Archive for August 7th, 2010

Iconic Books of the United States

I’ve often promoted my ongoing program to read books from all the nations of the world in Around the World for a Good Book.   It’s got me thinking closer to home about the best books from each of the United States.  It’s hard to determine an iconic book for each state.  A great book about New York City, for example, would not be very representative of the Finger Lakes for example.  At any rate, I thought I’d get a start by looking through my Library Thing catalog to see if I could find an iconic book or two – mostly fiction – for each state.  When it seemed I hadn’t read any books from a particular state I listed one that had been tagged most often with the state’s name by other Library Thing users.

Here’s my list.  Books I’ve read are in bold.  Let me know in the comments if you have additional or alternate suggestions.

Alabama

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Alaska

Call of the Wild by Jack London

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Arizona

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

Arkansas

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

California

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Colorado

Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Connecticut

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Delaware

The Saint of Lost Things: A Novel by Christopher Castellani

District of Columbia

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Florida

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Georgia

The Salt Eaters by Toni Cade Bambera

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Hawaii

Moloka’i by Alan Brennert

Idaho

All Over Creation by Ruth L. Ozeki

Illinois

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

Indiana

In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd

Iowa

Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

Kansas

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Kentucky

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

Louisiana

All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

Maine

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Empire Falls by Richard Russo

Maryland

The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth

Massachusetts

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

Michigan

Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Minnesota

Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor

Mississippi

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

Missouri

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Montana

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

Nebraska

My Ántonia by Willa Cather

Nevada

Roughing It by Mark Twain

The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter van Tilburg Clark

New Hampshire

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

New Jersey

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

American Pastoral by Philip Roth

New Mexico

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols

New York

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

North Carolina

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

North Dakota

The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich

Ohio

Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Oklahoma

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

Oregon

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

Pennsylvania

Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara

Rhode Island

She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

South Carolina

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

South Dakota

By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Tennessee

Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence

Texas

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Utah

The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald

Vermont

Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

Virginia

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Washington

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

West Virginia

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Wisconsin

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wyoming

Brokeback Mountain by E. Annie Proulx

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