There are times when a full-sized book list is just too much; when the Top 100, a Big Read, or all the Prize winners seem like too daunting an effort. That's when a short little list of books grouped by theme may be just the ticket.
Inspired by Nancy Pearl's "Companion Reads" chapter in Book Lust – themed clusters of books on subjects as diverse as Bigfoot and Vietnam – I decided to start occasionally posting lists of five books grouped by topic or theme. I call these posts my Five Faves.
Feel free to grab the button and play along. Use today's theme or come up with your own. If you post about it, please link back to here and leave the link to your post in a comment. If you want to participate but don't have a blog or don't feel like posting, please share your list in a comment.
FIVE FAVE MIDWEST BOOKS
My roots are in Nebraska and as the holidays roll around -- Thanksgiving especially -- nostalgia waxes for the flatlands of my childhood.
Any suggestion? What stories of the heartland tug on your heartstrings?
Here are five of my favorite books set in a celebrating the American Midwest. You can tell from my list that my idea of "the Midwest" doesn't extend further east than about Davenport, Iowa.
- O Pioneers! by Willa Cather. This very readable classic about prairie settlers is on the Radcliffe list of Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century -- the rival to the Modern Library's list.
- The Road Home by Jim Harrison. Harrison's inter-generational family story picks up where his earlier novel, Dalva, left off. It has a permanent place on my personal Top 10 list and is probably my favorite American novel.
- The Echo Maker by Richard Powers. Brain science and sand-hill cranes, no wonder it won the National Book Award.
- Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (reviewed here). Robinson won the Pulitzer Prize for this uplifting and entertaining epistolary novel.
- A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley. It may be a little overwrought, but this Midwest Gothic deserves its Pulitzer Prize. It also won the National Book Critics Circle Award and made it onto Erica Jong's list of Top 100 20th Century Novels by Women.