books | u.s.a. |

Before and during my travels, I read literary fiction or memoirs set in my destination. Sometimes I also read historical accounts. I enjoy the process of immersing myself in a place before I go, getting a feel for the culture and what defines a place. Reading ignites my imagination about a place and its inhabitants. It also extends my travel time. 🙂

The following list of books set in the United States is a work in process.  I invite readers to suggest additional books set in these locales in the comments below. I’m most interested in including memoir, literary fiction, historical accounts or essays, not guidebooks.  Links to Goodreads are provided for books I’ve actually read.

  • Iconic American Road Trip Books
    • Non-fiction
      • Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
      • On the Road by Jack Kerouac
      • Wanderful: The Modern Bohemian’s Guide to Traveling in Style by Andi Eaton
      • American Nomads: Travels with Lost Conquistadors, Mountain Men, Cowboys, Indians, Hoboes, Truckers, and Bull Riders by Richard Grant
      • Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon
      • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
      • Road Trip USA: Cross Country Adventures on America’s Two-Lane Highways by Jamie Jensen
      • The Great American Road Trip by Eric Peterson
      • The Cruise of the Rolling Junk by F. Scott Fitzgerald
      • The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America by Bill Bryson
      • Cross Country: Fifteen Years and Ninety Thousand Miles on the Roads and Interstates of America with Lewis and Clark by Robert Sullivan
      • Trip of the Tongue: Cross-Country Travels in Search of America’s Languages by Elizabeth Little
      • A Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins
      • Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic, Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland by Ken Ilgunas
      • Wild by Cheryl Strayed
    • Fictional road trips
  • U.S. States
    • Alabama
      • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
      • The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau
      • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
      • Four Spirits by Sena Jeter Naslund
      • A Walk Through Fire by William Cobb
    • Alaska
      • My One Square Inch of Alaska by Sharon Short
      • The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
      • The Fugitive Wife by Peter C. Brown
      • The Cloud Atlas by Liam Callanan
    • Arizona
      • Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver
      • The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
      • The Woman Lit by Fireflies by Jim Harrison
      • Crossers by Philip Caputo
      • Sycamore by Bryn Chancellor
    • Arkansas
    • California
    • Colorado
      • The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson
      • Plainsong (Plainsong, #1) by Kent Haruf
      • Eventide (Plainsong, #2) by Kent Haruf
      • Benediction (#3) by Kent Haruf
      • The Tie That Binds by Kent Haruf
      • Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
      • The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
      • The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (non-fiction)
    • Connecticut
      • The Children by Ann Leary
    • Delaware
    • District of Columbia – Washington, D.C.
    • Florida
      • Lost Man’s River by Peter Matthiessen
    • Georgia
    • Hawaii
    • Idaho
      • Idaho: A Novel by Emily Rukovich
      • Educated by Tara Westover
      • All Over Creation by Ruth Ozeki
      • Iona Moon by Melanie Rae Thon
    • Illinois
    • Indiana
    • Iowa
      • Gilead (Gilead, #1) by Marilynne Robinson
    • Kansas
    • Kentucky
    • Louisiana
    • Maine
    • Maryland
    • Massachusetts
    • Michigan
      • Midnight Champagne by A. Manette Ansay
      • Any books by Jim Harrison
    • Minnesota
    • Mississippi
    • Montana
    • Nebraska
    • Nevada
      • Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje
    • New Hampshire
    • New Jersey
      • Bad Haircut: Stories of the Seventies by Tom Perrotta
      • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
      • Drown by Junot Díaz
      • The Lay of the Land (Frank Bascombe #3) by Richard Ford
      • Palisades Park by Alan Brennert
      • Paterson by William Carlos Williams
      • The Pine Barrens by John McPhee (non-fiction)
      • Newark
        • American Pastoral (The American Trilogy #1) by Philip Roth
        • Indignation by Philip Roth
    • New Mexico
      • Cities of the Plain (#3) by Cormac McCarthy
      • Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
      • Loving Pedro Infante by Denise Chavez
      • The Professor’s House by Willa Cather
      • The Sea of Grass by Conrad Richter
      • The Spell of New Mexico by Tony Hillerman (essays)
    • New York
    • North Carolina
    • North Dakota
      • The Beet Queen by Louise Erdrich
    • Ohio
    • Oklahoma
    • Oregon
    • Pennsylvania
    • Rhode Island
    • South Carolina
    • South Dakota
    • Tennessee
    • Texas
    • Utah
    • Vermont
      • In the Fall by Jeffrey Lent
    • Virginia
      • Father Melancholy’s Daughter by Gail Godwin
      • The Known World by Edward P. Jones
      • The House Girl by Tara Conklin
      • The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
      • Big Stone Gap (Big Stone Gap #1) by Adriana Trigiani
      • Big Cherry Hollow (Big Stone Gap #2) by Adriana Trigiani
      • Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
      • Richmond
    • Washington
    • West Virginia
    • Wisconsin
    • Wyoming
  • U.S. Territories
    • American Samoa
    • Guam
    • Northern Mariana Islands
    • Puerto Rico
      • The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico by Sarah McCoy
      • The House on the Lagoon by Rosario Ferré
      • Eccentric Neighborhoods by Rosario Ferré
      • When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
    • U.S. Virgin Islands

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  • Memoirs or books about the general American experience.