Sunday, July 10, 2016

USA Fiction Challenge Update


In October 2013, I joined a challenge to read books for all 50 states in the USA, plus the District of Columbia. I did not keep up with how many states I had completed over time, so now I am doing that.

The challenge is hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise. The challenge is ongoing, not limited to a timeframe. If you are interested you can read about the challenge at the USA Fiction Challenge site.

In order to identify the states I looked through all blog entries after October 2013. It amazes me that I read so many mysteries that are set outside of the United States. I haven't kept stats at all but as I look at books reviewed for each month, the great majority of books are set in the UK. I also read a good number of books set in Canada. Plus a lot of European countries, some Asian countries,and some Central and South American countries. And even when I read books set in the US, a large number are set in California or New York.

I have now read novels for nearly one third of the states (plus the District of Columbia). I initially decided to stick with crime fiction novels that are set in the state. If I have trouble getting to the total of 51 books I may eventually start adding novels from outside the crime fiction genre.

Below is the list of states and the books I have read so far. Later, I may include multiples if the books are really good examples of the setting.
  1. ALABAMA
  2. ALASKA
  3. ARIZONA
  4. ARKANSAS
  5. CALIFORNIA:  Jasmine Trade by Denise Hamilton
  6. COLORADO
  7. CONNECTICUT
  8. DELAWARE
  9. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Cast a Yellow Shadow by Ross Thomas
  10. FLORIDA:  Don’t Lose Her by Jonathan King
  11. GEORGIA
  12. HAWAII
  13. IDAHO
  14. ILLINOIS:  Sleeping Dogs by Ed Gorman 
  15. INDIANA
  16. IOWA:  Eleven Days by Donald Harstad
  17. KANSAS:  The Ice Harvest by Scott Phillips
  18. KENTUCKY
  19. LOUISIANA:  The Indigo Necklace by Frances Crane
  20. MAINE
  21. MARYLAND
  22. MASSACHUSETTS:  The Hanging Judge by Michael Ponsor
  23. MICHIGAN:  Motor City Blue by Loren D. Estelman
  24. MINNESOTA
  25. MISSISSIPPI:  The Last Clinic by Gary Cusick  
  26. MISSOURI
  27. MONTANA
  28. NEBRASKA
  29. NEVADA
  30. NEW HAMPSHIRE
  31. NEW JERSEY
  32. NEW MEXICO:  Ride the Pink Horse by Dorothy B. Hughes
  33. NEW YORK:  Death of a Butterfly by Margaret Maron
  34. NORTH CAROLINA:  Time’s Witness by Michael Malone
  35. NORTH DAKOTA:  See Also Murder by Larry D. Sweazy
  36. OHIO
  37. OKLAHOMA
  38. OREGON
  39. PENNSYLVANIA:  Concrete Angel by Patricia Abbott
  40. RHODE ISLAND
  41. SOUTH CAROLINA:  In the Heat of the Night by John Ball
  42. SOUTH DAKOTA
  43. TENNESSEE
  44. TEXAS:  Too Late to Die by Bill Crider
  45. UTAH
  46. VERMONT
  47. VIRGINIA
  48. WASHINGTON
  49. WEST VIRGINIA
  50. WISCONSIN
  51. WYOMING


22 comments:

  1. Are you looking for suggestions for some of the ones you haven't found yet? I've got a couple of corkers for you from Nebraska. Also, must they be set in the state, or can the author be from the state? And, how current must they be?

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    1. I would love to have suggestions, Terry. I am sticking with books set in the state for now. I don't care how current the book is. In fact I mostly read less current books.

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  2. The research involved in this must be time consuming!

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    1. Fortunately, Patti, I love to do research. But many times, I just let the right book come along and don't go out searching for them. I know of a couple of books / authors for Ohio, because my husband is from there. And I have had one for Maine on my TBR forever.

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  3. You've made some real progress, Tracy! I'm impressed. I'll be interested in 'following along' as you visit other states, so to speak.

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    1. Thanks, Margot, I hope to get to more of them soonish.

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  4. OK, I can recommend _The Cleanup_ by Sean Doolittle published in 2006. Mr. Doolittle is a native Omahan and the story is set in Omaha, & contemporary. I liked it a lot, it's somewhat different than a lot of cop stories I've read. For one thing, the star is something of a screw-up but his heart's in the right place - though it leads him to some questionable actions. Anyway, that's my recommendation for one set in Nebraska.

    For a far-too-short series by a Nebraska author but not set in Nebraska, I highly recommend MK Lorens's Winston Marlowe Sherman series. Sadly, Ms. Lorens passed away so we're deprived of any more, but I re-read these about once a year. Sherman's a curmudgeonly English prof who gets dragged into solving murders. It's not as twee as it sounds; Lorens makes her characters matter and sometimes the books are heart-breaking.

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    1. Thanks, Terry. Both of those sound good. I go to a big charity book sale in September every year and there is a good chance one of their books will show up. I will put them on my list to look for.

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  5. Your post is very timely. My goal is to read a book from all 50 states in a year (started in January). I'll look out for some that you have read as I think we enjoy the same novels.
    Ann

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    1. Ann, I have been following your reviews for books set in the 50 states, and a couple of other bloggers are working on that goal too. That inspired me to figure out which ones I have covered so far.

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  6. The Long Faraway Gone set in Oklahoma is good; see Reactions to Reading's review. The Quality of Silence set in Alaska is different; one character is a child who has deafness. Her perspective is interesting.
    Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon mysteries are set in national parks; each book is set in a different state. I enjoy them a lot. And with most, one learns about the location.
    And then there is the V.I. Warshawski series by Sara Paaretsky set in Chicago. I love those books, full of wit.

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    1. Thanks for all the suggestions for books, Kathy. I do remember Bernadette's review of The Long Faraway Gone, and I will definitely seek that out. I haven't read any of Nevada Barr's books although I have two or three to try. I think I read a few of the V.I. Warshawski when I was younger but I have been planning to start again at the beginning, so that is a great suggestion for Illinois.

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  7. I agree with Kathy D about the Oklahoma book. And your commenter above has intrigued me with MK Lorens...

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    1. Moira, I agree that the MK Lorens books sound interesting. I love to do lists and I should try to figure out which of my (too many) unread books feature states that I haven't read yet. Unfortunately, many of them I am interested in are for states I have already done. For instance, Barbara Neely's books, which I plan to read, are set in North Carolina and I have already done both of the Carolinas. So my progress on the States list is slow but that is fine.

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  8. Impressive, Tracy. Good luck with the rest of the states.

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    1. Thanks, Prashant. I am getting some good suggestions in the comments.

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  9. Well done for doing this post - I keep meaning to update my own, but haven't got around to it. Last time I thought about it I reckoned I was touching halfway. It doesn't help that I'm running about 30 reviews behind! My blogging impetus is flagging!

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    1. I am sorry about your blogging impetus, Col. I love your posts. I think you should update your states list so I can get more ideas.

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  10. It's OK however long you take. It's not a test or a job. It's about leisure and entertainment. I have realized that through the last five years when I've kept track that I've read books from 26 states, but I haven't counted all the Nevada Barr books I've read or mysteries from years ago from Colorado and Louisiana and other states, which I can't remember.
    I've been reading more books from Britain than ever, not usual although there are some good writers there. But I have to branch out further.

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    1. That is the way I feel too, Kathy. It takes as long as it takes. I can tell you read a wide variety of authors from various locations all over the world.

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  11. August 1, 2016: The Nebraska author, Sean Doolittle's book The Cleanup, that I recommended earlier, is on sale as an ebook for $1.99 at amazon.com and Barnes & Noble today. I don't know how to make live links here but here's the amazon URL:

    https://www.amazon.com/Cleanup-Sean-Doolittle-ebook/dp/B000MAH5LK?ie=UTF8&_bbid=2230158&tag=bookbubemailc-20#nav-subnav

    and here's the B&N URL:

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cleanup-sean-doolittle/1100297006?ean=9780440336419&_bbid=2230159&st=AFF&SID=BNB_DRS_Evergreen_20150928&2sid=Pubmark+Inc._5620418_NA&sourceId=AFFPubmark+Inc.M000019

    Just to be clear, I have nothing to do with Mr. Doolittle or either of these book sellers, I'm just a fan.

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    1. Thanks, Terry, I appreciate that. I do love that cover, I might get the paperback edition instead.

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