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Reading Road Trip Across the US

IBDLiteraryMapUSA

Welcome to our summer 2017 reading challenge where together we will read our way across the United States! The goal of the challenge is to travel (a.k.a. read) from the East Coast to the West coast and amass the highest points. The challenge will begin July 1 and will end September 30 at midnight EST.

How to play:
All players will begin on an East Coast state of their choice: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, or Florida.

To travel across the country you must read and review books corresponding to each state. The book either must be predominantly set in that state OR the author has to be from the state. You will be awarded points for each state you visit. You must move across the country in the same way you would drive — you can’t skip states (see exception below).

To move across a state you must complete your book and post a mini review (or link to your view on Goodreads or your blog) as a comment on this page.

Five bonus points will be awarded the following pitstops:
Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Zion National Park, Utah
Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
Savannah, Georgia
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Rock and Roll hall of fame in Ohio
Liberty Bell, Pennsylvania
Spotted Cat Jazz club, New Orleans, Louisiana
Graceland in Tennessee
Largest ball of twine, Kansas
Lucy the Elephant, New Jersey
Dreamland BBQ, Alabama
Las Vegas, Nevada
Federal Hill, Rhode Island

Your trip will end when you arrive in Washington, Oregon, or California and finish your book for that state.

Travel Exceptions: Each Monday (starting July 5) three major events will happen that can impact your game. One event type will advance your game and the other two event types will delay you.

  1. Flight hubs: Each Monday we will use random.org to select 5 states that will become flight hubs for the week (Monday-Sunday). If you arrive in this state any time in that next week, you will be able to either skip over one state to in your move west OR travel eastbound to any landmark located east of your current location. In order to take advantage of this opportunity you must declare that you are using the flight hub and where you are going before the end of the week.
  2. Travel delays: Two randomly selected participants will be picked each Monday to experience a travel delay. If you are selected, then you will not be able to advance to a new state until the following Monday. You can finish your current book but will not be able to start a new book until your travel restriction is lifted. If you have bad luck, you may be delayed multiple times throughout the game but no player will be given back-to-back delays.
  3. Weather warning. Two states will be randomly selected as blackout states each Monday. This means that for that week, you will be unable to travel through that state. If you are already in that state when the weather warning occurs, you may finish your book for that state but you may not start your book for the next state until the blackout is over. If you are adjacent to that state and want to travel through it, you must either wait until the end of the week OR find a alternate route.

Additional Rules:

  • You can only read one book at a time.
  • You must complete the book and write a mini review BEFORE you move onto the next state.
  • Please keep track of your own score on this page. You can start a thread for yourself by posting a comment with your name. Then each time you return to update, just hit reply to your original comment with the mini review and score update. I will double check all scores.
  • Books must be over 120 pages and no graphic novels allowed.

Points & Prizes:
-1 point per state you complete
-5 points per landmark you visit (basically you will get 6 points for visiting states with one of the landmarks listed above).

Grand Prize: A print of the literary map in the top image and a box filled with bookish gifts worth about $100. To win this prize you must a) reach the West coast AND b) have the highest number of points among all those who also reach the west coast. If you have the most points but fail to reach a West coast state by end of game (September 30) you win a big fat nothing.
Early Bird prize: $50 book depository gift card for the first person to arrive on the West Coast.
Unlucky: Gag gift to the person who is selected the most for travel delays.
Random winner: Randomly selected person will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. To qualify you have to have completed a minimum of one book. You do not have to complete the challenge to win this prize:

List of participants:
1. Jen: 
2. Sushicat:
3. Tessa
4. Rachel O
5. Jenni
6. Tracy
7. Currey: 
8. Diane S
9. Jean:
10. Cindy:
11. Chili:
12. Rachel N
13. Blueberry: 
14. JoLene
15. Jan
16. Nicole: Arrived on West Coast
17. Lara
18. Book Worm
19. Debbie
20. Jessica: 
21. Jenny
22. Kamisha
23. Katie:
24. Katja: Arrived on West Coast
25. Betty:
26. Unidragonfrag:
27. Kristel
28. Erin S: 
29. jyotioo:
30. Charisma
31. Denise:
32. Katie

First flight hubs:

    1. Oklahoma
    2. Texas
    3. New Hampshire
    4. South Dakota
    5. Louisiana

The game ends on September 30th so no more travel delays so people can make it to the end.

NOTE: I’ve noticed that a few of you have visited the same state more than once. I’ll contact you all individually, but you cannot claim landmark points more than once so please go through your score/states and make sure you are not counting landmark points more than once. So you can get the full points the first time but then next time you visit the same state, you only get the points for the state.

473 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jen’s Road Trip
    Starting location: Georgia
    Book: Gradle Bird by J.C. Sasseh
    Current points: 0

    Like

    June 27, 2017
  2. Tessa Bartels #

    Tessa’s Road Trip
    Starting location: Massachusetts
    Book: ??
    Current points: 0

    Like

    June 28, 2017
    • Tessa Bartels #

      Massachusetts
      Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann
      2**

      This is Klaussmann’s debut and I see a nugget of a good story ideal here. But the execution falters. The dialogue is tortured. And the fractured timeline and changes in point of view do little to help the story arc. Klaussmann gives the reader some clues … dividing the book into sections titled with the character from whose point of view events will be relayed and heading each chapter with the year and month. However, within the chapters events go back and forth in time as the character reflects on things. I’m sure the author intended that this device would help build suspense, but mostly it just confused me. By the time the big reveal takes place I didn’t care, I just wanted the book to end.

      1 point

      Total points: 1

      Next stop: New York

      Liked by 1 person

      July 3, 2017
    • Tessa Bartels #

      New York
      The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership That Defined a Presidency by Kathryn Smith
      4****

      I had never heard of Miss LeHand, and yet she was written about during her tenure as Roosevelt’s private secretary, with a TIME magazine cover in 1934 that featured the four people who formed FDR’s secretariat, and several profile articles in LIFE and LOOK magazines, as well as regular mention in newspapers. So how is it that she has slipped out of our collective memories?

      Perhaps the answer is that, until this work, there has never been a biography of this extraordinary woman. Smith did extensive research and she includes detailed notes and a bibliography at the end of the main biography. Her interest in Missy and her access to letters, journals and records, helped Smith craft a book that is interesting, balanced and fascinating.

      (NOTE: Connection to state: both Missy and FDR were living in New York for at least the first third of the book, and made frequent trips back to Hyde Park during the White House years as well.)

      1 point

      Total points: 2

      Next stop: Pennsylvania

      Like

      July 12, 2017
    • Tessa Bartels #

      Pennsylvania LANDMARK
      Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh
      3.5*** rounded up to 4****
      This is the kind of character-driven literary fiction that I love to read and discuss with my F2F book club. Haigh focuses on the Novak family to tell the story of America in the years following World War II. It’s a microcosm of American life, that encompasses many of the issues faced by the nation during the 1930s through 1970s.

      The five Novaks are as different as night and day. The oldest, Georgie, serves in the Pacific during World War II, but after the war he moves away with his new wife, rarely returning home. Next is Dorothy, a pretty but insecure young woman who takes a job in Washington D.C., but falters. Joyce is the middle child, smart and driven, always helping out and taking charge of the household when her widowed mother is unable to cope. Sandy is the family charmer, relying on his good looks and smooth talk to get by in life; like his older brother, he leaves home and rarely returns. And finally, there is Lucy, who is showered with affection and seems unable to grow out of her role as the baby of the family.

      Through the lens of this family the reader watches the changes in America as the town prospers in the post-war era, deals with changes in American manufacturing, and begins an inevitable decline. The residents face the changing expectations as women get a taste of “important” work during the war and chafe against restrictions when the men return. Haigh mentions the changes outside Bakerton – the death of FDR, the Eisenhower years, the assassination of President Kennedy, Neil Armstrong’s historic walk on the moon, etc – but the changes within the town have greater impact, from getting a phone or car, to a long strike for better conditions and wages at the mine.

      I do not usually round up when awarding half-stars, but I will in this case because it’s a discussion-worthy book.

      1 point for state
      5 points for LANDMARK – Liberty Bell

      Total points to date: 8

      Next stop: Ohio

      Liked by 1 person

      July 30, 2017
    • Tessa Bartels #

      (Note I finished this book on July 30 … just hadn’t gotten around to writing the review yet)
      Ohio LANDMARK
      Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo
      4****

      First in a series. Painters Mill, Ohio is a small rural town where the Amish and “English” residents live – mostly – peaceably together. Kate Burkholder was born and raised in Painters Mill, but left her Amish roots to go into law enforcement. Now she’s been recruited to return as the Chief of Police. When the body of a young woman is found in a snowy field, Kate and other law enforcement officials recognize the signature of the Slaughterhouse Killer who terrorized the community some sixteen years previously.

      This is a tight, fast-paced thriller. I really like Kate; she’s intelligent, resourceful, fiercely protective, determined and a strong leader, but she’s got some trauma in her past that haunts her, and her efforts to keep her secrets secret affect how she handles the investigation. I’m interested by John Tomasetti, an agent of the state’s Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI), who is brought in to help the local police investigate. He’s a tough, no-nonsense kind of guy, with a cop’s intuition and skill in interrogation and investigation, but he’s also got a dark, tragic past and a current substance abuse problem. These two broken individuals make a great team, despite their initial reluctance and the emotional baggage they each carry.

      Castillo rounds out the characters with self-important politicians, a limelight-loving Sheriff, a strong second-in-command police officer, reticent Amish, and a couple of feisty women who man the dispatch call center.

      Readers who are attracted by the “Amish” tag should note, however, that this is NOT a cozy mystery. There is a violent sexual predator on the loose and the victims endure torture and physical violence. Tomasetti, in particular, uses considerable foul language. The final encounter between Kate and the killer is violent and graphic.

      There were a few loose threads or editing mistakes, but all in all this was a great mystery/thriller.

      1 point for state
      5 points for LANDMARK – Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame

      Total points to date: 14

      Next stop: Kentucky

      Like

      August 7, 2017
    • Tessa Bartels #

      Kentucky
      Saint Monkey – Jacinda Townsend
      3***

      From the book jacket: Fourteen-year-old Audrey Martin, with her Poindexter glasses and her head humming the ¾ meter of gospel music, knows she’ll never get out of Kentucky – but when her fingers touch the piano keys, the whole church trembles. Her best friend, Caroline Wallace, daydreams about Hollywood stardom, but both girls feel destined to languish in a slow-moving stopover town in Montgomery County.

      My reactions:
      I’m about a generation behind these girls, but I was interested in a story set in the late 1950s – an era when I was first becoming acutely aware of popular music and could hardly wait to grow up and join my cousins dancing to Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Fats Domino records. Audrey and Caroline are in a similar hurry to grow up, to be done with school, and to go out into the world. They desperately want something MORE out of their lives than small town Mt Sterling, KY can give them.

      When the book opens Audrey is reeling from the death of her father, in the Korean War. She and her mother live with her Grandpap, who adored his son, and who encourages Audrey to play the piano like her Daddy used to do. Her mother, lost in grief, tries to find solace in a bottle of bourbon. Caroline’s family is still intact; her father, Sonnyboy, has a steady job “down to the ice plant,” while her mother, Mauris, does alterations in the back room of the local department store. But both girls are loners. Neither one deemed pretty or popular, they stick together until ….

      Townsend has the two girls take turns narrating, so that several chapters are told from Audrey’s point of view, followed by several chapters from Caroline’s point of view, then back to Audrey, etc. In this way, the reader gets more of the story than either of the girls, who go long stretches without talking to one another, despite their very close friendship as children.

      I remember the pain when my best childhood friend seemed suddenly to have “outgrown” me; when our interests diverged and we were no longer exclusively one another’s confidante. My heart broke for both Audrey and Caroline as I witnessed their growing pains.

      Despite being able to connect with these characters, at least in theory, I found this a very slow read. I did NOT dislike it, but it just never really captured my attention. Still, Townsend is a talented writer, and some of the scenes she paints are very vivid. I’d definitely read another book by her.

      Like

      September 16, 2017
  3. Chili’s Road Trip
    Starting Location: South Carolina
    Book: The Secret Life Of Bees
    Points: 0

    Liked by 2 people

    June 28, 2017
    • South Carolina
      The Secret Life Of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
      👍👍👍
      This is the story of Lily Owens and her quest to find answers about her mother. After breaking Rosaleen out of police custody at the hospital, they set off for Tiburon. With a picture found in her mother’s things Lily is led to the home of the Boatwright sisters. Under the tutelage of August Boatwright, Lily learns beekeeping and some hard truths about her mother.

      Current Points: 1
      Next State: Georgia

      Liked by 1 person

      July 1, 2017
    • Georgia
      Landmark Savannah
      Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil by John Berendt
      👍👍👍👍
      This is a nonfiction book that reads like fiction. The events take place in Savannah in the 1980’s starting with the death of Danny Hansford. The author admits to changing the names and descriptions of some of the people. I find this to be a bummer because I really want to know what happened to some of the people, especially Chablis and Joe Odom. The city of Savannah is a major character in the story. If the events had taken place somewhere else, things may have happened differently. Savannah is in it’s own little world and the people like it that way.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 2, 2017
    • Alabama
      Landmark: Dreamland BBQ
      To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
      ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
      This is one of my favorite books and one of the very few I will re-read. The story is narrated by Jean Louise Finch, aka Scout, who is eight years old. Scout along with her older brother Jen must deal with the criticism of the town when their father Atticus defends Tom Robinson. Scout and Jem learn things about their father and their neighbors that surprise them.

      Current Points: 13
      Next up Tennessee

      Liked by 1 person

      July 3, 2017
    • Tennessee
      Landmark: Graceland
      Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
      👍👍

      Ugh! This was a slog, I would have bailed if not for the challenge. Set in rural Tennessee, the story starts with Dellarobia Turnbow heading up the mountain for an illicit rendezvous with the hot telephone man. When she reaches the top the valley appears to be on fire, but without her glasses she does not know it is full of butterflies. She gets her in-laws and husband up the mountain for a look before it is clear cut. The news of the butterflies gets out bring people from all over including Dr. Byron. She ends up working for Dr. Byron as an assistant. The author is trying to address the issue of climate change, but the story of Dellarobia and her family is a snooze. The only thing I found interesting was the science surrounding the butterflies.

      Current Points:19
      Off to Mississippi

      Liked by 1 person

      July 5, 2017
    • Mississippi
      Salvage The Bones by Jesmyn Ward
      4.5👍
      This is a very emotional read. Set in Mississippi in the days leading up to, during and the day after Hurricane Katrina. The story is told by fifteen year old Esch, who is pregnant. She lives with her father and three brothers. The story begins with her brother’s pit bull, China giving birth. This causes Esch to remember the birth of her younger brother Junior and her mothers death. During the days leading up to Katrina, Esch begins to come to terms with her impending motherhood and the family tries to prepare for the storm. This was a hard read for me, especially the dog fight.

      Current Points: 20
      Next up Louisiana

      Liked by 1 person

      July 6, 2017
    • Louisiana
      Landmark: Spotted Cat Jazz club, New Orleans
      The Neon Rain by James Lee Burke
      👍👍
      Set in New Orleans and surrounding areas, the story starts with homicide detective Dave Robicheaux visiting a death row inmate. The condemned man tells Dave that there is a contract out on his life. This leads Dave and his partner to follow leads that lead to Julio Segura. This is only the tip of the iceberg. There is arms dealing in Central America, memories of Vietnam and My Lai. Dave fights against police corruption and organized crime. Annie brings some light into Dave’s dark life.

      Current Points: 26
      Off to Texas

      Like

      July 8, 2017
    • Texas
      Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
      👍👍👍👍
      Set in El Paso Texas in 1987-88, Ari Mendoza is trying to figure out his life and who he is. At the pool he meets Dante, who offers to teach him to swim. This is the beginning of the first real friendship of Ari’s life. Ari has unresolved feelings about his brother, who is in prison. His parents and sisters will not talk about Bernardo and this frustrates him. While in Chicago for his professor father’s job, Dante begins to discover he prefers boys. He writes to tell Ari, who says he will still be his friend. Ari finally comes to terms with his sexuality after a heart to heart with his parents.

      Current Points:27
      Off to Oklahoma

      Like

      July 8, 2017
      • Currey #

        I can’t believe I am at 2 points and you are at 27. However, I guess it is the love of the journey that counts. Congrats on your making it half way across the country.

        Liked by 2 people

        July 9, 2017
      • There will be prizes for those that don’t read at lightening speed too! She’s pretty amazing at speeding through. I’ve only read 1 book 😁

        Like

        July 9, 2017
    • I wanted to get a head start before the 10th. I will be slowing down now. My daughter has knee surgery on Tuesday and I have jury duty in August. Plus the family luck will kick in with the travel delays and blackouts. The randomizer always bites me in the behind. So enjoy the journey, I hope you get to read some great books. This doesn’t end until September 30th, so anyone can win this.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 9, 2017
      • Currey #

        I am still in awe of your reading! I hope your daughter recovers well. And yes, I am going to read some great books.

        Liked by 1 person

        July 9, 2017
    • Oklahoma
      The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
      👍👍👍👍
      I still find it amazing that the author was only sixteen when she wrote this. I think the story holds up pretty well considering it was published in 1967. I didn’t love it as much as I did when I first read it in junior high, that was a long time ago. The greasers and the socs fight basically because they can. Ponyboy and Johnny get jumped by the socs and a boy ends up dead. They are helped by Dally and get out of town. After deciding to turn himself in, Johnny and Ponyboy save some children from a burning church. The headline in the paper is Juvenile Delinquents Turn Heros. There is no happy ending for Johnny and Dally.

      Current Points: 28
      Up next Arkansas

      Like

      July 9, 2017
    • Oklahoma
      Closely Akin To Murder by Joan Hess
      2.5👍
      Bookstore owner Claire Malloy receives a phone call from her supposedly dead cousin asking for help. Cousin Ronnie says she is being blackmailed and ask Claire for help. Thirty years ago, Ronnie was jailed for the murder of Oliver Pickett in Mexico. Claire along with her sixteen year old daughter Caron head to Acapulco. While asking questions in Acapulco, Caron is held hostage by the bum Chico. Claire rescues her daughter and they head home to Arkansas. Claire does not stop her investigation into Pickett’s death, which leads her to Phoenix and Pickett’s ex-wife. Claire solves the case.

      Current Points:29
      I would like to go to Mississippi and catch a flight to New Jersey.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 10, 2017
      • This is Arkansas not Oklahoma

        Like

        July 18, 2017
      • Someone else brought this to my attention but turns out you skipped reading Mississippi. You need to read the flight hub state before flying out. Since the instructions weren’t super clear, I will let you read Mississippi after you finish your current book (after your travel delay) but without needing to move back to Mississippi.

        Apologies because this was not clear. I will try to clarify in the instructions when I get home.

        Like

        July 24, 2017
    • New Jersey
      Landmark: Lucy The Elephant
      American Pastoral by Philip Roth
      3.5👍
      I made the mistake of reading this at the same time as Auster’s 4321, otherwise I might have liked it more. The beginning of the story is Nathan “Skip” Zuckerman’s hero worship of triple letterman Seymour “Swede”Levov. As a friend of Swede’s strange little brother, Skip gets to be near the Swede at home. At their 45th high school reunion, Jerry tells Skip of the Swedes passing. Skip being a writer then begins to imagine what Swede’s life was like. Swede the perfect person has an imperfect life. He marries the beauty queen and has a daughter. As a teenage war protester, his daughter not only blows up a post office but the family as well.

      Current Points:35
      I’m off to New York

      Like

      July 18, 2017
    • New York
      The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
      👍👍👍👍👍 & 💜
      This is the story of two Jewish cousins and their adventure into the growing world of comic books. Josef “Joe” Kavalier is smuggled out of Prague inside the coffin of the Golem. He arrives in New York City at his cousin Sammy Kleyman’s house. Together they come up with the comic book character of the Escapist. Joe is tormented by the fact his family is still in Nazi occupied Prague. They escape into the world of comic books, creating many new characters. I loved this book! It was well written, with believable characters.

      Current Points: 36
      I’m off to Pennsylvania

      Like

      July 23, 2017
    • I’m sorry I misunderstood, I thought since I already read a book for Mississippi that I didn’t need to read another one. After the 31st I will read another one. I’m sorry, I should have asked about that. Sorry.

      Like

      July 24, 2017
      • When did you read the Mississippi book? Earlier in your travels? No need to apologize, my fault for not making it clear

        Like

        July 24, 2017
    • Yes. Between Tennessee and Louisiana. I read Salvage The Bones.

      Like

      July 24, 2017
      • And then you went backward to take the flight? Sorry on my phone so can’t see your list in front of me as I type this.

        Like

        July 24, 2017
      • Oh wait, I see what you did. Okay let me think about it. I will get back to you with an answer in the next hour.

        Like

        July 24, 2017
    • Yes. I flew to New Jersey. We can go east to landmark states but only skip one state going west is how I understood it. I just finished Arkansas when Mississippi became a flight hub. Since I was right above it, I thought I could go there and catch a flight east. I should have asked if I needed to read another book for Mississippi.

      Like

      July 24, 2017
      • okay, so I gave it some thought and you will have to read a second book if you visit a state twice. I would have allowed you to avoid this but I think it may have already impacted a few other players. But feel free to read it whenever as long as you complete it by end of game and you can progress as usual. Sorry about that.

        Like

        July 24, 2017
    • Pennsylvania
      Landmark: The Liberty Bell
      Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike
      👍👍
      I only finished this book because I promised myself I could by a new book if I did. Set in Brewer Pennsylvania in the late 70’s, Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom has hit middle age. He is with Janice, living with her mother and running the car dealership. His son Nelson drops out of college, comes home and marries his pregnant girlfriend. Harry is a vile character. The way he refers to women makes my skin crawl. I can’t believe this won a Pulitzer. I don’t think Updike is for me.

      Current Points: 42
      On the 31st I will head to Ohio and also read the book for Mississippi I messed up on.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 30, 2017
      • I dislike these books too

        Like

        July 30, 2017
    • Mississippi (fixing my mistake)
      As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
      👍👍👍
      As Addie Bundren lays dying, her son Cash makes her coffin, while sons Darl and Jewel go to get one more load done. Addie dies before the boys get back. Anse, her husband has promised that he would bury her with her people in Jefferson. Once the boys get back, the family loads Addie in the wagon and heads off. Everything that could go wrong does. The rain has washed the bridges out, they almost lose Addie in the river, the mules drown and Cash breaks his leg. That is just the start of the journey that takes them days. Addie is finally laid to rest. This is written how southern country people would have talked back then. It took awhile to figure out what they were actually saying.

      Current Points: 43
      In Ohio now

      Liked by 1 person

      August 2, 2017
    • Ohio
      Landmark: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
      The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
      👍👍👍👍
      This is a beautifully written book about difficult topics. It is not a lighthearted read. Pecola Breedlove prays for blue eyes. She is considered ugly by everyone and hides behind it. She thinks that blue eyes will make her pretty, then everything will be okay. Blonde hair and blue eyes are seen as the “ideal” standard of beauty and those who don’t conform to this are ugly. Claudia destroys her doll in her anger against this standard. Why should she not be considered beautiful because she is black. The book also deals with child abuse and incest. It’s not a fun read but I’m glad I read it.

      Current Points: 49
      I’m heading to Michigan now.

      Like

      August 5, 2017
    • Michigan
      The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
      3.5-4👍
      Set in Michigan, this is the story of the Lisbon sisters. It begins with the attempted suicide of the youngest sister, Cecilia. She survives this attempt but succeeds at her attempt during the party. The story is told through the eyes of the neighborhood boys, who are obsessed with the elusive Lisbon sisters. With a very strict mother, the girls do not have a normal teenage social lives. They only attend one dance in their short lives and after Lux breaks the curfew, the are pulled from school and are pretty much under house arrest. The question of why they did it is never really answered. The book was good but I liked Middlesex better.

      Current Points: 50
      I’m going to Indiana now.

      Like

      August 6, 2017
    • Indiana
      Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
      👍👍👍👍
      The author was born and raised in Indiana. Billy Pilgrim is an optometrist, he can time travel and was abducted by aliens. Billy was a prisoner of war who was in Dresden when it was bombed. After the war Billy spent some time in a psychiatric hospital. The story jumps around a lot as Billy time travels. He is abducted by aliens at his daughter’s wedding and taken to Tralfamadore. Was he really abducted by aliens, or is it a side effect of the trauma of war. So it goes.

      Current Points: 51
      When I’m able to travel on the 14th I will head to Illinois.

      Like

      August 13, 2017
    • Illinois
      Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
      👍👍👍
      Set in Green Town, Illinois during the summer of 1928, the follows brothers Douglas and Tom during their summer vacation. The book also has mini-stories about other residents of the town. We have Leo Auffman and his happiness machine, Colonel Freeleigh, the human time machine and Lavinia Nebbs and the Lonely One. There are many more and a entertaining. The way the story is put together is very choppy. Douglas has a part in all the stories, although it is sometimes very small.

      Current Points: 52
      I’m off to Iowa to visit family

      Liked by 1 person

      August 16, 2017
    • Iowa
      Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
      3.5👍
      Reverend John Ames is dying, so he starts writing a journal for his young son. Having lost his first wife and daughter during childbirth, he didn’t marry again until he was 67. Now having turned 77, he is documenting family history and thoughts he would share with his son, if he lived to see him grow up. He also tries to make peace with his namesake, John Ames (Jack) Boughton. I think if I had been in a different mood, I would have enjoyed this more. It is very well written and held my interest. It is the first book in a trilogy and I am going to have to read the other books to see how it will end.

      Current Points: 53
      I’m heading to Nebraska now

      Like

      August 17, 2017
    • Nebraska
      Worth Dying For by Lee Child
      👍👍
      In a no name county in Nebraska, Jack Reacher goes after the Duncans. The family has owned/run the county for years. They run a trucking company and all the county farms must ship their crops with them, or they can’t ship them at all. The Duncans have an off season smuggling operation, where they make their real money. With a shipment being late, the people waiting send representatives to keep an eye on the Duncan’s. Reacher gets in the middle of all this and also solves the 25 year old disappearance of a little girl. Teacher racks up a body count of 8 and numerous beaten and maimed. This is an extremely violent book.

      Current Points: 54
      I’m heading to South Dakota

      Like

      August 18, 2017
    • South Dakota
      Landmark: Mount Rushmore
      By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
      3👍For the story and 5❤️For the memories
      The Ingalls family leaves Plum Creek for the Dakota Territory, where Pa will keep the books and run the company store at the railroad camp. Pa leaves first and Ma and the girls follow a few months later on the train. It is the first train ride for the girls. Once the railroad camp breaks for the winter, the family stays on in the surveyors house for the winter. Pa files the homestead claim in the spring and the family moves to the new town. Laura does not like living in the town and can’t wait to get to the homestead. After a claim jumper murders someone, Pa quickly builds a shanty on the homestead and the family settles in. I read these books as a child with my Grandma, they were some of her favorite books. Reading it brought back a lot of great memories.

      Current Points: 60
      I’m going to North Dakota next

      Like

      August 18, 2017
    • North Dakota
      The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich
      👍👍👍👍
      The book starts with the murder of a farm family and the subsequent hanging of three innocent Ojibwe men. These events shape the future generations of the town of Pluto, North Dakota and the nearby reservation. The story is told through different narrators. Evelina Harp, whose grandfather Mooshum, who was present for the events, Judge Antone Bazil Coutts, Marn Wolde and the survivor of the murder. They all weave the past and present together to finally reveal the truth. This was very well written and moving story.

      Current Points: 61
      I’m going to make a pit stop at home in Minnesota

      Liked by 1 person

      August 19, 2017
    • Minnesota
      Unofficial Landmark: Buffy the Cow, Austin Mn
      Class Action by Clara Bingham and Laura Leedy Gansler
      👍👍👍👍
      This was a very interesting read. I live in this area and know younger relatives of some people mentioned in the book. The book tells the story of the women who were first hired to work at Eveleth Mine. The mine was forced to hire women due to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The women were not wanted in the workplace and the harassment started the first day. Lois Jenson tried reporting the harassment to management and to the union. Neither one did anything to investigate or protect the women workers. Jenson then went to the Attorney Generals office but the case fell through the cracks. Finally she found the law firm of Sprenger & Lang to take the case. This case set important precedents in sexual harassment law. What the women went through during the trial was just as bad as the harassment at the mine. After ten plus years the case was finally settled.

      Current Points: 62
      I’m off to Wisconsin, which is a flight hub and I would like to fly to Maine. After I read my book for Wisconsin.

      Liked by 1 person

      August 20, 2017
    • Wisconsin (flight hub)
      Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler
      👍👍👍
      Little Wing Wisconsin is hometown to Henry, Lee, Kip and Ronny, friends since childhood. The story is told from each character’s perspective, including Henry’s wife Beth. Kip comes home to marry and renovate the old mill. Tensions run high between Kip and rockstar Lee over events at Kip’s wedding. Lee invites everyone but Kip and his wife to his wedding to actress Chloe. Henry and Beth’s marriage hits a road bump when a past indiscretion comes to light. Ronny finds happiness with Lucy and the other three friends mend their friendships. This book is kind of a snooze.

      Current Points: 63
      I’m flying to Maine now

      Like

      August 20, 2017
    • Maine
      The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King
      👍👍👍
      Nine year old Trisha McFarland is hiking with her mother and brother, while those two argue, Trisha leaves the trail to relieve herself. Thinking she is taking a short cut back to the trail, Trisha gets hopelessly lost. Instead of staying in one place, Trisha continues hiking, going much farther than the searchers estimate a nine year old could go. Trisha is not alone, she feels someone or something watching her. She doesn’t give up. She keeps fighting to survive, eating nuts, berries and even a raw fish. She does have her moments of crying and despair, but she doesn’t give up.

      Current Points:64
      I’m heading to New Hampshire

      Like

      August 22, 2017
    • New Hampshire
      A Separate Peace by John Knowles
      👍👍👍👍
      The story is set at the Devon school in New Hampshire during WWII. In the summer session in 1942, intellectual Gene and charismatic, athletic Phineas are roommates and best friends. Gene gets good grades but must study hard, while naturally athletic Phineas barely passes his classes. Gene becomes paranoid that Phineas is trying to sabotage his chance at being the head of the class. An incident that summer calls into question Gene’s friendship. The boys also have the draft looming over them when they graduate.

      Current Points: 65
      I’m going to Vermont next

      Like

      August 25, 2017
    • Vermont
      Water Witches by Chris Bohjalian
      3.5👍
      Vermont is in the midst of a severe drought. Powder Peak ski resort is trying to get permits to expand trails and tap the Chittenden River to make snow. Scott Winston, a lawyer representing Powder Peak and his future brother-in-law Reedy McClure are on opposing sides of the issue. Scott’s wife, her sister and their daughter are dowsers. They find water for people. When Scott and his daughter see catamounts where the new trails are to be made, Scott faces a dilemma. Keep the sighting quiet or speak out and risk losing a client. I found the ending very unbelievable, but the environmental issues were very interesting. How do you balance economic development with environmental responsibility.

      Current Points: 66
      I’m off to Massachusetts

      Like

      August 26, 2017
    • Massachusetts
      On Beauty by Zadie Smith
      3.75👍
      Set in a fictional university town in Massachusetts, the story follows the Belsey family. Howard and Kiki Belsey are an inter-racial couple married for thirty years and have now hit a rough patch. Howard is self-centered and having a midlife crisis. Monty Kipps, Howard’s nemesis, comes to teach at the university causing problems for Howard at home and work. This was very well written and I liked that it didn’t have a nice and tidy, happily ever after ending.

      Current Points: 67
      Up next is Rhode Island

      Like

      August 28, 2017
    • Rhode Island
      Landmark: Federal Hill
      At The Mountains Of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft
      👍👍
      This was a disappointment. I love the cheesy 80’s horror movie Reanimator based on Lovecraft’s story Herbert West-Reanimator. Go Miskatonic U! This was just boring. A scientific expedition to Antarctica goes horribly wrong. Narrated by geologist Dyer, he recounts the tale to hopefully discourage others from exploring. A group headed by Lake explores the foot of a mountain range. They find specimens of the “old ones”. When they can’t be reached by radio, the rest of the group investigates, the find the camp in shambles and everyone dead, including the dogs. Dyer and Danforth search the area by plane and find an ancient city. They explore and find something, which causes Danforth’s eventual break down. Total snooze fest.

      Current Points: 73
      I’m heading to Connecticut now

      Like

      September 2, 2017
    • Connecticut
      Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
      👍👍👍
      Very well written but I didn’t connect with any of the characters. April and Frank Wheeler meet at a party and do the intellectual bohemian thing until April ends up pregnant. They marry and Frank takes a job at his father’s old company. They decide to move to Connecticut to raise the children. They still think they are intellectuals and are above suburban life. Frank cheats on April. They decide to move to Paris, where April will support them while Frank finds himself. April ends up pregnant again and Paris is off. This is not a happy story and has no happy ending.

      Current Points: 74
      I’m off to New York

      Like

      September 4, 2017
    • New York
      Just Kids by Patti Smith
      👍👍👍👍
      I found this an extremely interesting book. Patti Smith tells how she went to New York City in 1967 and meets Robert Mapplethorpe. Both are struggling with their art and together they form a bond that last for life. They start out in a romantic relationship, but Robert is struggling with his sexuality. Once the romance ends, they still share an incredible bond, that continues until Robert’s death. Patti starts out drawing and writing poetry and then slowly moves toward music. It’s fascinating how she met so many of the icons of the time. Allen Ginsberg tried to pick her up at the automat, he thought she was a pretty boy. It’s also interesting how Robert goes from collage and jewelry to photography. They were both artist and muse, switching roles as needed.

      Current Points: 75
      I’m off to visit Lucy in New Jersey

      Liked by 1 person

      September 5, 2017
    • New Jersey
      Landmark: Lucy the Elephant
      Indignation by Philip Roth
      👍👍👍
      The author is from New Jersey and the story starts out in Newark. Marcus Messner is the only son of a kosher butcher. He is in his first year of college at Robert Treat, a small college in Newark, when his father starts to have irrational fears. His father’s fears that something will happen to him cause Marcus to transfer to Winesburg College in Ohio. Even though he is away from his father, things do not go smoothly for Marcus. He transfers rooms twice, has a run in with the dean of men and has an emergency appendectomy. This happens in 1951 when staying in college keeps you out of the draft. Marcus does not have a happy ending.

      Current Points: 81
      Up next is Pennsylvania

      Like

      September 6, 2017
    • Pennsylvania
      Landmark: Liberty Bell
      Straight Man by Richard Russo
      👍👍👍
      William Henry Devereaux Jr., is a professor at West Central Pennsylvania University, in Railton Pennsylvania. He is also the chairman of the English department. With the department in chaos, Hank threatens to kill a duck a day until he gets a budget. This makes him a hero to his colleagues and a nut case to everyone else. When faculty cuts threaten all departments, Hank’s colleagues want to recall him as chair. Someone kills two ducks. I didn’t enjoy this. I couldn’t relate to a fifty year old college professor, who was unable to stop making wise cracks. A couple of parts were funny, but I was mostly hoping for it to end.

      Current Points: 87
      I’m heading to West Virginia

      Like

      September 9, 2017
    • West Virginia
      Rocket Boys by Homer H. Hickam Jr.
      👍👍👍👍
      Homer “Sonny” Hickam Jr. was born and raised in Coalwood West Virginia. Coalwood is a company town, the company owns the mine and the entire town. The boys grow up and either go to work in the mine or join the military. After Sputnik is launched, Sonny becomes interested in rockets. Sonny and his form the Big Creek Missile Agency and start to build rockets. Sonny has the support of his mother, but his father and the town thinks he’s crazy. Eventually the whole town, including his father, support the rocket boys. Sonny wins the state science fair, a first for someone from Coalwood. All the rocket boys eventually go to college, none of them ever work in the mine. This is nonfiction but doesn’t read that way.

      Current Points: 88
      I’m heading to Maryland now

      Like

      September 13, 2017
    • Maryland
      The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
      👍👍👍
      The author was born in Maryland and Maryland considers him one of their famous authors. Sam Spade is a detective in San Francisco, who along with his partner Miles Archer, becomes involved with Brigid O’Shaughnessy. Playing the damsel in distress, Brigid cons the partners. Archer is killed, Spade has a run in with Cairo, that leads him to the fat man Gutman. Everyone wants the bird. Sam finally untangles the mess and the bad guys go to jail. This was kind of boring and not really my thing.

      Current Points: 89
      I’m heading to Virginia now

      Like

      September 13, 2017
    • Virginia
      The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
      3.5👍
      The story is set in Henrietta Virginia. Blue Sargent is sixteen years old and if she kisses her true love he will die. Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah are the Raven boys, the attend Aglionby and are searching for Glendower. The boys join forces with Blue to search the ley line. One boy is not what he seems. Blue’s psychic mom Maura knows more than she is willing to say. This was a light, fun read. It held my interest, now I have to read the rest of the series to find out how it ends.

      Current Points: 90
      I’m heading to North Carolina now

      Like

      September 15, 2017
    • North Carolina
      Lost Boys by Orson Scott Card
      2.5👍
      The Fletcher family moves to Steuben, North Carolina, when father Step takes a job at Eight Bits Inc. Oldest son Stevie has a hard time adjusting and begins to play with imaginary friends. Young boys in the area are disappearing. This book would have been better if it was edited down. I didn’t think all the details about the workings of the Mormon Church were necessary to the story. It felt very preachy and made the story really drag.

      Current Points: 81
      Off to South Carolina

      Like

      September 19, 2017
    • South Carolina
      South of Broad by Pat Conroy
      👍👍👍👍
      The story of ten friends who meet the summer before their senior year of high school. It’s 1969 in Charleston South Carolina and integration is taking place. Leopold Bloom King is the narrator and the glue that holds the group together. After the suicide of his older brother, Leo is left a drift. He is in a mental hospital and then ends up on probation. Leo is the one to bring this unlikely group together. They remain friends into adulthood. This is a well written book. I loved Leo, but there were a couple of times I wanted to slap him.

      Current Points: 82
      Up next Georgia

      Like

      September 20, 2017
    • Georgia
      Triptych by Karin Slaughter
      👍👍👍
      Agent Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation begins looking into cases of rape of teenage girls. He assists Detective Michael Ormewood with a similar case. John Shelley is released from prison after serving twenty-two years for a crime he didn’t commit. He is now being set up for the fall again. Trent puts the pieces together and John is off the hook and the real bad guy is found. This was okay, it’s the first in a series and I might check out the second one.

      Current Points:83
      Heading to Florida now

      Like

      September 20, 2017
    • Florida
      Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen
      👍👍
      Andrew Yancy demoted from the Monroe County sheriff’s office to health inspector after he assaults his lover’s husband. While on roach patrol, he delivers an arm to the widow, but he doesn’t buy the boating accident. He figures if he can prove it was a homicide and produce the killer, he can get his badge back. He has help from his new love, a forensic pathologist from Miami. This was weird and boring. I don’t think I will be reading Hiaasen again.

      Current Points: 84
      Off to Alabama now

      Like

      September 21, 2017
    • Alabama
      I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg
      👍👍👍
      Former Miss Alabama Margaret Anne Fortenberry is sixty years old wondering what happened to her life. Selling real estate was not what she planned to do, she was going to New York to be rich and famous. Instead she ends up back in her hometown of Birmingham. She comes up with a plan to leave it all behind, but things keep coming up and she has to put the plan on hold. When she lands the listing for Crestview, a house she has loved since childhood, she finds herself digging into a family mystery. This was an okay fluff read, but not really my thing.

      Current Points: 85
      Heading to Tennessee

      Like

      September 22, 2017
    • Tennessee
      Flesh and Bone by Jefferson Bass
      👍👍👍
      This is a body farm novel. Dr. Bill Brockton teaches at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and runs the body farm. He is conducting research for the M. E. of Chattanooga, Dr. Jess Carter, to help identify and solve a murder. When Dr. Carter is murdered, the killer sets up Dr. Brockton to take the fall. This was okay. The writing was so-so but I found the science very interesting.

      Current Points: 86
      Heading to Kentucky

      Like

      September 23, 2017
    • Kentucky
      Raylan by Elmore Leonard
      👍👍
      U. S. Marshal Raylan Givens working out of Harlan County, Kentucky, must track down the person who is stealing people’s kidneys. He also plays security guard for mining company executive, Carol Conlan. He then encounters Jackie Nevada, a twenty-three year old poker player and college student. This book felt really choppy to me. The bad guys are all loosely connected and the same people keep turning up throughout the story. I really didn’t like the writing or the characters. I’m glad it was short.

      Current Points: 87
      Off to Missouri

      Like

      September 23, 2017
    • Missouri
      The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
      👍👍👍
      The story starts in Missouri and the author is from there. Huck Finn is living with Ms. Watson being “sivilized” and not liking it. His Pap returns and tries to get Huck’s share of the money he and Tom got. Pap takes Huck away and keeps him locked up in a cabin. Huck fakes his own murder and runs away. On Jackson Island he runs into runaway slave Jim. They set out down the river on a raft. They travel by night because they don’t want to be seen because Jim is a runaway. They meet up with the Duke and the Dauphin, who cause them all kinds of trouble, including turning in Jim. Huck goes to free Jim and ends up with Tom Sawyer. Tom comes up with an elaborate plan to free Jim. It’s been years sinceI read Tom Sawyer and I didn’t remember him being such a drama queen.

      Current Points: 88
      Heading to Kansas

      Liked by 1 person

      September 24, 2017
    • Kansas
      Landmark: Largest ball of twine
      The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
      👍👍👍
      After her mother’s suicide, Lane Roanoke is sent to live with her grandparents in Kansas. Once there she meets her cousin Allegra, who drops hints about the family’s dark history. One summer is all it takes and Lane leaves. Ten years later she receives a phone call from her grandfather telling her Allegra is missing. Lane returns to Kansas determined to find out what happened to Allegra. This book was a little too twisted for me. It made my skin crawl.

      Current Points: 94
      Off to Colorado

      Like

      September 25, 2017
    • Colorado
      The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
      👍👍
      Ugh! Stream of consciousness and post apocalyptic, not a fan of either. Hig and his dog Jasper are living at a rural airport, in what used to be Colorado. They share the place with Bangley, a gun nut. The flu and a blood disease has wiped out most of the population. There are scattered groups of survivors. Hig and Bangley must protect their assets against these groups. After a hunting trip on which Jasper dies in his sleep, Hig is devastated and decides to go to Grand Junction in search of a radio transmission. On the way he finds a man and his adult daughter. He brings them back with him. This was a jumble of thoughts and it drove me crazy trying to follow it.

      Current Points: 95
      Heading to New Mexico

      Like

      September 25, 2017
  4. Jenni Langford #

    Jenni’s road trip

    Starting location: Maine

    Book: The Dark Tower by Stephen King

    Current points: 0

    Liked by 1 person

    June 28, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      Finished my first book for Maine – The Dark Tower by Stephen King. Link to my review on Litsy: http://litsy.com/p/eEM1U1doVUk3

      Current points: 1

      I am off to New Hampshire!

      Liked by 1 person

      July 9, 2017
    • Jenni #

      Book 2 finished!

      I read A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. Another big book, but I’m trying to use my TBR for this challenge. 😃

      This one is worth 1 point. Link to my review on Litsy: http://litsy.com/p/aGRJR3J6d29L

      Current points: 2

      Liked by 1 person

      July 13, 2017
      • Jenni #

        And I forgot to say… I’m off to Massachusetts.

        Liked by 1 person

        July 13, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      Book 3 is finished. For Massachusetts, I read The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe. Link to my Litsy review: http://litsy.com/p/Z1E5UWpnSGMy

      This one is worth 1 point, so my total is up to a whopping 3!

      I’m off to Rhode Island now… starting My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. 😃

      Liked by 1 person

      July 17, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      Book 4 is finished! For Rhode Island, I read My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. Link to my review on Litsy: http://litsy.com/p/ZjVKUk1HWTE4

      This state is worth 6 points, so my current total is 9.

      Off to Connecticut next! 😃

      Liked by 1 person

      July 18, 2017
    • Jenni #

      Book 5 finished!

      I read Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates for my sad visit to Connecticut. 🙁

      Link to my Litsy review:

      http://litsy.com/p/OWtLT0xEMzNi

      This book was worth 1 point, so my running total is up to 10.

      I’m off to New York!

      Liked by 1 person

      July 22, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      Book 6 is done! I read Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut for New York. Link to my Litsy review: http://litsy.com/p/WDE0S0VyY0NN

      New York was worth 1 point, so I am up to 11 points total.

      I am off to New Jersey now. 😃

      Like

      July 23, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      Book 7 is done! For New Jersey, I read Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick. Link to my review on Litsy: http://litsy.com/p/YVduaXVlTUtO

      This state was worth 6 points, so my running total is up to 17!

      Tomorrow, I will be off to Pennsylvania, but now I sleep. 😴

      Liked by 1 person

      July 24, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      I finished book 8 today. For Pennsylvania, I read Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner. Link to my Litsy review: http://litsy.com/p/cHhLQ2w3eFZZ

      This state was worth 6 points, so I am up to 23 for my running total.

      Off to Ohio next!

      Liked by 1 person

      July 29, 2017
      • Wow, you’re moving along really fast!

        Like

        July 30, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      Look at me go… book 9 is finished. For Ohio, I read The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Link to my Litsy review: http://litsy.com/p/RENOd0kzd0Jq

      Ohio was also worth 6 points, so I’m up to 29 for a running total.

      On to Kentucky!

      Liked by 1 person

      July 29, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      Book 10 is finished. For Kentucky, I read The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward. Link to my Litsy review is here:http://litsy.com/p/VFltYnpheFpv

      Kentucky is worth 1 point, so my running total is up to 30.

      I am off to Tennessee 😃

      Liked by 1 person

      August 6, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      I finally finished my 11th book tonight. For Tennessee, I read No One Knows by JT Ellison. Link to my Litsy review here:

      http://litsy.com/p/RUFSRG90RHhz

      This was a landmark state worth 6 points, so my running total is up to 36.

      Heading to Georgia now!

      Liked by 1 person

      August 13, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      Book 12 finished! For Georgia, I read The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – could have worked for several states, but it started in Georgia. This one has been on my shelf for a long time, but I finally got to it for this challenge and also as I attempt to read the Man Booker list. Link to my review on Litsy: http://litsy.com/p/ZVVuQUdYbFpB

      Georgia is another landmark state worth 6 points, so my running total is up to 42 – perfect number! 🤓

      I am off to Florida next!

      Liked by 1 person

      August 16, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      Book 13 was a doozy… for Florida I read Tampa by Alissa Nutting. Link to my Litsy review: http://litsy.com/p/RlNyb0ZyYXA5

      Florida is worth 1 point, so my running today is now 43.

      I’m headed to Alabama next.

      Like

      August 19, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      Book 14 done! For Alabama, I read Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. Link to my Litsy review: http://litsy.com/p/UjE3VkxxV3JX

      Alabama is a landmark state, worth 6 points, so my total is now 49.

      On to Mississippi next!

      Like

      August 21, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      My 15th book for the road trip is finished. For Mississippi, I read Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. Link to my Litsy review: http://litsy.com/p/OU50RUczb2Nq

      This state was worth 1 point, so my total is 50.

      Headed to Louisiana next.

      Liked by 1 person

      August 23, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      I finished book 16 today. I read The Awakening by Kate Chopin for Louisiana. Link to my Litsy review here: http://litsy.com/p/amttWm8xRTV0

      I had originally started a different book for this state, that I found on a Goodreads list of books supposedly set in Louisiana… halfway through the book (which I loved) it became apparent that it wouldn’t work for the road trip, but I finished it anyway. So, I lost a few days. Whoops.

      Louisiana is a landmark state worth 6 points, so I am up to 56. 👍🏻

      Off to Arkansas now!

      Liked by 1 person

      August 27, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      Book 17 is done. For Arkansas, I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Link to my Litsy review: http://litsy.com/p/MTkyUm5RbVpO

      Arkansas is worth 1 point, so my running total is now 57.

      I’m off to Oklahoma now!

      Liked by 1 person

      August 30, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      Look at me go! I finished another book today. For Oklahoma, I read Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts. Link to my Litsy review: http://litsy.com/p/ZXJsMkxrbk95

      This state was worth another point, so my running total is 58.

      Next up for me: Kansas.

      Like

      August 30, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      I finished my Kansas book today… I read The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard. Link to my Litsy review: http://litsy.com/p/cTRra3NCUGhE

      Kansas is another landmark state worth 6 points, so my running total is up to 64.

      Next up for me: Nebraska.

      Like

      September 1, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      Nebraska book is finished… who would have thought one of my least favorite states to visit would be the setting for one of my favorite books so far from the road trip!? Link to my Litsy review: http://litsy.com/p/RVpxaWFxYTBr

      This state is worth 1 point, so my score is up to 65.

      Off to South Dakota!

      Liked by 1 person

      September 3, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      South Dakota is finally finished! I read Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. Link to my Litsy review: http://litsy.com/p/aXhjVE5kYldp

      This is a landmark state worth 6 points, so my total is now 71.

      I’m off to Wyoming next.

      Like

      September 12, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      I finished my Wyoming book! I read Amnesia Moon by Jonathan Lethem. Link to my Litsy review: http://litsy.com/p/YzFuY1VUblNu

      This is another landmark state, worth 6 points, so my total is now 77.

      I’m off to Colorado.

      Like

      September 16, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      Finished my Colorado book today… I read Plainsong by Kent Haruf. Link to my Litsy review: http://litsy.com/p/RkNXeVZmcVN5

      Colorado is worth 1 point, so my total is 78.

      Headed to New Mexico.

      Liked by 1 person

      September 19, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      I forgot to post my New Mexico book yesterday… I finished Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, which is partially set there. Link to my Litsy review: http://litsy.com/p/UUZtdHFOc3hi

      New Mexico is a landmark state worth 6 points, so my total is now 84.

      On to Arizona!

      Liked by 1 person

      September 22, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      Finished my Arizona book today! I read Hounded by Kevin Hearne. Here’s the link to my Litsy review: http://litsy.com/p/aG9KWTBzcGxo

      Arizona was another landmark state, worth 6 points, so my total is at 90.

      Off to Utah!

      Like

      September 24, 2017
    • Jenni Langford #

      Oh my goodness… I finished two in one day! For Utah, I read Austenland by Shannon Hale (who is from that state). It’s a short book at 197 pages, and it totally sucked me in. Link to my Litsy review: http://litsy.com/p/WGZSOXlYenJy

      Utah is another landmark state worth 6 points, so I am up to 96!

      Headed to Nevada next – I’m getting so close to the left coast. 😃

      Liked by 1 person

      September 24, 2017
  5. Currey #

    Starting: New Hampshire
    Book: Reading the Forested Landscape
    Points: 0

    Liked by 1 person

    June 28, 2017
    • Currey #

      Book: Reading the Forested Landscape by Tom Wessels
      It is almost cheating as this 165 page books has lots of beautiful Black and White prints. It is really a must read for anyone who wonders about the woods and forests that they walk through in New England. Little blurb in Litsy

      Current Points: 1

      I am off to Vermont

      Liked by 1 person

      July 1, 2017
      • Currey #

        Book: Water Witches by Chris Bohjalian
        Setting: Vermont
        Nice depiction of small town life in Vermont but only a so-so story. Blurb in Litsy.
        Current points: 2
        New York up next

        Liked by 1 person

        July 5, 2017
    • Currey #

      I jumped from Vermont to Long Island, almost 100 years and many miles away.
      Book: The Great Gatsby
      Setting: New York
      Blurb in Litsy
      Current points: 3
      On to New Jersey. A large book for a smaller state. I am tackling Paul Austen’s 4321

      Like

      July 13, 2017
    • Currey #

      Currey takes the 2 lane back road, slow going….
      Book: 4321 By Paul Auster
      Setting: New Jersey
      Brief stop to see Lucy the Elephant
      Points: 6 + 3 = 9

      Blurb in Litsy and Review in Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1853971960

      PA next up

      Liked by 1 person

      July 22, 2017
    • Currey #

      Gail’s Slow Back Road Tour –
      Just finished the Straight Man by Richard Russo. It is a story which takes place in a small PA college town and describes the self destructive behavior of a truly delightfully funny college professor. This professor has squandered his talents and endangered his relationships in his on-going quest to be himself, full of desire for a vengeneance against a life with no focus. I enjoyed it. Blurb in Litsy.

      9 + 1+ 5 for the stop at the Liberty Bell = 15
      On to Ohio

      Liked by 1 person

      July 30, 2017
      • CURREY #

        My slow back road tour has hit a delay and I can’t move on until 8/7. YEAH!! Maybe I can read a book from the Booker Long List (I have only read 3 out of 13 so far)

        Liked by 1 person

        August 1, 2017
    • Currey #

      I was in Ohio when I was delayed last week. Now Ohio is a black out state. Does this mean I can’t declare my Ohio read until August 14th? Can I read another state (that touches Ohio) while I am waiting….or is it back to the Booker long list for me?

      Liked by 1 person

      August 7, 2017
      • You can finish your Ohio book this week but then can’t start the next book until next Monday. That’s rotten luck

        Like

        August 7, 2017
    • Currey #

      Ohio: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

      A family drama about an interracial couple and their children in a town about 100 miles south of Toledo during the 70’s. Although it hits the right sentimental notes on the part of the children, including the desire to make their parents happy and the need for love and attention even at a high cost to one ‘s selfhood, it slowly makes the parents into two dimensional unseeing actors. The story traces one daughter who the parents are pouring all their dreams into and the mystery surrounding her death. The daughter can not contain her father’s dream of being popular, a dream of fitting in he could never attain. The daughter also can not contain the mother’s dream of unleashing her full potential. The best of motivations drives this dream but it requires a molding without regard to the vessel. It was a fast read but not totally satisfying. Ohio is a black out state so I will be here awhile. Probably headed to Kentucky next but I do not need to decide until Monday.

      Points: 15 + 1+ Rock and Roll = 21

      Like

      August 8, 2017
    • Currey #

      Finally able to travel after a delay and a black out. I started by going from Ohio to Indiana to read Slaughterhouse Five.
      Vonnegut’s strange, sloppy cascade of moments is an attempt to understand the bombing of Dresden during WWII. There is no strategic or war policy discussion in the book, rather he approaches man’s inhumanity to man through the eyes of Billy Pilgrim, a POW, a misfit, a good husband, a time and space traveler. Vonnegut uses repetition, cynicism, aliens, humor and an occasional poignant moment to get us closer to seeing ourselves in all our delight and horror. At one point Billy is dressed by the Germans in a sort of clown suit which he is happy to put on to keep warm. In the seam of this vest he finds a small gem. This is what the whole book is like, finding small gems. One gets the feeling that this gem is what Vonnegut could offer us in the face of our worst actions.
      +1=22
      On to Kentucky

      Like

      August 18, 2017
    • Currey #

      Kentucky: Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler
      Two woman who have developed a trusting, almost mother daughter relationship travel to a mysterious funeral by car. During this road trip we hear the confessions of the older white woman and her tale of an interracial forbidden love back in the 30’s. The Kentucky town in which the love story takes place is just across the river from Cincinnati but may as well be the Deep South in terms of racial violence and prejudice at that time. In the present day, as they drive north, we learn about the life of the African American younger friend as she struggles with being a single mom and attempting to learn to trust another man with her heart. The book is heartfelt and revolves around two great stories that reflect levels of trust and how trust is undermined by societal conventions. However, this first time author could not completely bring the characters into full dimension and keep them there.

      Kentucky + 1 = 23
      Tennessee for me up next

      Like

      August 18, 2017
    • Currey #

      Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
      Tennessee claims Patchett as their own and Ann Patchett calls Tennessee home so I am crediting this reading to Tennessee even though Patchett was not born there and the events in the book are reflective of an incident that happened in Peru.
      The story launches itself with revolutionary terrorists attempting to kidnap The President of a unnamed country and instead finding themselves holding hostage multiple influential and powerful individuals who happened to have been brought together for a rare opera performance at a birthday party. Any hint that this is a thriller is quickly dismissed when you learn right up front the inevitably of the ending. Instead the story becomes about understanding. Here is a world where there is no common language except opera music and the simple pleasures of the moment when contained in a common space. Patchett’s language captures beautifully what could happen when one can not communicate with a shared language but can communicate with empathy and understanding nevertheless. The love she has for her characters shines through and the reader is touched by the same grace that the characters in the story are touched by. I was so entangled that I forgave her the sentimental and I almost forgive her the ending.

      23 +1 + Graceland = 29
      I realized that I am so behind the front runners on points that I should head to the coast so I can at least say I finished. Therefore I am taking advantage of a flight hub out of Tennessee over the great state of Arkansas to Texas.

      Liked by 1 person

      August 20, 2017
    • Currey #

      Texas
      Lincoln in the Bardo – by George Saunders who was born in Amarillo Texas
      On the Booker Longlist this year, this is a remarkable book of truly unique construct. The overarching action is the death of Willlie Lincoln and President Lincoln’s attempt to deal with that sorrow. Written almost as if a play in which the major characters are inhabitants of a graveyard community, each little speech is articulated as if being read or announced. Interlaced with this are snippets of writings from the era or from books about the era. All of this hangs together because of the author’s ability to capture the projected human longing for what could have been. The graveyard community longs to go back to their previous existence in order to change an outcome or simply to once again experience an earthly delight. Lincoln longs to exit the mantle of sorrow he has taken on with the Civil War which is further layered and wrapped around him when Willlie dies. The book is often downright silly. There are moments you wish he had left out altogether when he turns religious concepts into almost science fiction scenarios. However, there are other moments when he so completely captures what sorrow feels like, what craving for life feels like, what love feels like, that it took my breath away.
      Definitely worth the read.

      +1 = 30
      On to Oklahoma

      Like

      August 26, 2017
    • CURREY #

      Oklahoma
      The Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
      A frightening reporting on the Reign of Terror that beset the Osage Nation in the 1920’s which continues to have ramifications on the Tribe even today. The Osage were kicked out of their homeland in Kansas and Missouri as white settlers came in and claimed their land. They elected to move to a small county in Indian Territory (later to be Oklahoma) that was rocky, barren of trees and fairly scrappy. They took this land because they thought that there was nothing there that the white settlers would want. Then oil was discovered on their land. The book is about how the white culture proceeded to cheat the Indians of their oil money and went on to kill the Osage for that same money. The white law, white sheriffs, white banks and white courts all colluded to take everything that belonged to the Osage including their ability to spend their own money. The only justice that the Osage saw was from the newly formed FBI that had no allegience to the local white culture. Nevertheless it is not a story of justice triumphing, it is just a story of ugliness and tragedy and yet is very well told.
      Litsy: http://litsy.com/p/Yk84UVUyTHZ3
      30+1=31
      On to Kansas

      Liked by 1 person

      August 31, 2017
    • Currey #

      Kansas
      The Chaperone Laura Moriarty
      I had high hopes for this historical fiction that traces the full life of a woman living through the radical changes in cultural attitudes toward women and their behaviors in the 1900’s. I loved her early life and the interactions with a arrogant and defiant young woman who would go on to be a silent movie star. However, the rest of the book reflected strangely constrained decision making and there were a couple of times when I almost gave up on it. It is a best seller and dearly loved book, it just didn’t hit the mark for me.
      31 + 1 + a big ball of twine = 37
      On to Colorado

      Like

      September 11, 2017
    • Currey #

      Colorado
      Where You Once Belonged by Kent Haruf
      Hartuf’s unsentimental prose style is exactly right for this story that unfolds in a small plains town in Colorado. It is narrated by a small town newspaper man and captures the story of a one time friend who was the BIG man in town. With dialogue that communicates effectively without the use of one spare word, we learn about what belonging may mean in a small town. We learn what betrayal can do to the social fabric that holds a town together and we learn about how love can find roots in simple goodness anywhere in the world. An upsetting ending caps this brief book.
      37+1= 38
      Staring at my calendar and my TBR shelf and the Booker short list and I am going to just head for the coast. Utah next

      Like

      September 13, 2017
    • Currey #

      Utah
      Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer
      An investigation into faith by this strong journalistic author became derailed by the delusions and narcissism of those whose faith directed them toward violence. The story of The Latter Day Saints and the rise of the Mormon church gives background to the main story of a pair of brothers who, in speaking directly with their God, are told to kill a young woman and her daughter. The book is well written and a page turner but the author admits that it became a different story than the one he set out to tell. It does offer real insight into zealous faith.
      38 + 1 = 39 + Zion = 44
      Arizona next up

      Like

      September 18, 2017
    • Currey #

      Arizona – The Monkey Wrench Gang. By Edward Abbey
      A 1975 classic cult almost comic book that sparked serious Eco-terriorist discussions is still a romp to read. The accusations against the author for msyognist tendencies still stands but I found all the characters, as much as they were all caricatures, to be fun to spend time with while enjoying the descriptions of the beauty of the high desert of Arizonia and Utah. The crazy patched together gang sets off to protect the land from big oil, mining, lumbering, highway projects, and big government but they do it without any aim toward what would today be used to gather support through social networking. Instead they are simply blowing things up in an attempt to stop the progress of destruction. There is much to think about in terms of conforming to what is right, when what you believe is right, is also illegal.
      44 +1 +Antelope Canyon = 50
      Last up – California

      Like

      September 25, 2017
  6. Tracy S #

    Tracy’s Trip to Wally World (without Chevy Chase)
    Starting: Maine

    Like

    June 28, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Maine
      Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout
      4 stars
      Set in Maine, this story of a mother and daughter with secrets, and how those secrets come out in the unbelievably hot summer of 1968, was a pretty good one. This is Strout’s first novel, and it’s pretty melodramatic. But her writing style and character development are really good, and the people in this book could be your neighbors, they’re that real.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 6, 2017
      • Tracy S #

        1 point.

        Like

        July 6, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      New Hampshire
      The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis
      3.5 stars
      Set in a college campus in New Hampshire in 1985, this is a “love” triangle story. Paul loves Sean, who loves Lauren (who slept with Paul), who loves Victor (who doesn’t remember her name), and Stuart is crushing on Paul. There’s plenty of drugs, booze, and cultural references to go with the unprotected, often anonymous, sex. And some cameos from other characters in Ellis’ work, including Sean’s big brother, Patrick Bateman. Despite all this 20-something irresponsibility that would normally make me set a book aside, the writing is brilliant, and once I started, I couldn’t stop reading.
      Total points so far: 2

      Like

      July 7, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Vermont
      A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid
      3.5 stars
      Author lives in Vermont. This is her tribute, albeit a cynical one, to her home island of Antigua. She remarks on corruption of government officials, and how tourists’ money is welcomed, but not so much the tourists. Her words could describe many places in the world, unfortunately.

      Like

      July 8, 2017
      • Tracy S #

        Total points so far: 3

        Like

        July 8, 2017
    • Tracy S. #

      Massachusetts
      Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
      Umm. Yeah. This was just weird, and almost impossible to explain. Eileen is a 24 year old, who is very naive, even for 1962. She also has some very odd ideas. It’s almost as her development was arrested at age 6. She lives in Massachusetts with her alcoholic father. Her mother has passed, and her sister only shows up when she wants money. When she meets a new education specialist at the juvenile boys’ prison where she works, she develops a crush, and things go south.
      I honestly don’t know what to feel about this one- the writing shows flashes of something very promising, but I worry about what kind of sick mind thought this up. It’s like Shirley Jackson’s literary/horror talent meets a child obsessed with her own poop.

      Like

      July 10, 2017
    • Tracy S. #

      Rhode Island
      Child of God by Cormac McCarthy
      I really need to read a happy book. This was not a happy book. But it’s Cormac McCarthy- I knew going in it was going to be stark. And it was.
      Lester Ballard is a man in Appalachian Tennessee, mid-20th century. He’s not well-respected, and does nothing to command a whole lot of respect, but he tends to leave others pretty much alone. Until he is falsely accused of rape. Then his mind seems to snap, Cormac McCarthy style.
      Leave it to McCarthy, though, to lead me to feel sympathy for a man who acts reprehensibly. The simple, stark and yet somehow tender writing style is what draws me to his writing. And leaves me feeling icky every time.
      The author is from Rhode Island. Yep. Go figure.
      Total points so far: 9

      Like

      July 11, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Connecticut
      A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
      I found my happy book! This series was a childhood favorite of mine. Meg and Charles Wallace Murry travel to a far away planet via another dimension, a process called a tesseract, to save their father from evil. This will be a movie next year, and I’m pretty excited about it.
      The author lived in Connecticut.
      Total points so far: 10.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 11, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      New York
      You Don’t Look Your Age and other Fairy Tales by Sheila Nevins
      This was a group of essays and anecdotes written by NYC native Nevins, a director/producer/writer, and friend to a lot of great readers who translate well to audio: Glenn Close, RuPaul, Meryl Streep, Lena Dunham, and many more. The best voice by far was Janet Mock’s. All the stories were feminist, but from a baby boomer point of view that has evolved to a modern one. I liked this- some humorous, some sad, but all stories were worth hearing.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 14, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Pennsylvania
      The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
      A children’s book by one of my sons’ favorites. The audio was very good. A boy wants to believe his sister is still alive, despite evidence to the contrary. When he is told by a fortune teller that an elephant will lead him to her, and then an elephant materializes, he starts his search. The author is from Pennsylvania.

      Like

      July 14, 2017
      • Tracy S #

        Total points 16

        Like

        July 14, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      New Jersey
      Turbo Twenty-three by Janet Evanovich
      Another dead body, another blown up vehicle, another inner debate over Morelli or Ranger. Stephanie Plum stories are getting old, but they are still entertaining.
      Total points so far: 21

      Liked by 1 person

      July 16, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Delaware
      Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
      I guess since the first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club…
      I just don’t get Palahniuk’s appeal. I didn’t care for this one- the violence and the disjointed jumps in the narrative weren’t my thing.
      Total points so far: 22

      Liked by 1 person

      July 16, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Maryland
      The Baltimore Waltz by Paula Vogel
      This is a play about a first grade teacher who gets a fatal disease from the toilet seat, and her brother takes her to Europe to find a cure. In reality, it’s him that is ill, and she is finding a way to grieve. I liked this very much- it was an audio performance of a humorous, not cloying look at AIDS. It won an Obie for best American play in 1992.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 16, 2017
      • Tracy S #

        23 points so far.

        Liked by 1 person

        July 16, 2017
      • Tracy S #

        Next stop West Virginia.

        Like

        July 16, 2017
      • Rachel N #

        Hi Tracy. To me it looks like you have been shorting yourself a point in monument states and giving yourself only 5 points instead of 6. Maybe Jen can confirm but it looks like you should have 3 more points.

        Like

        July 17, 2017
      • Tracy S #

        You’re right! Thanks!
        Total points: 26

        Liked by 1 person

        July 18, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      West Virginia
      The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart by M. Glenn Taylor
      Early “Trenchmouth” Taggart is a foundling raised by a widow in the hollows of West Virginia. He sees the majority of the 20th century and meets many of its icons. This reminded me of Forrest Gump, and I really enjoyed it.

      Like

      July 19, 2017
      • Tracy S #

        Total points: 27
        Next: Virginia

        Like

        July 19, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Virginia
      Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin
      Salatin is a successful farmer and lecturer on saving the planet by re-adopting the old ways of farming. I agreed with about half of what he said, and plan to research more. But he was kinda condescending, and, I think,a little too backwards on some of his points. His Polyface farm is in Virginia.
      Total points: 28
      Next: North Carolina

      Liked by 1 person

      July 21, 2017
      • Hmmm, sounds like something I might like. I “know” of him via Food Inc, and was impressed.

        Like

        July 22, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      North Carolina
      Hide by Matthew Griffin
      When Frank and Wendell meet in post WWII North Carolina, it’s love. Forbidden love, so they have to hide it from the world by moving out to a secluded home. Fifty years later, they’re like an old married couple, health issues included, and still hiding. I loved the writing style- Griffin’s got a bright future. Since Wendell is a taxidermist, the descriptions of his work can get graphic, so an animal lover or squeamish person may want to think twice. But these characters, flaws and all, were engaging and their situations very real.
      Total points: 29
      Next: South Carolina

      Liked by 1 person

      July 23, 2017
    • Tracy S. #

      South Carolina
      The Resurrectionist by Matthew Guinn
      Set in a South Carolina medical school, in the mid 19th century and the late 20th. A cache of bones is found buried in the basement of what was once the anatomy lab, and the flashbacks to 19th century tell the story of the African-American man who not only found the bodies, but taught dissection. The writing is suspenseful, and overall this is a good read.
      Next up: Georgia

      Liked by 1 person

      July 24, 2017
    • Tracy S. #

      Georgia
      Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadahata
      See review here:
      https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/18768635-kira-kira-by-cynthia-kadohata–4-5-stars
      Next stop: Florida, and the end of the East Coast!
      Total points: 36

      Liked by 1 person

      July 26, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Florida
      Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen
      I used to love Hiaasen, and there is a lot to like about this book- his usual dose of humor, environmental pokes, political pokes, and a wacky case for a detective/restaurant inspector to solve.
      But all his books have those things. This one does have a monkey, but really this was just more of the same. I guess I’m over same.
      Total points: 37
      Next stop- next week- Alabama.

      Like

      July 27, 2017
      • are you doing every state?

        Like

        July 28, 2017
      • Tracy S #

        I’m going to try, yes. I think I have enough books on my shelves and in my iPad to hit every state at least twice!

        Liked by 1 person

        July 31, 2017
    • Tracy S. #

      Alabama
      Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
      This is the story of a Vietnamese family during the fall of Saigon, and their escape to the US- their sponsor is in Alabama, and so that’s where they end up. Of course, there are those who misunderstand, and those who try to help. And those who are outright cruel. As the year comes to a close, baby steps are made to acceptance.
      I’m impressed with the maturity of children’s books- it gives me hope that kids aren’t as protected as social media says. I’m going to try to read a grown up book next—
      Next stop Mississippi.
      Total points: 42.

      Like

      August 1, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Mississippi
      Every Tongue Got to Confess by Zola Neale Hurston
      This is a collection of fables, tall tales, ghost stories and grandpa stories from the Gulf Coast states, including Mississippi. It was a delightful collection- some of these stories I’d heard before. Hurston traveled around the Gulf and collected these from oldsters and children as well.
      Total points: 43
      Next stop: Tennessee

      Like

      August 2, 2017
    • Tracy S. #

      Tennessee
      Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy
      McCarthy has lived in Tennessee, and this story, though not specified, is probably set there.
      Culla Holme and his sister, Rinthy, have a baby together, and he leaves it in the woods to die. When Rinthy finds out what Culla has done, she goes looking for the baby, and Culla goes looking for her. As in all of McCarthy’s books, there’s more to find in the woods than a baby.
      I’ve now read five of McCarthy’s books, and each one seems to cement him as a great author. His characters are dark, and his settings are stark, but there’s always a bit of hope at the end.

      Like

      August 3, 2017
      • Tracy S. #

        total points: 49
        Next stop: Kentucky

        Like

        August 3, 2017
    • Tracy S. #

      Kentucky
      The Memory of Old Jack by Wendell Berry
      See review here:https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/10770751?utm_campaign=mybooksnav&utm_content=mybooks_cta&utm_medium=web&utm_source=homepage
      Next stop: Ohio
      Total points: 50

      Liked by 1 person

      August 4, 2017
    • Tracy S. #

      Ohio
      God Help the Child by Toni Morrison
      Oh, my. Toni Morrison can weave a story like no one else. Every character in this story has been affected in some way by sexual abuse against children, and each deals with it in his or her own way. But there’s no whining here. It’s a story, told in a straightforward manner, and words are not wasted or preached. I will be thinking about this one for a long time.
      Next stop: Indiana

      Liked by 1 person

      August 5, 2017
    • Tracy S. #

      Indiana
      A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
      Anecdotes of her childhood in small town Indiana: some touching, some sad, many laugh out loud funny- especially the story of her best friend’s mom getting upended by a pig. The writing is engaging. There are some stories that could offend, but the context of 70s small Midwestern town should keep it in perspective.
      Next stop: Michigan

      Like

      August 5, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Michigan
      The English Major by Jim Harrison
      I think at another time in my life I would have liked this. A misogynistic dirty old man picks up his former high school student (now 43), goes on a road trip and talks way too much about sex, puts down women, and whines about his failed marriage. Just not my thing at all.
      Next stop: Wisconsin.

      Like

      August 6, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Wisconsin
      Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler
      Four men and one woman are the narrators of this story of their friendships. It is set in tiny Little Wing, Wisconsin, and captures Midwestern small town life very accurately. The strength of this book is in the character development and the relationships. I enjoyed this one.
      Next: Minnesota

      Like

      August 6, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Minnesota
      History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
      This takes place in the woods of Minnesota, around Bemidji, when Linda is 15. It ties two incidents in her life around that time: one with a teacher, and one with the family she babysits. Strange, but compulsive reading!
      Next: home, sweet home: Iowa

      Liked by 2 people

      August 9, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Iowa
      You’re Making Me Hate You by Corey Taylor
      Taylor, the frontman for Slipknot and Stone Sour, is a born and raised Iowan, who still lives here.
      This is a 40 year old’s get off my lawn book: he gives his take on the stupid stuff people do, and laments that the people of the world are getting dumber. And: for the most part, he’s right. I didn’t agree with everything he said, and there was a lot of language I didn’t like, but I laughed a lot.
      Next: Illinois

      Like

      August 12, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Illinois
      Sorry to Disrupt the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell
      Author spent significant years in Chicago growing up.
      I usually love an unreliable narrator, and this one is about as quirky as it gets. Helen, though undiagnosed, has mental health problems. The story focuses on her returning home for her brother’s funeral, and her attempt to determine why he committed suicide. The audio was excellent, and the story disturbing, but I’ll be thinking about it for a long time.
      Next: Missouri

      Like

      August 13, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Missouri
      The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell
      Set in the Ozarks of Missouri, this is a set of short stories about murderers, meth manufacturers and methheads. I love Woodrell’s writing- his sentences are gold. But he’s a better novelist than short story writer, sothese were just ok.
      Next: Arkansas

      Like

      August 15, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Arkansas
      The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou
      Author raised in Arkansas.
      I needed this today.
      Next: Louisiana

      Liked by 1 person

      August 15, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Louisiana
      The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines
      Set in ‘Luzana’, Miss Jane, born a slave, tells her story from slavery to the Civil Rights Movement. She’s at least 110 when she tells it, and it’s a fascinating story. I enjoyed this novel- Gaines is a great storyteller.
      Next: Texas

      Like

      August 17, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Texas
      Civilwarland in Bad Decline by George Saunders
      Author born in Texas
      His first short story collection, these stories and novella hint at the genius to come. One of his favorite themes is the use of fringe people as spectacles for the amusement of others. The title story even has ghosts from the Civil War era.

      Liked by 1 person

      August 18, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Oklahoma
      Maud’s Line by Margaret Verble
      Set in the land given to the displaced Native Americans in Oklahoma, this takes place in 1927. Maud’s family feuds with the bootlegger neighbors, and a handsome peddled turns her head. There is a lot to this book, and the writing is fantastic. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer a few years ago, and deserved it.
      Next: Kansas

      Liked by 1 person

      August 21, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Kansas
      Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
      Yep. Not my thing. What was a decent plot/idea just wasn’t written well.
      Next: some comfort reading with Willa Cather in Nebraska

      Like

      August 27, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Nebraska
      My Mortal Enemy by Willa Cather
      Author lived in Nebraska for much of her life.
      I love Willa Cather. Her writing is like visiting an old friend, but this one, though very good, wasn’t quite as comfortable. Nellie meets and befriends Myra, a woman of an older generation with ambition. In the second half of the book, Myra is ill, and her ambitions have been thwarted.

      Liked by 1 person

      August 30, 2017
      • Tracy S #

        Next stop South Dakota

        Liked by 1 person

        August 30, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      South Dakota
      The Jumping Off Place by Marian Hurd McNeely
      Four children stake their dead guardian’s claim in South Dakota in 1910. The two oldest are 16 and 15 when they follow their Uncle Jim’s dream of a homestead, and leave Wisconsin for the great unknown. This won a Newbery Honor in 1930. It is a bit mature- more YA, and it is fantastic. Little House meets the older Anne of Green Gables. Loved this!
      Next: North Dakota

      Like

      August 31, 2017
    • Tracy S. #

      North Dakota
      The Bingo Palace by Louise Erdrich
      Link to my Goodreads review:https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/18861595-the-bingo-palace-by-louise-erdrich—4-5-stars-rounded-up
      Next stop: Montana

      Like

      September 3, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Montana
      Winter in the Blood by James Welch
      Set in Montana- this was ok. I guess I expected more because I’ve read so many good things about the author, but I just couldn’t get into this. The unnamed narrator is 32 and having an identity crisis: he’s trying to connect with his Blackfoot roots. The story felt disjointed and contrived somehow,

      Like

      September 6, 2017
      • Tracy S #

        Next: Wyoming

        Like

        September 6, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Wyoming
      Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx
      This woman can write anything! This is a collection of short stories, and, unlike many other works, they were fully fleshed out. And well written, though often stark.
      Next: Colorado

      Like

      September 9, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Colorado
      When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
      Author lives in Colorado.
      This is a YA Indian-American version of Pride and Prejudice. Dimple and Rishi’s parents have arranged their marriage, in the old school tradition of India. Rishi knows this, but it’s a big surprise to Dimple, and she’s not happy. At first, anyway. It was cloyingly cute- this one will go to my 14 year old niece. She’ll love it.
      Next stop: New Mexico.

      Like

      September 12, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      New Mexico
      Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
      Set in New Mexico post WWII, Tayo has returned from being a POW in the South Pacific, and he has some serious survivor’s guilt and PTSD. In order to move on, and stop taking the white man’s medicines, he visits two medicine men. A ceremony, like a vision quest is undertaken by Tayo.
      This was well written, with vivid descriptions of Tayo’s experiences. It brings up issues of the loss of Native American land, atomic energy, and the horrors of war, among many others, including family and race. It has given me a lot to think about.

      Like

      September 16, 2017
    • Tracy S. #

      Arizona
      Sonora by Hannah Lillith Assadi
      Ahlam is the daughter of a Palestinian and an Israelite- born in New York and raised in Arizona. She meets a new friend in Laura (Sonora) and they find themselves best friends, trying everything they shouldn’t, and trying their luck in NYC after graduation.
      This wasn’t a new story- I read it earlier this year in Marlena by Buntin. It was ok- the author can write well- I hope she finds something more original as she gets older.

      Like

      September 17, 2017
      • Tracy S. #

        Next: Utah

        Like

        September 17, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Utah
      Matched by Ally Condie
      Author is from Utah.
      My niece recommended this to me. When I was her age, I would have loved it. It was just ok. It was a dystopian teen girl resist authority book. I don’t plan to read the rest of the trilogy.

      Like

      September 17, 2017
      • Tracy S #

        Next: Nevada

        Like

        September 17, 2017
    • Tracy S. #

      Nevada
      Diners, Drive Ins and Dives (the first cookbook) by Guy Fieri
      Author went to UNLV. This is from his show, where Fieri goes across country and into Canada occasionally to showcase restaurants that could be called greasy spoons. But they usually have the best food. This was admittedly easy to read- recipes and some anecdotes, along with stories of the restaurants. But I got some really good recipes that I plan on trying soon.
      Next: Idaho

      Like

      September 18, 2017
    • Tracy S. #

      Idaho
      Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson
      Author from Idaho. This was set in Iowa in the 70s. The main character describes his early adulthood in short stories that aren’t chronological, but are full of drugs and liquor. Not really my thing, but the 150 page book was a really fast read.
      Next: Washington

      Like

      September 18, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Washington
      Flight by Sherman Alexie
      Author from and set in Washington.
      Zits is a half Native/half Irish 15 year old who has been in the system since his mother died when he was six. This life of running away has come to the moment when he stands in a bank with two guns, and has to make a decision.
      This is a powerful story. As Zits finds himself inhabiting the bodies of several men and boys ranging from small child to elderly man, including his own father, he sees how his decisions can affect others. This is a YA book I could recommend to anyone.
      Next: Oregon

      Like

      September 19, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      Oregon
      Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
      This is a riff on Scooby Doo set in Oregon. Thirteen years after solving their last case as prepubescent kids, the gang is back together and trying to figure out why they haven’t been able to move on with their lives in a meaningful way. So they go back to that last case to finish solving it and move on.
      This captured the zaniness of a cartoon episode, but with swearing. Of note: the setting is along the Zoinx River.
      Next up: California

      Like

      September 20, 2017
    • Tracy S #

      California
      Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
      This is the 2008 book that accompanied Ms. Fisher’s speaking tour. From her birth to Hollywood royalty to her teenage daughter, she opened up about her childhood, career, relationships and her demons. It was an enjoyable and intelligently written book that didn’t feel like a woe is me pampered princess book.
      Aaaaand….that’s it! My coast to coast trip of the lower 48 is done!
      Now, to take on the Man Booker shortlist…

      Like

      September 21, 2017
      • Rachel N. #

        Congratulations! I’m impressed you read all 48 states and finished over a week early.

        Like

        September 22, 2017
      • Tracy S #

        Thanks! They were all pretty short books.🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        September 23, 2017
  7. Diane Shea #

    Diane’s Summer Road Trip

    Starting: Maine
    Book: Scrappy Little Nobody
    Points: 0

    Liked by 1 person

    June 28, 2017
  8. Jean Kelso #

    Jean’s Summer Road Trip

    Starting State: South Carolina

    Liked by 2 people

    June 28, 2017
    • Jean Kelso #

      South Carolina: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – 5 stars

      I started out reading this book as an interesting work of fiction about Sarah Grimke and her sister, Angelina. It wasn’t until near to the end that I found out it was a fictionalized biography of them. They were raised in South Carolina in a slave holding family. Entering adulthood they made their way north and became abolitionists, and early suffragettes. I found it to be a really interesting book.

      Current points: 1

      Liked by 1 person

      July 11, 2017
  9. Not sure how I’ll do, but I’ll give it a try. I might learn US geography a bit better while I’m at it! I have a few options for places to start, but I think I’ll start in North Carolina.

    Cindy’s US Road Trip

    Starting State: North Caroline
    Book: Fatal Voyage / Kathy Reichs

    Like

    June 28, 2017
    • Or, do I need to state the book ahead of time. If it comes for me before I get to my alternate, is that ok?

      Like

      June 28, 2017
      • Up to you. I don’t really care until you are claiming the points for it so you can post the book after you finish it, you don’t have to announce it ahead of time

        Like

        June 28, 2017
    • Yes, you can change as many times as you want. It’s up to you which book to read so you can even change after the start date. Just post a new comment when you are ready and I’ll delete the old ones

      Like

      June 28, 2017
    • Great! Thanks so much! To be on the safe side, I will refrain from posting my book ahead of time.

      Like

      June 29, 2017
    • Changed my book.

      State: North Carolina
      Book: Drums of Autumn / Diana Gabaldon
      Points: 1

      Drums of Autumn / Diana Gabaldon
      4 stars

      Claire and Jamie (and Jamie’s nephew Ian) are travelling from South Carolina, heading north. Jamie has an aunt in North Carolina, so they stop there for a while. Meanwhile, back in the 20th century, Brianna and Roger are becoming better acquainted, but Bree misses her mother. Way more going on in this one, but I don’t want to give too much away.

      I really liked this one. It picked up in the 2nd half. One thing that gets tricky with these long books, though (at least for me) is remembering all the characters (some of the characters, I’m sure are being reintroduced from earlier in the series, as well)! Someone will be reintroduced at some point, and it takes me ages (and some kind of hint by the author, usually!) to remember who they are! It’s just that that hint doesn’t always come… or it comes quite some time after the character has reappeared. Have to admit, I was very angry with Jamie for a while. However, this may be my favourite in the series, so far.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 9, 2017
      • State: Tennessee
        Book: Blue Dahlia / Nora Roberts
        Points 1+5 (Graceland) = 6

        Blue Dahlia / Nora Roberts
        3.5 stars

        A couple of years after Stella’s husband dies in a plane crash, she and her two sons move to Tennessee, where her father and stepmother live. Stella quickly finds a job (and a place to live) with Roz, who owns a gardening company. Roz also owns a huge old house, complete with a resident ghost, who seems to enjoy children. Logan, another employee of Roz’s, and Stella get off to a bad start; Stella is super-organized and is trying to organize Roz’s company, and Logan is not.

        I enjoyed this. It wasn’t fast-moving or anything, but it was enjoyable. I liked the ghost story, in particular. This, being the first in the trilogy, didn’t come to a full conclusion and we can already figure out who will be paired up with whom in the next two books, but that’s ok. I’d like to continue and I certainly want to learn more about the ghost story!

        Total points = 7

        Liked by 1 person

        August 2, 2017
    • Do we need to post our next state ahead of time? I see most people are. Just in case, I’m planning on heading to Tennessee next.

      Like

      July 11, 2017
      • It’s a good idea especially to do so before a Monday since if you fail to announce where you are going and you get delayed, then you have to wait a week to start the next book.
        You don’t have to announce though

        Like

        July 11, 2017
    • I just finished what I thought was my Tennessee book, but only a small part of it was set there. Not sure what I’m doing next, as my immediate next book was also going to be for my next state (and it’s also for a July challenge, so I’m not going to put it off). Will have to rethink what I’m doing. 😦

      Like

      July 22, 2017
      • I’ve chosen another Tennessee book, but I have to wait for the hold to come in.

        Like

        July 23, 2017
      • Oops! My Tennessee book a bit further up (just underneath my North Carolina.

        Next state: Arkansas

        Liked by 1 person

        August 2, 2017
      • hahahahaha! So, I’m delayed! I can’t really go much slower, anyway! I am actually in the middle of reading my next book (well, alternating with another book: ebook for the commute and hardcover at home), so I’m glad to see I can finish. I will read other monthly challenges, then, before I get back to the next one after next Monday!

        Like

        August 14, 2017
      • Ah, well. I never did finish my book last week, anyway. Mostly because I’ve been alternating reading it with other books.

        Like

        August 21, 2017
      • State: Arkansas
        Points: 1
        Book: The Last Juror / John Grisham.

        4 stars

        Willie Traynor, a newly graduated journalist, moves from the north to a small town in Ford County, Mississippi, and takes over the local newspaper. In 1970, shortly after he’s taken over the paper, Danny Padgitt is arrested for raping and murdering a young mother, in her home, while her kids woke up and witnessed what was happening. Willie’s coverage of the story puts him in the path of the entire Padgitt family, who tend to keep to themselves. In the meantime, Willie has become friends with a local black woman, a woman who becomes the first black woman to serve on a jury in Ford County. After the trial, the town moves on and Willie continues to cover the news over the next decade or so… and jury members from the old Padgitt trial start to turn up, murdered.

        I really liked this one. I have to admit that the middle section slowed down, but I really liked the first section and it picked up again at the end. I also really liked the friendship between Willie and Miss Callie.

        Total points = 8

        Liked by 1 person

        August 25, 2017
      • Next up: Oklahoma

        Liked by 1 person

        August 25, 2017
      • Mercedes Lackey lives in Oklahoma
        State: Oklahoma
        Points: 1

        Book: One Good Knight / Mercedes Lackey

        3 stars

        Andromeda is a princess, and is very smart. Her mother keeps her at a distance and doesn’t really want her learning too much, including how to govern. When the kingdom is threatened by a dragon, they decide to offer sacrificial virgins to appease it.

        I mostly enjoyed it, but it was a bit odd and had a definite weird ending. I’m not sure if I want to continue the series, but since they all seem to be about different characters, I think I will. I think the series is really just the same “world”.

        Total points = 9

        Like

        September 2, 2017
      • Next state: Colorado

        Like

        September 2, 2017
      • Jen, can you explain the flight hub a bit more? My next book was going to be Colorado. I see it’s a flight hub this week. If I finish a Colorado book this week, does that mean I can fly somewhere? Or…? Thanks! (I have the book on hold, so I don’t know if I’ll get it in time to finish, but if it comes, I want to know if I need to make it a priority for this week!)

        Like

        September 5, 2017
      • As long as you reach a flight hub state by end of week you can then use it to fly. More details are above In the body of the post. You are considered in Colorado if you have started a book for the state. So just call where you want to travel and you are all set. You can only skip over one state westward. You will need to read the state you land in but not the one you skip

        Like

        September 6, 2017
      • Thanks. It’s looking unlikely that I’ll finish my Colorado book this week (still waiting for it!), but wanted to know, just in case.

        Like

        September 6, 2017
      • You don’t need to finish it by end of week. All you need to do is claim a flight -say where you are going to from Colorado.

        Like

        September 6, 2017
      • Oh! Ok, You did say this “You are considered in Colorado if you have started a book for the state.” So, as long as I start the book before Monday AND say where I want to go from there? Or, can I just state now where I want to go after? (Sorry! Obviously still not 100% understanding…) I don’t even know if I want to use it. It would help me “finish” before the deadline (otherwise, it’s unlikely), but it won’t get me extra points or anything.

        Like

        September 6, 2017
      • To use a flight hub you must arrive in the state before the end of the week and book your flight. You are considered to have arrived in a state as soon as you have finished the book from the prior state and call the next state. I thought you said you had already started the book for your flight hub state? If that is the case then you can simply state now that you will be booking a flight to wherever you want to go next and then you can go there even if you finish your Colorado book after the flight hub changes.

        Like

        September 6, 2017
      • …Or maybe like with other games I play, maybe I’ll just keep going and “finish” anyway… Still deciding.

        Liked by 1 person

        September 6, 2017
      • I have not yet started my Colorado book, though I did already state that that was where I was headed next. I am still waiting for the book from the library (#1 on the hold list, but the person must not be returning it early).

        Like

        September 6, 2017
      • Well technically you are in Colorado if you called it so you can call your flight anytime before Monday and be all set

        Like

        September 6, 2017
    • Thank you, Jen! I will think about it: whether or not I want to get to California before the end of this month and “finish” OR just keep going, as planned, and get there later. If I decide to use the flight hub, I will post here by Sunday. 🙂

      Like

      September 6, 2017
      • Hi, Jen. Ok, so my book came in. I will likely start it this weekend.

        I think I will use the flight hub and fly to California once I finish my Colorado book. I won’t end up with many points, but I will get east to west by the end of this month!

        Liked by 1 person

        September 8, 2017
      • I still did it wrong, didn’t I? I just read what it says about the flight hub, and we are only allowed to skip one state heading west? Oops. I guess I’ll just continue on, without using the flight hub, then.

        Like

        September 12, 2017
      • Yes, you can only skip one state if you go west

        Like

        September 12, 2017
      • State: Colorado
        Points: 1
        Book:

        A Deadly Yarn / Maggie Sefton
        3 stars

        A friend of Kelly’s is moving from Colorado to New York to further her artist career, but on the morning another friend, Megan, is supposed to pick her up to get her to the airport, she is found dead. Kelly and Megan begin sleuthing to find out who killed Allison (though Kelly has been warned against sticking her nose in before!).

        It was ok. A quick read. I think this is where I’ll stop with this series, though. The mystery was fine for me, but I was quite bored with Kelly’s personal issues/decisions/life. I thought the author did a nice job with her descriptions of Colorado, though. There are plenty of cozy mysteries out there, but this series has lost my interest.

        Total points = 10

        Like

        September 13, 2017
      • Since I messed up, I won’t be using the flight hub.
        My next state: Utah

        Like

        September 13, 2017
      • State: Utah
        Points 1 + 5 (Zion National Park) = 6

        Book:

        My Story / Elizabeth Smart
        4 stars

        In 2002, Elizabeth Smart was only 14-years old when she was kidnapped from her own bedroom(!!!) in Salt Lake City, Utah. A homeless man who considered himself a prophet kidnapped her and he and his wife held her for nine months before they were caught and she was reunited with her family. Elizabeth tells the story of what happened.

        In addition to her own story of what happened over those nine months, Elizabeth tells some of how things were going back home with the search. In fact, for a good chunk of the time, she was kept very close to home, until it got too cold to live in their tent and all three moved to California.

        The way the story was told seemed very “simple” to me, maybe to reflect (on purpose or otherwise!) how young she was at the time? There is also a bit or repetition. I certainly remember the story in the news, even here in Canada and always wondered about her. She seems to have come through very well adjusted (despite the daily rape!). She doesn’t go into detail on that. The 4-star rating may also have to do with my interest in the case, generally.

        Total points = 16

        Like

        September 25, 2017
  10. Rachel O #

    Rachel O’s Summer Holiday
    Starting location: New Jersey
    Book: Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
    Current points: 0

    Like

    June 29, 2017
    • Rachel O #

      State: New Jersey
      Landmark: Lucy the Elephant
      Book: Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
      Litsy: http://litsy.com/p/RGsxOWpNN3A4

      I’ve spent the summer in New Jersey, getting to know Asbury Park boardwalk a little better. A good, slow read – not the best way to get from one side of the US to the other! Finally heading for Pennsylvania, and an equally ‘unsuitable for a challenge’ read!

      Total: 6 points

      Like

      August 30, 2017
    • Rachel O #

      State: Pennsylvania
      Landmark: Liberty Bell
      Book: Silent Spring – Rachel Carson
      Litsy Review: http://litsy.com/p/WTBlT3lsa25a
      Points: 6

      I’ve finally finished my second book! Rachel Carson was born and brought up in Pennsylvania, so I used this as an opportunity to read Silent Spring. A tough read!
      Heading to Ohio now, to see if I can fit 1 more in before the end of the month.

      Total: 12 points

      Like

      September 16, 2017
  11. Rachel N #

    Rachel N’s road trip
    Starting location:Rhode Island

    Like

    June 29, 2017
    • Rachel N #

      Rhode Island

      Monument Federal Hill

      Teaser by Jan Brogan 3 stars

      Hallie Ahern is a reporter for a newspaper in Providence, Rhode Island. Hallie begins investigating teenage girls who are being provided webcams for free and in return they are being talked into making sexually explicit videos. The book is a bit dated since most laptops these days come with webcams but the danger of the internet is still real. There isn’t a huge mystery but I liked the characters and the setting.

      Next stop Massachusetts

      Current points = 6

      Like

      July 4, 2017
    • Rachel N #

      Massachusetts

      Scratch the Surface by Susan Conant 3 stars

      Felicity Pride is the author of cat cozy mysteries. She comes home from a book signing to find a dead body and a live cat in her vestibule. The book is a fun parody of cozy mysteries. I’;m disappointed the author didn’t write more cat mysteries. I liked this better than the one dog mystery of hers I’ve read.

      Next stop New York

      Current Points = 7

      Liked by 1 person

      July 7, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      New York

      Dead Canaries Don’t Sing by Cynthia Baxter 2.5 stars

      Jessica Popper is a veterinarian with a mobile service on Long Island. On her way to see a client her car becomes stuck and her two dogs find a dead body with a dead canary buried nearby. For no real reason Jessica becomes obsessed with finding the murder even though several people warn her how dangerous this is. The book barely touches on her vet work which I found to be disappointing.

      Next stop New jersey

      Current Points = 8

      Like

      July 10, 2017
    • Rachel N #

      New Jersey

      Landmark Lucy the elephant

      Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich 3 stars

      Stephanie Plum is recruited by her parents neighbor to find her missing granddaughter Evelyn and Evelyn’s seven year old daughter Annie. Stephanie runs afoul of Eddie Abruzzi who begins a war campaign against her. There’s the usual bungled fugitive apprehensions and car explosions. Some major developments happen in Stephanie’s love life but I felt they were rushed over. An okay entry in the series but nothing outstanding about it.

      Next stop Pennsylvania

      current points = 14

      Like

      July 12, 2017
    • Rachel N #

      Pennsylvania

      Monument Liberty Bell

      Eat, Drink, and be Wary by Tamar Myers 2.5 stars

      Magdalena Yoder runs an inn in the fictional Hernia, Pennsylvania. Magdalena’s cook Freni convinces Magdalena to allow a cooking contest in the inn. Then the man in charge of the cooking contest is found dead in the barn. I like Magdalena and Freni. The book has several major editing problems, including characters names being changed, which lowered my rating. The suspects also weren’t very well developed so I had a hard time keeping tack of who was who.

      Next stop Maryland

      Liked by 1 person

      July 14, 2017
      • Rachel N #

        Forgot to add this

        Current points = 20

        Like

        July 14, 2017
    • Rachel N #

      Maryland

      The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot 5 stars

      Henrietta Lacks was a poor African American woman who went to John Hopkins to have her cervical cancer treated. Henrietta died from the cancer but cells taken from her tumor while she was alive formed the first immortal line of cells and have been used for numerous scientific discoveries. Along with tracing the history of the cells the author traces the lives of Henrietta’s husband and five children. I found the book fascinating and maddening in that Henrietta’s family didn’t know for over 20 years about her cells still existing.

      Henrietta lived in Maryland as does most of her family and it’s the location of John Hopkins hospital.

      Current points = 21

      Next stop West Virginia

      Liked by 1 person

      July 16, 2017
    • Rachel N #

      Looks like I’ll be spending a leisurely week in West Virginia, darned delay :-). Glad I rushed to finish my last book Sunday night so I can read something this week for the challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 17, 2017
    • Rachel N #

      West Virginia

      A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller 4 stars

      Acker’s gap, West Virginia is rocked when three men are killed at a local fast food joint. Carla Elkins, daughter of prosecuting attorney Bell Elkins, witnessed the whole event. A strong book focusing on how illegal prescription drug sales are impacting West Virginia.

      Current points = 22

      Not sure where the next stop will be once I can move again on Monday, either Ohio, Kentucky or Virginia.

      Like

      July 21, 2017
      • Rachel N #

        I don’t know if it matters but I decided to go to Ohio next

        Like

        July 25, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Ohio

      Monument Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

      Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo 4 stars

      Kate Burkholder is sheriff in Painter’s Mill, Ohio. The body of a murdered woman is found by one of her deputies and it looks like the Slaughterhouse Killer is back after 17 years. This brings back a horrible event from Kate’s past when she was a child living with her Amish family. An engaging read and I didn’t guess the killer until close to the end. There are graphic descriptions of violence if that bothers you.

      Current points = 28

      Next stop Michigan

      Like

      July 28, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Michigan

      Black Diamond by Susan Holtzer 3 stars

      Zoe Kaplan accompanies fellow dorm mate Clare Swann to her aunt’s house where her aunt’s estate is being divided up. Clare is given a box that her aunt’s will says is connected to Black Diamond. Then a body is found in Clare’s dorm room. Anneke Hagan is supposed to be the main character in this series but this book was much more about Zoe and Clare than Anneke. I liked that the story tied into the logging history of Michigan.

      current points = 29

      Next stop Wisconsin

      Liked by 1 person

      July 30, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Wisconsin

      Shotgun Lovesongs by Nikolas Butler 3.5 stars

      The story of four friends, Kip, Lee, Henry and Ronny, who grew up in Little Wing, Wisconsin and Henry’s wife Beth. The book alternates between all four perspectives and about 50 pages in I realized each chapter starts with the first initial of the character who narrates that chapter. The book would have been a solid four stars until the ending which just went a little nuts and to me didn’t fit with the rest of the story.

      Current points = 30

      Next stop Minnesota

      Liked by 1 person

      August 1, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Minnesota

      Shards of Honour by Lois McMaster Bujold 3 stars

      (author lives in Minnesota)

      Cordelia Naismith is left stranded on a planet after her survey crew is attacked. She is soon taken prisoner by Aral Vorkosigan, commander of a ship from another planet whose crew has mutinied. The book is partly a love story between the two main characters and partly a war story. The romance part was semi-cheesy and I wished the author spent more time explaining the world her characters live in.

      Current points = 31

      Next stop North Dakota

      Like

      August 4, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      North Dakota

      The Beet Fields: Memories of a sixteenth summer by Gary Paulsen 3 stars

      Narrated by a nameless 16 year old boy who runs away from home when his alcoholic mother tries to molest him. He ends up thinning beets on a farm, the first of several jobs he holds in the story. Towards the end of the book the book changes from farm work to being about carnies, kind of an abrupt switch. I’m not sure how much of the book was autobiographical.

      As an aside more people should write books set in North Dakota. This state was the hardest so far for me to find a book for.

      Current points = 32

      Next stop South Dakota

      Liked by 1 person

      August 5, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      South Dakota

      Monument Mount Rushmore

      By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder 4 stars

      The Ingalls family has been best by misfortune with Mary going blind. Then Pa gets offered a job working as a book keeper for the railroad. The family decides to take a homestead claim in what will become De Smet, South Dakota. I loved this whole series as a child and read it multiple times. I still enjoy revisiting the Ingalls family and the wild beauty of South dakota before it was settled.

      Current points = 38

      Next stop Iowa

      Like

      August 6, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Iowa

      The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katrina Bivald 3 stars

      Sara Lindvquist travels from Sweden to Broken Wheel, Iowa to visit her pen pal Amy for 2 months. Unfortunately she arrives on the day of Amy’s funeral. The town insists she stay and to pay them back Sara opens up a book store using Amy’s books. A cute, though totally unrealistic, book. I liked Sara matching people with books and the quirky town characters.

      Current points = 39

      Next stop Illinois

      Like

      August 9, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Illinois

      Summer Knight by Jim Butcher 4 stars

      Harry Dresden, wizard, is depressed after the events of the last book. The the Winter Faerie Queen, Mab, gets Dresden to investigate who killed the Summer Knight and framed her for it. I really like this series. Lots of action plus humor from Dresden. I like the expanded knowledge of the world of Faerie and the return of characters from earlier books. I’ll definitely be continuing with the series.

      Current points = 40

      Next Stop Kentucky

      Like

      August 12, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Kentucky

      Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie 3 stars

      Kate Svenson is extremely successful but lonely. Her best friend Jessi convinces her to travel to a resort in Thayers Corner, Kentucky where she has a plan to meet the right man. Jake Templeton is a handyman and co=owner of the resort who has no interest in getting involved with another drivern career woman like Kate, yet he keeps getting her out of trouble. This is Crusie’s first book and it’s a bit rough in spots but still fun. The series of dates Kate goes on at the resort is hilarious.

      Current points = 41

      Next stop Tennessee

      Like

      August 13, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Tennessee

      Monument Graceland

      Last Wool and Testament by Molly MacRae 3 stars

      Kath Rutledge has returned to Blue Plum, Tennessee for her grandmothers funeral and to decide what to do with her grandmothers fiber shop. Kath finds out her grandmother was a suspect in a murder which occurred in the caretakers cottage she’s staying in. There’s also a ghost thrown into the mix. The author needs to work on developing her secondary characters more, aside from Kath, no one had much personality. I liked the fiber shop and wish more time had bee spent there.

      Current points = 47

      Next stop Virginia

      Like

      August 15, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Virginia

      Devil May Care by Elizabeth Peters 3 stars

      Ellie is house sitting at her aunts mansion in Virginia when she begins seeing ghosts. Ellie is engaged to the pompous Henry but soon becomes attracted to her aunts gardener Donald. Her aunt also has a lot of cats and dogs. I think I read this book before but didn’t remember much of it. Not as scary as some of her other books but an enjoyable read.

      Current points = 48

      Next stop North Carolina

      Like

      August 16, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      North Carolina

      Miss Julia Takes Over by Ann B. Ross 3 stars

      The second book in this series. Miss Julia doesn’t know what to do when Hazel Marie doesn’t come home from her date with church fundraiser Wilson T. Hodge. After the police won’t help her she hires private investigator J.D. Pickens but only if she and Little Lloyd can help in the search. These books are a lot of fun. I don’t think I’d want to read too many in a row but I enjoy visiting Miss Julia.

      Current points = 49

      Next stop South Carolina

      Like

      August 19, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      South Carolina

      Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs 3 stars

      Theodosia Browning runs a tea shop in Charleston, South Carolina. While catering an event for the Lamplighter house tour a guest is found dead with a cup of Theo’s tea in hand. Theo then starts investigating the murder to clear the name of one of her store employees. There is a lot of random tea information in the book. I liked Theo and her employees and her dog Earl Grey.

      Current points = 50

      Next stop Georgia

      Like

      August 20, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Georgia

      Monument Savannah

      Real Murders by Charlaine Harris 3 stars

      Aurora Teagarden is a librarian in Lawrenceton, Georgia and she is the landlady for townhouses her mother owns. Aurora also belongs ot a group that meets monthly to discuss a real murder. At one meeting Aurora finds the body of a group member who has been killed in a way that resembles the murder she was to discuss that month. The book started out strong but when more murders occur it started to loose focus. I enjoyed the main chracter and her love interests and will continue with the series.

      Current points = 56

      Next stop Florida

      Like

      August 24, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Florida

      Duplicity Dogged the Dachshund by Blaize Clement 3 stars

      Dixie Hemingway is a pet sitter in Siesta Key, Florida. She was in the sheriffs department until the death of her husband and young daughter, which she is still grieving. While out walking an elderly dachshund, Mame, the dog unearths a dead body. The murderer believes Dixie saw him leaving the scene and is now after her. This is the second book in the series. I like Dixie and all the animals she cares for.

      Current points = 57

      Next stop Alabama

      Like

      August 25, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Alabama

      Monument Dreamland BBQ

      The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree by Susan Wittig Albert 3 stars

      The Dahlia gardening club in fictional Darling, Alabama has just inherited a new club house. They become involved in trouble at the bank(problematic since it is 1930), an escaped convict and a dead body. There are 12 members of the Dahlias, plus all the other characters, and I had trouble keeping everyone straight. The book is also really slow. I like the author bu I think I’ll stick to reading her other series.

      Current points = 63

      Next stop Mississippi

      Like

      August 27, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Mississippi

      Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin 4 stars

      Larry Ott, a white mostly outcast child, and Silas Jones, a poor African American child, form a friendship during one summer but are soon torn apart. Larry is later suspected of murdering a girl he took on a date after she disappears. Twenty years later another girl disappears and Larry is once again suspected while Silas is the local constable. Not so much a mystery as a story of the two men and their lives. I really liked both of the main characters.

      Current points = 64

      Next stop Louisiana

      Like

      August 30, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Louisiana

      Monument Spotted Cat Jazz Club

      The Awakening by Kate Chopin 3 stars

      The story of Edna Pontellier awakening and deciding she wants to be more than a wife and mother. I can see why at the time it was published this story was shocking. I found the story kind of dragged, even though it was short, and that not much really happened.

      Current points = 70

      Next stop Texas

      Like

      September 1, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Texas

      Rueful Death by Susan Wittig Albert 3 stars

      China Bayles is burned out from the holiday season and decides to go on a retreat at a nunnery in the Texas hill country with her friend Maggie who used to be a nun there. Before she can relax China is asked by the abbess to investigate a series of fires and poison pen letters the nuns have been receiving. I like China but I missed her herb shop and her boyfriend McQuaid and best friend Ruby her were barely in this story. I do like this series and will continue with it.

      Current points = 71

      Next stop Arkansas

      Like

      September 2, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Arkansas

      Malpractice in Maggody by Joan Hess 3 stars

      The old folks home in Maggody has been closed down for the mysterious Stonebridge Foundation which turns out to be a high class celebrity rehab center. Chief of police Arly Hanks becomes involved when the receptionist is found murdered in the foundations fountain. Lots of the usual Maggody weirdness plus a surprise at the end. I’m sad only one more book has been written in the series.

      Current points = 72

      Next stop Oklahoma unless it’s a closed state on Monday

      Like

      September 3, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Oklahoma

      Ghost in Trouble by Carolyn Hart 3 stars

      Bailey Ruth Raeburn is sent as an emissary from heaven to help Kay Clark. Kay is investigating the death of her old boyfriend at The Castle in Adelaide, Oklahoma and now the murderer is after Kay. I enjoyed the previous books in the series more than this one. Bailey Ruth’s constant outfit changes got a bit obnoxious this time around.

      Current points = 73

      Next stop Missouri

      Like

      September 6, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Missouri

      Little Farm in the Ozarks by Roger Lea MacBride 3 stars

      The story of Rose Wilder, the daughter of Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder, and her first full year at the families new home in Missouri. Rose has fun learning about the farm and meeting neighborhood children. She also starts school where she is a champion speller. The author knew Rose as an adult and managed her estate after her death. Unfortunately he died before finishing this series so the later books are very short, based on his notes. I enjoy the series but not as much as the little house books.

      Current points = 74

      Next stop Kansas

      Like

      September 7, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Kansas

      Monument Largest ball of twine

      Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder 3 stars

      For the record historians have determined that the Ingalls homestead was in Kansas

      The Ingalls family leaves Wisconsin and settles in Indian Territory in present day Kansas. This has always been one of my least favorite books in the series though I still love the whole series. I like the descriptions of the undeveloped prairie and how the family built a hosue out of basically nothing. There is blatant racism against Native Americans in the book. While important to show true attitudes of the time these parts of the book have always made me mad.

      Current points = 80

      Next stop Nebraska

      Like

      September 9, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Nebraska

      Attachments by Rainbow Rowell 4 stars

      Lincoln’s job is monitoring the staff of The Courier newspaper in Nebraska’s e-mail and notifying them if they break company policy. It’s set in 1999 so everybody is e-mailing instead of texting. Lincoln starts falling for Beth after reading e-mails between her and her friend Jennifer even though the two have never met. A sweet romantic comedy. Nothing deep but I enjoyed it.

      Current points = 81

      Next stop Wyoming

      Like

      September 10, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Wyoming

      Monument Yellowstone National Park

      Savage Run by C.J. Box 3 stars

      Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett gets called in by the sheriff to the death of an environmental activist by exploding cow because there may be wild animal deaths involved. Joe also crosses paths with a local large rancher. meanwhile more environmentalists are being murdered. I liek this series and the main character. I think the author did a good job of exploring issues between environmentalists and ranchers.

      Current points = 87

      Next stop Colorado

      Like

      September 14, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Colorado

      Dark Tort by Diane Mott Davidson 3 stars

      Goldy Schulz in a caterer in Colorado. She has been hired by a law firm to cater breakfasts and meetings. When arriving to prep one night she finds the body of budding paralegal and neighbor Dusty. Dusty’s mom asks Goldy to help find the killer. The killer is pretty obvious and the book gets repetitive in spots but I do like the main characters.

      Current points = 88

      Next stop New Mexico

      Like

      September 17, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      New Mexico

      Monument Carlsbad Caverns

      Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones 3 stars

      Charley Davidson is a PI working in Albuquerque and she also happens to be the grim reaper. She doesn’t kill people, the dead pass through her to get to heaven. Charley is involved with finding her best friend/receptionists Cookie’s missing friend Mimi. She’s also trying to find Reyes, the son of Satan’s, physical body before he’s killed by demons. I like the characters but feel the author was trying to force the humor in spots this time around. The book ends with a cliffhanger so I will be continuing.

      Current points = 94

      Next stop Arizona

      Like

      September 21, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Arizona

      Monument Antelope Canyon

      Mystery in Arizona by Julie Campbell 3 stars

      This is the sixth book in the Trixie Belden mystery series. I loved this series when I was in around 5th or 6th grade. I remembered part of this book but not all the details. Trixie and her friends in the Bob White Club get to spend Christmas with Diana Lynch’s uncle on his dude ranch in Arizona. Unfortunately all of the staff have disappeared but the Bob Whites step in to help while Trixie tries to find out where everyone went. This book was written in 1958 and I’m pretty sure child labor laws existed then and Trixie and her friends are all 13 to 16 years old but hey they can run a dude ranch no problem :-). The author also randomly dumps a lot of info about Arizona history and cowboys into the middle of the story. I still love this series and now I want to reread all of them but this isn’t the strongest entry in the series. It is fun to see what “dude ranches” were supposedly like in the late 50’s.

      Current points = 100

      Next stop Utah

      Like

      September 22, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Utah

      Monument Zion National Park

      Everneath by Brodi Ashton 2..5 stars

      Nikki Beckett has been in the Everneath for 6 month of Earth time having all her emotions drained by Cole, an Everliving. She decides to return home to Park City, Utah for 6 months, mainly to see her former boyfriend Jack, before being made part of the Everneath forever. The description of this book makes it sound a lot more interesting than it actually was. Nikki spends most of the book moping around and not a lot happens. There isn’t any explanation at all about the mythological parts of the story which annoyed me. There are two more books in the series but I won’t be reading them.

      Current points = 106

      Next stop Nevada

      Like

      September 24, 2017
    • Rachel N. #

      Nevada

      Monument Las Vegas

      Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter Thompson 2 stars

      What a strange book. Thompson and his attorney travel to Las Vegas to first cover the Mint 400 race then a police drug conference. Mostly though the book is about both people taking a lot of drugs and getting messed up. The only part of the book I liked was where Thompson discussed how out of touch police were with the actual drug scene. I didn’t get and didn’t care about the rest of the book.

      Current points = 112

      Next stop California!

      Like

      September 25, 2017
  12. Cynthia Allas #

    Blueberry’s Road Trip

    Starting location: North Carolina

    Liked by 1 person

    June 29, 2017
    • Blueberry #

      North Carolina
      Finally finished Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. Number 9 in the series. Added bunches of new characters. Too many characters to follow for me. 3.5 stars

      Liked by 1 person

      July 11, 2017
      • Blueberry #

        Georgia
        Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson 2 stars
        There were some parts I was interested but too much I wasn’t. I only finished it because of the challenge.
        Stopped by to check out Savannah 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        July 16, 2017
    • Blueberry #

      Tennessee
      State of Wonder by Ann Patchett 4 stars
      I liked this book a lot but it almost started to drag in the middle and I didn’t like part of the ending.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 25, 2017
      • Blueberry #

        Savanna and Graceland were great! Savanna was beautiful and full of southern charm.

        Heading to Arkansas.

        Liked by 1 person

        July 26, 2017
    • Blueberry #

      Arkansas
      The Whistler by John Grisham (born in Arkansas)
      John Grisham always delivers. Set in Florida, Indian casino, organized crime, crooked judge.

      Heading to Oklahoma with another John Grisham The Innocent Man.

      14 pts

      Liked by 1 person

      August 18, 2017
      • Cynthia Allas #

        Oklahoma

        The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town. Posted review in Other books thread.

        crusin’ the Route 66 headed for New Mexico.

        Like

        August 28, 2017
      • Cynthia Allas #

        New Mexico

        Death Comes for the Archbishop the story telling is sparse but the book showcases the beauty of the southwest.

        I thought I was heading to Arizona next but I see New Mexico is a hub and I also discovered the ending date is Sept 30 not August 31st so I think I will head to Nevada.

        P.S. Carlsbad Caverns were awesome!

        Like

        August 28, 2017
    • Cynthia Allas #

      Death Comes for the Archbishop the story telling is sparse but the book showcases the beauty of the southwest.

      I thought I was heading to Arizona next but I see New Mexico is a hub and I also discovered the ending date is Sept 30 not August 31st so I have to decide where to travel next.

      P.S. Carlsbad Caverns were awesome!

      Like

      August 28, 2017
  13. JoLene R #

    JoLene’s Hitting the Road – Summer 2017
    Starting Location: North Carolina
    Book: The Girl who Chased the Moon

    Liked by 1 person

    June 29, 2017
    • JoLene R #

      Starting Location: North Carolina — Setting
      Book: The Girl who Chased the Moon
      Rating: 4 stars
      Date Finished: 02Jul
      A sweet story about the residents of Mullaby North Carolina. Julia returns to town when her father dies; she is trying to get her father’s business back in the red so she can sell and get back to her real life. Emily is a teenager who recently lost her mother, and has come to live with a grandfather she didn’t know existed. While Julia is trying to escape her past, Emily is trying to discover her mothers past. This is a character driven story with a sprinkling of magical realism, perfect reading for the holiday weekend (and the start of a roadtrip).Full Review on GR

      Liked by 1 person

      July 3, 2017
    • JoLene #

      Stop 2: South Carolina – setting
      Book: Underground Railroad
      Rating: 3.5 stars
      This is the story of Cora, a slave who escapes her plantation in Georgia and travels via the Underground Railroad through various states. The actual states play an important role in the narrative because they each represent a different ideology in terms of how slavery and the black population should live.

      Points: +1
      Challenge Total: 2

      Liked by 1 person

      July 8, 2017
      • JoLene #

        Stop 3: Georgia – setting
        Book: The Source
        Rating 3.5
        Landmark: Savannah, GA
        Second book in the urban fantasy series, Witching Savannah, about a powerful family of witches who maintain the “line” which protects the world from demons. Mercy Taylor is trying to learn how to use her newly acquired powers and also trying to find her lost twin sister. However, someone from her past returns and turns her world upside down I terms of what is true about her families history as well as the line itself. Overall, this is an entertaining urban fantasy with a plucky heroine (who seems to have matured from the first book).

        Points: 6
        Challenge Total: 8

        Next stop: Florida

        Like

        July 11, 2017
    • JoLene Ramm #

      Stop 4: Florida – setting
      Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God
      Rating: 4 stars
      This book has been on the TBR for a while. It was written in the 1937 and is the story of Janie, a black woman in the period after the Civil War freed the slaves. Janie is recounting her life, starting with her grandmother marrying her off to a much older man, to a 2nd marriage filled to a jealous man with a lust for power and finally to finding love with a gambling, migrant worker named Tea Cake. As the story unfolds, so does Janie’s awakening as a strong black woman in the early part of the 20th century. NOTE: The dialog in the story is not for the faint of heart but the audio by Ruby Dee is excellent. However, the prose writing is amazing and makes wading through the dialog well worth it.

      Points: 1
      Challenge Total: 9
      Next Stop: Alabama –> and Dreamland BBQ (although I prefer Full Moon)

      Like

      July 15, 2017
    • JoLene Ramm #

      Stop 5: Alabama – setting
      Book: Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
      Rating: 4 stars
      Landmark: Dreamland BBQ
      This is the story of the year that Ha and her mom and 3 brothers, escaped Vietnam, became refugees and ended up sponsored by a “cowboy” to live in Alabama. The story is told in snippets written in verse. It was a quick read but packed a lot of punch as the situation worsens in Vietnam (setting is 1975), the family deals with uncertainty and then bullying for being different.

      Points: 6
      Challenge Total: 15
      Next Stop: Tennessee (but it’s a big book so I’ll be there a while :-D)

      Liked by 1 person

      July 16, 2017
    • JoLene #

      Stop 6: Tennessee — author lives there
      Book: The Archived by Victoria Schwab
      Rating 4 stars
      Landmark: Graceland
      Imagine a world where when you die, your entire life is recorded and placed in an giant library. There is a dark maze of hallways which act as a barrier between this archive and the world, because sometimes things can go wrong. These hallways are patrolled by people like MacKenzie who inherited this secret job from her grandfather. Don’t want to say much more as this is a twisty turns story where things begin to go wrong when MacKenzie and her family move into an apartment in a renovated hotel.

      The world building in the story is a very interesting concept which didn’t completely hang together for me. While it started a bit slow, the characters and plots twists kept me reading until late in the night. I didn’t enjoy this as much as Darker Shades trilogy by Schwab, but she is definitely an author that I will follow.

      Points: 6
      Challenge Total: 21
      Next stop: Mississippi

      Like

      July 21, 2017
    • JoLene Ramm #

      Stop 7: Mississippi – setting
      Book: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
      Rating 4.5 stars
      This is the story of Silas, a black boy without father and Larry, an awkward white kid obsessed with horror stories and snakes; the two boys spent a summer secretly hanging out, but once school started — they were destined not to be friends. Flash forward 25 years, and the two are brought together again when Silas, now the town constable, is investigating a young girl’s disappearance. The crime is similar to a disappearance that happened when the boys were in high school and Larry was a suspect.

      I started listening to the audio and the author was create at capturing all the southern accents. However, the narrative did change POV and time fairly frequently so it was easier to read — plus, once the story got going, I wanted to find out what happened next and I read faster than I listen. The characters of Silas and Larry were well developed, but some of the supporting cast, were a bit stereotypical. There were several stories that unfolded at the same time and even though I did guess as some of the revelations, I was engaged by the descriptions of the small southern town atmosphere.

      Points: 1
      Challenge Total: 22
      Next Stop: Louisiana

      Like

      July 23, 2017
    • JoLene Ramm #

      Stop 8: Louisiana
      Book: Out of the Easy
      Landmark: Spotted Cat Jazz Club
      Rating: 4 stars
      This is the story of Josie Moraine, the daughter of a prostitute. Josie is a smart girl and tries to divest herself from her mother by working in a bookstore and living above the store. However, her mother keeps getting into trouble and that drags Josie back into her life in major ways. I loved Josie and the cast of characters that function as her family. There are quite a few plot lines that are interwoven and I loved the setting of New Orleans — but I’m biased since I did live there. Very enjoyable read.

      Points: 6
      Challenge Total: 28
      Next Stop: Arkansas

      Liked by 1 person

      July 27, 2017
    • JoLene #

      Stop 9: Arkansas – setting
      Book: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
      Rating: 4 stars
      This is the autobiography of Maya Angelou covering her youth. Maya, whose real name is Margerite, and her brother are dropped off to live with her paternal grandmother when she was only three. The story is written as vignettes covering significant events which shaped her opinions. There are some tough subjects that are covered in a matter of fact style, but other events are written with great imagery — much as you would expect from a national poet laureate. As an example, as teenagers, they went to live with their mother and she compared her mother and brother fighting to a fencing match. While not always an enjoyable story, Angelou was able to articulate what it was like growing up as a black woman with humor and the wisdom.

      Points: 1
      Challenge Total: 29

      Next Stop: Oklahoma, then catching flight to Rhode Island.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 29, 2017
      • JoLene Ramm #

        Stop 10: Oklahoma – setting/author
        Book: Dreamland Burning
        Rating: 5 stars
        Rowan, a high school student, is about ready to start a great summer interning at a lab, when the internship falls through and she ends up interning at a free clinic in a not so great part of town. To top things off, construction workers remodeling a “in-law” unit at her how uncover an old skeleton. Rown and her best friend James decide to investigate. The background story of a previous owner the house is inter-woven with the present day mystery, highlighting an true incident in Tulsa history. I really loved this book — although it is YA, it deals with the sensitive topic of race both in the past and present day.

        Points: 1
        Challenge Total: 30
        Next stop: Rhode Island (OK was flight hub last week)

        Like

        August 1, 2017
    • JoLene Ramm #

      Stop 11: Rhode Island – setting
      Book: A Hundred Summers – Beatriz Williams
      Landmark: Federal Hill
      Rating: 4 stars
      Lily Dane is spending the summer in Seaview RI, as she has done every summer since her youth. Lily has her hands full taking care of her much younger sister, and her aging mother and aunt. Lily’s former best friend, Budgie who is now married to her former fiancee, Nick, show up, and soon the social club is a buzz with gossip as Budgie tries to rekindle their friendship. The story is told with flashbacks to 8 years ago when the girls were in college together and met Nick.

      I really enjoyed the setting, period and story as well as the style of the interspersing the present day story (meaning 1938) with the flashbacks. It was a fun beach-y read about well to do New Englanders, but also highlighted some of the important topics of the day such as the growing depression, and the anti-Semitic views of many.

      Points: 6
      Challenge Total: 36
      Next Stop: Massachusetts

      Liked by 1 person

      August 5, 2017
    • JoLene Ramm #

      Stop 12: Massachusetts
      Book: Boy, Snow, Bird – setting
      Rating: 2.5 stars
      The title refers to Boy, a girl from NYC who escapes her abusive father by moving to an artist colony in Massachusetts, where she meets and marries Arturo Whitman and becomes step mother to Snow. Eventually the two have a second daughter together, but the birth reveals a family secret that changes the course of Boy and the children’s lives.

      I had heard some good things about this book, but I was pretty disappointed. The story started off fairly strong, but then it seemed to jump around a bit. which made it seem very choppy. I did listen to the audio, so perhaps that acerbated the feeling. Boy’s upbringing certainly had an impact on her ability to connect with people, but she did seem to have some redeeming characteristics. But I didn’t think her actions were consistent through the story. I also hated the ending of the book. That being said, I did think that the actual writing was good so I will probably check out something else by this author.

      Points: 1
      Challenge Total: 37
      Next Stop: New York

      Like

      August 6, 2017
      • I read Boy, Snow, Bird a couple of months back for my f2f book club. Very mixed reviews. I thought a lot like you did (and I read the ebook; not the audio). I think my rating may have also been 2.5 stars.

        Like

        August 6, 2017
    • JoLene #

      Stop 13: New York – author/setting
      Book: The Travelers by Chris Pavone
      Rating: 4.5 stars
      Will Rhodes has a dream job, traveling the world writing about luxury travel; his wife used to work there but has recently taken another job. They want to start a family and are in debt trying to fix up a house they inherited. However, not all is as it seems and Will gets blackmailed into spying which leads to lots of revelations.
      I have read all of Pavone’s novels. This follows a similar pattern of his other works, where there are a number of secondary characters and the action skips from person to person and place to place, sometimes as flashbacks. It makes for a compelling readwhich I enjoy from time to time.

      Points: 1
      Challenge Total: 38
      Next stop: Pennsylvania

      Liked by 1 person

      August 18, 2017
    • JoLene Ramm #

      Stop 14: Pennsylvania – setting
      Book: Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson
      Landmark: Liberty Bell
      Rating: 3.5 stars
      This is the second book in the Seeds of America trilogy. This installment focuses on Curzon, Isabel’s friend. The two have split up and Curzon ends up becoming part of the Continental Army — for a second time. He makes some friends, but live at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777 is legendary. Curzon was a slave to Bellingham and had been promised his freedom for army service in the first book — so it was a bit of a surprise that he went back. The second half of the story ends up with Curzon and Isabel re-uniting when Bellingham spots Curzon at camp and forces him back into servitude.

      I LOVED the first book and so expectations were high for this one. The historical details were great, but the time in the army camp was a bit slow. Things picked up in the 2nd part of the story and once again there was a bit of a cliff-hanger ending.

      Points: 6
      Challenge Total: 44
      Next Stop: Ohio

      Like

      August 20, 2017
    • JoLene R #

      Stop 15: Ohio – author
      Book: The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
      Landmark: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
      Rating: 4 stars
      This is the story of Miles Vorkosigan, a young boy who fails the physical portion of the entrance exam for the military academy, due to birth defects which cause brittle bones. As his family has a history of military honor, he is quite disappointed. He decides to go visit his grandmother on Beta Colony which sets of a series of more and more implausible adventures including buying an obsolete ship, smuggling weapons, foiling a blockade and capturing/recruiting more and more people for his wild escapades.

      This is a very fun book. Miles is a very like-able hero with an internal sense of honor. What he lacks in physical form, he makes up for in charm and wit. He is definitely the center of the story. I did listen to the audio and I think that I did confuse some of the secondary characters, so I might try to find copies to read of the next installments. There were some graphic scenes and circumstances which layered in a bit of seriousness, I would say that the overall feel that I had was liking watching a James Bond film — more for the comparison of the adventure not the main characters.

      Points: 6
      Challenge Total: 50
      Next Stop: Indiana

      Like

      August 25, 2017
    • JoLene #

      Stop 16: Indiana – setting
      Book: Underground Airlines
      Rating: 4 stars — maybe 5
      Imagine a world where the Civil War didn’t take place and Lincoln was shot before taking office. Slavery is still legal in four states. The story centers around a black man, who works for the government to find escaped slaves and return them. This man is also a former escaped slave himself. This was a twisty-turny ride is a story with a complex main character and great world -building. Given the timing of the release I rethink it was a bit overshadowed by Underground Railroad and there has been a small amount of controversy because the author is white, writing a book about slavery with a main character who is black.

      Points: 1
      Challenge Total: 51
      Next Stop: Illinois

      Like

      September 9, 2017
    • JoLene Ramm #

      Stop 17: Illinois (Author lived in IL (Chicago) for a while as did Lincoln.
      Book: Lincoln in the Bardo – George Saunders
      Rating: 4 stars — possibly higher on re-read
      Inventive narrative structure which at first is annoying, but gives the feeling of reading/listening to a play. This is the story of the death of William Lincoln, Abe’s son in the early part of his presidency and the Civil War. However, the stars of the narrative are 3 men in the “bardo”, which is a Tibetian concept of the resting place before a soul’s next rebirth. For some reason, children are treated differently in the Bardo, and these three men try to ensure that Will’s soul moves on before bad things happen.

      Points: 1
      Challenge Total: 52
      Next Stop: Missouri

      Like

      September 10, 2017
    • JoLene #

      Stop 17: Missouri – setting/author
      Book: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
      Rating: 4 stars
      This is more of a series of vignettes about Tom Sawyer, based on Twain’s childhood friends. Young Tom has an active imagination, an adventurous spirit and a good heart. I did remember some of the events from a movie I watched as a kid and I still chuckle to myself over Tom’s ability to convince his friends to do his chores. Two things struck me while reading….first, I was sad that a similar story told about most of today’s children could not exist because the world is less care-free and kids rely too much on electronic devices for entertainment. The second is that while Twain was representing his time period regarding the treatment of blacks and Indians, I’m not sure that he would get published today. And sadly, that some of these racial tensions are still very much prevalent now.

      Points: 1
      Total: 52
      Next Stop: Kansas

      Like

      September 12, 2017
    • JoLene #

      Stop 19: Kansas setting
      Book: Little House on the Pairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
      Landmark: Largest ball of Twine
      Rating: 5 stars — 1 star is a for nostalgia
      This is one of the series that I read multiple times as a kid — and also loved the TV series. This is book 2 (or 3 depending on how you order them), but it can be read stand alone. This is also a series of vignettes about Laura and her family, Ma, Pa, Mary and baby Carrie. Pa decides Wisconsin is getting too crowded so he packs the family wagon and they head west to the newly opened Indian territory. The book covers a bit of their journey, but then focuses on establishing the homestead.

      Reading this as an adult was a much different experience. The fact that they just found some land and decided to build a house was mind-blowing. However, the attitudes towards the Indians, while probably accurate, stood out as the most crazy. I listenened to audio so I can’t quote exactly, but essentially Ma said that the Indians didn’t have any rights to the land because they just wandered around and didn’t farm. Once again, white supremacy in action.

      Like

      September 13, 2017
    • JoLene #

      Stop 19: Kansas setting
      Book: Little House on the Pairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
      Landmark: Largest ball of Twine
      Rating: 5 stars — 1 star is a for nostalgia
      This is one of the series that I read multiple times as a kid — and also loved the TV series. This is book 2 (or 3 depending on how you order them), but it can be read stand alone. This is also a series of vignettes about Laura and her family, Ma, Pa, Mary and baby Carrie. Pa decides Wisconsin is getting too crowded so he packs the family wagon and they head west to the newly opened Indian territory. The book covers a bit of their journey, but then focuses on establishing the homestead.

      Reading this as an adult was a much different experience. The fact that they just found some land and decided to build a house was mind-blowing. However, the attitudes towards the Indians, while probably accurate, stood out as the most crazy. I listenened to audio so I can’t quote exactly, but essentially Ma said that the Indians didn’t have any rights to the land because they just wandered around and didn’t farm. Once again, white supremacy in action.

      Points: 6
      Challenge Total: 58
      Next Stop: Colorado

      Like

      September 13, 2017
      • JoLene #

        Stop 20: Colorado -setting
        Book: Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
        Rating: 4 stars
        This is a quiet story of Addie and Louis, two seventy somethings who have lost their spouses. Addie approaches Louis to start a friendship to ward off the loneliness she feels. What ensues is a lovely story of their evolving friendship and how they deal with family and other small town residents who aren’t as pleased with their budding relationship.

        Points: 1
        Challenge Total: 59
        Next stop — Utah or New Mexico. –> I’m not sure I will like my New Mexico choice…..

        Like

        September 16, 2017
    • JoLene #

      I’m going to Utah — didn’t like my New Mexico book!

      Like

      September 17, 2017
      • JoLene #

        Stop 21: Utah – setting
        Landmark: Bryce Canyon
        Book: When the Emperor was Divine
        Rating: 3.5 stars
        A story about a Japanese family living in Berkeley at the start of WWII. Just after Pearl Harbor, authorities take the father in for questioning. Later, the mother and the two kids are taken to an internment center in San Francisco and later sent to live in the Utah desert.

        The story switches points of view, mostly between the kids and mother, but it is a very detached narrative style. None of the main characters have names. Much of the story is the internal thoughts about dealing with the difficult situation of the internment, but even more heartbreaking, was the return home and how much their lives were changed. Overall, I didn’t love the detached style, but the writing was strong and interesting.

        Points: 6
        Total: 65
        Next Stop….heading to Vegas!!

        Like

        September 22, 2017
  14. Jan’s US Road Trip
    Starting Location: Georgia
    Book: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

    Liked by 1 person

    June 29, 2017
  15. Lara Pesek #

    Lara’s USA Coast to Coast Reading Adventure

    Starting State: Georgia

    Reading: The Color Purple

    Liked by 1 person

    June 29, 2017
    • Lara Pesek #

      Georgia

      Read: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

      Changed my mind on what to read after trying for a while. I needed something a little lighter to get the ball rolling.

      This was a lovely story about two very close, Japanese-America sisters who move from Iowa to Georgia, and the trials they suffer growing up in the south in the 1950s. It is told from Katie’s perspective in a very child-like way. Katie looks up to her sister Lynn in all ways, especially because she is very smart and has a certain way of looking at the world & seeing the “kira-kira” (glittering) in it. The girls are witness to racism and difficult working conditions for their parents, along with eventually having to suffer through Lynn’s devastating illness. We then see Katie’s resilience and strength with continuing to find the kira-kira in life & herself. 3 stars.

      Total Points: 6
      Next Stop: Alabama

      Like

      July 31, 2017
  16. This sounds like so much fun! Since I live in Canada, I’m not sure yet of my starting point, but I’ll record it here when I know. I might be able to cross America by reading cozy mysteries I already have on my Kindle. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    June 30, 2017
    • So everyone has to start on an East Coast state regardless of where you live. You’ll need to pick one of the 14 states listed as a starting point. Good luck!

      Like

      June 30, 2017
    • Cindy Wiebe #

      I’m in Canada, as well. I found a US map online to make it easier to figure out. (And that was also why I commented on learning US geography better via this challenge!)

      Like

      June 30, 2017
  17. Jessica’s USA Adventure
    Starting State: Massachusetts
    Reading: Dept. of Speculation

    Liked by 1 person

    June 30, 2017
    • jesshodg #

      This book was fantastic, even more so because somehow I’d never heard anything about it before. About a crumbling marriage, it reminded me a little of Grief is the thing with feathers, and has got so many quotable passages (some on litsy where I’m @jhod. I will definitely seek out more of Offill’s work. No idea where I’m going next, I have a feeling this challenge suits the planners better 🙂

      Like

      July 9, 2017
      • Unfortunately you were selected for a travel delay. You may finish reading your current state but then must wait until next monday to start your next book. Since you were selected this week, you will be exempt from a travel delay next week.

        Liked by 1 person

        July 10, 2017
      • jesshodg #

        Lesson learnt – if in transit, declare your decision on next state before Monday!

        Like

        July 11, 2017
    • jesshodg #

      Yay, am on the move again!
      In New York to read Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

      Liked by 1 person

      July 17, 2017
      • jesshodg #

        3 stars, hmmm. I liked the writing and some of the characterisation of middle class Brooklyn life, but it was a bit too neatly tied up at the end, and frankly, not a lot happens. Just a bit bland…

        Next up Pennsylvania and J Robert Lennon Broken River

        Like

        July 21, 2017
    • jesshodg #

      Broken River J Robert Lennon
      Pennsylvania
      4 stars
      I really enjoyed this exploration of a broken marriage/thriller/foray into a precocious 12 year old’s mind. The description of place and the people living there (upstate ‘NY small town, nothing to do except drug use) was great and though none of the characters were likeable I was keen to know their fate.

      I’ve got 8 points. I’m hanging here waiting to see if I can get a flight out tomorrow, and if not working out my route.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 30, 2017
      • jesshodg #

        Back When we were Grown ups Anne Tyler
        Maryland 3 stars
        The first paragraph of the book annoyed me, describing 53 as old, but once I got over that I enjoyed Rebecca’s search for contentment and I could definitely relate to the part that she played because that’s what she thought those round her expected of her. I think a lot of parents do the same thing.
        Right I am flying over one state to Tennessee and I have 9 points!

        Like

        August 20, 2017
    • jesshodg #

      Tennessee
      Ann Patchett Commonwealth
      4 stars
      Really enjoyed this, I liked the structure, focusing on different family members at different points in life but always glancing back at what brought them together in the first place. I liked the honesty of what family life is really like, and that there was so much love in the relationships even when they were clearly very painful.
      I am now flying to Texas to read Lincoln in the Bardo.
      I have 15 points.

      Like

      August 26, 2017
      • jesshodg #

        Lincoln in the Bardo
        George Saunders
        4 stars
        I loved the idea behind this book and the wealth of diverse characters. I kept imagining it being staged as I read – the poetry is beautiful and I think it would make a great theatrical adaptation. I’ve downloaded Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume which i believe is set in New Mexico next. Haven’t read a Judy blume for over 20 years!

        Like

        September 8, 2017
    • jesshodg #

      I thought I’d posted my New Mexico review last week! Must have been dodgy french WiFi.
      Tiger Eyes Judy Blume 4 stars
      I thought the issues of bereavement and parenting – protectiveness versus risk taking – were handled really well and would speak to everyone not just young people.
      Now on 22.

      Liked by 1 person

      September 17, 2017
      • jesshodg #

        Just finished Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air, which I read all of today and I thought was great. I definitely avoid talking or thinking about death and his writing and quoting of literature and philosophy whilst he came to terms with his mortality was really beautiful.
        On 28 and going to California to finish my trip!

        Liked by 1 person

        September 17, 2017
    • jesshodg #

      Finished on 29 points!
      Read The Crucifix Killer by Chris Carter (set in LA) because it was part of #whodunituk which I am joining in on Litsy. I really didn’t like it! The female characters were all prostitutes or wives, the writing was really bad, especially the dialogue and the last three pages included all the clues that could have been carefully given to the reader throughout the book.
      But anyway I’m done!

      Liked by 1 person

      September 21, 2017
  18. Jenny #

    Jenny’s Roadtrip

    Starting Location: Pennsylvania

    Book: ??

    Current Points: 0

    Liked by 1 person

    June 30, 2017
  19. Sushicat #

    Sushicat’s Meanderings

    I think I’ll be starting in Georgia.

    Liked by 1 person

    June 30, 2017
    • Did you want to play both versions or use the same books? I will reach out by email to discuss some options. A few people are doing both

      Like

      June 30, 2017
    • Sushicat #

      Georgia: The Color Purple by Alice Walker – 5 stars

      Through her letters we learn about Celie’s life, the circumstances she grows up in, the loveless marriage she is trapped in, the people she meets and what happens to them. We see her struggle with daily life, how her view of the world changes, how her growth in strength changes her relationships, how being black affects her and the people around her.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 15, 2017
    • Sushicat #

      Sushicat | 152 comments Alabama: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – 5 stars and lots of hearts

      Through the eyes of 8 year old Scout we learn about their life in Alabama in the 30s, about the small town neighborhood, with all it’s weird and wonderful people, about the reclusive neighbor nobody’s seen in ages, about where people fit in the grand scheme of things, about Atticus – her father – and his court appointment to defend a black man and the ripple effect the case has on all their lives.

      Wow. Just: wow.

      Like

      July 19, 2017
      • Sushicat #

        Off to Tennessee

        Like

        July 20, 2017
    • Sushicat #

      Tennessee : They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? by Horace McCoy – 4 stars

      This was a very quick read. I vaguely remember see the film ages ago. Robert is in court awaiting sentencing for the murder of Gloria, with whom he participated in a marathon dancing contest. As he waits for the verdict he recounts how they met and participated in the contest and what led to the killing. The pleasant, matter of fact recounting contrasts with the awful happenings in the tale.

      Liked by 1 person

      August 1, 2017
      • Sushicat #

        On to Missouri

        Like

        August 1, 2017
    • Sushicat #

      Missoury: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain – 3.6 stars

      This is another one of those books I have heard so much about, it felt like I had read it before. Not so. Huck teams up with Jim, an escaped slave, to travel down the Mississippi in search of freedom. Along the way they encounter many colorful characters and Huck has to figure out his moral compass. An entertaining read.

      Liked by 1 person

      August 1, 2017
      • Sushicat #

        Onwards to Oklahoma

        Liked by 1 person

        August 1, 2017
    • Sushicat #

      Oklahoma: The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson – 4 stars

      Lou Ford is a Deputy Sheriff in a small town, affable, likeable, a bit slow. But behind the facade lurks a very different man: a killer without remorse. As he tells it, his murders all make perfekt sense. Reading his tale is like dancing on a volcano – knowing the next eruption will come and yet hoping the inevitable will not happen.

      Liked by 1 person

      August 6, 2017
      • Sushicat #

        Next: New Mexico

        Like

        August 6, 2017
    • Sushicat #

      New Mexico: Contact by Carl Sagan – 4 stars

      A message from Vega reaches Earth. As layers upon layers of meaning is discerned, people on Earth have to learn to deal with the implications. To some it confirms their religious beliefs, to others it strengthens opposing views. I liked the books for it’s exploration of these various reactions and their motivations.

      Liked by 1 person

      August 25, 2017
      • Sushicat #

        Off to Arizona

        Liked by 1 person

        August 25, 2017
    • Sushicat #

      Arizona: Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy – 4.6 stars

      The land: beautiful, merciless, vividly described. The book put me there. I could smell it, feel the heat or the cold, the vast emptiness and yet filled with perils – inhumans all.
      The people it brought forth: merciless and brutal as is the landscape they move in. No margin for error. No rhyme or reason, just an iron will to survive against all odds.
      And like a movie, though immersed in the landscape and the story that unfolds, there is an emotional distance – but maybe that’s what makes it all bearable.

      Like

      September 24, 2017
      • Sushicat #

        California – here I come!

        Liked by 1 person

        September 25, 2017
  20. Kamisha’s Roadtrip

    Starting Location: North Carolina
    Book: Serena

    Liked by 1 person

    June 30, 2017
    • Starting Location: North Carolina
      Book: Serena
      Rating: 4/5 stars
      Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/651998990

      Took me a while to read this one! Hopefully I’ll pick easier reads from now on…

      Liked by 1 person

      July 9, 2017
    • Location: South Carolina
      Book: Virals
      Rating: 3.5/5

      This was a fun, easy little whodunit YA read with some elements sci-fi experimentation added in. For fans of Reich’s Temperence Brennan’s series the main character in this book is Tory Brennan, Tempe’s great-niece. I’ve never actually read any of the “Bones” series, but I have watched the show and in the young adult novel Reich’s gives several good shout outs and nods to the elements of her other series. Tory is similar to her Great-Aunt in that she loves science, she thirsts for knowledge and the truth, and she doesn’t have time for the social norms other teenage girls care about (such as cotillion, dresses, who gets to date the popular boys, etc.). Tory and her group of friends are all the children of scientists who work at a lab off the coast of South Carolina. They’re all science nerds deemed unworthy by the popular elite at their private school on the main land. They make for a likable, relatable gang. While exploring Loggerhead Island (where the institute their parents work at is located) they find something that leads them down a journey they were not prepared for. I think this book would be well suited for middle school aged readers. I didn’t mind reading it, but probably won’t be checking out the rest of the series.

      Current points: 2
      Next Location: Georgia
      Book: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

      Liked by 1 person

      July 14, 2017
    • Location: Georgia
      Book: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
      Rating: 4/5

      I really enjoyed reading this nonfiction book about an editor’s account of his years spent in Savannah and the interesting characters and stories he collects along the way. I had heard from many people that this book could be considered a “nonfiction that reads like fiction,” and that certainly described it well to me! I really enjoyed the way the author set up certain chapters as little character vignettes, it kept things interesting and fun. And I loved the way Savannah was essentially a character itself in the story. It was mysterious, quirky, sometimes creepy and always intriguing. “You mustn’t be taken in by the moonlight and magnolias. There’s more to Savannah than that. Things can get very murky.” Would recommend to anyone who wants to feel immersed in the culture of this area!

      Current points: 8
      Next Location: Tennessee
      Book: Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

      Liked by 1 person

      July 24, 2017
      • I think I’m going to be switching my Tennessee read from Flight Behavior to An American Haunting: The Bell Witch. Normally really love Kingsolver’s work but right now the pacing just feels slow to me and it’s not keeping my interest 50 pages in. Let me know if there are any issues with me changing!

        Liked by 1 person

        July 26, 2017
      • Nope, feel free to change books at any time. Better than slogging though a book you are not enjoying

        Like

        July 26, 2017
    • Location: Tennessee
      Book: An American Haunting: The Bell Witch
      Rating: 3/5

      This was a relatively quick read (I just got caught up in life and didn’t finish it fast!) with the length being just under 200 pages. For me this book was kind of a “meh,” I gave it a 3/5 because in the beginning (despite having already seen the movie) the haunting did creep me out a bit reading in my bed at night! The story is a retelling of a poltergeist style haunting that plagues a farming family in the rural Tennessee area during the 1800s. It was an interesting read and had a good conclusion, if a bit predictable.

      Sidenote: I’m sure that the majority of readers are out of the south by now but if you like gothic/horror/suspense stories and need a Tennessee book, Cherie Priest’s Eden Moore series are super creepy and enjoyable picks! I don’t own any of them and couldn’t find them at the library or I would’ve definitely reread them.

      Current points: 14
      Next Location: Alabama
      Book: To Kill a Mockingbird (if I can find it on my shelves!) or Crazy in Alabama

      Liked by 1 person

      August 1, 2017
    • Location: Alabama
      Book: Crazy in Alabama by Mark Childress
      Rating: 4.5/5

      I really enjoyed this! It was such a pleasant surprise because I picked it up not knowing anything whatsoever about it and ended up being completely drawn in by the story. It is quirky, funny, dark and sad. On the one hand a coming of age story about a young boy in Alabama growing up during the time of Selma and Martin Luther King, and on the other hand the story of one woman’s awakening via dark events. Childress has managed to portray really serious, dark topics while also maintaining a quirkiness that adds a redeeming quality to the story. Definitely glad I chose this for Alabama.

      Current points: 20
      Next Location: Mississippi (since MS is a travel hub this week, I’m going to choose to skip to Louisiana).
      Louisiana book: The Axeman: A New Orleans Thriller Based on a True Story

      Like

      August 8, 2017
    • Location: Louisiana
      Book: The Axeman: a Novel
      Rating: 3.5/5

      This was an interesting historical/thriller fiction about a group of detectives investigating the Axeman murders of New Orleans in 1919. I really enjoyed the setting and atmosphere of the city in this book. There are many different elements to the story aside from it being the story of a string of grisly murders and a whodunit. It is also a story of the mafia influence in New Orleans during this time period, as well as featuring some elements of voodoo, and speaks to the racial division going on in New Orleans during the early 1900s. It even features a young Louis Armstrong as one of the main characters!

      Current points: 26
      Next Location: Texas
      Texas Book: All the Pretty Horses

      Liked by 1 person

      August 15, 2017
    • Location: Texas
      Book: All the Pretty Horses
      Rating: 3.5/5

      I think this one just wasn’t for me. I don’t read a lot of westerns, and I know that this book was more than just a western, but there was something about it that just didn’t do it for me. Even though a lot of things happened to John Grady that should have been interesting, I found myself just bored with the general tone of the book. That’s not to say that I didn’t appreciate the writing for what it was, it was just definitely one of those books that I could appreciate but just wasn’t for me.

      Current points: 27
      Next Location: New Mexico
      New Mexico book: Death Comes for the Archbishop

      Like

      August 23, 2017
      • I didn’t love it either. I think it was a 3.5 for me too

        Like

        August 23, 2017
    • Location: New Mexico
      Book: Death Comes for the Archbishop
      Rating: 3.5/5

      Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2097777712

      Current points: 33
      Next Location: Arizona (I’m going to take a break and catch up on other reading until Arizona is open for travel again on the 4th!)
      Arizona book: High Tide in Tucson

      Liked by 1 person

      August 29, 2017
    • Location: Arizona
      Book: High Tide in Tucson
      Rating: 4.5/5

      I really enjoyed this collection of Barbara Kingsolver’s essays! She is such an amazing, insightful author. I like that she has the ability to write eloquently about a wide range of topics from biology and sociology to parenting and art. This took me a little longer to read not because it was slow, but because I was trying to appreciate each essay separately rather than read it like it was a novel!

      Current points: 39
      Next Location: Moving on to California!
      California Book: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

      Like

      September 15, 2017
    • Location: Arrived in California!
      Book: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
      Rating: 5/5

      I was genuinely surprised by how much I loved this book! It is not the kind of a story that I typically gravitate towards, but because it was set mostly in California and I had been seeing praise for it all over, I decided to pick it up. I 100% do not regret my decision! This novel was beautiful, snarky, heartbreaking and engrossing. So engrossing in fact, that I found myself being drawn into Evelyn Hugo’s story and completely forgetting she was actually relating this story to a journalist the whole time, until said journalist had her interspersed chapters. This novel deals with many different important issues and topics in our society today and also what it was like for Evelyn dealing with these same issues and topics in her glory days (50s-80s). I felt that the author handled these different topics well and presented Evelyn in an honest and unrelenting way, which only made Evelyn’s character more likable for me!

      Finished with 40 points!
      This has been fun, thanks for doing this you guys!

      Liked by 1 person

      September 25, 2017
      • Congrats on reaching the end!

        Like

        September 25, 2017
  21. Katie’s Road Trip

    Starting location: Georgia

    Book: Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

    Current points: 0

    Liked by 1 person

    July 1, 2017
    • Location: Georgia
      Book: Gone With The Wind
      Rating: 4.5 stars

      Probably not the best book to pick for a challenge but it’s been on my TBR for years and I thought this was the perfect excuse. I thought this was going to be a fluffy romance but I was definitely wrong. I enjoyed the whole thing which I wasn’t really expecting. I heard this book had a sad ending and an hour before the end, couldn’t imagine what would happen to make me cry. But wouldn’t you know it, 20 minutes later I was sobbing! Very unusual for me. Thoroughly recommend. Would love to see the movie..but need some time to recover first!

      Current points: 6
      Next location: Alabama

      Liked by 1 person

      July 31, 2017
      • You get the prize for longest book! I’m very impressed!

        Like

        July 31, 2017
  22. Katja N #

    Katja’s roadtrip:

    Starting location: North Carolina
    Book: The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
    Current points: 0

    Liked by 1 person

    July 1, 2017
    • Katja N #

      First book finished: The Fiery Cross

      Review:
      I finished this beast on the airplane back from Bali. It was great to revisit the characters, but I didn’t enjoy this as much as the other books. It felt a bit less coherent, with a lot of hasty conclusions. So many things happened, and still very little happened, if that makes sense. It felt like this was a filler book, until Gabaldon reached a more interesting time in history.

      Current points: 1

      Liked by 1 person

      July 6, 2017
    • Katja N #

      Second book: The Accidental Universe by Alan Lightman (author from Tennessee)

      Review:
      I wasn’t impressed by this. Lightman repeats himself a lot, and the essays just didn’t grab me at all. There were some interesting facts, and Lightman can definitely write, but after reading this, I can conclude that I like his fiction better than his nonfiction.
      And a little rant: In his last essay, Lightman begins to write about the development of technology and I just got the feeling of an elderly gentleman critiquing the younger generation. I could almost hear him saying “young people today…”. This essay annoyed me quite a lot, but it was also the only one to actually provoke an emotional response from me, so yeah.

      Current points: 7

      Liked by 1 person

      July 16, 2017
    • Katja N #

      Third state: Mississippi
      Deadreckoning by Charlaine Harris (author from Mississippi )

      Review:
      I loved the Cookie Stackhouse novels when I were younger, but I haven’t read a book from the series in 4 or 5 years. And now I know, those years have made a difference in my reading of the books. I hadn’t noticed earlier how repetitive the writing style is and how annoying Sookie can be at times. The plot line in this 11th book wasn’t that exciting, and it was pretty predictable.
      But somehow, I was still entertained. Not in an exciting, new way, but in a familiar way. That’s why my next book will be the next book in the series. Also I have already borrowed the audiobook, so there’s that.

      Current points: 8

      I’m off to Louisiana now!

      Liked by 1 person

      July 21, 2017
    • Katja N #

      Fourth state: Louisiana
      Book: Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris (set in Louisiana)

      Review:
      This was a little better than Dead Reckoning, but still, not great. The plot line was more engaging though, which made up a bit for the repetitive writing. It did help listening to the books, instead of reading them as physical books.
      I need a break from the series now, but I will probably read the 13th and last book some day.

      Current points: 14

      Now I am off to Texas with “The Bear and the Nightingale”

      Liked by 1 person

      July 23, 2017
    • Katja N #

      Fifth state: Texas
      Book: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (author from Texas)

      Review:
      I enjoyed this book a lot! Once it got going. The first part was really confusing, for me, and I couldn’t really figure out the point. But from the second part and onwards, I were hooked! I love Russian mythology, and I think Arden used it very well in her novel.
      It did feel a bit like a set-up novel, and there’s a lot of unanswered questions, which, hopefully, will be answers in book two.

      Current points: 15

      Now I am going to New Mexico!

      Like

      July 23, 2017
    • Katja N #

      Sixth state: New Mexico
      Book: The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Author lives in New Mexico)

      Review:
      I must admit, I wasn’t impressed by this. The dialogue made me cringe overtime. I mean, can’t that child say anything else than “okay”? It was so damn repetitive which ruined the rest of the book for me. Not much happens, which is okay, but everything that happens are the same over and over again. They find food, they get into danger, they find food, they get into danger, over and over.
      I read this as an translated audiobook, and the narrator was a bit dry, which didn’t help with my lack of enjoyment either.

      Current points: 21

      And off to Arizona I go!

      Liked by 1 person

      July 29, 2017
    • Katja N #

      Seventh state: Arizona
      Book: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

      Review:
      I messed up my reading list a bit, so I thought this was my book for New Mexico. I only realised this after I finished, and could see that New Mexico did have that big a place in the book. Luckily, I liked this book so much, that I almost instantly wanted to reread it. So after I finished The Road (my real book for New Mexico), I read Girl in Pieces again. And it still broke my heart the second time. This was a raw, tough and brutal read. It hurt and made me feel all kinds of emotions. But it was also a very powerful and important read. I really need to get my own copy, because I could read this book over and over.

      Current points: 27

      Onwards to the last state for me: California!

      Liked by 1 person

      August 1, 2017
    • Katja N #

      Last state: California
      Book: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (author from California)

      Review:
      This was great! Taylor writes beautifully, almost like reading a piece of art, if that makes sense. She wove me into the story, the characters and the dream. Even though I figured out one of the major twist pretty early in the novel, it didn’t effect my perception of the novel. It is a slow kind of fantasy, and it’s good that there’s a second book coming, because there’s a lot of unanswered questions still. And that ending made me want that second book NOW!

      Current points: 28

      And that’s it for me, I’ve made it to the end of my road trip. This was so much fun, but kinda hard, since I didn’t have that many books set in America og by American authors on my shelves, so I have made great use of my library 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      August 6, 2017
      • Woo hoo! Congrats! Post a map of all your states visited on Litsy so I can see your journey! Well done.

        Like

        August 6, 2017
  23. Betty
    Betty’s roadtrip
    Starting location: North Carolina
    Book: Byrd by Kim Church
    Current points: 0

    Liked by 1 person

    July 1, 2017
    • You were selected for a travel delay this week. You may finish your current read but may not start your next state until Monday July 17. This also means that you are exempt from selection next week.

      Like

      July 10, 2017
  24. unidragonfrag #

    Not certain if I’ll make it with my books, but it sounds fun!

    Michelle’s Coast-to-Coast Road Trip.

    State: Maine
    Book: Pet Cemetery

    Liked by 1 person

    July 1, 2017
    • Yay, I worked. I’ll add you to the player list when I get home (hard to do from the app)

      Like

      July 1, 2017
    • unidragonfrag #

      Starting Location: Maine
      Book: Pet Sematary
      Rating: 4 stars
      Date Finished: July 06

      Man, Louis was a selfish prick. 😠 Great, nerve-wracking King read – first of his novels for me and definitely not my last! Don’t ever bury your pets or loved ones in ancient Indian burial ground is the moral of this horror tale!

      Points so far: 1
      Next up: New Hampshire (book to be determined, but likely an ebook)

      Like

      July 7, 2017
    • unidragonfrag #

      Starting Location: New Hampshire
      Book: The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon – Stephen King
      Rating: 4 stars
      Date Finished: July 11

      Man, what a harrowing trip! The thing that followed was so awful, especially since it was described by a poor, little girl slowly coming unhinged after I think two weeks alone in the wild. Even though a not well thought through decision started her trek, Trisha was surprisingly resourceful and resilient. I think the thing that scared me the most reading this was the thought of my own daughter in that situation! It starts in Maine, but ends in New Hampshire.

      Points so far: 2
      Next up: Massachusetts (The Sword of Summer – Rick Riordan)

      Liked by 1 person

      July 11, 2017
  25. Kristel #

    Kristel’s Road Trip,
    Starting state: Delaware, read #1001 Books, any 1001 book.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 1, 2017
    • Kristel #

      Finished my book, 1001, Hallucinating Foucault. 1 point. Next state, deciding between Maryland or Pennsylvania.

      Like

      July 4, 2017
  26. Nicole’s 3 month stint in Connecticut

    Starting Location: Connecticut
    Book: The Witch of of Blackbird Pond
    Current Points 1

    Liked by 1 person

    July 1, 2017
    • it was probably a darned accurate guess. I get discouraged when people are half way done before I even get to 30% of my book. LOL. Question, can I change states if I decide I don’t want to finish this? There’s a lot of religion

      Like

      July 9, 2017
    • OK, changing to The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Elizabeth George Speare
      Connecticut

      Liked by 1 person

      July 9, 2017
      • The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Speare 5/5

        I’d forgotten all about this book which I’m certain I read as a kid (absolutely NO recollection) and which won the Newberry Medal in 1959.

        Age range for this book was 10-12 years old, but that seems kind of young for me. The protagonist is 16, and some of the themes seemed more mature than 10, but what do I know, I’m old.

        Kit is from Barbados and recently lost her grandfather who raised her. She travels to Connecticut to live with family there. She’s rather a free spirit, which in the 1700’s New England must mean you are a witch. She reminded me a lot of Anne of Green Gables. A little less wide-eyed, but totally delightful.

        The stupid puritans did their stupid puritan thing, but it’s a children’s book so the stupidity was halted before anything serious could happen.

        I loved it! What a great way to spend a few hours. Now I just need to sit here and not obsess about the Salem Witch Trials and how sadly relevant they still seem.

        POINTS: 1 (hear me roar)

        Like

        July 10, 2017
    • From CT skipping New York, moving to PA with Jerry Spinelli (from PA) Stargirl

      Liked by 1 person

      July 10, 2017
    • Pennsylvania – Jerry Spinelli from there

      Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli 2/5

      I’m not trying to read YA or kids books here, it’s just what popped up. After The Witch of Blackbird Pond this was such a disappointment. A really irritatingly weird quirky girl starts at a new school and is weird and quirky and everybody hates her, then everybody loves her, then everybody hates her again, so she tries to be somebody else and everybody loves her, but she hates herself and Lesson, so she goes back to being weird and quirky. I thought it was dumb.

      Audio was read by John Ritter which was a little surreal.

      Current Points 2
      Moving to Ohio

      Liked by 1 person

      July 13, 2017
    • Points: 2

      Hillbilly Elegy – JD Vance +1
      3.5/5
      Visited: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame +5

      I haven’t been a fan of books like A Girl Named Zippy and the Glass Castle, Glass Castle to me was just abuse. I realized as I was reading this book that I have a degree of bias against working class white people (read: poor) that I don’t have against poor black people. For some reason I feel like the white people aren’t trying and the black people are. This book helped to remind me that poor is poor and circumstances of birth are not a persons fault whether it be skin color or socioeconomic condition.

      I know where my bias comes from, believe me and I experienced it in this book as well as it went on. It’s something I need to work on.

      Mamaw was a completely hysterical person. What a nutter. Would make for great book club discussion.

      TOTAL POINTS: 8

      Moving to Kentucky

      Like

      July 14, 2017
      • fixing my points …

        Missed Liberty Bell Pennsylvania adding +5
        Current total 13

        Kentucky

        Beloved – Toni Morrison
        5/5

        OK, so I guess Toni Morrison didn’t write How Stella Got Her Groove Back. This was good news. i loved this book, it was just dark enough and totally enthralling. The audio was read by the author and she was fantastic.

        Current Points: 14

        Like

        July 19, 2017
      • and moving to Tennessee

        Like

        July 19, 2017
    • and I am leaving Graceland, Graceland, Memphis Tennessee, I’m leaving Graceland.
      +5

      Child of God – Cormac McCarthy
      4/5

      Wow, McCarthy has one twisted imagination. Probably one of the darkest most twisted books I’ve ever read. An earlier McCarthy, you can definitely get a picture of the author he will become.

      This is set in Tennessee I believe in the early 1900’s, and it’s about one man’s depravity/madness, and the town it impacts.

      Fast read, and sadly I was enthralled.

      +1

      Total Points 20

      Moving to Missouri

      Like

      July 23, 2017
    • Starting points: 20
      Missouri

      Little House on Rocky Ridge – Roger Lea MacBride
      5/5

      I just recently re-read the whole Little House book series and LOVED them. I didn’t even think about reading books which weren’t written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, but this book worked for the challenge.

      This book picks up Laura’s story when she, her husband and her daughter Rose decide to move to Missouri and start a new life. I don’t know what it is about these books, but I love them, and I guess I will be continuing this series, of which there are 8 more books.

      +1

      21 Points

      Moving to Kansas

      Like

      July 28, 2017
      • Carry Over 21

        Ball of Twine +5

        Something about reading about the BTK (Bind Torture Kill) Strangler while visiting the world’s largest ball of twine seems … off

        Inside the Mind of the BTK – John Douglas Johnny Dodd
        3/5

        Before social media I didn’t really pay much attention to the news, so I completely missed this story when the BTK was arrested in 2005. I heard about him on the My Favorite Murder Podcast (don’t judge me) and I’m fascinated by serial killers, so I wanted to know more.

        This book is an FBI profilers take on the case, and it’s pretty dry. It was still interesting, but felt like a data dump. There were a lot of details about this guy … They still don’t really know WHY he did it, but his inspirations included other serial killers and the book In Cold Blood.

        I’m now watching his 45-minute confession on YouTube. Talk about an innocuous seeming dude.

        +1

        27 points

        Moving to Colorado

        Like

        July 28, 2017
    • carry over 27

      Colorado finished

      Benediction – Kent Haruf
      4.5/5

      I so love Kent Haruf, but I’m an emotional wreck right now. I must have used 15 Kleenex reading this book. We’re back in Holt, Colorado and my favorite brothers aren’t in the book, which was disappointing at first. We did ultimately find out what happened to them, so that was good.

      This book is about different people in the town. The Lewis family, and “Dad” Lewis has cancer and is dying, and an interesting past. So his story is woven throughout some of the others in town. As usual it was really good. But holy crap, SAD.

      +1

      28

      Off to Arizona …

      Liked by 1 person

      July 29, 2017
    • Carry over 28

      Visit to Antelope Valley+5

      The Andromeda Strain – Michael Crichton
      2/5

      This was like reading a Chemistry textbook. Written in 1969, it was definitely dated, but more so than that it had very little of the Crichton excitement. I listened to the audio on double speed (thank goodness) and I think reading it would have been better because a lot of it could have been glazed over. i.e. there were a bunch of sequences of numbers read aloud, and scientific components of which I knew none, time sequencing as well. Just not great, not interesting, not well written.

      +1

      Total Points 34

      I’m going back to cali cali cali, I’m going back to cali

      Like

      July 30, 2017
      • JoLene Ramm #

        Read listened to this a while back and also gave it a 2 (or maybe 1) — I normally enjoy Crichton, but this was really dated.

        BTW — congrats on finishing

        Like

        August 14, 2017
    • I’m HOME! I’m finished. I’ve done nothing but read or listen to books since Friday.

      California

      The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove – Christopher Moore
      4/5

      This is a re-read for me, which I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Christopher Moore is one of my favorite authors, and I read this a really long time ago. It was so much fun to revisit Pine Cove and all the wacky characters who live there. Makes me want to re-read The Stupidest Angel as well.

      A small town in Northern Cal is disrupted when a giant sea monster who works as an aphrodisiac comes to town. Cute, fun, entertaining!

      Liked by 1 person

      July 30, 2017
      • Impressive! I’m still on book 2! 🙂 Congrats!

        Like

        July 30, 2017
      • Wow, good job. You are the first to arrive.

        Like

        July 30, 2017
      • It was either quit or hurry because I need to focus on Booker noms!

        Liked by 1 person

        July 31, 2017
      • I will be curious to see what you think of History of Wolves

        Like

        July 31, 2017
  27. Erin’s Road Trip
    Starting State: Florida
    Book: The Yearling
    Current Points: 0

    Liked by 1 person

    July 1, 2017
  28. ABG’s Road Trip
    Starting State: Georgia
    Book: Paperweight, Meg Haston
    Current Points: 0

    Liked by 1 person

    July 2, 2017
  29. jyotioo #

    I’m starting out in Boston Mass, with Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane, an author I’ve never read (but this book was recommended by a reading friend). Off to it!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 2, 2017
  30. Charisma’s Road Trip
    Starting location: Georgia
    Book: The Color Purple by Alice Walker
    Current points: 0

    Liked by 1 person

    July 2, 2017
    • 1. Georgia: [book:The Color Purple|11486] by [author:Alice Walker|7380].

      5 ✭ and a 💗

      The version I listened to is narrated by the author. I enjoyed listening to Alice’s voice and I think nobody could read it better.

      The book itself is a masterpiece, and I was sad it ended so soon. The story, the language, the historical element,.. I loved every last bit of it. I value the learning aspect of it: learning about the cultures in Africa, about the way black people (and especially women) lived and suffered, but also were able to find joy and some type of happiness.

      P.S. While listening to the story, I kept thinking that I know this, and I remember reading about that, etc. But I do not remember reading it before. Yet even the ending sounded familiar, so I must have read it before.

      🚘 ➟ Alabama

      Like

      July 8, 2017
    • 2. Alabama: Quicksand by Nella Larsen

      4 ✭

      I listened to a Librivox recording narrated by Elizabeth Klett.

      I appreciate the writing, but cannot fully sympathise with the main character, Helga Crane. While listening she kept reminding me of a story I’m listening in a car with my kids about a chap who didn’t know what happiness was and went away searching for it. After many days of wondering the world he came back to his village unsatisfied, still not knowing what happiness was. Not because he didn’t find one, but because he kept on missing the opportunity, kept on looking away from it. Helga reminds me of such a person. IMHO, she had many opportunities to find her happiness, but kept missing them, kept getting unsettled, kept wishing for more…

      Another thing that I find interesting, especially after just reading The Color Purple, is the complete opposites in the descriptions of God: one radiates hope, where another is discouraging and depressing at best.

      From The Color Purple:

      “Think what it means that Ethiopia is Africa! All the Ethiopians in the bible were colored. It had never occurred to me, though when you read the bible it is perfectly plain if you pay attention only to the words. It is the pictures in the bible that fool you. The pictures that illustrate the words. All of the people are white and so you just think all the people from the bible were white too. But really white people lived somewhere else during those times. That’s why the bible says that Jesus Christ had hair like lamb’s wool. Lamb’s wool is not straight, Celie. It isn’t even curly. (56.3)”

      From Quicksand:

      “Her mind, swaying back to the protection that religion had afforded her, almost she wished that it had not failed her. An illusion. Yes. But better, far better, than this terrible reality. Religion had, after all, its uses. It blunted the perceptions. Robbed life of its crudest truths. Especially it had its uses for the poor – and the blacks.
      For the blacks. The Negroes.
      And this, Helga decided, was what ailed the whole Negro race in America, this fatuous belief in the white man’s God, this childlike trust in full compensation for all woes and privations in “kingdom come.” Sary Jones’s absolute conviction, “In de nex’ worl’ we’s all recompense’,” came back to her. And ten million souls were as sure of it as was Sary. How the white man’s God must laugh at the great joke he had played on them! Bound them to slavery, then to poverty and insult, and made them bear it unresistingly, uncomplainingly almost, by sweet promises of mansions in the sky by and by.”

      Overall, I am glad to have read the story. I might need to return to it in the future as I feel there is much more to be found/experienced on re-read.

      🚘 ➟ Tennessee

      Current Points: 12

      Liked by 1 person

      July 9, 2017
    • 3. Tennessee: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.

      5 ✭

      A fascinating book! I started it reading an ebook and even though I was reading it extremely slow, I enjoyed it so much more. There are so many things I’ve marked to go back to either for a quote, or to read more information on the subject. Later on, about 2/3 through I got an audio recording and even though the reading went on at a much faster pace, the enjoyment suffered greatly.

      I’m not saying that I liked the story less, but I didn’t have as much time to savor it.

      Overall, I liked the book a lot, and even though I expected quite a different ending to it, I still give it five stars.

      P.S. I might update my review at a later date, when I have time to add all the comments/quotes I have bookmarked.

      🚘 ➟ Arkansas

      Current Points: 18

      Liked by 1 person

      July 24, 2017
    • 4. Arkansas: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.

      5 ✭

      Really liked the book. So many things black people had to and still have to endure it just breaks my heart 😦 What a wonderful person Ritty is, as well as her grandma and her mother. Lots of respect to those people.

      Will have to go back to the book for more thorough read/analysis. Have also a few comparisons to add in regards to previous books read.

      🚘 ➟ Louisiana

      Current Points: 19

      Like

      July 31, 2017
    • 5. Louisiana: The Awakening by Kate Chopin.

      3.5 ✭

      I think it was a reread for me. I say “I think” because I don’t remember reading it, but I do vaguely remember the story line, as well as the ending.

      In reality, I’m a sucker for love triangles (Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, etc.), but this one wasn’t quite up to whatever standard I have for such a story. I guess I was expecting more…

      Otherwise, I enjoyed Kate’s writing stile and it is a quick read.

      P.S. I was listening to a book narrated by Elizabeth Klett (https://librivox.org/reader/1259?primary_key=1259&search_category=reader&search_page=1&search_form=get_results). This is not the first book I’ve listened, and I must say, that this lady’s narrations are always great!

      🚘 ➟ Texas

      Current Points: 25

      Like

      August 5, 2017
    • 6. Texas: The Dead Father by Donald Barthelme.

      2.5 ✭

      For such a short book it was a really long read. I’m not sure if I’m just not mature enough to fully appreciate it, or if it’s just not something I can enjoy ever, but it was an unpleasant read for me.

      Half of the book was read just for the sake of moving along the pages. At moments it felt like I’m reading the Synonym Dictionary, and sometimes it was plain as a brick. Or was it?

      I do believe there is a hidden message there in the book, and I might return to it at a later date to investigate and hopefully find it.

      🚘 ➟ Oklahoma

      Current Points: 26

      Liked by 1 person

      August 10, 2017
    • 7. Oklahoma: The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson.

      5 ✭

      Years ago I’ve seen a movie. It left a deep impression on me: it felt freakishly real. Later I found out there is a book but was hesitant to attempt the read. I’m actually surprised how easy it was to read it. The language, I mean, not the subject. Especially after The Dead Father by Donald Barthelme.

      Subject-wise the book is still quite disturbing, but not as disturbing and creepy as I remember the movie was. Probably, because my imagination is not as wild here.

      🚘 ➟ New Mexico

      Like

      August 21, 2017
    • ✈ ➟ I’d like to reserve the New Mexico/Kansas flight.

      Liked by 1 person

      August 21, 2017
    • 8. New Mexico: Contact by Carl Sagan.

      5 ✭ and a 💗

      Another one of those: “I’ve seen the the movie, and never read a book.” I loved it so much, I want to read more of his books. So deep and imaginative! Loved it!

      ✈ ➟ Kansas

      Current Points: 33

      Liked by 1 person

      August 25, 2017
    • ✈ ➟ I’d like to reserve the Kansas/Wyoming flight.

      Like

      August 27, 2017
    • 9. Kansas: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

      5 ✭

      Not long after I’ve read Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, I’ve heard about this book. I expected to like it, just never had the time to actually start and finish it.

      Even though I know this is a true-crime book, I choose to think about it as a novel more than anything. It didn’t feel like a documentary to me, and was easy to move along. I couldn’t wait to find out how would it end. Exceptionally well written!

      ✈ ➟ Wyoming

      Like

      September 4, 2017
    • Current Points: 39

      Like

      September 4, 2017
    • 10. Wyoming: Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

      5 ✭

      I’m yet to find Dostoevsky I didn’t like. Even though there is a lot of philosophy there it didn’t bother me a bit. There are a lot of things going on in this novel. I’ve enjoyed listening to the story. Even though the man seems to be rambling about things, I believe it could have been things Dostoevsky couldn’t openly express himself. (I didn’t do additional reading so cannot claim I’m correct, but these are my feelings after reading the story.) I am wondering if it was meant not to be ever published, if he truly meant it to be his diary.

      I absolutely loved the passage about love, and specifically love of husband and wife. I need to go back and copy/add it to this review.

      🚘 ➟ Utah

      Current Points: 45

      Like

      September 6, 2017
    • 10. Utah: The Artamonov Business by Maxim Gorky.

      4 ✭

      At the beginning I really liked it, but after the father was gone, everything seemed to have “fallen to pieces.” It became more tedious to me, the story revolved mostly around the oldest son, and I was hoping to hear more about the rest of the family. Overall, not a bad book, and I would like to read more of Gorky.

      🚘 ➟ Nevada

      Current Points: 51

      Liked by 1 person

      September 25, 2017
  31. Denise #

    This sounds like fun!

    Denise’s Road trip

    Starting State: New York

    Book: Sutton by JR Moehringer

    Current Points: 0

    (Hope I did this right!)

    Liked by 1 person

    July 6, 2017
  32. Ohh I’d like to join!
    Katie’s Road Trip:
    Starting State: Georgia
    Book: The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
    Current points: 0

    Liked by 1 person

    July 6, 2017
  33. BookWorm’s Bookish Break
    Starting State Massachusetts
    Book: The Burning Girl Claire Messud
    Current points 0

    Liked by 1 person

    July 8, 2017
    • The Burning Girl Claire Messud
      3 stars

      Full review to appear on blog soon. Brief outline I enjoyed the story about the dangers facing girls as they become young women but some of the details didn’t work for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 9, 2017
      • 2nd State New York
        Book: Crazy House James Patterson
        Current points 1

        Liked by 1 person

        July 9, 2017
      • New York – Author from New York
        Crazy House James Patterson
        3 stars

        Full review to appear on blog soon. Brief overview JP does YA this is a departure from his normal style of writing and while I did enjoy the story it was not as compelling as other YA I have read.

        3rd State Pennsylvania
        Current points 2

        Liked by 1 person

        July 16, 2017
      • Pennsylvania – author born here
        Attraction – Liberty Bell

        Blood Work Michael Connelly

        A solid 3 stars

        This is the 8th Harry Bosch novel which is strange as he is not even mentioned in the story, it is also the 1st Terry McCaleb book which is again strange as he appears to have a whole back story we are missing.

        The mystery side of things is interesting enough and the twist works well if a little unbelievably.

        4th state Ohio

        Current points 8

        Liked by 1 person

        July 18, 2017
    • Ohio – Author studied English here
      Attraction Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

      New Boy by Tracy Chevalier
      3 Stars

      Full review to appear on blog soon, brief outline this is the story of Othello with the main characters as 11 year olds!!

      5th State Kentucky

      Current points 14

      Like

      July 21, 2017
    • Kentucky – author born here

      High Tide Jude Deveraux
      3 Stars

      Solid romantic thriller with likeable characters and a fun (if totally unbelievable plotline)

      Good escapism.

      Like

      July 23, 2017
    • 6th State Tennessee – Story set here

      Days Without End Sebastian Barry
      3 Stars

      Full review on blog soon

      Liked by 1 person

      August 6, 2017
  34. If anybody is still looking for books, this is a good compilation

    http://lithub.com/100-books-across-america-fiction-and-nonfiction-for-every-state-in-the-union/?linkId=41738084

    Like

    September 7, 2017

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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