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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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.