50 states in 50 books. Reading through America with these books on every state

How would it feel like to travel America from the comfort of your couch? Here is a literary map of diverse books that were written in each state.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post
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The Miseducation of Cameron Post

by emily m. danforth

About the book:  Set in rural Montana in the early 1990s, emily m. danforth’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a powerful and widely acclaimed YA coming-of-age novel in the tradition of the classic Annie on My Mind. Cameron Post feels a mix of guilt and relief when her parents die in a car accident....


Notes:  For Montana.

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The Year of Magical Thinking
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The Year of Magical Thinking

by Joan Didion

About the book:  From one of America’s iconic writers, a stunning book of electric honesty and passion. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage--and a life, in good times and bad--that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child.


Notes:  For California.

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The Shining
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The Shining

by Stephen King

About the book:  Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.


Notes:  For Colorado.

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Fight Club: A Novel
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Fight Club: A Novel

by Chuck Palahniuk

About the book:  The first rule about fight club is you don't talk about fight club.In his debut novel, Chuck Palahniuk showed himself to be his generation's most visionary satirist. Fight Club's estranged narrator leaves his lackluster job when he comes under the thrall of Tyler Durden, an enigmatic young man who holds secret boxing matches in the basement of bars. There two men fight "as long as they have to." A gloriously original work that exposes what is at the core of our modern world.


Notes:  For Delaware.

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

by Junot Diaz

About the book:  Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who—from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother and rebellious sister—dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, finding love. But Oscar may never get what he wants. Blame the fukú—a curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations, following them on their epic journey from Santo Domingo to the USA. Encapsulating Dominican-American history, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao opens our eyes to an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and explores the endless human capacity to persevere—and risk it all—in the name of love. From the Trade Paperback edition.


Notes:  For New Jersey.

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The Grapes of Wrath
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The Grapes of Wrath

by John Steinbeck

About the book:  First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into haves and have-nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes the very nature of equality and justice in America. Sensitive to fascist and communist criticism, Steinbeck insisted that "The Battle Hymn of the Republic” be printed in its entirety in the first edition of the book—which takes its title from the first verse: He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.” As Don DeLillo has claimed, Steinbeck shaped a geography of conscience” with this novel where there is something at stake in every sentence.” Beyond that—for emotional urgency, evocative power, sustained impact, prophetic reach, and continued controversy—The Grapes of Wrathis perhaps the most American of American classics.


Notes:  For Oklahoma.

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Gilead
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Gilead

by Marilynne Robinson

About the book:  In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, a kind of last testament to his remarkable forebears. 'It is a book of such meditative calm, such spiritual intensity that is seems miraculous that her silence was only for 23 years; such measure of wisdom is the fruit of a lifetime. Robinson's prose, aligned with the sublime simplicity of the language of the bible, is nothing short of a benediction. You might not share its faith, but it is difficult not to be awed moved and ultimately humbled by the spiritual effulgence that lights up the novel from within' Neel Mukherjee, The Times 'Writing of this quality, with an authority as unforced as the perfect pitch in music, is rare and carries with it a sense almost of danger - that at any moment, it might all go wrong. In Gilead, however, nothing goes wrong' Jane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph


Notes:  For Kansas.

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The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf
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The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf

by Mohja Kahf

About the book:  Growing up devoutly Muslim in her 1970s Indiana community, Syrian immigrant Najla Shamy and her siblings struggle to balance the cultures of America and their family, a coming-of-age challenge that the adult Najla remembers years later when she reconnects with friends from other mixed heritages. Original.


Notes:  For Indiana.

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A Prayer For Owen Meany
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A Prayer For Owen Meany

by John Irving

About the book:  'If you care about something you have to protect it. If you're lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.' Eleven-year-old Owen Meany, playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire, hits a foul ball and kills his best friend's mother. Owen doesn't believe in accidents; he believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is both extraordinary and terrifying.


Notes:  For New Hampshire.

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To Kill a Mockingbird (Enhanced Edition)
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To Kill a Mockingbird (Enhanced Edition)

by Harper Lee

About the book:  This enhanced digital edition of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep south includes audio of Sissy Spacek performing the audiobook and video footage from the documentary Hey Boo: Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird which includes Oprah Winfrey, Tom Brokaw, Anna Quindlen, Wally Lamb, Alice Finch Lee and others discussing Harper Lee and the book, excerpts from Harper Lee’s final radio interview, and footage from the film. One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father-a crusading local lawyer-risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.


Notes:  For Alabama.

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Into the Wild
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Into the Wild

by Jon Krakauer

About the book:  By examining the true story of Chris McCandless, a young man, who in 1992 walked deep into the Alaskan wilderness and whose SOS note and emaciated corpse were found four months later, internationally bestselling author Jon Krakauer explores the obsession which leads some people to explore the outer limits of self, leave civilization behind and seek enlightenment through solitude and contact with nature. 'an astonishingly gifted writer: his account of 'Alex Supertramp' is powerfully dramatic, eliciting sympathy for both the idealistic, anti-consumerist boy - and his parents' Guardian 'a compelling tale of tragic idealism' The Times


Notes:  For Alaska.

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The Host
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The Host

by Stephenie Meyer

About the book:  Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed. Wanderer, the invading 'soul' who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind. Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves - Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.


Notes:  For Arizona.

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

by Maya Angelou

About the book:  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 about love for herself and 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. Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a modern American classic that will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read. From the Paperback edition.


Notes:  For Arkansas.

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The Stepford Wives
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The Stepford Wives

by Ira Levin

About the book:  The internationally bestselling novel by the author of A Kiss Before Dying, The Boys from Brazil, and Rosemary's BabyWith an Introduction by Peter StraubFor Joanna, her husband, Walter, and their children, the move to beautiful Stepford seems almost too good to be true. It is. For behind the town's idyllic facade lies a terrible secret -- a secret so shattering that no one who encounters it will ever be the same.At once a masterpiece of psychological suspense and a savage commentary on a media-driven society that values the pursuit of youth and beauty at all costs, The Stepford Wives is a novel so frightening in its final implications that the title itself has earned a place in the American lexicon.


Notes:  For Connecticut.

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Skinny Dip
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Skinny Dip

by Carl Hiaasen

About the book:  Joey Perrone is a woman with a mission. She's just been pushed overboard from a cruise liner by Chaz, her scumbag husband, and survived to tell the tale. But rather than reporting him to the police, she decides to stay dead and - with a little help from her friends and a few of Chaz's enemies - instead of getting mad, she's going to get even. Filled with a host of endearingly offbeat characters, and a narrative that is hilarious, romantic and thought-provoking by turns, Skinny Dip takes us on a journey through the warped politics of Southern Florida and through the madness created by the human heart.


Notes:  For Florida.

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The Color Purple
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The Color Purple

by Alice Walker

About the book:  Now a Broadway musical  Winner of the Pulitzer Prize  Winner of the National Book Award   Published to unprecedented acclaim, The Color Purple established Alice Walker as a major voice in modern fiction. This is the story of two sisters—one a missionary in Africa and the other a child wife living in the South—who sustain their loyalty to and trust in each other across time, distance, and silence. Beautifully imagined and deeply compassionate, this classic novel of American literature is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of life.“Intense emotional impact . . . Indelibly affecting . . . Alice Walker is a lavishly gifted writer.” — New York Times Book Review“Places Walker in the company of Faulkner.” — The Nation“Superb . . . A work to stand beside literature of any time and place.” — San Francisco Chronicle“A novel of permanent importance.” — Peter S. Prescott, Newsweek


Notes:  For Georgia.

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The Descendants
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The Descendants

by Kaui Hart Hemmings

About the book:  Narrated in a bold, fearless, unforgettable voice and set against the lush, panoramic backdrop of Hawaii, The Descendants is a stunning debut novel about an unconventional family forced to come together and re-create its own legacy. 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. Before honoring Joanie’s living will, Matt must gather her friends and family to say their final goodbyes, a difficult situation made worse by the sudden discovery that there is one person who hasn’t been told: the man with whom Joanie had been having an affair, quite possibly the one man she ever truly loved. Forced to examine what he owes not only to the living but to the dead, Matt takes to the road with his daughters to find his wife’s lover, a memorable journey that leads to both painful revelations and unforeseen humor and growth.


Notes:  For Hawaii.

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The Blacker the Berry
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The Blacker the Berry

by Wallace Thurman

About the book:  The first novel to openly address color prejudice among black Americans, this moving tale unfolds amid the Harlem Renaissance in an enduringly relevant examination of racial, sexual, and cultural identity.


Notes:  For Idaho.

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Divergent (Divergent, Book 1)
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Divergent (Divergent, Book 1)

by Veronica Roth

About the book:  She turns to the future in a world that’s falling apart. The No. 1 New York Times bestseller DIVERGENT – a major motion picture in 2014.


Notes:  For Illinois.

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Midnight Assassin
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Midnight Assassin

by Patricia L. Bryan,Thomas Wolf

About the book:  On the night of December 1,1900, Iowa farmer John Hossack was attacked and killed while he slept at home beside his wife, Margaret. On April 11, 1901, after five days of testimony before an all-male jury, Margaret Hossack was found guilty of his murder and sentenced to life in prison. One year later, she was released on bail to await a retrial; jurors at this second trial could not reach a decision, and she was freed. She died August 25, 1916, leaving the mystery of her husband's death unsolved.


Notes:  For Iowa.

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