By Lois Huffman, Ph.D.
My niece who works in human resources recently pinned a map from Business Insider showing “The Most Famous Book Set in Every State.” (Thanks, Calli!) Since I’m always looking for suggestions for what to read next, I immediately repinned the map. Then I clicked on it to learn which books made the list.
What do you think is the most well-known book set in North Carolina? According to the list, it’s A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks. I figured it would be one of Sparks’ novels, but I guessed either The Notebook or Nights in Rodanthe.
Many of the other books listed by state will likewise come as no surprise to lots of readers. Here are some of them. Which have you read?
Alabama: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
California: East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Louisiana: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
Georgia: Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Massachusetts: Walden by Henry David Thoreau
New York: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
South Carolina: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Washington: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Hailing from the Midwest, I also tried to predict books set in that part of our country. Many of the titles listed were classics my classmates and I read in high school (e.g., The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, Main Street by Sinclair Lewis) or newer best sellers (e.g., A Long Way from Home by Tom Brokaw, The Round House by Louise Erdrich). I’m embarrassed to admit, however, that several of the books for my home region were totally unfamiliar to me.
Ohio: The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace
Michigan: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Indiana: The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington
(As they say, I’m a “Buckeye by birth and a Boilermaker by the grace of God,” but my years of living in the South are showing.)
I noticed that two authors had more than one book on the list. Each work was set in a different state, of course. A couple of hints about the identities of these prolific writers: One writes legal thrillers. The other’s books are scary reading appropriate for the end of October.
You can find the map at businessinsider.com/most-famous-book-set-in-every-state-map-2013-10. If you’re looking for your next great read, I hope you’ll consider something from the list. I plan to enjoy some armchair traveling around the U.S. this winter.
Lois Huffman is an active member of a local reading chapter, NCRA and IRA. She is a literacy instructor at N.C. State.