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Great American Road Trip: Books by State

great-american-logo(Books are organized alphabetically by author.)

In conjunction with our 2015 Adult Summer Reading Program theme, The Great American Road Trip, we’ve come up with a list of books set in or about various states throughout the country. This list is just a sampling of some of the many different talents, styles, and stories connected to our country. Feel free to define your own literary American Road Trip! Also, just for kicks, check out some pre-established Literary Maps: SF Chronicle’s Literary Map of the SF Bay Area, the Literary Gift Company’s USA Literary Map, Brooklyn Magazine’s Literary United States, Mic.com’s most popular books by state, and Business Insider’s map of famous books from each state.

Alabama:

  • Cotton Tenants: Three Families by James Agee (cotton farmer, social conditions)
  • Fried Green Tomatoes by Frannie Flagg (fiction)
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green (fiction)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (fiction)
  • Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution by Diane McWhorter (civil rights movement)
  • The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee by Marja Mills (memoir)
  • Citizens Creek by Lalita Tademy (historical fiction)
  • Anthill by E. O. Wilson (fiction)

 Alaska:

  • The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon (fiction)
  • Last Light Breaking: Living Among Alaska’s Inupiat Eskimos by Nick Jans (Eskimo culture)
  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (true adventure)
  • Coming Into the Country by John McPhee (Alaska description and travel)
  • Caribou Island by David Vann (fiction)
  • Two Old Women: an Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage, and Survival by Velma Wallis (folklore)

 Arizona:

  • Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream by Joshua Davis (memoir)
  • The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver (fiction)
  • Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (historical fiction)
  • The Last Kind Words Saloon by Larry McMurtry (historical fiction)
  • Epitaph: a Novel of the O.K. Corral by Mary Doria Russell (historical fiction)
  • The Jaguar’s Children by John Vaillant (fiction)
  • Half-Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls (fiction)

 Arkansas:

  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (memoir)
  • Warriors Don’t Cry: the Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High by Melba Patillo Beals (memoir)
  • A Painted House by John Grisham (fiction)
  • Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Incident, and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser (nuclear weapons)
  • Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley (fiction)

 California:

  • San Miguel by T.C. Boyle (historical fiction)
  • Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler (mystery)
  • Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion (essays)
  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: a Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman (medicine, Hmong culture)
  • The Flowers by Dagoberto Glib (fiction)
  • The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande (memoir)
  • Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston (memoir)
  • Tales of the City by Amistead Maupin (fiction)
  • I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson (fiction)
  • Pomona Queen by Kem Nunn (fiction)
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck (fiction)
  • Gods Go Begging by Alfredo Vea, Jr (fiction)
  • The Dawn Patrol by Don Winslow (mystery)

 Colorado:

  • Columbine by Dave Cullen (true crime)
  • Benediction by Kent Haruf (fiction)
  • The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings (fiction)
  • Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats by Kristen Iversen (environmental pollution)
  • The Shining by Stephen King (mystery)
  • The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb (fiction)
  • Centennial by James Michener (fiction)
  • Nothing Daunted: the Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West by Dorothy Wickenden (biography)

 Connecticut:

  • The Spark and the Drive by Wayne Harrison (fiction)
  • Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman (memoir)
  • We Are Water by Wally Lamb (fiction)
  • The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin (fiction)
  • The Invention of Exile by Vanessa Manko (fiction)
  • Sins of the Flesh by Colleen McCullough (mystery)
  • Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (fiction)

 Delaware:

  • The Saint of Lost Things by Christopher Castellani (fiction)
  • The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Henriquez (fiction)
  • Hawkes Harbor by S.E. Hinton (fiction)
  • New Uses for Old Boyfriends by Beth Kendrick (fiction)
  • Fight Club by Chuck Palaniuk (fiction)

 Florida:

  • To Have and to Have Not by Ernest Hemmingway (fiction)
  • Paper Towns by John Green (fiction)
  • Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen (fiction)
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (fiction)
  • The Yearling by Marjorie Rawlings (fiction)
  • Swamplandia by Karen Russell (fiction)

 Georgia:

  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt (true crime)
  • The March by E.L. Doctorow (historical fiction)
  • Untamed: the Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island by Will Harlan (biography, naturalist)
  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (fiction)
  • Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (historical fiction)
  • Home by Toni Morrison (fiction)
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker (fiction)
  • A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe (fiction)

 Hawaii:

  • House of Many Gods by Kiana Davenport (fiction)
  • The Descendants by Kaui Heart Hemmings (fiction)
  • Hawaii by James Michener (fiction)
  • Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings and America’s First Imperial Adventure by Julia Siler (Hawaii history)
  • Blu’s Hanging by Lois-Ann Yamanaka (fiction)

 Idaho:

  • A Country Called Home by Kim Barnes (fiction)
  • Five Skies by Ron Carlson (fiction)
  • Gone Feral: Tracking My Dad Through the Wild by Novella Carpenter (memoir)
  • The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America by Timothy Egan (US History)
  • Train Dreams by Dennis Johnson (historical fiction)
  • The Animals by Christian Kiefer (fiction)
  • Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson (fiction)

 Illinois:

  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (fiction)
  • I Sailed With Magellan: Stories by Stewart Dybek (fiction)
  • The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson (true crime, World’s Fair of 1893)
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth (science fiction)
  • The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (fiction)
  • Native Son by Richard Wright (fiction)

 Indiana:

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (fiction)
  • Snapper by Brian Kimberling (fiction)
  • A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel (memoir)
  • The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington (historical fiction)
  • God Bless you Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut (fiction)

 Iowa:

  • Legacy of Eden by Nelle Davy (fiction)
  • Hunts in Dreams by Tom Drury (fiction)
  • After the Workshop: a Memoir by Jack Hercules Sheahan—a Novel by John McNally (fiction)
  • We Wanted to Be Writers: Life, Love, and Literature at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop by Eric Olsen and Glenn Schaeffer (memoir)
  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (fiction)
  • A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (fiction)
  • The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson (memoir)

 Kansas:

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum (fiction)
  • The Worst Hard Time: the Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan (US history)
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (true crime)
  • Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (mystery)
  • Gabriel’s Story by David Anthony Durham (fiction)

 Kentucky:

  • Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry (fiction)
  • The Sisters by Nancy Jensen (fiction)
  • Calling Me Home by Kibler (historical fiction)
  • Raylan by Elmore Leonard (fiction)
  • The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Chris Scotton (fiction)
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (historical fiction)
  • Saint Monkey by Jacinda Townsend (fiction)

 Louisiana:

  • Gumbo Ya Ya: Folk Tales from Louisiana
  • Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Terrence Blow (memoir)
  • The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke (mystery)
  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin (fiction)
  • Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal (fiction)
  • Interview With a Vampire by Anne Rice (fiction)
  • The Moviegoer by Walker Percy (fiction)
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (fiction)

 Maine:

  • Winter at the Door by Sarah Graces (mystery)
  • The Bird Skinner by Alice Greenway (fiction)
  • Carrie by Stephen King (fiction)
  • Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (fiction)
  • Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan (fiction)
  • Empire Falls by Richard Russo (fiction)
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (fiction)

 Maryland:

  • Nine Years Under: Coming of Age in an Inner City Funeral Home by Sheri Booker (memoir)
  • Mister Death’s Blue-Eyed Girls by Mary Downing (fiction)
  • Song Yet Sung  by James McBride (historical fiction)
  • The Other Wes Moore: the Story of One Name and Two Fates by Wes Moore (memoir)
  • Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler (fiction)

 Massachusetts:

  • Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs (memoir)
  • The Given Day by Dennis Lehane (historical fiction)
  • The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud (fiction)
  • Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi (fiction)
  • Mayflower: a Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick (Massachusettes history)
  • Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (fiction)
  • Walden, or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau (memoir)

Michigan:

  • The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man by W. Bruce Cameron (fiction)
  • The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (fiction)
  • Returning to Earth by Jim Harrison (fiction)
  • Detroit: an American Autopsy by Charles LeDuff (Detroit social conditions, history)
  • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (fiction)

 Minnesota:

  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (fiction)
  • Last Standing Woman by Winona LaDuke (fiction)
  • Main Street by Sinclair Lewis (fiction)
  • Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien (fiction)
  • Giants of the Earth by Ole Rolvang (historical fiction)

 Mississippi:

  • The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (fiction)
  • Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin (fiction)
  • Ford County: Stories by John Grisham (fiction)
  • The Quiet Game by Greg Iles (mystery)
  • MIssissippi by Hillary Jordan (fiction)
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett (fiction)
  • Men We Reaped by Jessamyn Ward (memoir)
  • Freedom Summer: the Savage Season that Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy by Bruce Watson (civil rights movement)

 Missouri:

  • The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton (fiction)
  • Finn by Jon Clinch (fiction)
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (mystery)
  • Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice (fiction)
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (fiction)
  • Stoner by John Williams (historical fiction)
  • The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams (drama)
  • The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell (fiction)

 Montana:

  • The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig (fiction)
  • Canada by Richard Ford (fiction)
  • Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison (fiction)
  • Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson (fiction)
  • A River Runs Through It by Norman McLean (fiction)
  • The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of Little Bighorn by Nathaniel Philbrick (US history)
  • Fools Crow by James Welch (fiction)

 Nebraska:

  • O Pioneers by Willa Cather (historical fiction)
  • You Remind Me of Me by Dan Chaon (fiction)
  • Ceremony in Lone Tree by Wright Morris (fiction)
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (fiction)
  • The Echo Maker by Richard Powers (fiction)

 Nevada:

  • The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark (fiction)
  • About a Mountain by John D’Agata (Nevada history)
  • Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman (fiction)
  • The Days of Anna Madrigal by Amistead Maupin (fiction)
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (fiction)
  • In Nevada: the Land, the People, God, and Chance by David Thomson (Nevada history)
  • Battleborn: Stories by Claire Vaye Watkins (fiction)

 New Hampshire:

  • The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian (fiction)
  • Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving (fiction)
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles (fiction)
  • Man Walks Into a Room by Nicole Krauss (fiction)
  • The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard (fiction)
  • Sea Glass by Anita Shreve (historical fiction)
  • The Last Policeman by Ben Winters (mystery)

New Jersey:

  • Drown by Junot Diaz (fiction)
  • The Sportswriter by Richard Ford (fiction)
  • Washington’s Crossing by Douglas Hackett (US History)
  • The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates (fiction)
  • American Pastoral by Philip Roth (fiction)

 New Mexico:

  • Bless Me Ultima by Rudolpho Anaya (fiction)
  • Red Sky At Morning by Richard Bradford (fiction)
  • House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest by Craig Childs (Chaco culture)
  • House Made of Dawn by M. Scott Momaday (fiction)
  • The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit (fiction)
  • Blood and Thunder: an Epic of the American West by Hampton Sides (US history)
  • Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko (fiction)
  • Cities of the Plane by Cormac McCarthy (fiction)

 New York:

  • How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez (fiction)
  • The New York Trilogy (starts with City of Glass) by Paul Auster (fiction)
  • If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin (fiction)
  • Open City by Teju Cole (fiction)
  • Sidewalk by Mitchell Duneier (ethnography of street vendors)
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (fiction)
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (fiction)
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (fiction)
  • Like No Other by Una LaMarche (fiction)
  • Family Life by Akhil Sharma (fiction)
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (fiction)

 North Carolina

  • First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen (fiction)
  • Lookaway, Lookaway by Wilton Barnhardt (fiction)
  • Nightwoods by Charles Frazier (fiction)
  • The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith (historical fiction)
  • A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks (fiction)
  • Blood Done Sign My Name: a True Story by Timothy Tyson (memoir)
  • Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe (fiction)

 North Dakota:

  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich (fiction)
  • Encounters at the Heart of the World: a History of the Mandan People by Elizabeth Fenn (Mandan Indians, history)
  • Dakota by Gwen Florio (mystery)
  • Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman (fiction)
  • Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo (fiction)
  • Dakota: a Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris (non-fiction)

 Ohio:

  • Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (fiction)
  • Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo (mystery)
  • The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier (historical fiction)
  • Woke Up Lonely by Fiona Maazel (fiction)
  • Sula by Toni Morrison (fiction)
  • Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock (fiction)
  • The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace (fiction)

 Oklahoma:

  • Kind of Kin by Rilla Askew (fiction)
  • Cimarron by Edna Faber (historical fiction)
  • Ghost At Work by Carolyn Hart (mystery)
  • The Outsiders by SE Hinton (fiction)
  • Paradise by Toni Morrison (fiction)
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (fiction)

 Oregon:

  • Heartsick by Chelsea Cain (mystery)
  • Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter (fiction)
  • Mink River by Brian Doyle (fiction)
  • Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey (fiction)
  • The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin (sci-fi)
  • My Abandonment by Peter Rock (fiction)
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (memoir)

 Pennsylvania:

  • The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis (fiction)
  • The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough (US History)
  • Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick (fiction)
  • Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger (fiction)
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (mystery)
  • Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (historical fiction)

 Rhode Island:

  • Spartina by John Casey (fiction)
  • Rogue Island by Bruce DeSilva (mystery)
  • The Marriage Plot Jeffrey Eugenides (fiction)
  • The Exiles by Allison Lynn (fiction)
  • My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Piccoult (fiction)
  • The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike (fiction)

 South Carolina:

  • South of Broad by Pat Conroy (fiction)
  • The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (fiction)
  • The Disappointment Room by Dee Phelps (historical fiction)
  • Sassafras, Cypress, and Indigo by Nitozake Shange (fiction)
  • The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (fiction)

 South Dakota:

  • A Long Way from Home by Tom Brokaw (memoir)
  • Welcome to Hard Times by E L Doctorow (fiction)
  • Black Elk Speaks by Black Elk (memoir)
  • Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges (U.S. social conditions, crime)
  • Twisted Tree by Kent Meyers (fiction)
  • Dakota: a Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris (non-fiction)

Tennessee:

  • A Death in the Family by James Agee (fiction)
  • Provinces of Night by William Gay (fiction)
  • The Client by John Grisham (fiction)
  • The Girls of Atomic City: the Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan (U.S. history)
  • The Smoke at Dawn: a Novel of the Civil War by Jeff Shaara (historical fiction)
  • A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor (fiction)

 Texas:

  • Friday Night Lights: a Town, a Team, and a Dream by H G Bissinger (football)
  • Wayfaring Stranger by James Lee Burke (historical fiction)
  • Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisneros (fiction)
  • Black Water Rising by Attica Locke (mystery)
  • The Boy Kings of Texas by Domingo Martinez (memoir)
  • No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (fiction)
  • Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (western)

 Utah:

  • The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff (fiction)
  • The World’s Strongest Librarian: a Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Joshua Hanagarne (memoir)
  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aaron Ralston (true adventure)
  • A Deadly Wandering: a Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention by Matt Richtel (accidents, technology)
  • Recapitulation by Wallace Stegner (fiction)
  • Refuge: an Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams (memoir)
  • Under the Banner of Heaven: a Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer (Mormonism)
  • The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer (fiction)

 Vermont:

  • Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian (fiction)
  • Go With Me by Castle Freeman, Jr.(fiction)
  • The Skeleton’s Knee by Archer Mayor (mystery)
  • On Kingdom Mountain by Howard Frank Mosher (fiction)
  • Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Potter (fiction)

Virginia:

  • Postmortem by Patricia Cornwall (mystery)
  • Heading out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick (fiction)
  • The Known World by Edward P. Jones (historical fiction)
  • Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver (fiction)
  • The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst (fiction)
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (fiction)
  • Lie Down in Darkness by William Styron (fiction)

 Washington:

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (fiction)
  • Black Hole by Charles Burns (graphic novel)
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (historical fiction)
  • Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson (fiction)
  • Rebel Yell: the Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson by S. C. Gwynne (US history)
  • People of the Whale by Linda Hogan (fiction)
  • Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey (fiction)
  • Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (sci-fi)
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple (fiction)

 Washington DC:

  • Echo House by Ward Just (fiction)
  • The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu (fiction)
  • The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos (mystery)
  • Paw and Order: a Chet and Bernie Mystery by Spencer Quinn (mystery)

 West Virginia:

  • Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon (fiction)
  • Shiloh by Phillis Reynolds Naylor (fiction)
  • Strange As This Weather Has Been by Ann Pancake (fiction)
  • Lark and Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips (fiction)
  • The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls (Memoir)
  • Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington (memoir)

 Wisconsin:

  • A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton (fiction)
  • The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (fiction)
  • Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold (natural history)
  • Blankets by Craig Thompson (graphic novel)
  • Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (fiction)
  • Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (fiction)

 Wyoming:

  • Open Season by C.J. Box (mystery)
  • The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson (mystery)
  • The Laramie Project by Moises Kaufman (drama)
  • The Journey of Crazy Horse: a Lakota History by Joseph M. Marshal III (biography)
  • Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx (fiction)
  • Shane by Jack Schaefer (western)
  • Where Rivers Change Direction by Mark Spragg (memoir)


Resources Consulted:


Come to our One Book One Marin Book Discussion!

atnightwewalkincirclescoverWe’re hosting a book group discussion for the One Book One Marin 2015 book, At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcon.

April 23rd at 7pm, Mill Valley Public Library. Please sign up here.

Led by our wonderful World Lit Book Club facilitator, you’ll have the chance to discuss Daniel Alarcon’s novel in a lively setting with other readers in your community! Come share your thoughts. Open to all.

We have ready-made book club kits, and we’ve created a list of discussion questions for At Night We Walk in Circles, too.

As you may know, One book One Marin 2015 is a county-wide book group, and it’s in full swing. Following this year’s kick-off program in February (with a wonderfully insightful author talk at Book Passage) and continuing on through May, Libraries throughout Marin County including the Mill Valley Public Library are offering book club kits and complimentary programming. For all of the events scheduled throughout the county, head to One Book One Marin.

 

What We Loved in 2014

read_loved_2014Mill Valley Public Library Staff Picks- What we Read and Loved in 2014

Audiobooks:

  • The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke (2007; read by Will Patton)
  • The Long Walk: a Story of War and the Life that Follows by Brian Castner (2012; read by the author)
  • Destiny of the Republic: a Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a Presidents by Candace Millard (2011; read by Paul Michael)
  • Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America by John Waters (2014; read by the author)
  • Selected Shorts: American Classics (2010; various readers)
  • Selected Shorts: Wondrous Women (2008; various readers)

Biography:

  • Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton (2014)
  • The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming (2014)
  • The Reason I Jump: the Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy With Autism by Naoki Higashida, translated by David Mitchell (2013)
  • Jim Henson: the Biography by Brian Jay Jones (2013)
  • This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett (2013)

 Children’s:

  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (2014)
  • Jackaby by William Ritter (2014)
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (2014; biography)

Fiction:

  • Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle (2014)
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2012)
  • We Are All Completely Beside Oursevles by Karen Joy Fowler (2013)
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1991)
  • The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (2011
  • The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness (2014; last volume of All Souls trilogy)
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (1962)
  • California by Edan Lepucki (2014)
  • Orphan Train by Kristina Baker Kline (2013)
  • My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard (2013)
  • The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield (1922)
  • Transatlantic by Colum McCann (2013)
  • Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal (2014)
  • Pearl of China by Anchee Min (2010)
  • One Plus One by Jojo Moyes (2014)
  • Runaway: Stories by Alice Munro (2005)
  • Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami (2014)
  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (2014)
  • Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg (2014)
  • The Complete Stories of Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker (1995)
  • Delicious by Ruth Reichl (2014)
  • The Last Girlfriend on Earth and Other Love Stories by Simon Rich (2014)
  • China Dolls by Lisa See (2014)
  • Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead (2014)
  • Lost For Words by Edward St. Aubyn (2014)
  • A Bit on the Side by William Trevor (2004)
  • Hemingway by Naomi Wood (2014)

Graphic Novel:

  • Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? By Roz Chast (2014)
  • This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (2014)

Humor:

  • You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty by Dave Barry (2014)
  • Food: a Love Story by Jim Gaffigan (2014)
  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler (2014)

Mystery:

  • In the Moon of Red Ponies by James Lee Burke (2004)
  • The Quiet Game by Greg Iles (1999)
  • Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman (2013)
  • The Handsome Man’s Delux Café by Alexander McCall Smith (2014)

Non-Fiction:

  • The Ethics of Ambiguity by Simone de Beauvoir (1989; philosophy)
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown (2013; sports)
  • Farm City: the Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter (2009; urban farming)
  • Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals by Karen Dawn (2008; animal rights)
  • The Public Library: a Photographic Essay by Robert Dawson (2014; libraries, photography)
  • Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay (2014; gender studies)
  • Inside Charlie’s Chocolate Factory: the Complete Story of Willy Wonka, the Golden Ticket, and Roald Dahl’s Greatest Creation by Lucy Mangan (2014; literary creations)
  • The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books by Azar Nafisi (2014; reading & teaching)
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma: a Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan (2006; food)
  • Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte (2014; parenting)
  • All Joy and No Fun: the Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior (2014; parenting)
  • Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit (2014; gender studies)

Sci Fi/Fantasy:

  • The Martian by Andy Weir (2014)
  • The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (2013)

Thrillers:

  • I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes (2014)

Young Adult:

  • Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner (2014)
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (1967)
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (2014)
  • How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon (2014)
  • I’ll Give You the Sun by Judy Nelson (2014)
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (2011)
  • Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (2014)
  • My Abandonment by Peter Rock (2009)
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (2013)
  • She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgewick (2014)
  • The Leviathan Series by Scott Westerfeld (2009)
  • The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (2006)

Book Awards Update!

red-sparrow-book-coverFor the Man Booker 2014 Award, Richard Flanagan came out on top with his highly lauded novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North. The book revolves around a love story set during the building of the Thailand-Burma Death Railway in World War II.

For the 2014 Edgar Awards–given by the Mystery Writers of America to the best talent in the mystery genre– Best Novel went to William Kent Kreuger for his mystery, Ordinary Grace. Kreuger examines one Methodist family’s relationships and secrets in small-town Minnesota during the 1960s. The Best First Novel award went to Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews in which we follow a Russian spy agent, Dominika Ergorova, a synesthete who can perceive colors as sounds and who is tasked with uncovering the identity of a CIA double-agent embedded in Russia’s secret service agency.

2014 Pulitzer Prize for Letters, Drama, and Music

2014_PulitzerOne of the most prestigious awards to be given out in numerous categories, the world-renowned Pulitzer Prize was established in 1917. Ninety-seven years later, the Pulitzer is still held up as a symbol of intellectual excellence. So it’s with great pleasure that we share the list of 2014 award winners in the fields of Letters, Drama, and Music. Congratulations to all of the 2014 winners and nominees!

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction: Tom’s River: a Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin

Pulitzer Prize for History: The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1722-1832 by Alan Taylor

Pulitzer Prize for Biography: Margaret Fuller: a New American Life by Megan Marshall

Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: 3 Sections by Vijay Seshadri

2014 National Book Award Longlist

national_book_award_2014The Longlist of nominees for the 2014 National Book Award have been announced! Remember, the winner has yet to be decided. Take a look and consider checking out or putting yourself on the hold list for one of these beauties:

Fiction

Non-Fiction

Holding Big Brother Accountable–one organization’s reading list

government_watchdogRecently, I came across the Project on Government Oversight (or POGO, as it is affectionately known). POGO was founded in 1981, where it first reported on extravagant military spending. POGO’s mission statement reads: “a non-partisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.” What’s more, POGO produces its own reading lists of books it deems important in the field of exposing government corruption. Check out their Summer 2014 Books That Matter reading list (hey, even if summer is over, there’s never a bad season for reading):

* Not in MARINet system

A Non-Traditional Award List for Teens Living in the Margins of Society

homeless-youthOne of the most amazing aspects of reading is the ability to discover and empathize with any and every experience you can possibly imagine. You can read up on people who are exactly like you, you can step into the skin of a being who has never existed in our world, or you can visit a place that once existed and now only continues to do so in ruins and fossilized records.The point is, you get to choose your own experiences. And they’re endless.

Sometimes we want to read about people who are similar to ourselves; it’s a way to understand the world and how we relate to it. After a while, though, you may want a change. I know that lately I’ve been craving stories that aren’t about lives similar to mine, but feature, in fact, a very different set of circumstances. Again, it’s a way to understand the world and how we relate to it. Maybe it’s a type of voyeurism. Maybe it’s a form of consolation. More likely, it’s genuine interest. It’s a desire to stretch my empathy; to expand my sense of experience (even though I’m not actually experiencing it. Thought to discuss at a latter date: what is the difference between reading about or watching an experience as opposed to living through it directly? What can indirect experiences teach us? What is the benefit?). Some have said it’s a form of self-punishment; the desire to dive into dark holes of despair and hopelessness. But there again, is the beauty: each of us gets to choose our own experiences. We may not be able to control much about our “real” lives, but we can sure choose the types of lives we want to explore in books.

For some of you, the following book list, which speaks to “teens living in poverty, on the streets, in custody, or a cycle of all three” will offer experiences you’re completely unfamiliar with or perhaps don’t care to read about. That’s fine. For those of you who sense something interesting, pursue it. Lists like this are important in that they allow all of us to see a group of people who, while facing significant and difficult challenges, are often invisible in everyday society. They help those of us who are familiar with the subject matter (teen incarceration, custody, poverty, homelessness) to work through our own experiences. They remind us that we’re not alone. At the same time, these lists help those of us who have (luckily) never had to deal with such experiences that there people out there not only facing them, but having to live with all of these challenges, daily. And whenever you step outside of your comfort zone, there’s valuable wisdom, experience, or insight to be gained.

The ASCLA has a Library Services for Youth in Custody group which advocates for youth who have been detained in various types of correctional institutes.These books are recommended for anyone who is interested in teens living in the margins of society. Check out their website for the complete list of 25 titles.

The 2014 top ten (of which Mill Valley Library carries 6) are:

An excellent resource for incarcerated youth, the Beat Within is a non-profit organization that works with juveniles in detention facilities to express their thoughts and feelings through words and art. Check out some pretty powerful and amazing work created by teens in the program on the Beat Within’s Facebook page.

2014 Man Booker Prize Longlist Announced!

manbooker2014

The longlist of finalists for the prestigious 2014 Man Booker Award for best novel have been announced! In previous years, the Man Booker Award was only given to citizens of Great Britain or Commonwealth countries. In an open-minded and intelligent move, the chairing committee has opened up the award this year to any author who has written a novel in English, regardless of nationality. If you’re looking for some new novels, take a gander at the 13 talented candidates that have been chosen. (Please note that several titles are not yet in the MARINet system. These titles may have later US publication dates than their British counterparts.) In September, the committee will narrow down its candidates with an announced shortlist (brutally cutting players the way the World Cup cuts teams), and the winner of the Man Booker Award will be announced in October.

 

A Brief History of Mill Valley’s Steps, Lanes, and Paths

reading_challenge2A Brief Historic Overview of Mill Valley’s Steps, Lanes, and Paths:

During and directly after Mill Valley’s 1900 incorporation, a system of steps, lanes, and paths was developed to help many of Mill Valley’s residents as they made their way on foot or horseback downtown to catch the train or ferry into San Francisco. Initially, most paths were unnamed or given unofficial names; it wasn’t until 1931 when the Board adopted its “Official Street Naming and Numbering Map” that many of the paths finally received names and numbers.

Mill Valley’s network of paths was created piece by piece as land was sold and developed, so some paths benefited from more strategic planning and placement than others. Still, the routes served Mill Valley’s residents well for years as they made their way up and down the mountain, visiting with neighbors or heading home. Often, the responsibility for the upkeep of the trails traditionally fell to the residents of the surrounding area. Generous Mill Valley residents would gather together to clear brush, weed, and do basic repairs on the routes as funds from the town became available.

Once the Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937, automobiles began to infiltrate the formerly pedestrian Mill Valley. As more citizens began to drive cars paths were less frequented and a number fell into disrepair, covered by brambles or rocks, while others succumbed to the elements and were worn away. Periodic attempts were made to preserve the paths over the next 63 years, though due to a variety of circumstances, very few paths remained in passable condition.

Since 2000, ongoing efforts have been made to reclaim and promote Mill Valley’s incredible network of paths. With the effort and support of Mill Valley’s residents, city council, parks and recreation staff, emergency preparedness committee, fire department, planning department, students from Tam High, Mt. Tamalpais School, and Saint Hilary’s, Dipsea Race participants, along with organizations such as the Rotary Club, Step-By-Step Volunteers, Outdoor Art Club members, the Mill Valley Historical Society, the Boy Scouts, Old Mill PTA, 21 public paths have been reopened.

The fire department has marked a number of streets with a blue “E” symbol as emergency escape routes, many of which can be accessed via a set of steps, a lane, or a path.

The Numbering System:

The first 76 numbered paths follow Mill Valley’s topography, starting on Miller Ave with Willow Path (path #1) and working north up along Miller through Cascade Canyon before crossing over Summit Ridge and travelling down Blithedale Canyon to the Alto Bowl area. These initial paths were catalogued in 1925 by Will Falley, Mill Valley’s first city manager. Later paths, numbering 101 and on, were catalogued by several different sources. Gaps in the numbering system are the result of different records being passed on from one source to another or paths which are not included in the current Mill Valley Steps, Lanes, and Paths map.

~Compiled from the official Guide map of Mill Valley Steps, Lanes, and Paths, 3rd ed. (The complete map can be purchased at the circulation desk for the hefty sum of $5)

You may also be interested in Robert Skip Sandberg’s Steps, Lanes, and Paths of Mill Valley.