Read a book by a local author this year (plus 12 books by Kentucky authors)

You’ve probably heard the expression “all politics is local.” As I’ve grown as a reader, I’ve been surprised and delighted to discover just how much literature is local as well.

Books are written by people, people whose lives and experiences are anchored in a certain time and place, even if their books are not.

One of the prompts for the 2020 Reading Challenge is “read a book by a local author.” This is your opportunity to pick up a book written by an author who is local to you.

As I’ve explored my own local authors over the years, I’ve been surprised to discover how many authors I’ve read and loved for years have Kentucky roots, as I do, or even live right in my city. (Several years ago we bought a new refrigerator. Imagine my surprise when my appliance salesperson said, “You’re a writer, too? You must know [big-name-author-on-the-book-list-below]. I sold her a GE refrigerator, too!” I’d had no idea this celebrated author lived a few miles from me, in my own community.)

Sometimes my interest in local authors is topic-driven: they’re the ones writing about the highly specific topics and issues my community cares about. Around here, that might mean the Olmsted Parks system, or coal mining, or the Kentucky Derby.

Over the last few years, I’ve grown in appreciation for our local literary scene, too—marking my calendar for local author events, paying attention to independent presses in my area, and taking note of new releases by Kentucky writers.

How do we define “local author” for the Reading Challenge? Please choose a book that makes sense for you and where you are in the world: you could choose a book written by an author in your neighborhood (much easier to do if you’re in NYC or San Francisco), in your city, your state, or even your region. If you need a hand, seek guidance from your local independent bookstore or your local library. They might even have an upcoming (online) author event to attend.

To get your mental wheels turning, today I’m sharing 12 books by my own local Kentucky authors. I keep their books on my favorites shelf and in my To Be Read cart. Some of them I know personally; some feel like old friends because I love their work.

Please tell us what you’re reading for this category in the comments section below. Where are you in the world, and what local work are you thinking about reading? We’d love to hear.

12 books by local (to me) authors

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Hannah Coulter

Hannah Coulter

I've talked about Hannah Coulter several times: the books I can't stop recommending, a book I've read more than once, what to read when you feel like the world is falling apart. I adore Berry, who writes gorgeous, thoughtful, piercing novels, and this is one of his finest. Hannah's second husband Nathan Coulter (her first died in the war) was reticent to talk about his experience in the Battle of Okinawa. "Ignorant boys, killing each other," is all he would say. In this atmospheric novel, an older Hannah looks back on her life and reflects on what she has lost, and those she has loved. Her recollections paint a vivid portrait of a complicated, loving family. Contemplative, wistful, and moving. More info →
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Flight Behavior

Flight Behavior

Kingsolver grew up in Kentucky, and sets this novel in southern Appalachia. When a young woman sees something inexplicable in nature, her experience creates tension between religious leaders, scientists, politicians, and climate change experts with different views on what exactly she witnessed. Suspenseful and page-turning, I thought this finely crafted novel had many wonderful moments and a truly horrible ending. (That's not a reason to skip: bad endings make for great book club reading.) And check out the audiobook, narrated by Kingsolver herself. It's unusual for novelists to read their own work, but Kingsolver's lyrical voice perfectly suits her prose. More info →
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A is for Alibi

A is for Alibi

I knew of Sue Grafton's mystery novel fame, but I didn't connect her to Louisville until seeing her gardens in Garden & Gun Magazine. Grafton is best known for her Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Mysteries. In the first novel, Kinsey sets up a new detective agency in Santa Teresa, California. She's a classic noir detective—twice-divorced, a loner, fond of the underdog—and she finds herself drawn in by a woman out on parole for her own husband's murder. As the twists keep coming, Kinsey finds herself in more and more danger. More info →
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I've been following Silas House's career ever since a friend raved about his YA debut Eli the Good. I would have loved to have heard him speak a few years ago in Louisville, but alas—I was out of town, and took this book along. The story centers on Asher Sharp, a Pentecostal preacher in rural Tennessee. When a flood devastates his community, he offers shelter to two gay men—and his congregation's reaction prompts a crisis of faith, and a public meltdown, the video of which goes viral. In the aftermath he flees to Key West (hence the title) to deal with unfinished business from his past. Warm and reflective, with House's familiar beautiful prose. More info →
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Don’t Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life

Don’t Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life

I must admit, it's thrilling to find yourself on the shelf of local authors at your neighborhood bookstore! Stay at home orders interrupted my book tour, but signing copies at my local bookstore provided a much needed sense of celebration. If you've been struggling with decision fatigue, overwhelm, and overthinking, this friendly guide to overcoming negative thought patterns is for you. In Don't Overthink It, you'll find actionable strategies that can make an immediate and lasting difference in how you deal with questions both large and small. Don't Overthink It offers you a framework for making choices you'll be comfortable with, freeing you to focus on what really matters in life. More info →
So We Can Glow: Stories

So We Can Glow: Stories

I enjoyed Leesa's novel set in Louisville, Whiskey and Ribbons, and eagerly picked up her newest short story collection just in time to talk with her on Stay at Home Book Tour. (Watch Leesa's session right here.) I thoroughly enjoyed this sophisticated short story collection, which takes the reader on quite a ride, emotionally speaking. My personal favorites are The Great Barrier Reef Is Dying And So Are We and Girlheart Cake with Glitter Frosting (I could have read ten more pages of that one!). Don't miss Leesa's acknowledgements. More info →
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The Seven Storey Mountain

The Seven Storey Mountain

Merton's autobiography has been translated into more than 20 different languages; it's considered one of the most influential religious works of our time. At age 26, Merton took vows to become a Trappist monk—one of the strictest, most demanding Catholic orders involving silence and constant prayer. This book follows his journey of withdrawal and immersion, written from the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. His commitment to a higher calling and strong writing voice stand out in his autobiography. More info →
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The Birds of Opulence

The Birds of Opulence

"An African American feminist writer from Kentucky," Crystal Wilkinson was the 2019 Appalachian writer in residence at Shepherd University and has won several awards for her lyrical writing. The Louisville Review says of her writing: "on the surface, one can hear echoes of predecessors such as Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison." The Birds of Opulence features her lush prose and an intergenerational story about mental illness, survival, and relationships. Described as tragic and hopeful, this sweeping story is exactly the kind of complicated family novel I adore. More info →
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Three Ways to Disappear

Three Ways to Disappear

I got to talk with local author Katy Yocom on What Should I Read Next Episode 231: Lush literary novels with page-turning appeal. Her book takes place in India and Kentucky, while one nomadic sister travels to India to help save the endangered Bengal tigers and the other stays home in Kentucky offering support from afar. A complicated family story weaves in and out of a travel narrative with stunning descriptions and increasing tension. In her WSIRN episode, Katy mentioned being constantly on the hunt for absorbing novels with plots that not only incorporate the natural world, but ones in which the story absolutely depends upon it. Her fondness for nature writing shines in her own book as well. More info →
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The Bourbon Kings

The Bourbon Kings

Ward is best known for her vampire romance series The Black Dagger Brotherhood, but I thought it more Kentucky-appropriate to highlight her latest series about a wealthy southern family with a bourbon empire. This upstairs-downstairs novel sounds a bit like the Audrey Hepburn movie Sabrina. Head gardener Lizzie King falls in love with Tulane, troublemaker son of the Bradford bourbon dynasty. Two years after their break-up, he returns to his family home and the two meet again. As you can imagine, drama (and romance) soon follows. I haven't read this one, but I'm pretty sure Ward writes open door romance. More info →
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The Thing About Leftovers

The Thing About Leftovers

My 12 year old LOVES this book. Fizzy is committed to being a "good southern girl" and winning the Southern Living cook-off. That first part proves difficult, as Fizzy stifles her feelings and deals with her parents' divorce. She just wants to yell, to share her feelings, to say what she means. But a good southern girl says "yes ma'am" and keeps it inside. The cook-off, plus a couple of new friends, make the perfect distraction, and might just teach Fizzy about speaking up and expressing herself. More info →
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Fun fact: Garth Greenwell and I used to walk to school together. His books explore desire, power, and sexual identity. This one reads like a collection of interrelated short stories. In Sofia, Bulgaria, an American teacher reflects on his life and relationships. Each story from his past touches on themes of connection to people, places, and ourselves. Critically acclaimed for his lyrical writing, Greenwell's work will appeal to fans of Brandon Taylor, Jenny Offill, or Ottessa Moshfegh. Heads up for frank and detailed writing about sex. More info →
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Do you have a favorite local author? How did you find out about them? Please tell us in the comments.

P.S. Try these 7 free and easy ways to support your favorite authors. And add these to your TBR: 9 much-anticipated new works by authors working outside their typical genres.

Read a book by a local author this year (plus 12 books by Kentucky authors)


Leave A Comment
  1. I read The Seven Storey Mountain last year and loved it!

    Right now I’m reading the local author I missed reading in college (though I was in class with his goddaughter), Rudolfo Anaya. He passed away earlier this year, and my book club has decided to read his Bless Me, Ultima. Such a beautiful glimpse of New Mexico!

    • Shauna says:

      I loved Bless Me, Ultima! I read it and Death Comes For The Archbishop in preparation for a trip to Santa Fe last spring (that, alas, we had to cancel because of Covid).

    • Amanda G says:

      You are my ‘neighborhood author’ Caroline! Hope you are well.

      If anyone out there hasn’t read Caroline’s middle grade fiction, I highly recommend all titles, but May B is my favorite.

    • Alicia says:

      Bless Me Ultima was much better, but Alburquerque wasn’t so bad either. It gave me a different look of my lovely home. I am so glad NM were the first commenters b/c thats what I came on here for.

  2. Stephanie Ahlborn says:

    Until just recently, I didn’t realize that Marilynne Robinson is from Idaho. I have already read Housekeeping but plan on reading Gilead here soon. I read Educated by Tara Westover last year and was blown away that the events in her story happened so close to where I live. For some reason, it feels like reading a “local” author gives the story a new dimension for me.

    • Tara Nichols says:

      I’m in Arizona and I read Light Changes Everything by Nancy E Turner. She currently lives here and the book is set in southern Arizona. I enjoyed it.

  3. Holly says:

    I plan on reading ‘Looking for Alaska’ by John Green for this category. We both live in Indianapolis. Two of his books (‘The Fault in Our Stars’ and ‘Turtles all the Way Down’) relied heavily on the city and its landmarks for the setting. Really looking forward to this read!

  4. Lauren Oertel says:

    I live in Austin, so my favorite local authors are Natalia Sylvester and Ire’ne Lara Silva. I met them at events at our local indie bookstore Malvern. We also have Elizabeth McCracken, Sarah Bird, and Oscar Casares. Oh and Matthew McConaughey has a book coming out soon. 😉

    • Hildred Sullivan says:

      My book club read Bowlaway just before the Pandemic (guess that will be a time marker now) and found it a little incomprehensible. Sadly it was my recommendation!

  5. Teri Hyrkas says:

    “The Lager Queen of Minnesota” by J. Ryan Stradal. Stradal was born in Waconia, MN. This was a fun summer read even though I am not a beer drinker. Plenty of local touches in the scenery and settings and wry observations of stoic Midwest behavior, Stradal’s book praises and pans both major producers and craft beer makers, and the culture that surrounds them. Funny and touching, it is ultimately a book about the steadfast love of family.

  6. LSO says:

    It’s especially fun when the local-to-you author sets books in your town or area. I live in Ames, Iowa, a college town, recently in the news for our Covid-19 numbers. But before that, we’re the setting for the G&B Detective Agency series of novels by R. L. Link, a retired police lieutenant who spent his entire career here. It’s fun to drive the same streets as the characters and visit their favorite (slightly disguised) coffee shop.

  7. Wesley Satterwhite says:

    I love Silas House, especially Eli the Good. He captured so very well what it was like to be 10 years old in a small town in the mid-70’s. I’ve love him since I read that one.
    Local for me is Ron Rash, who lives not 10 miles from me and (used to) frequent the same coffeeshops as I. Luckily he has a new book of short stories out and he is a master at short stories.

    • Sonya Leonard says:

      Hi! Fellow Western North Carolina resident! I adore Ron Rash and am also loving Wiley Cash & David Joy. I also just purchased Elizabeth Clapsaddle’s new book, Even as We Breathe. Happy Reading!

  8. Natasha says:

    I live in Michigan and plan on reading The Color of Rain by Gina and Michael Spehn. They live in Rochester, Michigan which is where I live!

      • Deb says:

        I am also in Michigan. I read Mitch Albom’s “Finding China”. It was a true story of a little girl they brought home from (Africa, I think). I thought it was very good.

    • Pam says:

      Michigander also. LA Chandlar is based in NY, BUT she is from Rochester, Michigan and has written 3 books (so far) called the Art Deco series featuring a fiesty protagonist Lane Sanders who also hales from Rochester. Lane lives in NYC working for Mayor Fierello Laguardia. The second book in the series also takes place largely in Michigan. HIGHLY recommend!!

  9. Sylvia Heacock says:

    You can’t get much more local than reading an author who happens to be your sister. The Twisted Cross, book number one of a young adult trilogy on the founding and statehood of Alta California and the establishing of the missions is a story of two friends and their mishaps as they are forced from Spain to Mexico and then on to Alta California. As a YA novel, it has lots of action and moves quickly. For me, this venture into historical fiction represents my sister’s perseverance of an idea sparked by the San Gabriel Mission while recovering from a serious illness. I am looking forward to book number two.

  10. Mary Ann Frontz says:

    Hi Anne,
    I have read all books except one that apply to the ten challenges for this year. For my local book I read “Amish Guys Don’t Call” by Debbie Dodds. It’s cute, light, and takes place right here in Lancaster County, PA, where the author grew up.
    Could you send a list of suggested books for the current nominees for book awards? That’s the only category I haven’t completed.
    Thanks for everything. I enjoy WSIRN, Patrion, and the Book Club immensely!

  11. Suzy Bennett says:

    Easy for me in Nashville with Ann Patchett and Jon Meecham for starters. Sena Jeter Naslund is a Louisville author who wrote Ahab’s Wife or the Star Gazer, one of my favorites, and Four Spirits, about the Birmingham church bombing in the sixties.

    • Mimi says:

      Three other Nashville area authors I’ve read this year: Ariel Lawhon, Ruta Sepetys and Margaret Renkl. This was an easy challenge category.

  12. Sydney says:

    I just finished The Full Scoop by Missouri author Jill Orr. It’s the final in a four book series following small town journalist and ameture sleuth Riley Ellison. This series, which begins with The Good Byline is not to be missed!

  13. Fran Schulman says:

    Fiona Davis spent part of her youth in New Jersey. So I read The Masterpiece. I also life near NYC, so the setting in NYC also was local.

  14. Marcia Poore says:

    I live in Madison, Wisconsin, and the author Jennifer Chiaverini lives here with her family. I have read three of her books: Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, Fates and Traitors, and Resistance Women. For the 2020 Reading Challenge, I am reading her newest book, Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters. I like reading historical fiction, and I also have a keen interest in our US presidents. I’m especially interested to read this book because three years ago I visited Mary Lincoln’s childhood home in Lexington, Kentucky and learned about her family. Her oldest sister played a pivotal role in Mary’s life when Mary made the decision to move to Springfield, Illinois where she met Abraham Lincoln.

  15. Vicki Noel says:

    Great list, thanks Anne! I will add Alix E. Harrow to your Kentucky author list as well. I know you included her in your Fall Book List too. I loved her Ten Thousand Doors of January and I’m looking forward to her upcoming The Once and Future Witches.

  16. Julie says:

    I am lucky to live in Oak Park, IL- home of Ernest Hemingway, Carol Shields, Jane Hamilton, and Elizabeth Berg, to name a few. I think I am going to reread The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields. There was a wonderful write-up on her in The NY Times book review last week.

    • Lauren says:

      I LOVED my time in Oak Park (now in Naperville)! I binged Hemingway a few years back and it was such a great experience….I highly recommend it. Elizabeth Berg is on my shelf, I might go for her next. Thanks for the list of IL authors to try!

  17. Deanna says:

    I’m currently reading a Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Dutch House on audio and I’d Rather be Reading on Kindle. Just finished Daisy Jones and the Six. Waiting on book mail to arrive which include a book from a local author. I’m from Houston and author is from Austin. The book is called Bang by Daniel Pena.

  18. Robin Cabana says:

    I’ve used this category to catch up on Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, one of my favorite New Jersey series by another Jersey girl.

  19. Cynthia Tessien says:

    I’m from Winston Salem NC, and decided to read Maya Angelou’s important memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Reading her book gave me so much insight to her, her coming-of-age story, and a world different from my own. My eyes and ears and heart are now more open, and isn’t that something we treasure about reading!

  20. Jessica L. says:

    I live in Spring, TX (a Houston suburb) and read these two books by Houston authors for the challenge: The Weight of a Piano by Chris Cander and Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown. I enjoyed them both.

  21. Amy L Simpson says:

    I just completed this category of the reading challenge by reading Lily King’s new novel Writers and Lovers. It was so good, and I’m proud to know that Lily is a Mainer too!

  22. Cathy says:

    I am from St.Louis and read “I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou. She was born in St. Louis and spent a short time here in her girlhood. I wouldn’t say that the book really has much to do with our city, but I’m so glad that this category of the challenge finally pushed me to read this beautiful work. One of the best things that I have read this year!

  23. Lynette says:

    I’m doing GREAT with the reading challenge….except for one category: three books by the same author. True story: I very rarely read more than one book by the same author. I guess I feel that there are so many great books by great authors out there…why not read a variety of them? Of course there are exceptions to this, especially among the classics. But when that’s the case, I don’t read more than one in a given year. For example, I read ‘Emma’ this year, so I won’t read another Jane Austen until next year. See my problem?

    • Vicki says:

      Lynette, I finally got around to reading the Neapolitan series this year by Elena Ferrante. Book 1 is My Brilliant Friend and I am now in the middle of Book 3. One picks up right where the other left off, for the most part, and I really wanted to keep going to see how things turned out. So, that is an option that might work.

  24. Sally Gilbert says:

    I live in a Denver suburb (yes, there’s snow this morning). Some favorite Colorado authors are Kent Haruf, Peter Heller and Sandra Dallas. For the reading challenge, I’m going to read Dust Bowl Girls by Lydia Reeder, a Denver author, and re-read Plainsong, by Kent Haruf.

  25. Having loved “Small Great Things,” I’ve now got several Jodi Picoult books on my TBR shelf, but not certain where I’ll go next… Suggestions, anyone?

    Picoult is local enough to me here in New Hampshire that I often play noon pick-up hockey with her husband at the local rink! 🙂

  26. Susan James says:

    I loved Kentucky-born author Kim Michele Richardson’s The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek! I live in Texas and must also give props to Paulette Jiles’ latest “Simon the Fiddler” – the audiobook read by Grover Gardner is simply divine.

  27. Kaity says:

    I’m in a suburb of St Paul, MN, and until I read this post and looked up a list of local authors, I didn’t realize William Kent Krueger lives in St Paul! Guess that category is done! “This Tender Land” was excellent

  28. Carol Quan says:

    Completing this MMD Reading Challenge prompt was easy for me. In fact, I actually did it twice since it is also a prompt for the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge that I completed. I used Jasmine Guillory who is local to me. She is from Oakland, which is 19 miles from where I live in Dublin, CA. I read The Wedding Date and The Proposal, the first and second books in her series. Both books are light and fun escapes. One of the most fun things about reading a local author is supporting someone local and recognizing places mentioned in the book. There There by Tommy Orange by Tommy Orange is another book that takes place in the Bay Area.
    I am originally from NY (not Manhattan though) and went to school in Boston and have done a lot of travel so a lot places are familiar to me. Right now I am reading Shadow of the Wind which takes place in Barcelona, where I have been in my travels.

  29. Fran says:

    Living in Houston but originally from the small town of Groves, TX. Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club was based on her time living there as a child. Might be time for a reread!

  30. Corrie says:

    I live in Charlotte, NC and I’m reading Neighborliness: Finding the Beauty of God Across Dividing Lines by David Docusen. With the racial dialogue happening all across our country, this book is very relevant to now and especially to our Charlotte community as this comes from a local pastor and speaker.

  31. Rosalie Allen says:

    I live in Australia, specifically Brisbane, Queensland. For this category I read “Boy Swallows Universe” by Trent Dalton. This was an incredible read, beautifully written and made all the better for me because it was set in familiar to me suburbs of Brisbane. This is one of my front runners for best book I have read in 2020.

  32. Diane says:

    Lorna Landvik is a local author— she lives in Minneapolis MN. I read one of her books that I hadn’t read before – Once in a Blue Moon Lodge. I also enjoy MN authors: William Kent Krueger, Louise Erdrich, John Sanford,Tim O’Brien, Jon Hassler. I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone.

    • Lori E. says:

      Diane, I just finished my first book by William Kent Krueger: “This Tender Land.” I knew of him as a writer of a mystery series, but this is a stand-alone, and not a mystery. He makes your part of the country come alive as he writes about four children who escape from the American Indian boarding school where they are incarcerated by canoeing down the Gilead River. I loved it!

  33. Joy B says:

    I read Tina Fey’s Bossypants. I also live in a Philadelphia suburb and my kids have attended shows put on by the same Children’s Theatre Program she was in when a teenager.

  34. Alicia says:

    How would you define local? I live in New Mexico so does that author have to be listed as living in NM? (Or from NM when they were living.) Gabriel Tallent’s, who wrote My Absolute Darling, bio reads that he was born in NM but lives in California, or Oregon. Neil Patrick Harris is from NM, graduated from high school here but does not live here now.

  35. Lori E. says:

    Another thing about the Abbey of Gethsemani, where Thomas Merton served as a Trappist monk–the monks make the most amazing bourbon fudge, and sell it via online order! I work at a college, and one of the professors (a Catholic priest), gives me some every Christmas. Eating it is a religious experience!

  36. I live in Tupelo, MS where you most notably think of Elvis Presley’s birthplace. My read is by
    Carlyle S. Harris and Sara W. Berry
    Tap Code: The Epic Survival Tale of a Vietnam POW and the Secret Code That Changed Everything. Both authors live here in Tupelo

  37. Anne Parker says:

    I’m reading Edith The Rogue Rockefeller McCormick by local (Chicago area) author and friend Andrea Friedrici Ross. It’s a new release.

  38. Julia R. says:

    I read Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman for the book by a local author category, but by accident. Nick Offerman was born and raised in Illinois and also attended the University of Illinois in Champaign which is very close to where I live. In addition, he performed at The Station Theatre in Champaign and I have attended performances there myself. I didn’t know ANY of this until I read his book, though! LOL!

  39. Diane C says:

    One of my favorite authors, happens to be local, and I’ve never heard him mentioned on one of your shows (at least, that I remember). He is Brian Doyle. Wonderful books, fiction and non-fiction; essays, poetry. Sadly, he passed at age 60 in 2017. My favorite books are: Martin Marten (might be YA), Mink River, (very much Oregon books); Chicago, The Adventures of John Carson in Several Quarters of the World A Novel of Robert Louis Stevenson (he likes long sentences!) and his latest book, published posthumously: One Long River of Song Notes on Wonder. You will laugh out loud and cry with these beautiful essays.

    • Heather B. says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I love Brian Doyle’s writing! His beautiful spirit shines through the writing. Thank you for mentioning a few of his that I have not yet read. They are now on my TBR list. I’m from Massachusetts, so I’ll have to find someone local who I love as much.

  40. Katherine Dickinson says:

    Hampton Sides is my favorite Memphis author. Hellhound On His Trail is an incredible read and truly a Memphis story. I have his latest – On Desperate Ground – and need to get to it.
    Thank you for the encouragement and reminder… Love to read local authors!

  41. Suzee says:

    I had read and loved The One In a Million Boy by Monica Wood, but didn’t really connect her with Maine until my sister recommended her When We Were The Kennedys. It was incredible! I went on to read two more of hers, so now I’m hitting two categories!

    • Adrienne says:

      Have you read any books by Cathie Pelletier? They are all set in Maine, so I assume that is where she is from. My favorite is ‘A Marriage Made at Woodstock,’ which is hilarious.

  42. Melissa says:

    I read a book by an author that rents a site all summer at the RV Park we own in the Superior National Forest in Northern Minnesota. The Last Ferryman by Gregory D. Randle. It is a novel about a historically significant event – a bridge replacing a ferry for a small town. Interesting perspectives chosen for the characters who narrate vs those who are observed. An interesting look at the consequences of progress.

  43. C T says:

    I read The Kitchen House a few years ago from a local central VA author. We just moved, so finding local authors might be a good pandemic friendly way of making this area feel like home.
    Any suggestions for authors local to Pittsburgh?

  44. RD Paul says:

    A local chef just self published a heart wrenching book. I watched her Instagram as she read passages during the writing process. I ordered it directly from her website so all the funds went to her, and for an extra $5, which she donated to charity, she wrote an personalized inscription and signed the book.
    The book is Salt & Sour: My Recipe for Starting Over by Yoda Oliynk (London, Ontario, Canada)

  45. Betsy says:

    Being a west KY girl, I love Bobby Ann Mason. All are wonderful character stories set usually in small towns in western KY and beyond. In Country is one of my favorites and was made into a movie that was filmed in Kentucky.

  46. DeAnn D Hilmoe says:

    South Dakota here: just finished “Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church” by Megan Phelps-Roper, which is the South Dakota Humanities Council’s South Dakota One Book for 2020. Megan is a transplant in South Dakota from her native Kansas, where her family continues in the activities and beliefs that caused her to leave their fold.

  47. Adrienne says:

    I live in a small rural town, near Chattanooga, TN. For this category I read “Nothing to See Here’ by Kevin Wilson, who is a professor at Sewanee University, about 30 miles from where I live. Loved it! My daughter attended Sewanee, and said Mr. Wilson was her professor for freshman English!

  48. Lisa White says:

    I live in a small town between Decatur and Champaign Illinois. I was not aware of Nick Offerman until reading earlier comments (thanks for the add to my TBR); I read a book by Richard Peck, who no longer lives in Decatur, but his characters live in my home county. Often filed in the children’s section, the nostalgia dredged up by the trilogy that begins with A Long Way From Chicago seems wasted on the young. Yet everyone should have a Grandma Dowdel in their life.

  49. Susan says:

    I’m in Savannah and I’m reading The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor – she was born in Savannah. If anyone has read any other books by a Savannah author, and it’s good, let me know!

  50. Ashley says:

    Yet another fantastic writer, Sena Jeter Naslund, lives right here in Louisville! Ahab’s Wife is one of my favorites. We lived in the same neighborhood until our recent move across town. I loved knowing she might be close by working on another novel for us all to enjoy.

  51. Sadie McCurry says:

    I love this challenge! As a military family, we move (on average) every 2 years. This means a “local” book today may not be a “local” book this time next year. Just a few of our duty stations have been Idaho, Rhode Island, Germany, Alabama, Alaska, Korea, and Washington D.C. I have found an appreciation for books in many of these settings, but few have ever felt like “home.” I almost find myself looking at books by military spouses as having more of a “local” feel than anything else. The feeling of a military base and all of the nuances of living on post are quite unique.
    “Beyond the Point”, by Claire Gibson is one of my recent favorites as it discusses the relationship of female West Point Cadets…and I have twin daughters who graduated from West Point last year. This book has felt more like home than anything else I have read recently.
    Thanks for this great post!

  52. Michele says:

    I am really struggling with this one. I live in Las Vegas and yes there are plenty of authors from Las Vegas but I haven’t heard of them and frankly I’m a bit nervous picking someone I know nothing about.

  53. Andrea says:

    I’m originally from Massachusetts so there’s a lot to choose from there. But if I were to go with my current place of residence, I’m a bit stuck – I live in Jordan. Any suggestions? I do read a lot of books based somewhere in the region, but the authors are often immigrants, no longer locals.

  54. Sarah says:

    I am finishing up Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi for a Global Read Aloud for teens through my library; I am also excited to just be getting going with Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

  55. Thia says:

    I’m from Alabama so I have read many books by Alabama authors. For my challenge in this area I will read a book I haven’t read. I thought I had covered them all; apparently not. I will read Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton. I was unfamiliar with this author so I appreciate this challenge.

  56. I’ve read all the Sue Grafton books and enjoyed them very much, was sad when she passed away, she left a real impression on me. As for local author’s I live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida and we have several locals to choose, Ace Atkins for one, but I’ll be reading Lisa Unger’s newest. I love her suspense!

  57. Stacie says:

    I live in WA just north of Seattle. I love reading Molly Wizenberg. I haven’t read her new fiction book but her food memoir is great. Another PNW author I enjoy is Ellie Alexander. She writes cozy mysteries with great food puns as the titles. I have only read the one about beer brewing in Leavenworth, WA. I love that little town so it’s fun to read a book set there.

    A new to me author, Brittney Morris, wrote Slay. This is a fabulous YA novel about a young black girl who is a video game developer. It’s set on the east side of Seattle. It is a fun book that takes on some heavy themes. I’m looking forward to reading more by this author.

  58. JH says:

    Janice Holt Giles for a KY author! I was surprised not to see her name on the KY list. One of my all-time favorites.

    But, I am from PA, lived in FL, TN, ID, and Nepal, so I usually feel at home in many “places.” A recent local read is Yak Girl about the life of a girl from a remote area of Nepal in the ’90s.

  59. Pat says:

    I am from Arkansas and have never read True Grit by Charles Portis. (I am a big fan of the 2010 movie.)
    I have loved reading everyone’s comments about their local authors. Such a fun idea for a book pick!

  60. Libby Miner says:

    I’ve enjoyed a memoir and a fiction novel written by Maine author Monica Woods this year. I picked up the memoir at the library because I was intrigued by the title–“When We Were the Kennedys”–because my maiden name is Kennedy. The One in a Million Boy was a book club read, although it was set in a more fictional Maine than her memoir. I recommend both as great reads!

    In children’s literature, there are many classics, old and new, set in Maine by Maine-based writers. My very first picture book was “One Morning in Maine” by Robert McCloskey, who moved to Maine in the 1940s. My dad was a clammer, so this book resonated with me and i asked for it over and over and turned the pages to look at the quaint drawings of the adventures of two little girls on the Maine coast. Its my earliest childhood favorite. And “Blueberries for Sal” is another wonderful classic for children everywhere.

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