Armchair Tourism Made Easy!

Great books have been set in every state—and the District of Columbia—and there are numerous sites out there that will tell you what they are. I’ve chosen three recent ones and summarized them for you here.


Reader’s Digest sought to identify the most iconic book set in every state. They note that “Literature is often a source of state pride, with a vast array of novels set in and around each of the great 50 states. With this list, you can tour the entire country—without leaving home.” These iconic book choices are indicated in the following list by RD.
Business Insider scoured the internet and surveyed colleagues to round up the most famous book that takes place in each state in America. Their choices are indicated by BI.
Travel & Leisure compiled a list of the best books based in every state and DC. They “selected the best books based in every state by looking for titles that almost use their state as another character. The setting is so deeply entwined with theses texts, the story couldn’t even exist in another place or time. In the listings below, their choices are designated by TL.
to kill a mockingbird harper lee
Alabama: RD, BI, TL all chose To Kill a Mocking Bird, Harper Lee.


Alaska: RD, BI, TL all chose Into the Wild, Jon Krakaur


jon krakauer into the wild
Arizona: RD = Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy; BI = The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver; TL = Here and Gone, Haylen Beck


Arkansas: RD & TL = I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou; BI = A Painted House, John Grisham


California: RD & BI = East of Eden, John Steinbeck; TL = Big Sur, Jack Kerouac


stephen king the shining
Colorado: RD, BI, TL all chose The Shining, Stephen King
Connecticut: RD = The Stepford Wives, Ira LevinBI = Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates; TL = White Fur, Jardine Libaire


Delaware: RD = Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk; BI  = The Saint of Lost Things, Christopher Castellani; TL = A Light in the Storm: The Civil War Diary of Amelia Martin, Karen Hesse
Florida: RD = Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston; BI = To Have and Have Not, Ernest Hemingway; TL = Because of Winn-Dixie, Kate DiCamillo


gone with the wind margaret mitchell
Georgia: RD, BI, TL all chose Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell


Hawaii: RD & TL = The Descendants, Kaui Hart Hemmings; BI = Hawaii, James Mitchner


Idaho: RD = The Stand, Stephen King; BI = Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson; TL = The Sheep Queen, Thomas Savage


Illinois: BI & TL = The Jungle, Upton Sinclair; RD = Divergent, Veronica Roth


Indiana: RD = The Fault in Our Stars, John Green; BI = The Magnificent Ambersons, Booth Tarkington; TL = All the Bright Places, Jennifer Niven


Iowa: RD & BI = A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley; LT = The Bridges of Madison County, Robert James Waller


Kansas: RD & BI = The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum; TL = In Cold Blood, Truman Capote


Kentucky: BI & TL = Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe; RD = Beloved, Toni Morrison


Louisiana: RD & BI = Interview With the Vampire, Anne Rice; TL = The Awakening, Kate Chopin


Maine: RD & BI = Carrie, Stephen King; TL = The Cider House Rules, John Irving


Maryland: RD = Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Ann Brashares; BI = Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Anne Tyler; TL = The Accidental Tourist, Anne Tyler


Massachusetts: RD & BI = Walden, Henry David Thoreau; TL = The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne


Michigan: RD = Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides; BI = The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides; TL = Once Upon a River, Bonnie Jo Campbell


Minnesota: RD & BI = Main Street, Sinclair Lewis; TL = On the Banks of Plum Creek, Laura Ingalls Wilder


Mississippi: RD = The Help, Kathryn Stockett; BI = The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner; TL = Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Mildred D. Taylor


Missouri: RD & BI = The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain; TL = The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain


a river runs trhough it norman maclean
Montana: RD, BI, TL all chose A River Runs Through It and other stories, Norman Maclean


Nebraska: RD & TL = Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell; BI = My Antonia, Willa Cather


fear and loathing in las vegas
Nevada: RD, BI, TL all chose Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson


New Hampshire: RD & BI = The Hotel New Hampshire, John Irving; TL = Frindle, Andrew Clements


New Jersey: RD = Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Judy Blume; BI = Drown, Junot Diaz; TL = The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz


New Mexico: RD = Brave New World, Aldous Huxley; BI = Red Sky at Morning, Richard Bradford; TL = The Green Sea Glass, Ellen Klages


New York: RD & BI = The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald; TL = A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith


North Carolina: RD & BI = A Walk to Remember, Nicholas Sparks; TL = The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks


North Dakota: RD & BI =The Round House, Louise Erdrich; TL = Beyond the Bedroom Wall, Larry Woiwode


Ohio: RD = Winesburg, Ohio: A Group of Tales of Small Town Ohio Life, Sherwood Anderson; BI = The Broom of the System, David Foster Wallace; TL = Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng


Oklahoma: RD = The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton; BI = Paradise, Toni Morrison; TL = The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck


Oregon: RD = Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail, Cheryl Strayed; BI = One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey; TL = The Jump-Off Creek, Molly Gloss


Pennsylvania: RD & BI = The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold; TL = Maniac Magee, Jerry Spinelli


Rhode Island: RD = She’s Come Undone, Wally Lamb; BI = My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult; TL = The Witches of Eastwick, John Updike


South Carolina: RD = Bastard Out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison; BI = The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd; TL = The Summer Girls, Mary Alice Monroe


South Dakota: RD = Little Town on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder; BI = A Long Way From Home, Tom Brokaw; TL = The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, Ann Weisgarber


Tennessee: RD & BI = The Client, John Grisham; TL = The Silence of the Lambs, Thomas Harris


Texas: RD & BI = No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCarthy; TL = Holes, Louise Sachar


Utah: BI & TL = The 19th Wife, David Ebershoff; RD = Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer


Vermont: RD & BI = Pollyanna, Eleanor H. Porter; TL =  All the Best People, Sonja Yoerg


Virginia: BI & TL = Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Patterson; RD = Flowers in the Attic, V. C. Andrews


Washington: RD & BI = Twilight, Stephenie Meyer; TL = Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson


Washington, DC: BI = The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown; TL = Lost in the City, Edward P. Jones; RD did not list DC


West Virginia: RD = Freedom, Jonathan Franzen;  BI = Shiloh, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor; TL = The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls


Wisconsin: RD = The Deep End of the Ocean, Jacquelyn Mitchard; BI = Little House in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder; TL = A Reliable Wife, Robert Goolrick


Wyoming: RD & BI = The Laramie Project, Moisés Kaufman and Members of the Tectonic Theater Project; TL = Brokeback Mountain, Annie Proulx
armchair tourism made easy
So, what say you? Are these the books you would choose for your state(s)?

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