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Read Your Way Across America

Today, March 2nd, is Read Across America Day. This nationwide event encourages kids to set reading goals, so we decided to challenge you and your book club to do the same! In the spirit of the occasion, we are sharing our own interpretation of Read Across America Day by helping you and your book club read your way through the fifty states. Check out the list below to explore some incredible books representing each state across the country. From Hawaii to Maine, no region was overlooked, whether the author was born there, the book is set there, or it’s where a character finds his or her roots.


alabamaALABAMA: All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg

“A record of a life that has been harrowing, cruel and yet triumphant, written so beautifully he makes the book a marvel.” —Los Angeles Times

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide


alaskaALASKA: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

“Terrifying. . . . Eloquent. . . . A heart-rending drama of human yearning.” —The New York Times

Read an excerpt


arizonaARIZONA: The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

“A noir-ish, cinematic thriller set in the midst of a water war between Las Vegas and Phoenix. . . . Think Chinatown meets Mad Max.” —“All Things Considered”, NPR

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide


arkansasARKANSAS: A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip by Kevin Brockmeier

“A funny, poignant oddity. . . . Our little underdog hero is so likable that you’re relieved just to be holding the book in your hands.” —Entertainment Weekly

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californiaCALIFORNIA: The Admissions by Meg Mitchell Moore

The Admissions proves that no cookie-cutter family is as perfect as they seem. . . . Incredible.” —Good Housekeeping

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide


coloradoCOLORADO: Plainsong by Kent Haruf

“A novel so foursquare, so delicate and lovely . . . it has the power to exalt the reader.” —The New York Times Book Review

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide


connecticutCONNECTICUT: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

“Beautifully crafted . . . a remarkable and deeply troubling book.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide


delawareDELAWARE: The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

“Vivid. . . . Striking. . . . A ringing paean to love in general: to the love between man and wife, parent and child, outsider and newcomer, pilgrims and promised land.” —The Washington Post

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide


floridaFLORIDA: Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

“Absolutely irresistible. . . . A suspenseful, deeply haunted book. . . . A marvel.” —The New York Times

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide

 


geprgiaGEORGIA: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

“Elegant and wicked. . . . Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil might be the first true-crime book that makes the reader want to book a bed and breakfast for an extended weekend at the scene of the crime.” —The New York Times Book Review

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide


hawaiiHAWAII: The Wave by Susan Casey

“Immensely powerful, beautiful, addictive and, yes, incredibly thrilling. . . . Like a surfer who is happily hooked, the reader simply won’t be able to get enough of it.” —San Francisco Chronicle 

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide


idahoIDAHO: In the Wilderness by Kim Barnes

“Engrossing . . . revealing, spiritual, cleansing, transcendent—and awash in the elements that make life’s flow so unpredictable, wonderful, and often haunting.” —Chicago Tribune

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illinoisILLINOIS: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

“A deeply moving novel . . . delightful and poignant. . . . Like the best of poetry, it opens the windows of the heart without a wasted word.” —Miami Herald

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indianaINDIANA: The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel

“Kimmel delivers a first novel of big ideas and exquisite characters. Sweet and smart, her book feels like a present.” —Entertainment Weekly

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iowaIOWA: A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

“A family portrait that is also a near-epic investigation into the broad landscape, the thousand dark acres of the human heart. . . . The book has all the stark brutality of a Shakespearean tragedy.” —The Washington Post Book World

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide


kansasKANSAS: Gabriel’s Story by David Anthony Durham

“Wise and beautifully written.” —USA Today

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kentuckyKENTUCKY: Beloved by Toni Morrison

“A masterwork. . . . Wonderful. . . . I can’t imagine American literature without it.” —John Leonard, Los Angeles Times

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louisianaLOUISIANA: A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

“This majestic, moving novel is an instant classic, a book that will be read, discussed and taught beyond the rest of our lives.” —Chicago Tribune

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide


maineMAINE: Empire Falls by Richard Russo

“Rich, humorous, elegantly constructed. . . . Easily Mr. Russo’s most seductive book thus far.” —The New York Times 

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide


marylandMARYLAND: A Mercy by Toni Morrison

“Spellbinding. . . . Dazzling. . . . [A Mercy] stands alongside Beloved as a unique triumph.” —The Washington Post Book World

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massachusettsMASSACHUSETTS: Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

“Poignant, honest and triumphantly funny . . . [a] compelling and heartbreaking story.” —Susan Cheever, The New York Times Book Review

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide


michiganMICHIGAN: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

“A superb novel . . . [that] leaves us not fearful for the end of the world but appreciative of the grace of everyday existence.” —San Francisco Chronicle

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide


minnesotaMINNESOTA: Torch by Cheryl Strayed

“A heartbreaking anatomy of one family’s grief. . . . Beautifully written and authentic.” —People

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mississippiMISSISSIPPI: The Little Friend by Donna Tartt

“Languidly atmospheric . . . psychologically acute. . . . A rich novel that takes you somewhere worth going.” —The New Yorker

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missouriMISSOURI: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

“All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. . . . There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.” —Ernest Hemingway

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide


montanaMONTANA: Breaking Clean by Judy Blunt

“Breathtaking. . . . Blunt’s writing is visceral, yet never without humor and a raw, fierce honesty.” —Chicago Tribune

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nebraskaNEBRASKA: My Ántonia by Willa Cather

“No romantic novel ever written in America, by man or woman, is one half so beautiful as My Ántonia.” —H. L. Mencken

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nevadaNEVADA: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

“The Best Book on the Dope Decade.” —The New York Times Book Review

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new hampshireNEW HAMPSHIRE: The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis

“Inspired. A wonderfully comic novel.” Gore Vidal

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new jerseyNEW JERSEY: In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

“[A] page-turner, emotionally resonant and down-to-earth. . . . Reading In the Unlikely Event is like reconnecting with a long-lost friend.” —The New Yorker

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide


new mexicoNEW MEXICO: Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy

“Showcases Mr. McCarthy’s gifts as an old-fashioned storyteller. . . . His most readable, emotionally engaging novel yet.” —The New York Times 

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new yorkNEW YORK: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

“Deeply moving. . . . A wrenching portrait of the enduring grace of friendship.” —NPR

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north carolinaNORTH CAROLINA: Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All by Allan Gurganus

“Bawdy, raucous, comic. . . . The story of the South in all its tragic and self-perceived glory.” —The Boston Globe

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north dakotaNORTH DAKOTA: Middle C by William H. Gass*

Middle C takes its place in that great line of modern novels about inauthenticity. . . . However, there is nothing sham to Gass’s art: It’s not just dazzling, it’s the real thing.” —The Washington Post

*William H. Gass was born in North Dakota.

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ohioOHIO: Indignation by Philip Roth

“Mesmerizing . . . Philip Roth’s intrepid novel of self-revelation demands to be read in one sitting. It’s that good. It’s that audacious. It’s that compelling.” —Seattle Times

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oklahomaOKLAHOMA: Life is Short but Wide by J. California Cooper

“Cooper’s work reminds us of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. . . . It’s a delight to read.” —Alice Walker

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oregonOREGON: The Oregon Experiment by Keith Scribner

“Engrossing, intelligent, and canny. . . . A great read.” —Jess Walter, author of The Financial Lives of the Poets 

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pennsylvaniaPENNSYLVANIA: The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

“Astonishingly powerful. . . . Ms. Mathis gives us a haunting—and, yes, hopeful—glimpse of the possibility of redemption and the resilience of the human spirit.” —The New York Times

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide


rhode islandRHODE ISLAND: The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

“Poised, haunting, exquisitely effective storytelling. . . . Lahiri is one of our most beautiful chroniclers of the aching disjunctions of emigration and family.” —San Francisco Chronicle

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide


south carolinaSOUTH CAROLINA: Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

“There’s the whiff of a classic about Ella Minnow Pea.” —The Christian Science Monitor

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south dakotaSOUTH DAKOTA: Deadwood by Pete Dexter

“If you want to call Deadwood a Western, you might as well call The House of Mirth chick lit.” —Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections

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tennesseeTENNESSEE: A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor

“We finish the novel feeling we’ve not only come to know his characters, but also come to share their inner truths.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

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texasTEXAS: No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

“A narrative that rips along like hell on wheels [in a] race with the devil [on] a stage as big as Texas.” —The New York Times Book Review

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utahUTAH: When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

“Exceptional. . . . Otsuka skillfully dramatizes a world suddenly foreign. . . . [Her] incantatory, unsentimental prose is the book’s greatest strength.” —The New Yorker

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vermontVERMONT: Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

“Superbly crafted and astonishingly powerful. . . . Will thrill readers who cherish their worn copies of To Kill A Mockingbird.” —People

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virginiaVIRGINIA: The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron

“Magnificent . . . it is one of those rare books that show us our American past, our present—ourselves—in a dazzling shaft of light . . . a triumph.” —The New York Times

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washingtonWASHINGTON: Snow Falling on Cedars David Guterson

“Compelling. . . . Heart-stopping. Finely wrought, flawlessly written.” —The New York Times Book Review

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west virginiaWEST VIRGINIA: Lark & Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips

“Powerful and emotionally piercing. . . . A novel that conjures with poetic ferocity the . . . unconscious, almost magical bonds shared by people who are connected by blood or love or memory.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide


wisconsinWISCONSIN: A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton

“Unforgettably, beat by beat, Hamilton maps the best and worst of the human heart and all the mysterious, uncharted country in between.” —Kirkus Reviews

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wyomingWYOMING: Bone Fire by Mark Spragg

“[Spragg] captures the unruly West, wrangles it onto the page somehow and holds it down with just the words.” —Los Angeles Times 

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