Category Archives: By Topic

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)
  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (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:


Strong Female Protagonists

Wild Seed. Photo courtesy of iO9.com

Anyanwu. Photo courtesy of iO9.com

  • Ifemelu from Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Intelligent, outspoken, Nigerian expat Ifemelu observes and records the struggles of racism and identity in her perceptive and searingly honest blog.
  • Carla, Sandra, Yolanda and Sofia from How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez –  4 spirited, teenage sisters from the Dominican Republic must navigate growing up in a new and foreign culture.
  • The Narrator/”Offred” from The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – A sharp and observant woman attempts to define herself against a dystopian society which only values women for their reproductive capabilities.
  • Flavia de Luce from The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley – Precocious and brilliant 11-year-old Flavia de Luce has a penchant for poison, chemistry, and trouble.
  • Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – A woman of great moral fiber and backbone: “I am no bird and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you.”
  • Hannah Heath from People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks – Heath is a young Australian book conservator who appraises ancient manuscripts.
  • Anyanwu from Wild Seed by Octavia Butler – A powerful woman who can regnerate, stop bullets, heal and harm, caught up in a time-traveling struggle.
  • Dolly from The Grass Harp by Truman Capote – Sixty-year-old Dolly develops a secret remedy for dropsy and lives in a tree house.
  • Katsa from Graceling by Kristin Cashore – Katsa is “gifted” with the talent of killing, and by the time she is 18, she’s working unhappily as the King’s henchmen when she decides to strike out on a different path. Beautiful, deadly, cunning, and compassionate, Katsa is a complex heroine.
  • Little Bee from Little Bee by Chris Cleeve – Little Bee is a cautious, keen observer of others, a civil war survivor, and a Nigerian refugee who has fled to London.
  • Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Colins – Forced to fight to the death against other sixteen-year-olds in a dystopian society, Katniss–with her hunting skills, her powerful sense of justice, and her fierce love of and loyalty to her friends and family–is a force to be reckoned with.
  • Dinah from The Red Tent by Anita Diamant – Dinah was a minor character in the Book of Genesis, but in Diamant’s book, she takes center stage as a young woman who comes into her own.
  • Victoria Jones from The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – On her 18th birthday, Victoria Jones ages out of the foster care system.  Unable to express herself with words, she relies on the Victorian language of flowers to communicate: dahlias for “dignity”; rhododendron for “beware.”
  • Marie Laure from All the Light We Cannot See  by Anthony Doerr – When she is six, Marie Laure goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane.
  • Syrenka from Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama – Syrenka is a mermaid who abandons her underwater life for a chance at love on land.
  • Lucy Honeychurch from A Room With a View by E.M. Forster – Beautiful and kind Lucy Honeychurch is constrained by society and customary politeness until she travels to Italy and discovers her own feisty and passionate spirit.
  • Hazel Grace Lancaster from The Fault in our Stars by John Green – At 16, Hazel Grace Lancaster, is a resilient, witty, three-year stage IV-cancer survivor who is (understandably) clinically depressed. 
  • Raquel “Rocky” Rivera from The Gangster of Love by Jessica Hagedorn – A young, spirited Filipino woman who pursues her career as a rock musician while struggling to assimilate into American culture.
  • Diana Bishop from A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – An orphaned daughter of two witches, Diana Bishop is herself a witch, in addition to being an intelligent historian.
  • Kerewin Holmes from The Bone People by Keri Hulme – Half Maori (native New Zealander) Kerewin Holmes is a brilliant, strong, independent and artistic recluse who lives alone in a tower by the ocean.
  • Ayesha from She by H. Rider Haggard – Ayesha is a mysterious and powerful Egyptian Queen who discovers the secret of immortality.
  • Jenny Fields from The World According to Garp by John Irving – Jenny is a strong-willed and compassionate nurse who raises Garp as a single mother.
  • Devorah from Like No Other by Una LaMarche – Devorah is an intelligent, compassionate Hasidic Jew, and her life is full of loving family, constant ritual, and avoiding outsiders. 
  • Frankie Landau Banks from The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart – Frankie is a smart, tough, and curious sophomore who learns about a secret boys-only society at her boarding school and hatches up a cunning plan to turn it on its head.
  • Elphaba from Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire – Elphaba subverts every idea of the evil witch, and enchants as an endearing, green-skinned outcast.
  • Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I from The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell. A fascinating fictional portrayal of two of Britain’s strongest, most intelligent and famous royal women.
  • Mma “Precious” Ramotswe from The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith – An intelligent, warm, and intuitive woman, Precious is Botswana’s only female detective, and her methods are anything but conventional.
  • Aerin in The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley – A strong and complex young woman, Aerin is an outsider princess who must fight the forces of evil to save her kingdom.
  • Florence Gordon from Florence Gordon by Brian Morton – Florence Gordon is a blunt, brilliant, extremeley critical 76-year old feminist icon.
  • Esther Greenwood from The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – A young, smart, sensitive and determined female writer.
  • Sally Lockhart from The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman – Sally Lockhart is a sixteen-year-old orphan who must dodge death in her quest to uncover the secret  behind a mysterious ruby.
  • Olive Kitteridge from Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout – A gloriously abrasive, cantankerous, opinionated, and determined woman.
  • Hama and Matron from Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese – Because, in the words of our Librarian Cara B., “these are not the lead characters, but they are two of my favorite (and most kick-a**) women characters ever.”
  • Celie from The Color Purple by Alice Walker – a woman of letters, Celie perceptively and honestly documents her harrowing life and her developing strength and resilience against powerful odds.
  • Maggie and Queenie from Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – Queenie is a British spy who is caught and interrogated by the Nazis for secret codes; her close friend Maddie is a skilled and daring British pilot

And, if you’re interested, there’s a fun book titled How to Be a Heroine; or What I’ve Learned from Reading Too Much by Samantha Ellis.

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

World War I Centennial Reading List

Great War Primary Document Archive: Photos of the Great War - www.gwpda.org/photos

Great War Primary Document Archive: Photos of the Great War – www.gwpda.org/photos

Journalism

journalism

Sports

2012 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials - Day 4

Working Class Heroes

working_class

Sea and Ocean Tales

sea_and_ocean

Teachers & Teaching

teachers

Immigration/Emigration Literature

immigration