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.
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.
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?