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Top Books by State: Mississippi

Today in our Top Books by State series, we're taking a closer look at one of the vibrant states of the American south: Mississippi. From the Mississippi River Delta to the Gulf Coast, Mississippi is a state rich with history and natural beauty. The Delta is considered the birthplace of the blues. Numerous locations throughout the state have important sites relating to the Civil War. Mississippi is also home to a rich literary history as the home state of authors such as Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, and John Grisham. Join us today as we explore some of the best books to come from the state of Mississippi:

     
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Top Books by State: Michigan

By Adrienne Rivera. Dec 23, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature

Today we continue our journey through the literary United States by taking a look at some passages from books set in Michigan. Michigan is known for its lakes, frigid winters, industry, though the latter has decreased considerably over the past several decades, for which the state is also known. While Michigan is a beautiful state with much to offer, the following passages focus on the particular details, like the difficulties of winter in Michigan or the smell of a Midwest town after the rain:

     
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Top Books by State: Massachusetts

By Adrienne Rivera. Nov 24, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

As one of the thirteen original colonies, Massachusetts has a long history dating back to the very beginnings of America. Massachusetts history begins with Plymouth colony and was the setting for numerous events throughout the making of the nation. The state has been a major player history, academics, and industry throughout the entire existence of the country. While numerous important figures—both historical and literary—hail from Massachusetts, today we continue our bookish journey through the America by taking an in depth look at some of the best quotes from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, a book that was not only a massive hit at the time of publication, but one that has endured to become considered one of the great classics of American literature. Join us as we take a closer look at this pioneering work of fiction for girls as we continue our Top Books by State Series with Massachusetts:

     
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Alice Adams: Master of the Short Story

By Adrienne Rivera. Sep 24, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, American Literature

Short story writer and novelist Alice Adams was born in 1926 in Virginia. She studied at Radcliffe College during which she also attended writing classes at Harvard University. She worked clerical positions in medical offices for many years and throughout her marriage. Toward the end of her marriage, a therapist suggested she quit writing and continue with her marriage. Adams applied the exact opposite advise and to great success. Throughout her career, she published numerous novels and short stories, twenty-five of which were originally published the prestigious magazine, The New Yorker. Though Adams' novels were never particularly critically acclaimed, she absolutely shone the short story form. She is one of only four authors to be granted the O. Henry Special Award for Continued Achievement, along with such other masters of the form as Alice Munro, John Updike, and Joyce Carol Oates. Consider starting your own collection of works from this amazing writer, who passed away in 1999 at the age of seventy-two.

     
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Top Books by State: Louisiana

Today we continue our Top Books by State series with a close look at some of the best books from Louisiana. Louisiana is an eclectic mix of small town, big city, and bayou, making it a popular destination for American and international tourists alike. Perhaps best known for its annual Mardi Gras festival, New Orleans is a vibrant mix of culture, reflected in its music, food, and people. Its Cajun and Creole cultures have their roots in French, African, and French Canadian cultures respectively and there is also an influence from Haitian immigration. Let's take a look at some of the best books to come from Louisiana:

     
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Top Books By State: Kentucky

By Adrienne Rivera. Aug 11, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature

Next up on our state-by-state tour of America is Kentucky. This southern state is most internationally known for being the headquarters of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant chain, but within the United States, we know there's a lot more to it than that. Kentucky is right on the Mason Dixon line, marking the end of the north and the beginning of the south. Kentucky is bluegrass music and bourbon, the Kentucky Derby and college basketball, moonshine and coal mining, and so much more. It's both rural and metropolitan. Eastern Kentucky is home to part of the Appalachian Mountains while further north west is Louisville, one of the most important cities in the area. Kentucky is a beautiful place to live and a wonderful place to visit. Today, we continue our Top Books by State series by looking at some of the contradictions found within the Bluegrass State:

     
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Philip Roth, Philip K. Dick, and the Man in the High Castle

By Audrey Golden. Apr 19, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

What would our world look like if the Axis powers had won World War II? How would our daily lives have been transformed if the United States had been sympathetic to Nazi Germany? Posing “what if” questions about World War II and its aftermath has been popular among some of America’s most widely read authors. Notably, both Philip K. Dick and Philip Roth have imagined alternate histories in which Nazi Germany won the war. While the series The Man in the High Castle takes its title and storyline directly from Dick’s novel of the same name, we’d like to explore the literary precursors to the show and to consider the ways in which writers wield great power in the writing (and rewriting) of our histories.

     
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Caging the Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Tennessee Williams

By Lauren Corba. Mar 26, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Drama

Thomas Lanier (Tennessee) Williams was a man before his time, drawing attention to social issues rather than politics; focusing on mental health, sexual orientation, domestic violence, and family issues. He is one of the greatest American playwrights and largely undervalued.

     
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James Patterson: Author or Brand Manager?

By Shelley Kelber. Mar 22, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, American Literature

Is he beloved by his critics and peers? Not so much. But James Patterson's popularity among readers remains incontrovertible. He is an industry. It's not so much all that he has written. "Written" isn't a precise enough verb. Maybe conceived, outlined, or curated would be more descriptive of his process.

     
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Exploring Philip Roth's Memorable Protagonists

By Leah Dobrinska. Mar 19, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

The best stories have memorable protagonists. Over the course of his illustrious career, Philip Roth has fashioned numerous standouts. Roth said in a 2014 interview republished in the New York Times that his “focus has never been on masculine power rampant and triumphant but rather on the antithesis: masculine power impaired…[His] intention is to present [his] fictional men not as they should be but vexed as men are.”  A look at some of the great Rothian main characters reveals that perhaps it’s the characters’ realistic struggles and less-than-picture-perfect lifestyles that make them as memorable as they have become.

     
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