100 Books Across America: Critical Linking, August 27, 2017

Sponsored by The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare


I’m recommending two books—one fiction and one non-fiction—set in (or at least concerning) every state in America for your exploratory reading pleasure. I’ll also be noting the most famous book set in each state, just so you don’t miss out on the classics. (The “most famous book,” by the way, is a designation reached in part by consulting this list, but also by deviating from it whenever the general opinion of the Lit Hub office differed—so, admittedly these have been chosen by consensus and not by science, but then again, if there’s a truly scientific approach to which books are more famous than which other books, I’d like to hear it.) I’ve tried to avoid repetition as much as possible, opted for books that do a good job of evoking place where possible, and aimed for a mix of old and new, well-known and obscure.

Now, to be fair: this is an impossible task. There’s no way to actually sum up a whole state in a single text, or in three (or even stretching the rules with California and New York, to which I’ve assigned six), nor am I an expert in the local literary heroes of every state (though I hope I’ve done my research as well as I can) and so consider all these recommendations simply starting places—and please add further suggestions at will.

This is a pretty interesting list. Debate! 

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Along the banks of the South Platte River in Colorado, against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, an idea is beginning to take shape. It’s a live-in library, a place where books and nature and history come together, and where writers, researchers, and anyone else can bring a suitcase and stay awhile.

It’s called the Rocky Mountain Land Library, and it’s the vision of Jeff Lee and Ann Martin, two longtime employees at the Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver.

I’m putting this on my to-do list.

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For centuries, the tarot has been a classic tool in interpreting the future and in guided meditation. The deck of cards normally contains 78 descriptive cards containing The Major and Minor Arcana. Because a Tarot deck is supposed to speak to the owner, there are hundreds of decks and styles to choose from. I personally derive some of my greatest inspiration from literature, and was delighted to find so many decks that reflect that. From a Shakespearean Lovers card to a deck depicting Alice’s trip down the rabbit hole, you are bound to find a deck that speaks to the reader in you.

Ohhhhhhh.

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Hi Casey!

What I *really* want is books with black lesbian leads (black queer women also okay) in dystopian/apocalyptic settings, preferably YA. If that’s impossible, black lesbian/queer woman led stories of any kind will do. Help me out?

Thanks! Good luck,
Asher

These books weren’t easy to find, and most of those below aren’t exactly what Asher described. While I couldn’t find eight books that were dystopian or post-apocalyptic specifically with all the other stipulations, I managed to track down books with prominent queer Black women characters that fall somewhere in the larger area of speculative fiction: science fiction, magical realism, and paranormal fiction. Some are dystopian or post-apocalyptic, some not, so even if you’re not into dystopian books, there’s something on this list for you too! In short, these are all about queer Black ladies in worlds that, in one way or another, are unreal.

Did your TBR just get a lot taller because mine did.

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Kelly Jensen: Kelly is a former librarian and a blogger at STACKED. Her latest book is HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD, a YA anthology of essays, art, interviews, and more about feminism. Follow her on Twitter @veronikellymars.