It was back in November 2011 that I formed a plan to read a book from every state in the USA.
I wrote two posts in fairly quick succession:
My first post.
My second post.
By the second post I'd had loads of suggestions, had sorted out a few of my own books and taken some photos and was ready to begin. I actually meant to post some updates along the way but somehow that never happened. What did happen was that I slowly but surely worked my way through 25 states, plus one book from New York City and a handful of 'multi-state' books.
It was this post from Robin at A Fondness For Reading that finally woke me up again and made me check on my progress.
So, a list of what I've read:
Walking Home - Lynn Schooler
A Cold Day For Murder - Dana Stabenow (and others in the series)
These Is My Words - Nancy Turner
Dog On It - Spencer Quinn
Desert Noir - Betty Webb
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou
True Grit - Charles Portis
Ill Wind - Nevada Barr
Blindsighted - Karin Slaughter
Kisscut - Karin Slaughter
The Little House on the Prairie - Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Virgin Of Small Plains - Nancy Pickard
The Neon Rain - James Lee Burke (and several others by him)
Presumed Guilty - Tess Gerritsen
Dark Hollow - John Connolly (and many more)
The Cycle Of The Werewolf - Stephen King
Friday The Rabbi Slept Late - Harry Kemelman
Summer - Edith Wharton
Moby Dick - Herman Melville (partly set in Nantucket)
The Chatham School Affair - Thomas H. Cook
A Superior Death - Nevada Barr
On The Banks Of Plum Creek - Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Lost Girls - Heather Young
The Help - Kathryn Stockett
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter - Tom Franklin
The Quiet Game - Greg Iles
Holmes On The Range - Steve Hackensmith
Black Cherry Blues - James Lee Burke
Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell
NEW HAMPSHIRE: --
Night of the Living Dead - E.J. Copperman
NEW MEXICO: --
NEW YORK STATE:
In The Bleak Midwinter - Julia Spencer-Fleming
A Gathering Light - Jennifer Donnelly
NORTH CAROLINA: --
NORTH DAKOTA: --
The Last Runaway - Tracy Chevalier
Sworn to Silence - Linda Castillo
The Signature Of All Things - Elizabeth Gilbert
RHODE ISLAND: --
The White Road - John Connolly
Death Du Jour - Kathy Reichs
By The Shores Of Silver Lake - Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Long Winter - Laura Ingalls Wilder
Last Wool and Testament - Molly MacRae
Carved in Bone - Jefferson Bass
Track Of The Cat - Nevada Barr
To Helvetica and Back - Paige Skelton
WASHINGTON STATE: --
WEST VIRGINIA: --
The Way Station - Clifford D. Simak
Little House in the Big Woods - Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Cold Dish - Craig Johnson (and others in the series)
OK, so as well as the 50 states I also decided to include New York City and Washington DC. 'And' note down any multi-state books I read.
NEW YORK CITY:
Maigret in New York - George Simenon
The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton
WASHINGTON DC: --
Narrow Dog to Indian River - Terry Darlington
The Gift of Rivers - edited by Pamela Michael
Travels With Macy - Bruce Fogle
Notes From a Big Country - Bill Bryson
A Voyage Long and Strange - Tony Horowitz
So, 25 states is far better than I thought I'd done to be honest. I've just been quietly writing titles in my trusty notebook and not counting at all.
What's apparent is that firstly I have some huge gaps, and secondly for some states I have multiple entries. The latter was deliberate... it seemed to me that in order to get a real flavour of a state it might be necessary to read a non-fiction, something fun (crime or horror etc.) and something fictional that was more informative. I've definitely done the fun thing! 'But' fun doesn't necessarily mean the book doesn't possess a real flavour of the state it's set in, John Connolly's 'Maine' for instance, James Lee Burke's 'Louisiana', Dana Stabenow's 'Alaska', all have an almost tangible sense of place in their books.
And so I have a long way to go. But that's OK. This is a long term project and always was and I see no reason to rush at it, I want to enjoy the journey.
I'll finish by saying that if anyone has any suggestions for states I'm missing... or states I already have where I should read more (and that's all of them) then please leave them in the comments. All are welcome.