Tag Archives: 50 States 50 Novels

50 States, 50 Novels – Part 10

Virginia – Lie Down in Darkness by William Styron (1951) Published when he was just 26 years old, William Styron’s first novel immediately launched him to literary fame, receiving extremely enthusiastic reviews. Following the dysfunctional Loftis family, this Virginia-set novel borrowed numerous elements from Styron’s childhood hometown in Newport News, Virginia. Washington – The Absolutely […]

50 States, 50 Novels – Part 9

South Dakota – The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1940) Laura Ingalls Wilder’s much-celebrated Little House series started out entirely in the realm of children’s literature, but as the series progressed it gradually became darker and its focus began to drift more towards adult literature. The Long Winter is right on the cusp of […]

50 States, 50 Novels – Part 8

Oklahoma – The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939) Although Steinbeck’s novel traverses several states, it gave human faces to a group that, at the time, were disparagingly referred to simply as “Okies.” Steinbeck’s novel also serves as a lament for the Oklahoma landscape, torn up by monstrous machines, and the changing face of […]

50 States, 50 Novels – Part 7

New Mexico – Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya (1972) One of the cornerstones of Chicano literature, Rudolfo Anaya’s debut novel is an astonishing first person narrative following the life of Antonio, who recounts memories of his childhood in small town New Mexico. New York – The Assistant by Bernard Malamud (1957) New York City […]

50 States, 50 Novels- Part 5

Massachusetts – Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (1911) This tragic tale, told through a foreboding frame narrative, is uncharacteristic of much of Edith Wharton’s most famous work, but is nonetheless one of her most powerful novels. It is set in the fictional town of Starkfield, Massachusetts, which was likely based at least in part on […]

50 States, 50 Novels- Part 4

Kansas – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (1900) An obvious choice perhaps, but L. Frank Baum’s classic children’s novel truly illuminates the beauty in rural Kansas life, in spite of its seeming dullness compared with the magnificent land of Oz: “No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people […]

50 States, 50 Novels- Part 3

Hawaii – From Here to Eternity by James Jones (1951) This gigantic debut novel was based upon James Jones’ own experiences as a soldier stationed in Hawaii during WWII. It won the National Book Award after it was released and was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film starring Montgomery Clift and Frank Sinatra. Idaho – […]

50 States, 50 Novels- Part 2

Colorado – The Shining by Stephen King (1977) One of Stephen King’s earliest novels, The Shining also remains one of his most popular, and continues to sell thousands of copies every year. King supposedly settled on the mountainous Colorado location by pointing randomly at a map, but it is hard to imagine it taking place […]

50 States, 50 Novels- Part 1

The United States is known for the breadth of diversity in its literature – take a literary tour round the states with these fifty novels.   Alabama – Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg (1987) This now-classic novel charts the history of small-town Whistle Stop, Alabama and its eccentric citizens. […]