Reading New England: New Hampshire


With apologies for the late start, welcome to the launch of Reading New England, a 2016 Challenge hosted by the Emerald City Book Review. If you haven’t yet signed up, it’s not too late! Click here for access to the sign-up, post linkys, and a reading list.

This month I’m focusing on the state of New Hampshire, which seemed a natural place to start since it’s where I currently live. (Note: if you’re participating in the challenge, don’t feel constrained to follow my lead! You can read any book at any time.) With majestic mountains, picturesque villages, hardworking farms, and even a sliver of seacoast, New Hampshire has much to offer in terms of landscape and history. Given its proximity to Boston it’s long been a favored retreat for city dwellers, but its rugged landscape has helped it to retain its rural character.

View from Mount Cheshire

It’s a small state with a big cultural impact, as it’s produced or inspired great writers including John Irving (an Exeter native), Robert Frost (who lived for a decade in Derry and produced his first two books of poetry there), and Thornton Wilder (who wrote Our Town while in residence at the MacDowell colony in Peterborough). Newbery Award-winning children’s books set in the state include A Gathering of Days by Joan W. Blos and Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates, and the boarding-school novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles has become a classic of adolescence. For more New Hampshire books, see the New England Book List.

Dublin, NH, home of Yankee Publishing
Dublin, NH, home of Yankee Publishing

My personal goals include finally reading something by John Irving, probably A Prayer for Owen Meany; revisiting A Separate Peace (which I did not enjoy when forced to read it in junior high); and checking out Amos Fortune, since it’s about a real-life former resident of a town near me. I’m also pleased to share a visit I made to the headquarters of Yankee Publishing, a bastion of the region for 80 years and counting — watch for that next week.

Are you interested in any of these New Hampshire books, or do you have suggestions of others to add to our list? What books (from any category) are you planning to read this month?

14 thoughts on “Reading New England: New Hampshire

  1. I am so excited by this challenge! I know I am going to learn a lot this year. For this month I chose A Separate Peace. I cannot believe I made it out of high school without reading it.


  2. I love New Hampshire; we like to visit in the fall. πŸ™‚ Naomi and I are planning to read Olive Kitteridge soon-ish. That one’s been on my list for a while. I really like the earlier John Irving novels, so I hope you continue to enjoy A Prayer for Owen Meany. (Thinking about it now, it must be about 15 years since I read that one. It doesn’t seem that long….)


  3. I’m thinking of reading Anita Shreve’s Light On Snow. I found a copy at the library today and checked it out because it’s set in New Hampshire. πŸ™‚ Hoping to read it next week, or the week after.


  4. I am going to re-read A Separate Peace as well (for the Back to the Classic Challenge). I also had to read it in school.

    I used to read John Irving voraciously. A Prayer for Owen Meany and The Cider House Rules are my favorites.


    1. I’m planning to count A Separate Peace for Back to the Classics too. I’m always trying to make my challenges cross-pollinate each other.


  5. I am planning to read Olive Kitteridge. It’s been on my to-read list for a while but I did not know it was set in NH until I saw it on the list of NH books. I lived in NH for about a year and a half when I was in elementary school, in the town of Epping, but I mostly associate it with my Nashua relatives, who lived in the state for a long time.


    1. Oops! I just went to make sure and Olive Kitteridge is set in Maine, not New Hampshire. I’m really not sure how I got the idea it was NH. I’ve fixed it on the list now… and I’m still excited to read it, as I’ve heard many good things.


      1. Thanks for catching that! I still want to read Olive Kitteridge at some point, but I can easily switch to Peyton Place instead for my NH read since that is also on my to-read list.


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