New Hampshire: The Virgins by Pamela Erens, set in an elite East Coast boarding school, is the story of Aviva, a young Jewish beauty and Seung, her Asian lover. Or at lest that is the rumor around campus. While the unlikely couple float in a healthy sea of exaggerated assumption of their love life, Aviva and Seung are more accurately caught in the net of confusion and unrequited lust. Pamela Erens sets the bar high for any future boarding school legends with this honest coming of age venture. I thoroughly enjoyed my stop in New Hampshire, even if it meant reliving memories of early romance and heartbreak.
A New York Times Editor's Choice selection
* A Chicago Tribune Editor's Choice selection
* A Best Book of 2013, The New Yorker
* A Best Book of 2013, The New Republic
* A Critics' Choice selection for 2013, Salon
* A Best Indie Title of 2013, Library Journal
* One of Redbook's "Top Ten Beach Reads of 2013"
* One of O Magazine's "Ten Titles to Pick Up Now," August 2013
* Featured in The Millions's "Most-Anticipated" List 2013
* A "This Week's Hot Reads" selection, The Daily Beast
* A Vanity Fair Hot Type selection
* The Virgins was a finalist for the John Gardner Award
* Publishers Weekly named The Virgins one of the best boarding school books of all time
Massachusetts: Although he is not mentioned in the Reading Across America website http://lithub.com/100-books-across-america-fiction-and-nonfiction-for-every-state-in-the-union/, there is no way to visit Mass without thinking of Edgar Alan Poe. I believe it would as un-American as taking a knee (oops, did I cross a politically inappropriate boarder?), to not take this October opportunity in mentioning Edgar Alan Poe. Edgar Allan Poe: Fiction and Poetry has been part of my personal collection for many years. Anything and everything by Poe can be found in what Barnes and Noble Library of Essential Writers. I am not going to review this volume (It is 1024 pages long!), but there is no doubt that I have read every word of it sometime in my life. There are so many version of this wonderful book, but mine has an introduction by Dawn B. Sova, Ph.D. and I appreciate her metaphor of Poe being a musician. Good stuff, Massachusetts! Having spent a little time in Boston, I hold this state a little closer to my heart. Unfortunately in this baseball season, though, the Red Sox are never more.
New York: Two of my favorite books to study come from the state of New York and I am certain that all readers are familiar with The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald as well as The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.
Do me a favor, though...Do not allow Hollywood to color your opinion of Fitzgerald's image of the 1920's. Read the book! Then watch the original film.
So, my journey has taken me to Pennsylvania, where The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is awaiting me. The title is familiar, but I do not think I have already read this, as is true of other titles mentioned in this post. I hope I haven't broken any rules by mentioning titles previously read by yours truly. If anyone has a problem with this, let me know. With as many books as many books as I have read in my lifetime, I imagine it is realistic to believe that I have probably crossed the country a few times already. But part of this adventure is to experience unfamiliar writers and titles, so I will adhere to the rules (whatever they are) as closely as possible.
Well, I need to get on the road again. I will report back next week from the West Virginia Book Festival in Charleston, West Virginia.
Check out the schedule of author signings at this site: