10 Books Every Arizonan Should Read

Categories: Literary

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Flickr via Wiertz Sébastien

Inspired by Business Insider's map of the most famous book from every state, we put together our own list of 10 books every Arizonan should read, or at least have on the nightstand. We can get number one out of the way right up front -- it's Barbara Kingsolver's The Bean Trees, which, according to the map, is the book our state is most famous for. Below are the other 9 selections, for your reading pleasure:

See also: Arizona's First Poet Laureate Alberto Rios on His New Title

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Tom Story/Arizona State University
Alberto Rios

The Trunk Murderess Winnie Ruth Judd by Jana Bommersbach
If you live here and you don't know the name Winnie Ruth Judd, you're in for a gruesome treat. Not only does Bommersbach's book offer up the bloody and mysterious story of Arizona's answer to Lizzie Borden, it also paints a vivid portrait of life in Arizona in the early part of the 20th century.

Capirotada by Alberto Álvaro Rios
Rios' memoir of growing up in Nogales, Arizona, and its mirror city, Nogales, Mexico, just across the border, would be required reading even if the man weren't our state's first poet laureate: Like the dish for which it's named, this uniquely Arizonan book is an improbable but delicious combination that defies categorization.



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24 comments
Kyle Hague
Kyle Hague

I really love the trilogy he did-- Blood Orchid / Blues for Cannibals / Some of the Dead are Still Breathing

Kyle Hague
Kyle Hague

Grand Obsession by Elias Butler, Beyond the Hundredth Meridian by Wallace Stegner, The Secret Knowledge of Water by Craig Childs, and that list needs to have something by Denis Johnson and Charles Bowden.

Sue White
Sue White

Barbara Kingsolver's "Holding the Line" would have made an excellent choice here, exploring the warts is important, too....

vistamagazinesw
vistamagazinesw

I would add:  "The Death of Josseline, Immigration Stories from the AZ Borderlands," by Margaret Regan;   "Going Back To Bisbee," by Richard Shelton;   "The Arizona Project," by Michael Wendland (about the death of Reporter Don Bolles)  , "A Great Aridness; Climate Change & the Future of the American Southwest," by William deBuys.

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

Anything by J.P.S. Brown - the greatest western rider still upright and wearing boots. Joe, who lives near Patagonia, has been cranking out top-quality books on Arizona and the borderlands for decades. Forests of the Night is a must-read classic but my favorite is Jim Kane. 

Kelly J Kelly
Kelly J Kelly

Thanks for this! I'm in need of some new reads....

patrickbrennan
patrickbrennan

Also surprised that there's nothing by Jon Talton or Barbara Kingsolver here.

patrickbrennan
patrickbrennan

I'd add La Maravilla by Alfredo Vea to the list.

Kirk Dooley
Kirk Dooley

Only if they come in audio books. So they can listen while they ignore traffic on the 202.

Jill Marie
Jill Marie

Thank you for not putting Brewer's waste of dead trees on that list. I *would* have questioned your sanity.

LlamaOfDeath
LlamaOfDeath

No betty webb? Her stuff is all the Phoenix Zoo!

Marco Cruz
Marco Cruz

Pfft, might as throw bless me ultima in there too.

Sue White
Sue White

Wait. Arizonans can read???????

Linda Holman Bentley
Linda Holman Bentley

We Swam the Grand Canyon: The True Story of a Cheap Vacation that Got a Little Out of Hand - Bill Beer, Sunk Without a Sound : The Tragic Colorado River Honeymoon of Glen and Bessie Hyde - Brad Dimock, The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon - Kevin Fedarko

Linda Holman Bentley
Linda Holman Bentley

I have read all of these books and I heartily agree with you selection. Thanks.

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