*** states arranged in the order they entered the Union

50 States (2) - slide show books 1-25

50 States (2) - slide show books 26-50

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Gone by Jonathan Kellerman (Delaware)
This is 1 of 23 suspense novels featuring the character Alex Delaware, a child psychologist and police consultant. As is customary in the mystery genre, Delaware typically works with a sidekick – a gay LAPD detective names Milo Sturgis. Author Jonathan Kellerman is a real life psychologist and has also authored several children’s books.
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The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (Pennsylvania)
A mouse named Despereaux sets out to rescue a beautiful human princess in this fantasy book won the 2004 Newbery Medal for best contribution to children’s literature. Author Kate DiCamillo was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1964 but chronic pneumonia forced her family to move to Florida when she was 5 years old.
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A Cry in the Night by Mary Higgins Clark (New Jersey)
Jenny meets the man of her dreams while working in an art gallery and they quickly get married and move to a vast farm. But she soon unearths a terrifying past that threatens her marriage, her children, and her life. Author Mary Higgins Clark resides in New Jersey. She is the part-owner of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets. Her daughter (Carol Higgins Clark) and daughter-in-law (Mary Jane Clark) are also successful suspense writers.
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Football Champ by Tim Green (Georgia)
Author Tim Green was an All-American college football player and a 1st round draft choice of the Atlanta Falcons. He was a defensive end in the NFL for 8 years. His real-life experiences have added a sense of realism to a series of books that he has written about youth football.
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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Connecticut)
In the dim future, 16 year old Katniss lives in a post-apocalyptic world in a country called Panem where North America used to be located. She is chosen to participate in the Hunger Games, a yearly fight to the death that is televised live throughout the country. Author Suzanne Collins was born and still lives in Connecticut. She has written for numerous TV shows and has experience with reality TV.
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The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Massachusetts)
The house mentioned in the title is a gloomy, haunted mansion in Salem, Massachusetts. Author Nathaniel Hawthorne states that the moral of the story in the preface of the novel. “The wrongdoing of one generation lives into the successive ones.” Hawthorne himself was personally haunted by the sins of his ancestors who participated in the Salem Witch trials.
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The Immortal Life of Hernietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (Maryland)
Henrietta Lacks was a mother of five from Baltimore who died from a cruelly aggressive form of cancer in 1951. A sample of her cancerous tissue, taken without her knowledge or consent, provided a scientific holy grail - cells that survive and even thrive in a lab. Experiments using her cells have led to some of the most crucial innovations in modern science.
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Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson (South Carolina)
The 1st battle of the Civil War occurred at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. This single volume encompasses the entire Civil War from its military and political antecedents to the economic and social ingredients the forced the Union to enter a war that would forever change the face of democracy and the future of the world.
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Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (New Hampshire)
This story starts on a typical day in Sterling, New Hampshire but the ramifications of prolonged school bullying soon turn this into an infamous day that will change many, many lives forever. After graduating from college author Jodi Picoult held a variety of jobs including teaching 8th grade English. This was her 1st book to debut at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list.
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Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry (Virginia)
Nobody knows how wild ponies got to the coastal island of Chincoteague, Virginia. One theory is that they swam ashore from a shipwreck. This story was inspired by a real Chincoteague pony named Misty. Her body and that of her foal Stormy have been preserved on the island via taxidermy. There are 80 known descendents of Misty currently living on the island.
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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (New York)
This story is a retelling of Cinderella featuring various mythical creatures including fairies, elves, ogres, gnomes, and giants. Author Gail Carson Levine was born in Manhattan. She spent 27 years working as a welfare administrator for the state of New York but the success of this novel allowed her to retire and become a full-time writer. She also wrote Fairest, a retelling of Snow White.
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Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks (North Carolina)
A chance meeting at a bed and breakfast in Rodanthe, North Carolina sparks a romance between a surgeon carrying emotional baggage from a surgery gone wrong and a wife whose husband left her for another woman. Written in 2002, it was made into a 2008 movie starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane.
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Boost by Kathy Mackel (Rhode Island)
Savvy and her family have to make major adjustments when they move from a laid back school in Arizona to a very competitive school in Rhode Island. She makes the school’s basketball team, but she is soon suspended when steroids are found in her locker. She insists that the pills are not hers, but the fact that she is on prednisone for a bad case of poison ivy does not help her case.
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Midwives by Chris Bohjalian (Vermont)
On a violent, stormy winter night in a small town in Vermont a home birth goes disastrously wrong. Unable to get to a hospital, a midwife works frantically to save a mother and child while her inexperienced assistant and the woman’s horrified husband look on. The state’s legal and medical communities use the tragedy in an attempt to get rid of all midwives.
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Secretariat by William Nack (Kentucky)
This outstanding sports book traces Secretariat’s lineage and the history of Claiborne Farms in Kentucky where the 1973 Triple Crown winner was born, trained, and eventually retired. Sportswriter William Nack has written about many horses, but he has always been most deeply connected with the greatest racehorse of all time - known by his owner and trainers as ‘Big Red’ but known to the world at large as Secretariat.
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The Firm by John Grisham (Tennessee)
After graduating 3rd in his class at Harvard Law School, Mitch McDeere has offers from law firms in New York and Chicago but eventually accepts a job at a small firm in Memphis. A number of suspicious deaths lead him to the realization that the firm has connections with the Mob. This 1991 legal thriller propelled author John Grisham to world-wide fame. A movie version starring Tom Cruise was released in 1993.
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Action Comics #1 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (Ohio)
This comic book featured the 1st appearance of Superman. The character was created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster in Cleveland, Ohio in 1938. Only about 50 copies of the book are known to still exist today and most are in poor condition, however a copy rated an 8.5 out of 10 surfaced in the spring of 2010 and was sold at auction for $1.5 million.
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A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (Louisiana)
This 1947 play written by playwright Tennessee Williams features a culture clash between 2 iconic characters. Blanche DuBois is a fading relic of the old south while her brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski is a rising member of the industrial, urban working class in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Blanche’s desires act as a driving force throughout the play.
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Jinx by Meg Cabot (Indiana)
Jean Honeychurch is so unlucky that even her family calls her “Jinx.” Her latest bout of bad luck involves an old boyfriend who can’t seem to let their relationship end. Jean doesn’t realize that she is a teenage witch and she cast a love spell on him. Her cousin recognizes her power but Jean is still in denial. This tale of witchcraft and adolescence was another best-seller for author Meg Cabot was born in Indiana.
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A Time to Kill by John Grisham (Mississippi)
This 1989 legal suspense thriller set in Mississippi was author John Grisham’s 1st novel. When he was working as a lawyer he heard the harrowing testimony of a 10 year old black girl who was brutally attacked by 2 white racists. That testimony haunted him for years and was the genesis of this story. Grisham also cited Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird as a major influence on the book.
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The Minority Report by Philip K. Dick (Illinois)
After WW II, America embraced science as the path to a better future. Science fiction was a driving force in pop culture throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s. Author Philip K. Dick was famous for his short stories published during these decades. In recent years many of his stories have been rediscovered and adapted into blockbuster movies. Director Steven Spielberg’s 2002 version of this story starring Tom Cruise is a great example.
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Letters from the Dhamma Brothers by Jenny Phillips (Alabama)
These real life letters written by prisoners in a high security prison in Alabama are a testament to the powers of meditation. A group of troubled inmates serving long sentences were given instruction by qualified teachers. Out of controlled breathing techniques and the silence of meditation came a transformation for these inmates that has lasted for years and allowed them to endure the anguish of a life without freedom.
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The Green Mile by Stephen King (Maine)
This serial novel released in 6 volumes chronicles a death row supervisor’s encounter with an unusual inmate who displays inexplicable healing powers. Over time the supervisor becomes convinced that the inmate is innocent but it unsure what to do about the situation. A 1999 movie version starred Tom Hanks. Author Stephen King lives in Maine which he uses as the setting for most of his stories.
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The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain (Missouri)
A poor boy and a prince look remarkably alike and after switching clothes the boys are unable to convince people about their true identities. This story has been frequently borrowed and adapted in various media ever since its publication. Author Mark Twain was born in Missouri in 1835. Halley’s Comet was in the sky at the time. Remarkably the comet, which is only visible for about 2 weeks every 75 years, was also in the sky when he died 1910.
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Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene (Arkansas)
A Jewish girl living in Arkansas develops a friendship with an escaped German POW named Anton during WW II and allows him to hide above her family’s garage. Even though he comes from Germany, Anton’s mother is English and his father was educated in America. Anton has no sympathy for the Nazi party and its ideology.
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Finding Buck McHenry by Alfred Slote (Michigan)
Jason is a mediocre catcher on his Little League baseball team but he loves baseball and baseball history. He becomes convinced that his school’s janitor Mr. Henry is actually Buck McHenry, a famous pitcher from the Negro Leagues. Jason pressures him into admitting that he is Buck McHenry and talks him into helping to coach his team. But is he really the legendary ball player? Author Alfred Slote lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
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Post-Mortem by Patricia Cornwell (Florida)
This novel revolves around the hunt for a serial killer and is the 1st in a series of mystery novels featuring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta. Author Patricia Cornwell was born in Miami, Florida. She is a descendent of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the abolitionist who wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
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Old Yeller by Fred Gipson (Texas)
Travis is a teenager growing up on a farm in Texas when a big yellow dog shows up one day. He initially tries to get rid of the stray dog, but Old Yeller as he comes to be known, eventually proves his worth by saving the family on several occasions. When Old Yeller is exposed to rabies when defending the family against a rabid wolf, Travis is forced to make the hardest decision of his life.
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Dead is the New Black by Marlene Perez (Iowa)
Super popular cheerleader Samantha shows up to school with a completely new look. The fact that Samantha appears dead doesn’t seem to bother anybody and before long looking dead is the new rage. Classmate Daisy becomes suspicious and soon stumbles onto the fact that Samantha is a vampire. Author Marlene Perez was born in Stormy City, Iowa.
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Dune by Frank Herbert (Wisconsin)
The desert planet Arrakis, the only source of a chemical that gives longer life and heightened awareness, becomes the center of a ferocious power struggle that spans the universe. Author Frank Herbert died in Madison, Wisconsin in 1986. His son has written several sequels based on notes found after his death.
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Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard (California)
In the distant future Earth is ruled by an alien race and humanity is reduced to a few scattered tribes isolated in different parts of the world, but one man is determined to fight back. Author L. Ron Hubbard died in seclusion in California in 1986. He is the founder of the controversial Church of Scientology. The 2000 movie version starring John Travolta is considered one of the worst films ever made.
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Crackback by John Coy (Minnesota)
Miles is a likeable young man and a talented football player who is quickly learning that life is complicated and that answers don’t always come in the form of X’s and O’s. As the season progresses he winds up on the bench much to his father’s chagrin. Most of the players on his team take steroids. Should he? Author John Coy was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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Mr. Tucket by Gary Paulsen (Oregon)
Francis Tucket is 14 years old when he strays from his family’s wagon on the Oregon Trail and is captured by the Pawnee. Francis escapes with the help of Mr. Grimes, a one-armed trapper who maintains an uneasy alliance with the Pawnee, and he spends a winter learning to survive off the land. Author Gary Paulsen has written over 200 books mainly devoted to young adult coming of age stories set in the wilderness.
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Satchel by Larry Tye (Kansas)
Satchel Paige is a colorful character and legendary Negro League baseball player who may have been the greatest pitcher of all time. He spent his best years with the Kansas City Monarchs. He finally got a chance to play in the Major Leagues when it was desegregated and he made the All-Star team at the age of 47.
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Missing May by Cynthia Rylant (West Virginia)
After being passed around amongst her many relatives in West Virginia, Summer joins her Aunt May and Uncle Ob and is amazed at the deep love the couple shares. But when Aunt May passes away, Summer and Uncle Ob both struggle to come to grips with her death. The story won the 1993 Newbery Award.
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Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings (Nevada)
This is the 1st book in an intricately plotted 5 book fantasy series similar to The Lord of the Rings. Garion is an orphaned farm book destined to fulfill a great prophecy. He has been raised by Belgarath, the oldest sorcerer in the world, and Belgarath’s daughter Polgara. Author David Eddings died in Carson City, Nevada in 2009.
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My Antonia by Willa Cather (Nebraska)
Author Willa Cather grew up in Nebraska and used that state as the setting in this semiautobiographical 1918 classic. The novel was an elegy to families who built new lives out west and provided a spotlight on the role of female pioneers during an important time in the women’s rights movement.
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The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (Colorado)
This book is one of the earliest examples of a burgeoning field of alternate history novels. This story is set in a world where the U.S. lost WW II and the country is now ruled by Japan in the west and Germany in the east. But there is a man who lives in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado in this parallel world who knows the true history of our world and attempts to set things right.
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Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose (North Dakota)
This book recounts the triumphs and tribulations of the Lewis & Clark expedition as they battled disease, starvation, hostile tribes, treacherous territory, and brutal weather during their struggle to cross the unexplored interior of the U.S. The Corps of Discovery wintered at Fort Mandan in North Dakota in 1804-05. Author Stephen Ambrose personally traveled along Lewis and Clark’s route to the Pacific while preparing to write this book.
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Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (South Dakota)
Author Irene Hunts shared a special bond with her grandfather who told her many stories about his childhood growing up during the Civil War. Those stories became the basis for this novel. Her grandfather wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln and received a personal letter in return from the President which is still in the family’s possession. Author Irene Hunt is currently a professor at the University of South Dakota.
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Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (Montana)
This western focuses on the relationship between several retired Texas Rangers as the drive a cattle herd from Texas to Montana. The story was originally developed as a screenplay for a movie starring John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart, but when plans fell through author Larry McMurtry turned the story into a Pulitzer Prize winning novel.
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Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (Washington)
The 3rd novel in the Twilight saga finds an army of newborn, uncontrollable vampires determined to kill Bella. The werewolves and vampires in the Cullen clan must put aside their bitter feud and form an uneasy alliance to guarantee her safety. The main setting for the saga is the real town of Forks, Washington which has experienced a tourism boom as a result of the success of the series.

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Mountain Man by Vardis Fisher (Idaho)
This novel is set during a time when America was still a frontier of hard men bent on survival and self-government. Sam Minard enjoys the challenging life of a trapper in the Rocky Mountains, but after his beloved Indian wife is murdered he begins a one man war with sweeping consequences for himself and his enemies. Author Vardis Fisher was born and raised in Idaho.
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Jackson Pollock by Angelica Taschen (Wyoming)
Jackson Pollock was an influential painter and a major figure in the post-WW II abstract expressionist movement, the 1st specifically American art movement to achieve worldwide fame. Abstract expressionists would throw or pour paint onto large canvasses to achieve a spontaneous, subconscious creation. This book offers a detailed overview of Pollock’s career. He was born in Wyoming in 1912.
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Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston (Utah)
Author Aron Ralston graduated from Carnegie-Mellon with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and French. After working for several years he took a break from his job at Intel to pursue his hobby of mountain climbing. While hiking in Utah he was forced to amputate his right arm with a dull knife to free himself from a boulder. This novel was the basis for the movie 127 Hours which starred James Franco.
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The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (Oklahoma)
This 1965 coming-of-age novel is set in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Author Susan Elizabeth Hinton began working on the story when she was only 15 years old. The book follows 2 rival gangs: the Greasers and the Socials. A 1983 film version features a bevy of up-and-coming stars including Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, and Diane Lane.
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Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman (New Mexico)
Richard Feynman is one the world’s most compelling physicists. Born of humble, working-class parents in New York City, he went on to win the Nobel Prize. He was one of the lead scientists who developed the atomic bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico during WW II and was the 1st scientist to explain the 1987 explosion of the space shuttle. He was also an accomplished musician and painter and was well known for his sense of humor and practical jokes.
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The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton (Arizona)
Aerial surveillance seems to indicate that everyone in the town of Piedmont, Arizona near where a military satellite crashed is dead. It appears that the satellite returned to Earth carrying a deadly extra-terrestrial organism. A team of specialists is dispatched to investigate and they find that residents either died in mid-stride or went crazy and committed bizarre suicides. 2 survivors are found: an elderly man and a baby.
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Two Old Women by Velma Wallis (Alaska)
Abandoned by their tribe during a brutal winter famine, two old women are left to perish on their own. Against all odds the women survive the winter and ultimately come face to face with their tribe which has not fared as well. Author Velma Wallis adapted the story from a tale she heard from her mother who grew up in an Eskimo tribe in the Alaskan Yukon.
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Hawaii by James Michener (Hawaii)
Typical of author James Michener and his other sprawling historical novels, this 1959 book covers the million year history of the Hawaiian islands through many generations of fictional characters and interspersed historical facts. Born near Philadelphia, Michener was a high school English teacher for many years before being called to active duty in the U.S. Navy during WW II.