-fiction. The books are related to the states in varied ways – are set there, have characters from there, reflect the local culture or are by notable authors from there. Selections are based on a number of criteria; including overall popularity, awards, reviews and ratings. You’ll even find alternative titles listed for each state too.

Hopefully you find something here to inspire your next read, or even consider taking on the America Reading Challenge yourself (there’s a printable checklist to help you keep track). Why not read your way around American with these books set in each state? 🇺🇸

 

America Reading Challenge: Books Set In Each State

 

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1.
Alabama:
To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee, 1960

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

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The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau

 

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2.
Alaska:
Into The Wild
by Jon Krakauer, 1996

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, a party of moose hunters found his decomposed body. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

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The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

 

Books Set In Each State, The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

3.
Arizona:
The Bean Trees
by Barbara Kingsolver, 1988

Clear-eyed and spirited, Taylor Greer grew up poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away. But when she heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she meets the human condition head-on. By the time Taylor arrives in Tucson, Arizona, she has acquired a completely unexpected child, a three-year-old American Indian girl named Turtle, and must somehow come to terms with both motherhood and the necessity for putting down roots. Hers is a story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places.

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These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

 

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4.
Arkansas:
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou, 1969

Note: this book moves around quite a few states; including Arkansas, Louisiana, California and Missouri. 

Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.

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The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield

 

Books Set In Each State, East of Eden by John Steinbeck - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

5.
California:
East of Eden
by John Steinbeck, 1952

In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden “the first book,” and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

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The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

 

Books Set In Each State, Plainsong by Kent Haruf - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

6.
Colarado:
Plainsong
by Kent Haruf, 1999

A heartstrong story of family and romance, tribulation and tenacity, set on the High Plains east of Denver.

In the small town of Holt, Colorado, a high school teacher is confronted with raising his two boys alone after their mother retreats first to the bedroom, then altogether. A teenage girl—her father long since disappeared, her mother unwilling to have her in the house—is pregnant, alone herself, with nowhere to go. And out in the country, two brothers, elderly bachelors, work the family homestead, the only world they’ve ever known.

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The Shining by Stephen King

 

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Books Set In Each State, Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

7.
Connecticut:
Revolutionary Road
by Richard Yates, 1961

In the hopeful 1950s, Frank and April Wheeler appear to be a model couple: bright, beautiful, talented, with two young children and a starter home in the suburbs. Perhaps they married too young and started a family too early. Maybe Frank’s job is dull. And April never saw herself as a housewife. Yet they have always lived on the assumption that greatness is only just around the corner. But now that certainty is about to crumble. With heartbreaking compassion and remorseless clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April mortgage their spiritual birthright, betraying not only each other, but their best selves.

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The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

 

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8.
Delaware:
The Book of Unknown Americans
by Cristina Henriquez, 2014

A dazzling, heartbreaking page-turner destined for breakout status: a novel that gives voice to millions of Americans as it tells the story of the love between a Panamanian boy and a Mexican girl: teenagers living in an apartment block of immigrant families like their own.

After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave México and come to America. But upon settling at Redwood Apartments, a two-story cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, they discover that Maribel’s recovery–the piece of the American Dream on which they’ve pinned all their hopes–will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles.

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And Never Let Her Go by Ann Rule

 

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9.
Florida:
Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston, 1937

Fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person — no mean feat for a black woman in the ’30s. Janie’s quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots.

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Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen

 

Books Set In Each State, The Color Purple by Alice Walker - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

10.
Georgia:
The Color Purple
by Alice Walker, 1982

Set in the deep American South between the wars, it is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually, Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.

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Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

 

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11.
Hawaii:
The Descendants
by Kaui Hart Hemmings, 2007

Matthew King was once considered one of the most fortunate men in Hawaii. His missionary ancestors were financially and culturally progressive–one even married a Hawaiian princess, making Matt a royal descendant and one of the state’s largest landowners.

Now his luck has changed. His two daughters are out of control: Ten-year-old Scottie is a smart-ass with a desperate need for attention, and seventeen-year-old Alex, a former model, is a recovering drug addict. Matt’s charismatic, thrill-seeking, high-maintenance wife, Joanie, lies in a coma after a boat-racing accident and will soon be taken off life support. The Kings can hardly picture life without her, but as they come to terms with this tragedy, their sadness is mixed with a sense of freedom that shames them–and spurs them into surprising actions.

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Moloka’i by Alan Brennert

 

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12.
Idaho:
Housekeeping
by Marilynne Robinson, 1980

A modern classic, Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, their eccentric and remote aunt. The family house is in the small Far West town of Fingerbone set on a glacial lake, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck, and their mother drove off a cliff to her death. It is a town “chastened by an outsized landscape and extravagant weather, and chastened again by an awareness that the whole of human history had occurred elsewhere.” Ruth and Lucille’s struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transience.

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Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

 

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13.
Illinois:
Dandelion Wine
by Ray Bradbury, 1957

The summer of ’28 was a vintage season for a growing boy. A summer of green apple trees, mowed lawns, and new sneakers. Of half-burnt firecrackers, of gathering dandelions, of Grandma’s belly-busting dinner. It was a summer of sorrows and marvels and gold-fuzzed bees. A magical, timeless summer in the life of a twelve-year-old boy named Douglas Spaulding—remembered forever by the incomparable Ray Bradbury.

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The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

 

Books Set In Each State, A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

14.
Indiana:
A Girl Named Zippy
by Haven Kimmel, 2001

When Haven Kimmel was born in 1965 in Mooreland, Indiana, it was a sleepy little hamlet of three hundred people. Nicknamed “Zippy” for the way she would bolt around the house, this small girl was possessed of big eyes and even bigger ears. In this witty and lovingly told memoir, Kimmel takes readers back to a time when small-town America was caught in the amber of the innocent postwar period—people helped their neighbors, went to church on Sunday, and kept barnyard animals in their backyards.

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The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

 

Books Set In Each State, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

15.
Iowa:
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
by Peter Hedges, 1991

Just about everything in Endora, Iowa (pop. 1,091 and dwindling) is eating Gilbert Grape, a twenty-four-year-old grocery clerk who dreams only of leaving. His enormous mother, once the town sweetheart, has been eating nonstop ever since her husband’s suicide, and the floor beneath her TV chair is threatening to cave in. Gilbert’s long-suffering older sister, Amy, still mourns the death of Elvis, and his knockout younger sister has become hooked on makeup, boys, and Jesus–in that order, but the biggest event on the horizon for all the Grapes is the eighteenth birthday of Gilbert’s younger brother, Arnie, who is a living miracle just for having survived so long. As the Grapes gather in Endora, a mysterious beauty glides through town on a bicycle and rides circles around Gilbert, until he begins to see a new vision of his family and himself.

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A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

 

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16.
Kansas:
In Cold Blood
by Truman Capote, 1966

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

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The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs by Janet Peery

 

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17.
Kentucky:
Icy Sparks
by Gwyn Hyman Rubio, 1998

Icy Sparks is the sad, funny and transcendent tale of a young girl growing up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky during the 1950’s. Gwyn Hyman Rubio’s beautifully written first novel revolves around Icy Sparks, an unforgettable heroine in the tradition of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird or Will Treed in Cold Sassy Tree. At the age of ten, Icy, a bright, curious child orphaned as a baby but raised by adoring grandparents, begins to have strange experiences. Try as she might, her “secrets”—verbal croaks, groans, and physical spasms—keep afflicting her. As an adult, she will find out she has Tourette’s Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder, but for years her behavior is the source of mystery, confusion, and deep humiliation.

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

 

Books Set In Each State, The Awakening by Kate Chopin - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

18.
Louisiana:
The Awakening
by Kate Chopin, 1899

Aside from its unusually frank treatment of a then-controversial subject, the novel is widely admired today for its literary qualities. Edmund Wilson characterized it as a work “quite uninhibited and beautifully written, which anticipates D. H. Lawrence in its treatment of infidelity.” Although the theme of marital infidelity no longer shocks, few novels have plumbed the psychology of a woman involved in an illicit relationship with the perception, artistry, and honesty that Kate Chopin brought to The Awakening.

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A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

 

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19.
Maine:
The Cider House Rules
by John Irving, 1985

Raised from birth in the orphanage at St. Cloud’s, Maine, Homer Wells has become the protege of Dr. Wilbur Larch, its physician and director. There Dr. Larch cares for the troubled mothers who seek his help, either by delivering and taking in their unwanted babies or by performing illegal abortions. Meticulously trained by Dr. Larch, Homer assists in the former, but draws the line at the latter. Then a young man brings his beautiful fiancee to Dr. Larch for an abortion, and everything about the couple beckons Homer to the wide world outside the orphanage.

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Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

 

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20.
Maryland:
The Accidental Tourist
by Anne Tyler, 1985

Macon Leary is a travel writer who hates both travel and anything out of the ordinary. He is grounded by loneliness and an unwillingness to compromise his creature comforts when he meets Muriel, a deliciously peculiar dog-obedience trainer who up-ends Macon’s insular world–and thrusts him headlong into a remarkable engagement with life.

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Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson

 

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21.
Massachusetts:
Infinite Jest
by David Foster Wallace, 1996

A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America. Set in an addicts’ halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are.

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The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

 

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22.
Michigan:
The Virgin Suicides
By Jeffrey Eugenides, 1993

The shocking thing about the girls was how nearly normal they seemed when their mother let them out for the one and only date of their lives. Twenty years on, their enigmatic personalities are embalmed in the memories of the boys who worshipped them and who now recall their shared adolescence: the brassiere draped over a crucifix belonging to the promiscuous Lux; the sisters’ breathtaking appearance on the night of the dance; and the sultry, sleepy street across which they watched a family disintegrate and fragile lives disappear.

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Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

 

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Books Set In Each State, Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

23.
Minnesota:
Ordinary Grace
by William Kent Krueger, 2013

New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were at the ready at Halderson’s Drug Store soda counter, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a summer in which death assumed many forms.

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Main Street by Sinclair Lewis

 

 

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24.
Mississippi:
The Help
by Kathryn Stockett, 2009

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

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Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

 

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25.
Missouri:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain, 1884

A nineteenth-century boy from a Mississippi River town recounts his adventures as he travels down the river with a runaway slave, encountering a family involved in a feud, two scoundrels pretending to be royalty, and Tom Sawyer’s aunt who mistakes him for Tom.

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

 

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26.
Montana:
A River Runs Through It
by Norman Maclean, 1976

Maclean writes “in my family, there is no clear line between religion and fly-fishing.” Nor is there a clear line between family and fly-fishing. It is the one activity where brother can connect with brother and father with son. In Maclean’s autobiographical novella, it is the river that makes them realize that life continues and all things are related.

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The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig

 

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27.
Nebraska:
My Antonia
by Willa Cather, 1918

Through Jim Burden’s endearing, smitten voice, we revisit the remarkable vicissitudes of immigrant life in the Nebraska heartland, with all its insistent bonds. Guiding the way are some of literature’s most beguiling characters: the Russian brothers plagued by memories of a fateful sleigh ride, Antonia’s desperately homesick father and self-indulgent mother, and the coy Lena Lingard. Holding the pastoral society’s heart, of course, is the bewitching, free-spirited Antonia.

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Dalva by Jim Harrison

 

Books Set In Each State, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

28.
Nevada:
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
by Hunter S Thompson, 1971

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the best chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever committed to the printed page. It is also the tale of a long weekend road trip that has gone down in the annals of American pop culture as one of the strangest journeys ever undertaken.

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Leaving Las Vegas by John O’Brien

 

Books Set In Each State, A Separate Peace by John Knowles - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

29.
New Hampshire:
A Separate Peace
by John Knowles, 1959

Set at a boys boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

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The Secret History by Donna Tartt  (also the book for Vermont)

 

Books Set In Each State, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

30.
New Jersey:
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
by Junot Diaz, 2007

Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fukœ—the curse that has haunted the Oscar’s family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.

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One For The Money by Janet Evanovich

 

Books Set In Each State, The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

31.
New Mexico:
The Green Glass Sea
by Ellen Klages, 2006

It is 1943, and 11-year-old Dewey Kerrigan is traveling west on a train to live with her scientist father, but no one, not her father nor the military guardians who accompany her, will tell her exactly where he is. When she reaches Los Alamos, New Mexico, she learns why: he’s working on a top secret government program. Over the next few years, Dewey gets to know eminent scientists, starts tinkering with her own mechanical projects, becomes friends with a budding artist who is as much of a misfit as she is and, all the while, has no idea how the Manhattan Project is about to change the world. This book’s fresh prose and fascinating subject are like nothing you’ve read before.

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Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

 

Books Set In Each State, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

32.
New York:
The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925

Here is a novel, glamorous, ironical, compassionate – a marvelous fusion into unity of the curious incongruities of the life of the period – which reveals a hero like no other – one who could live at no other time and in no other place. But he will live as a character, we surmise, as long as the memory of any reader lasts.

It is the story of this Jay Gatsby who came so mysteriously to West Egg, of his sumptuous entertainments, and of his love for Daisy Buchanan – a story that ranges from pure lyrical beauty to sheer brutal realism, and is infused with a sense of the strangeness of human circumstance in a heedless universe.

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A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith

 

Books Set In Each State, A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

33.
North Carolina:
A Walk To Remember
by Nicholas Sparks, 1999

Every April, when the wind blows from the sea and mingles with the scent of lilacs, Landon Carter remembers his last year at Beaufort High. It was 1958, and Landon had already dated a girl or two. He even swore that he had once been in love. Certainly the last person in town he thought he’d fall for was Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town’s Baptist minister.

A quiet girl who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks, Jamie seemed content living in a world apart from the other teens. She took care of her widowed father, rescued hurt animals, and helped out at the local orphanage. No boy had ever asked her out. Landon would never have dreamed of it.

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Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

 

Books Set In Each State, The Round House by Louise Erdrich - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

34.
North Dakota:
The Round House
by Louise Erdrich, 2012

One of the most revered novelists of our time – a brilliant chronicler of Native-American life – Louise Erdrich returns to the territory of her bestselling, Pulitzer Prize finalist The Plague of Doves with The Round House, transporting readers to the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. It is an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family.

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Peace Like A River by Leif Enger

 

Books Set In Each State, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

35.
Ohio:
Little Fires Everywhere
By Celeste Ng, 2017

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

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Beloved by Toni Morrison

 

Books Set In Each State, Where The Heart Is by Billie Letts - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

36.
Oklahoma:
Where The Heart Is
by Billie Letts, 1995

Talk about unlucky sevens. An hour ago, seventeen-year-old, seven months pregnant Novalee Nation was heading for California with her boyfriend. Now she finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma, with just $7.77 in change. But Novalee is about to discover hidden treasures in this small Southwest town–a group of down-to-earth, deeply caring people willing to help a homeless, jobless girl living secretly in a Wal-Mart. From Bible-thumping blue-haired Sister Thelma Husband to eccentric librarian Forney Hull who loves Novalee more than she loves herself, they are about to take her–and you, too–on a moving, funny, and unforgettable journey to… Where the Heart Is.

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The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

 

Books Set In Each State, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

37.
Oregon:
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
by Ken Kesey, 1962

Like George Orwell and Philip Wylie, Ken Kesey is concerned with man’s battle to be himself in a world of increasing controls, the battle of joy and freedom against a society which fosters guilt and shame. His first novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, tells the story of a struggle between a man and a woman for the spirits and hearts of a group of people who have been defeated by the world.

The setting for these defeated lives is a mental institution. The teller of the story, a half-Indian and a long-time inmate, has made the most complete retreat from life of all of them; he will not talk, and he has fooled the staff into thinking he is deaf and dumb. But through his self-imposed protective fog he is an acute observer.

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The Jump-Off Creek by Molly Gloss

 

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Books Set In Each State, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

38.
Pennsylvania:
The Lovely Bones
by Alice Sebold, 2002

The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder — a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting, you say? Remarkably, first-time novelist Alice Sebold takes this difficult material and delivers a compelling and accomplished exploration of a fractured family’s need for peace and closure.

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

 

Books Set In Each State, My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

39.
Rhode Island:
My Sister’s Keeper
by Jodi Picoult, 2004

Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate — a life and a role that she has never challenged… until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister—and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

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The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike

 

Books Set In Each State, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

40.
South Carolina:
The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd, 2001

Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

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The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

 

Books Set In Each State, The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

41.
South Dakota:
The Personal History of Rachel DuPree
by Ann Weisgarber, 2008

When Rachel, hired help in a Chicago boardinghouse, falls in love with Isaac, the boardinghouse owner’s son, he makes her a bargain: he’ll marry her, but only if she gives up her 160 acres from the Homestead Act so he can double his share. She agrees, and together they stake their claim in the forebodingly beautiful South Dakota Badlands.

Fourteen years later, in the summer of 1917, the cattle are bellowing with thirst. It hasn’t rained in months, and supplies have dwindled. Pregnant, and struggling to feed her family, Rachel is isolated by more than just geography. She is determined to give her surviving children the life they deserve, but she knows that her husband, a fiercely proud former Buffalo Soldier, will never leave his ranch: black families are rare in the West, and land means a measure of equality with the white man. Somehow Rachel must find the strength to do what is right-for herself, and for her children.

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Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

 

Books Set In Each State, A Death In The Family by James Agee - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

42.
Tennessee:
A Death In The Family
by James Agee, 1957

Published in 1957, two years after its author’s death at the age of forty-five, A Death in the Family remains a near-perfect work of art, an autobiographical novel that contains one of the most evocative depictions of loss and grief ever written. As Jay Follet hurries back to his home in Knoxville, Tennessee, he is killed in a car accident–a tragedy that destroys not only a life but also the domestic happiness and contentment of a young family. A novel of great courage, lyric force, and powerful emotion, A Death in the Family is a masterpiece of American literature.

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Suttree by Cormac McCarthy

 

Books Set In Each State, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

43.
Texas:
Lonesome Dove
by Larry McMurtry, 1985

A love story, an adventure, and an epic of the frontier, Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize— winning classic, Lonesome Dove, the third book in the Lonesome Dove tetralogy, is the grandest novel ever written about the last defiant wilderness of America.

Journey to the dusty little Texas town of Lonesome Dove and meet an unforgettable assortment of heroes and outlaws, whores and ladies, Indians and settlers. Richly authentic, beautifully written, always dramatic, Lonesome Dove is a book to make us laugh, weep, dream, and remember.

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All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

 

Books Set In Each State, The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

44.
Utah:
The 19th Wife
by David Ebershoff, 2008

Sweeping and lyrical, spellbinding and unforgettable, David Ebershoff’s The 19th Wife combines epic historical fiction with a modern murder mystery to create a brilliant novel of literary suspense. It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of a family’s polygamous history is revealed, including how a young woman became a plural wife.

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The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer

 

Books Set In Each State, The Secret History by Donna Tartt - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

45.
Vermont:
The Secret History
by Donna Tartt, 1992

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.

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All The Best People by Sonja Yoerg

 

Books Set In Each State, The Known World by Edward P. Jones - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

46.
Virginia:
The Known World
by Edward P. Jones, 2003

The Known World tells the story of Henry Townsend, a black farmer and former slave who falls under the tutelage of William Robbins, the most powerful man in Manchester County, Virginia. Making certain he never circumvents the law, Townsend runs his affairs with unusual discipline. But when death takes him unexpectedly, his widow, Caldonia, can’t uphold the estate’s order, and chaos ensues. Jones has woven a footnote of history into an epic that takes an unflinching look at slavery in all its moral complexities.

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Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

 

Books Set In Each State, Snow Falling On Cedars by David Guterson - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

47.
Washington:
Snow Falling On Cedars
by David Guterson, 1994

San Piedro Island, north of Puget Sound, is a place so isolated that no one who lives there can afford to make enemies. But in 1954 a local fisherman is found suspiciously drowned, and a Japanese American named Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder. In the course of the ensuing trial, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than a man’s guilt. For on San Pedro, memory grows as thickly as cedar trees and the fields of ripe strawberries—memories of a charmed love affair between a white boy and the Japanese girl who grew up to become Kabuo’s wife; memories of land desired, paid for, and lost.

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Hotel On The Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

 

Books Set In Each State, Lost In The City by Edward P. Jones - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

48.
Washington DC:
Lost In The City
by Edward P. Jones, 1992

A magnificent collection of short fiction focusing on the lives of African-American men and women in Washington, D.C., Lost in the City is the book that first brought author Edward P. Jones to national attention. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and numerous other honors for his novel The Known World, Jones made his literary debut with these powerful tales of ordinary people who live in the shadows in this metropolis of great monuments and rich history. Lost in the City received the Pen/Hemingway Award for Best First Fiction and was a National Book Award Finalist.

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The Silence of The Lambs by Thomas Harris

 

Books Set In Each State, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

49.
West Virginia:
The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls, 2005

Note: this book moves around quite a few states including California, Nevada, West Virginia and New York.

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.” Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.

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Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam

 

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50.
Wisconsin:
The Art of Fielding
by Chad Harbach, 2011

The Art of Fielding is an expansive, warmhearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment – to oneself and to others.

At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.

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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

 

Books Set In Each State, Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx - Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

51.
Wyoming:
Brokeback Mountain
by Annie Proulx, 1997

Annie Proulx has written some of the most original and brilliant short stories in contemporary literature, and for many readers and reviewers, Brokeback Mountain is her masterpiece.

Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist, two ranch hands, come together when they’re working as sheepherder and camp tender one summer on a range above the tree line. At first, sharing an isolated tent, the attraction is casual, inevitable, but something deeper catches them that summer.

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Cowboys and East Indians by Nina McConigley

 

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What do you think of these books set in each state?

How many of these books set in each state have you read? Are you going to try the America Reading Challenge? Have a great book recommendation I’ve missed? Interested in my other American book lists? I’d love to hear more about your tips for books set in each state in the comments below!

 

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Books Set In Each State. Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

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Books Set In Each State. Visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. america reading challenge, books set in every state, books from every state, books from each state, most popular book in each state, books about each state, books to read from every state, us road trip, usa book list, american books, american book covers, american books reading list, usa books, us books, book challenge, reading challenge, books set in america, state books series, 50 states book list

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12 Comments

  • Reply Verena May 25, 2018 at 7:22 am

    Hi Ash, I wanted to print the American Reading Challenge list, but I can’t seem to remember my password to the Resource library. I have long since signed up for your Newsletter, doing it again does not provide me with a new password it seems… How can I access the printables? Can you help out? Thanks a lot, Verena

    • Reply Ash at Tale Away May 25, 2018 at 11:22 am

      Hi Verena, no problem at all! I’ve sent you a follow up email with your login details for the resource library. Please just let me know if you still have any trouble. Wishing you the best of luck with the challenge! 🙂

  • Reply Debbie May 28, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    Each time I try to click on the book list nothing happens, when I go to free resources it asks for name and email but then tells me I am already registered, yet there is no sign in that i can find?

    • Reply Ash at Tale Away May 28, 2018 at 6:39 pm

      Hi Debbie! I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble downloading the printable America Reading Challenge list. After you signed up, the welcome email should have included your login details for the resource library – which is home to all the printable lists! I’ve sent you a follow up email with the login details too. 🙂

  • Reply Faith June 1, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    Hello Ash!

    I must say that these lists are incredible. I had to read a few of these books for school over the years, but most of them I’ve never even heard of! I did read Icy Sparks and Where the Heart Is several years ago and I loved them both! I’ve also read the Green Glass Sea; did you know that there was a sequel? I haven’t read it myself yet. Knowing someone that loves books is pretty cool; keep up the great work!

    • Reply Ash at Tale Away June 15, 2018 at 4:01 pm

      Hi Faith! Thank you so much for your kind words! I didn’t realize that the Green Glass Sea had a sequel, thanks for the tip. It’s called White Sands, Red Menace and I was very happy to find it’s set in New Mexico too! 🙂

  • Reply John-Willem June 13, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    Love your lists! I hope many more will follow!

    • Reply Ash at Tale Away June 15, 2018 at 4:49 pm

      Thanks John-Willem, I hope so too! It seems I have too many ideas and too little time, but I’m certainly working on it! 🙂

  • Reply Carolyn June 16, 2018 at 1:16 am

    Ash, I (also) lost the info I need to download print lists from resources. Would you please be kind enough to resend?
    Thanks,
    Carolyn

    • Reply Ash at Tale Away June 18, 2018 at 11:14 am

      Hi Carolyn, no problem at all! I’ve just sent you an email with your login details and password. Happy Reading! 🙂

  • Reply Pamela Jones June 25, 2018 at 3:00 am

    I have read 16 of the books on your list and I am going to try to read the others that I have not read. Looks like a good list of books. For Arizona you could have These Is My Words by Nancy Anne Tucker. It is a fantastic book about the lives of Sarah Prine and her family when the state was only a U.S. Territory.

    • Reply Ash at Tale Away June 25, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      Hi Pamela, it’s amazing you’ve read 16 already! I really hope you enjoy the other titles. It’s funny you mention These Is My Words, I’ve listed it above as the alternative Arizona book for those who’ve already read The Bean Trees. I’d love to read both myself! 🙂

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