As the summer travel season kicks off, many of us look forward to exploring new places on trips away from home.
To help with this, NPR asked poets laureate, state librarians, bookstore owners and other literary luminaries from all 50 states — plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico — to recommend quintessential reads that illuminate where they live.
Here are more than 100 recommendations for you — whether you want to read about somewhere you’re heading, a place you hope to go someday, or somewhere you live and want to get to know better.
Editor’s Note: Pick your state on the source link…
Nominated by Gailmarie Pahmeier, poet laureate of Nevada
How the Light Gets In: New and Collected Poems by Kirk Robertson: Andrei Codrescu has called the late poet Kirk Robertson “the djinn of the desert,” and Willy Vlautin wrote that Robertson’s poems are “dipped into the heart of the West, both what it used to be and what it is today.” I wholeheartedly agree; Robertson’s poetry made me see how our starkly beautiful desert is both brutal and tender. His work led me to make this place my home.
Sweet Promised Land by Robert Laxalt: First published in 1957, this book continues to inspire Nevada writers and those who visit our state. This book is a tender and moving account of the author’s Basque heritage and his love of our state. Before you enjoy a traditional meal at one of Nevada’s historic Basque restaurants, first read this. Its first sentence, in all its elegant simplicity, will have you hooked: “My father was a sheepherder, and his home was the hills.”
Literary Nevada: Writings from the Silver State edited by Cheryll Glotfelty: Published in 2008, Cheryll Glotfelty’s deeply researched anthology of Nevada literature remains the best source for an introduction to the literary arts in our state. If someone is planning a road trip through Nevada and the American West, this is the book to have. At every stop, there will be a voice to hear, a story told.