It has been a few weeks since I shared about my challenge to read a nonfiction book about every state.
I am loving this challenge because it is forcing me out of my reading comfort zone, and I am picking up books that I probably wouldn’t have read otherwise. Two examples of that are the books about Louisiana and Nebraska that I am sharing about below. I don’t think I would have ever picked up either of those books if it had not been for this challenge.
Because of this challenge I learned about several places and cultures that I would not have learned about otherwise. And that is what reading is all about. It is about learning and challenging our minds and our thinking. It is about taking us places that we would never be able to go otherwise.
Here are the books that I have read recently for this challenge. I hope you will join me in this challenge, but even if you don’t I hope you pick a book or two from the list below to read because it will allow you to visit places and people you would never be able to see on your own.
- (California) Rise of the Rocket Girls– I debated about whether or not this qualifies for a California book. It is about so much more than California, but the whole book takes place in California. It also shows how much of a roll California and the people of California played in developing the space industry. It also goes into quite a bit of detail about life in California during the 1940’s, 1950’s, and 1960’s. So I am counting it as a book about California.
- (Idaho) Educated– I always struggle to say that I enjoyed a non-fiction book like this that shares a tragic event or difficult life and childhood. Maybe saying I found the book very fascinating is a better way to describe it. Once I started this book, I had trouble putting it down. In this book the author tells her story of a difficult childhood in rural Idaho which I why I knew it was perfect for a book about Idaho.
- (Louisiana) The Wind In the Reeds– I will admit that I know very little about Louisiana. I have never visited there and most of what I know probably comes from news stories that don’t always share the best about a place or culture. I don’t remember where I first heard about this book, but I am so glad I found it. I really enjoyed this book. It was a bit of a slow read and at times I found the writing to be lacking, but the overall story of the book was amazing. This book is part memoir part Louisiana history lesson. The author is the great-grandson of slaves, who grew up in Louisiana and become a Julliard trained artist and actor. He shares his family’s story from slavery to pre-Katrina and post Katrina. The author does a great job of sharing a story about life, community, strength, and family. If all you know about Katrina and Louisiana is from the news and television stories, I highly recommend that you read this book.
- (Minnesota) Give a Girl a Knife– This book shares the story of the author growing up in Minnesota, living off the grid in rural Minnesota, traveling to New York to become a chef, and returning home to Minnesota again. About twenty five percent of this book takes place in New York, but this book is all about Minnesota. The life there and the desire to return to it. What I loved about this book though was that this could be the story of so many people. Many people leave the small town middle of no where place that they grew up never to return. Others though leave and then feel the constant pull that brings them back home. Home to the life they thought they wanted to escape, yet ends up being what they truly long for. If you grew up in a small town in America, this book will probably make you long for home again.
- (Nebraska) Once Upon A Town– I picked this book up at a used book store when I realized that it would work as a book about Nebraska. I had no idea if it was going to be good or not. But as soon as I read it I texted a friend that grew up in Nebraska and told her that she had to read this book. It was that good. This is one of those books that makes a state and town proud. If you are from Nebraska and haven’t heard the story of North Platte, you need to read this book. I loved Once Upon a Town because it shared a unique view of WWII. I have read quite a few WWII books, but I have never read one quite like this one. This book shared how a small town in middle America made a huge difference in WWII. Simple acts of kindess made in a difference in thousands of young men’s lives. This town only had a few minutes with soldiers coming to and from war, but they made the most of those few minutes. If you love WWII history, this is a great read.
If you have e a book about your state or a state that I need to read please leave me a comment letting me know. I am still looking for great books for my Book For Every State Challenge.