America through literature 

Whilst travelling through Asia last year I came across a ‘literary map’ for the USA published online by Brooklyn Magazine. A visual representation of books that they thought would symbolize the personality of each state the best. Skimming through the list there were quite a few authors that I recognized; Jon Krakauer, Katherine Patterson, John Irving but only one book I’d actually read. This was ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee which I had to study for school exams about 8 years ago. We brainstormed, researched & debated it to death, so much so I never wanted to hear the name Atticus ever again. 

The article was a little old having been published in 2014 but I liked the way it was presented and thought it might be an interesting project to read them all. With my move to America looming on the horizon, it would be a great way to learn more about all the states that make up such a diverse country, whilst opening myself up to new authors that I might never have chosen. This led me to think about what the most read book would be in each state and whether there would be any visible correlation between the two. I found an article published in the same year by Parade which gave me my second list of books to read alongside the first. 

The order I have decided to read them in is almost completely random. New Jersey is the starting point seeing as that’s where I’m currently living. Followed by the states I’ve spent lots of time in (Florida, Pennsylvania), visited on trips (Hawai’i, Louisiana), have always been interested in (Maine, Colorado) and then finished off with the states I know nothing about whatsoever (South Dakota, New Mexico).

Here’s the original articles where I gained my inspiration from:

The reading begins!