Reading New England

^^My hometown (Dover, New Hampshire)^^

I’m not much of a challenge person here on the blog (in real life, it’s on), but every once in a while I stumble across one that I love the idea of so much, I have to join in. This year it’s the Reading New England Challenge hosted by The Emerald City Book Review (the official sign up post is here). I grew up in New England (New Hampshire, see above) and I miss it terribly. While I love living in Colorado, I fantasize about moving home. I think because I spent my formative years there, my sense of humor, economy, and place remain staunchly rooted in New England.

From The Emerald City Book Review:

What books qualify for this challenge? My idea is to include authors and books that represent the region in some way, bringing out its special qualities and characteristics. (For this purpose, books should be actually set in New England; books written by a New England author but set elsewhere would not qualify.) Classic authors to explore include Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and many more; contemporary possibilities could include Stephen King, Jane Langton, John Irving, Alice Hoffman…”

Here are the twelve categories, with the months when I’m planning to focus on them here on ECBR (though you may read from any category at any time):

(My tentative picks are listed below.)

January: New Hampshire. Last Night at Twisted River // John Irving.
February: Fiction. Affliction // Russell Banks or Blackbird House // Alice Hoffman.
March: Maine. Cujo // Stephen King.
April: Drama. Unknown…
May:  Vermont. The Madness of a Seduced Woman // Susan Fromberg Schaeffer.
June: Nonfiction. Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750 by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
July: Massachusetts. Blackbird House // Alice Hoffman.
August: Children’s. This is What Happy Looks Like // Jennifer E. Smith.
September: Rhode Island. The Witches of Eastwick // John Updike.
October: Mystery. Jackaby // William Ritter
November: Connecticut. The Witch of Blackbird Pond // Elizabeth George Speare
December: Free choice. Mermaid in Chelsea Creek // Michelle Tea and Little Women // Louisa May Alcott.

Challenge levels:

To qualify, books must be read between January 1 and December 31, 2016, and must be posted about publicly in some way (blog post, Goodreads, Amazon, etc.). A substantial part of the book must take place in at least one of the six New England states. In the case of poetry, the poet should be strongly associated with or draw inspiration from the region.

Link up your posts here. Posts that qualify for multiple categories should only be linked in one.

A Single Leaf: 1+
Read at least one book from any of the challenge categories

Roots and Branches: 3-6+
Read at least 3-6 books from any of the challenge categories

Six State Challenge: 6+
Read at least one book representing each New England state

Genre Challenge: 6+
Read at least one book from each of the six genre categories (fiction, nonfiction, poetry/drama, children’s books, speculative fiction/mystery, freebie/readalong)

A New England Forest: 12+
Read at least one book from each of the twelve challenge categories


Will you participate?  I plan to complete the six state challenge and five of the genres in the genre challenge (I know myself well enough to know the poetry will not happen, despite my best intentions). I may not follow ECBR’s exact schedule, it’ll depend on my reading mood and what I have on hand (i.e. I’ve own The Witches of Eastwick and would like to get started on it sooner than September. I hope you’ll consider joining too.

9 thoughts on “Reading New England

  1. This is such a great challenge, isn’t it? So many choices and well-organized. I’m hoping to join in for some of it, too. Olive Kitteridge has been sitting unread on my shelf for far too long.


  2. Welcome to the challenge! It’s great to have some New England natives participating (I’m a transplant, although my father’s family goes back here for generations). Your choices look very interesting and I will look forward to your reviews.


    1. This is the only one I am doing, and the primary reason I am doing it is because I already own most (if not all?) of the books I intend to read. It’s a backwards way of getting me through my TBR stack.


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