Welcome to the second month of the Reading New England Challenge! This month I’m focusing on fiction, a very broad category indeed. Out of the abundance of classic, contemporary, historical, and literary fiction produced about the region, readers should be able to find something to suit their tastes, whatever those may be.
From the New England Book List I’ve selected one title that interests me from each state. I doubt that I’ll get to all of these this month, but it gives me a good set of options.
New Hampshire: A Prayer for Owen Meany
I just finished this 600-page saga of two boys growing up in a New Hampshire town (based on Exeter), and coming of age in the Vietnam era. It was my first John Irving novel and at first I found his digressive style a bit difficult to get into, but it grew on me. And now I finally know what that armadillo on the cover is all about.
Maine: Olive Kitteridge
I’ve heard great things about Elizabeth Strout’s writing, so this will be a high priority for me. And I just received a copy thanks to a giveaway at The Book Stop! Perfect timing.
Vermont: The Inn at Lake Devine
A romantic comedy by Elinor Lipman — with a serious strain about anti-Semitism — could be just the thing to liven up dull winter days.
Massachusetts: The Wolves of Andover
I received this in a book swap last year and this would be a great time to finally read it. This historical novel by Kathleen Kent draws on the ever-popular theme of the Salem witch trials.
Rhode Island: The Witches of Eastwick
Keeping with the witchy theme, this black comedy/fantasy set in a seaside town sounds like a lot of fun. I really ought to read something by John Updike at some point, too.
Connecticut: Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House
I have this on my list for the Back to the Classics Challenge, so this would be a good time to knock it off.
A few other New England novels I’d really like to read:
- The Country of the Pointed Firs (Maine)
- Midwives (Vermont)
- The Rise of Silas Lapham (Massachusetts)
- I Know This Much Is True (Connecticut)
What’s on your list? Any other recommendations?