State by State Stories

During the month of our nation's founding, let’s set aside all the ugly and disparaging spitefulness that seems to increasingly embody and divide our nation. So often we take for granted the vast, magnificent expanse of earth that is the United States. Although “America the Beautiful” was written one hundred and twenty-five years ago, the splendor that inspired Katherine Lee Bates still exists…from sea to shining sea. However, if your limited imagination cannot fathom beautiful halcyon skies, amber waves of grain, or purple mountains majesties, then it’s time for a road trip!

We have assembled a cross-county collection of novels highlighting each state in their title, to be found in the Center for the Reader vault in this link. For purposes of brevity (we don’t want you falling asleep at the wheel, now do we?) this is a tiny assortment of awesome books to entertain you on the plains portion of your road trip – bragging rights to those that can figure out the logic of this assemblage… no, they are not the states with the most frequent Elvis sightings.

Arizona Heat

Arizona – Cool fact: Residents of Supai and Phantom Town receive mail by mule trains, as the terrain is too tricky for motorized vehicles. The trek requires hours of travel through the Grand Canyon valley.


California – Cool fact: Thomas Edison’s film business held so many patents that competing film studios could barely make a profit. Consequently, many moved west hoping patent laws wouldn’t bother to reach them. This led studios to center themselves in Hollywood, CA, instead of the original film capital, Fort Lee, N.J. Both Paramount and Universal were created in this westward move.

The Colorado Kid

Colorado – Cool fact: The town of Nederland celebrates the cryogenically frozen body of Bredo Morstoel, who has been kept in a local “barn” for decades by his family. The body was almost forced out of the barn, as keeping a dead body in a family home was considered illegal, but the town rallied to let his descendants keep up the tradition.

Mary's Land

Maryland – Cool fact: Whether you believe the Ouija board to be a tool of the devil or a harmless family game, it was nonetheless invented in 1891 as the Wonderful Talking Board and later marketed firstly in the Chesapeake State.

Missouri Madam

Missouri – Cool fact: Tightwad Bank is a legitimate bank is the town of Tightwad, and the owners are aware of the humor behind the name, as many customers around the country choose the bank just for the joke.

Carolina Moon 

North Carolina – Cool fact: In 1961, two nuclear bombs--260 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima--were accidentally dropped over Goldsboro, N.C. One of the bombs even activated, but was defused by an emergency kill switch that was known to be regularly faulty.

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