Journey Completed: Reading the USA, State # 50: North Dakota and More


My Interest

I needed a book set in North Dakota to finish my 50-state journey of reading across the United States.


The Story

“From award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Louise Erdrich comes this vibrant tale of abandonment and sexual obsession, jealousy, and unstinting love.”

Karl and Mary Adare are dumped by a useless mother and make their way separately in life–meeting up at various moments. Mary stays on in Argos, North Dakota where the pair have been sent with their baby brother to stay with an Aunt. This book covers about the next forty or so years of their life of ordinariness interrupted with things like a chef suffering food poisoning.

My Thoughts

The reviewers must have read a different book. By the middle, I’d rather have harvested beets in the field by hand. The “comedy” in the book was barely worthy of a smirk. This book was simply DULL. I think life in North Dakota is less dull than this. At least in Minot, there’s an Air Force base.

My Verdict

3 Stars at best

Yes, I’m also Reading Around the World. Check the tag cloud in the right sidebar for links to those posts. Need ideas? Check out A Year of Reading the World.

My Journey Across the United States in Books


For many states, it was hard to choose just one for this post. For others such as North Dakota, Rhode Island, Delaware, Nevada, and Wyoming, I had to do some research to find something. Most are novels, but occasionally I’ve used a nonfiction book. When there were multiple titles to choose from, I’ve simply chosen my favorite. I have read these over my lifetime–not just since blogging came into being.  I’ve included D.C. and Puerto Rico in my list as well. Are you on this journey? Leave me a comment or a link. I’d love to see your choices!

Note: Hyperlinked titles are linked to my reviews

Titles in bold are all-time favorite books

Alabama   To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Alaska  The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Arizona     Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan
Arkansas    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelo
California    Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton
Colorado   Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
Connecticut    Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine
Delaware   The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Hernandez
Florida    Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Georgia   Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Hawaii   The Three-Year Swim Club by Julie Checkoway  [nonfiction]
Idaho   Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
Illinois     The Last Catholic in America by John R. Powers
Indiana   She Got Up Off the Couch by Haven Kimmel [I liked it better than Zippy]
Iowa  Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Walker
Kansas  The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas
Kentucky   The Believers: A Novel of Shaker Life by Janice Holt Giles
Louisiana  Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Maine  Skylark by Patricia MacLachlan
Maryland     The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
Massachusetts  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Michigan      Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good by Kathleen Finn [memoir]
Minnesota  Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Straddle
Mississippi  The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Missouri     A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert
Montana    The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans
Nebraska   My Antonia by Willa Cather
Nevada     Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman
New Hampshire    The World According to Garp by John Irving
New Jersey  One for the Money et al by Janet Evanovich [Stephanie Plum series]
New Mexico       Fire Season by Philip Connors   [nonfiction]
New York   The Joyous Season by Patrick Dennis
North Carolina     Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens [Sorry Jan Karon’s Mitford]
North Dakota    The Beet Queen by Louise Erdrich
Ohio “…and the Ladies of the Club” by Helen Hooven Santmyer
Oklahoma   Dust Bowl Girls by Lydia Reeder [nonfiction]
Oregon     If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
Pennsylvania    Julie by Catherine Marshall
PUERTO RICO   We Fed an Island by Jose Andres [nonficiton]
Rhode Island   Memory of Running by Ron McLarty
South Carolina   The Great Santini by Pat Conroy
South Dakota       Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Tennessee     Christy by Catherine Marshall
Texas      Giant by Edna Ferber
Utah         19th Wife by David Ebershoff
Vermont     The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
Virginia  First Daughter by Stephanie Dray
Washington  Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown [nonfiction]
WASHINGTON DC  Murder in the White House by Margaret Truman Daniel
West Virginia     Rocket Boys [aka October Sky] by Homer Hickam
Wisconsin      Shotgun Love Songs by Nicklas Butler
Wyoming     Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinor Pruitt Stewart


Memorializing the trip with cover photos would be fun!

Here’s the perfect map to use…


50 States Photo Map

Save copies of book covers from Amazon or elsewhere, print them out in color, and add them to the frame.  I might just do this!!


If you are interested in seeing all 50 states in person, this article is for you!

50 Things I Learned From Visiting All 50 States


As you are working your way around the country in person? Then you might want to chart your progress with some of these trackers:


Scratch-off Map




50 States Travel Journal


50 States Travel Journal


This Land is Your Land