Sunday 14 February 2010

Sunday Salon - A Literary Journey

Good morning everyone,
I wonder if any of you can help me today.
I have made a big decision about where part of my reading journey needs to go. For many years, my husband and I have shared a very special dream. Since we were first married, we have always wanted to travel across America, visiting each of the states. Now I am not going to declare that I know how many states there are in America, because every time I look it up the number seems to be different. I am presuming 50 states, but I have read somewhere that some are no longer states and then there is also the federal district to be considered, so now I am completely confused.
Anyway, as I was saying, we have always dreamed of hiring a Winnebago and travelling through each state. Now the only time, I can see that happening is either when we win the national lottery, or when we retire, so I am looking at a fair few years yet. Unfortunately, I have itchy feet now and wish to start my journey early, the only way I know how.
So I have decided to go on a literary journey, travelling through America, stopping in each state to read all about it, find out its history and culture, read about the people who live there and read some fiction set there too. I won't be starting this journey until March, when I hope to have my selection of books ready.
I am starting alphabetically, which is something I know I wouldn't do on my real travels, but for reading purposes this makes it easier. I haven't given myself a time limit on this journey, so it could take me a couple of months to visit each state. I will still be reading other books with these one added in here and there. Once I have finished with a state I will do a wrap up post and then ask for help with the next state.
My first port of call with be Alabama. I have managed to find a few books that I know my library has on the state that I intend to read, which I will post below. What I would like to know from you guys, is, if there are any absolutely fantastic books either set in or about Alabama that I must read. Even an element of Alabama's history that is a must, to be read.
Here is my tentative list.
1) Fried Green Tomatoes at The Whistlestop Café by Fannie Flagg
2) The Gods in Alabama by Jocelyn Jackson
3) A Christmas Memory, by Truman Capote
4) To Kill a Mockingbird (Paperback)Harper Lee
5)Crazy in Alabama by Mark Childress
Non Fiction
1) Rosa Parks: My Story by Rosa Parks
2) Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F.Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald by F.Scott Fitzgerald , Zelda Fitzgerald
3) Helen Keller ~ Margaret Davidson
Unfortunately my library does not stock any books based on the state of Alabama, but if anyone can recommend any I will search them out via Bookmooch or Amazon.
Thank you all in advance, if you can help me.


  1. This is a fantastic idea! I can't wait to see all of the posts that come from this. I'll have to think hard about some good Oregon books (although it seems I will have plenty of time to ponder which books about Oregon are best). :)

  2. Before I had even read your post to the end, I was going to recommend Fried Green Tomatoes as your Alabama read. Its such a wonderful book, and while the movie is also wonderful, there are some stuff in the book which is omitted in the movie. Stuff so dangerous I wasn't even allowed to write it in the Amazon review I did of the book a couple of years ago :-) Highly, highly recommend it.

  3. This sounds like a wonderful personal challenge, Viv! Yes, there are 50 states in the US and they all consider themselves states no matter what they say. They each have their own government, for better or for worse. There is also the country's capital, DC, which straddles the border between Virginia and Maryland. It's not technically a state - it's just a city - but I'm sure it has its own culture and stuff too. I don't live in that area so I couldn't say for sure, though.

    When you get down to the T section, I'll have to see if I can come up with any Texas books for you. I'm afraid I don't really like Texas so I tend not to read books about it...

  4. This idea seems like a great plan, before you are ready for the real trip across the 50 states.

    Th Gods of Alabama was a fun book, and To Kill a Mockingbird was fantastic as well.

    As you get to different states, I will be sure to suggest books that I enjoyed. Have fun Viv.

  5. Viv this is so cool and I wish you the best of luck. To piggy back Amanda, we do have 50 states each with their own government. The whole DC used to confuse me so much as a kid. I mean, how could that country's capitol be in two different states, be known as it's own entity, but not be considered a state?! I think that us Americans tend to overcomplicate things sometimes. :P

    I think that you'll have so much fun with this journey. Perhaps someone could make you a button (I would offer but my web skills are awful!) for your posts. The neat thing about the states is they really do have a different culture and tone. For example, even though I live in Florida, if I drive north for a few hours and end up in Georgia or TN the people there really are nicer!! LOL.

    Have fun Viv!

  6. What a great idea Vivienne :D
    Enjoy your literary journey across America. As for Alabama..oh no idea at all

  7. What a great idea! I'm getting excited for you! Fried Green Tomatoes is an awesome book! Happy reading!

  8. Congrats on a great project! Looking foward to the rest of your journey!

  9. I've lived in Alabama twice and my first thought was To Kill a Mockingbird. I think you've made a great list.

  10. It seems like it would be very hard t improve upon your list. I haven't read To Kill A Mockingbird, but I am going to read it this year. Of course I hear that it is fabulous!

  11. Fabulous idea! This is how I've seen Europe, so literature. And also through the eyes of my European traveling son, who calls himself an expatriate, after living for more than a decade in various countries (now in Germany - Berlin).

    Oh, and when you get to California, don't forget "Laurel-Rain Snow" (LOL), whose books are all set there!

    My Salon:

  12. Without a doubt To Kill a Mockingbird, although I tend to think of it as a Mississippi book because the author is from Mississippi.

  13. To Kill a Mockingbird is hands down one of the best books I've ever read. I plan to reread it, too. Definitely look into that one if you haven't already read it.

    I believe The Help is also set in Alabama.

  14. I don't know what books to recommend, but I absolutely love this idea! I can't wait to read how you do with it. Enjoy!

  15. Alyce - I shall put you down as my contact for Oregon.

    Louise - I read Fried Green Tomatoes, years ago and loved it, but I can't remember the bad stuff. I can't wait to read it again soon.

    Amanda - thankyou for clarifying the states. It is all so confusing.

    Diane - The Gods of Alabama will probably be my first one, as it is the only one I own.

    Christina - that is one of the main reasons I am doing it. The diversity of culture from state to state astounds me. I would love a button too, but I don't know how to make one.

    Blodeuedd - thankyou

    Vasilly - I think I have chosen well with Fried Green Tomatoes.

    Book Dilettante - thankyou

    Bermudaonion - thankyou.

    Nicole - I am wondering about a read along for To Kill a Mockingbird. So many seem to want to read it this year.

    Laurel - I shall definitely keep your books in mind for California. I will attempt Europe once I finish with America.

    Caitlin - I checked and it is set in Alabama.

    Aarti - I looked up The Help, but that one is Jackson, Mississipi. So I will keep that one in mind for that one.

  16. Thats a great idea! Yes, there are 50 states.
    Happy reading, I didnt know Fried Green Tomatoes was a book. I loved the film.

  17. What a GREAT idea!! I have simlar dreams of traveling across Western Europe with my husband. Perhaps I should also begin a literary journey as well.

  18. You should so start this up as your own challenge - you participate in enough of other peoples - have some company for your journey! :)

    It's an amazing idea. I'm looking forward to reading your posts on these.

  19. What a brilliant idea!

    As for Alabama-related books, I do not know of any books not already listed or suggested in the comments for you to read.

    I look forward to your "stately" posts!

  20. I love this idea! I don't know of many Alabama books that haven't already been mentioned but I would recommend you check out the Literary Road Trip hosted by Galleysmith ( - bloggers take different states and highlight books an authors from that state. It might be a good resource for your trip!

  21. Definitely Fannie Flagg and Mockingbird.

    Enjoy your trip! Take lots of photos.

  22. Such a great idea! I would recommend Fried green Tomatoes - a fun story or if you are looking for something a bit more "more" I would recommend To Kill A Mockingbird.

  23. Yvonne - thankyou

    Naida - I think you need to read Fried Green Tomatoes too.LOL.

    Molly - go for it. We could swap book lists at the end and travel everywhere.

    Carmen - I wouldn't know where to start. I haven't a clue how to set up a challenge and add Mr Linky.

    Suko - thank you.

    Booksnyc - I checked out the link you gave me and it was fabulous, so I have linked up to it.

    Readerbuzz - thank you for stopping by my blog.

    Sheila - I can't wait to get started.

  24. What a fun idea! Sorry, I have no ideas for you for Alabama but I think you have some great picks already!

  25. Well, I can't come up with any other books set in Alabama but you've got some good ones on your list! What a neat reading project. I love it.

  26. Good luck with your project! I'd also love to go on a journey across the US, but it's not likely to happen for me either. Thank goodness we have books! Capote's A Christmas Memory is just wonderful. If you like it, I also recommend his novel The Grass Harp - it's my favourite of his, and it has a similar feel to the story.

  27. This is a great idea, Viv! To Kill A Mockingbird is a great book. I loved it. Coincidentally I'm looking for something on Alabama and found a book in my TBR but I couldn't remember its title. I was supposed to read it last month but didn't happen. It contains 4 novellas in one book.

    The next state I'm interested in reading anything about it is Georgia.


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