Off the Shelf: Travel the United States in Love Stories

By Sharon Saye on February 15, 2013 from Off the Shelf


Amazon, the online retail giant, is always trying to encourage book-buying and this year for Valentine’s Day, they suggested great stories of love set in each of the 50 states.  They didn’t limit themselves to classics or fiction, but also recommended biographies and memoirs.  The only condition was that “all of them illuminate the mysterious chambers of the human heart.”
Now Valentine’s Day is here and then gone, but stories of love are always great reading no matter what time of year.  Below are some of their recommendations linked to the states in which they take place.
For West Virginia they recommended a new book by Nancy Herkness entitled “Take Me Home;”  It is the story of a woman returning home after a brutal divorce only to discover “a handsome veterinarian who’s been licking his own wounds.”  Two other books set in West Virginia that they suggest include “Rocket Boys” and “Lark & Termite.”
For our neighboring states, the list includes “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” by Michael Chabon, a coming-of-age story, and “Beloved,” the Pulitzer Prize winner by Toni Morrison. 
Some of the recommendations are very obvious such as “Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell for Georgia and “Snow Falling on Cedars” by David Guterson for Washington.  Annie Proulx’s “Close Range” is an apt pick for Wyoming as is “The Widow of the South” by Robert Hicks for Tennessee.
Alabama’s love story is “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop café” by Fannie Flagg and Colorado’s is “The Big Sky” by A. B. Guthrie, Jr.  “The Bridges of Madison County” by Robert James Waller was selected for Iowa and “Endless Love” by Scott Spencer for Illinois.
Massachusetts’ book is “Love Story” by Erich Segal, Missouri’s is “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn, Maryland’s is “The Accidental Tourist” by Anne Tyler, Nebraska’s is “My Antonia” by Willa Cather, North Carolina’s is “Cold Mountain” by Charles Frazier, and, the most obvious selection of all, “Hawaii” by James Michener for Hawaii.
There were several which were unexpected, but that is always the delightful surprises of lists like these.  For instance, “Love and Hate in Jamestown” by David A. Price about Pocahontas and John Smith was selected for Virginia, and Ann Rule’s “And Never Let Her Go,” the frightening true tale of obsessive love and lust for power represents Delaware.
The entire list is available on Amazon; we printed out a copy and kept it at the front desk if you would like to spend the rest of February traveling the United States in love stories. 


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