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State of the art: Perkins’ Recommended Reads

Travel from the comfort of your home with books mentioning different states in their titles.

COVID-19 had us housebound and isolated from so many people and things that we enjoy, and meant that we lost the opportunity to travel to places familiar and new. In the spirit of being able to move a bit more freely around the country, here is a list of some titles with the names of states and various locations across the country that we might look forward to visiting again.

Digital book (DB), braille (BR), large print (LT), and audio described videos (DVD) copies of these titles are available from the Perkins Library or the Worcester Talking Book Library. Please contact the library to order any of these books.

Prepared by Lee Anne Hooley

Head of Talking Book Services

Worcester Public Library

Bag Balm and Duct Tape: Tales of a Vermont Doctor

by Beach Conger

DB 29474, Available as BARD Download

A whimsical country doctor talks about his life and his patients of the past ten years in the make-believe town of Dumster, Vermont. Conger comments on medical education, malpractice, and sexism. Alternately scorching and good-natured, the book is written to stimulate both chuckles and understanding. 1988.

Download Bag Balm and Duct Tape, DB 29474

Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland

by Dave Barry

DB 87795, BR 21974, LT 20880, Available as BARD Download

Author of You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty (DB 78486) examines his home state of Florida and discusses the weird, legendary, and screwball happenings of the Sunshine State. Topics include the proliferation of “Florida Man” news stories, attractions like Gatorland, and the Miami nightclub scene. 2016.

Download Best. State. Ever., DB 87795

Download Best. State. Ever., BR 21974

California Bones

by Greg Van Eekhout

DB 80792, Available as BARD Download

Two tales of a world where magic wielders consume the bones of magical creatures (and other wizards) for power. In California Bones Daniel Blackland plans to rob the Hierarch of Southern California. In Pacific Fire the Hierarch’s clone is on the run from those seeking to use his essence. Some violence. 2015.

Download California Bones, DB 80792

The Colorado Kid

by Stephen King

DB 64103, BR 16384, Available as BARD Download

Vince Teague and Dave Bowie, elderly editors of a small Maine island’s newspaper, relate a twenty-five-year-old murder case to their young intern Stephanie McCann. It is 1980; a man discovered dead on the local beach remains unknown until the men track his identity back to Colorado. Some strong language. 2005.

Download The Colorado Kid, DB 64103

Download The Colorado Kid, BR 16384

Crazy in Alabama

by Mark Childress

DB 37543, Available as BARD Download

In 1965 Peejoe’s Aunt Lucille kills her husband Chester because he won’t let her take a part in “The Beverly Hillbillies.” She leaves her six kids with her mother, Meemaw, and heads for Hollywood with Chester’s head in a Tupperware lettuce keeper to keep her company. Meanwhile, twelve-year-old Peejoe becomes a civil rights activist when the blacks in town start dying. Some strong language, some violence, and some explicit descriptions of sex. 1993.

Download Crazy in Alabama, DB 37543

A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm

by Stanley G. Crawford

DB 37580, Available as BARD Download

Author of the prizewinning Mayordomo (DB 29277) continues his memoirs of life on a small New Mexico farm. Novelist Crawford has grown to love the cultivation of flowers, vegetables, and an acre and a half of garlic. Descriptions of the tasks involved in planting, nourishing, harvesting, and selling at farmers’ markets are mixed with the author’s philosophical musings. 1998.

Download A Garlic Testament, DB 37580

A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana

by Haven Kimmel

DB 54946, BR 14575, Available as BARD Download

Memoir of growing up in the late 1960s and 1970s in a mid-America hamlet of three hundred people. Nicknamed “Zippy” (after a fast-moving chimpanzee on TV), the author recounts childhood incidents involving her family, best friend Julie, and school. In the process, she describes her community. Bestseller. 2001.

Download A Girl Named Zippy, DB 54946

Download A Girl Named Zippy, BR 14575

The Hotel New Hampshire

by John Irving

DB 17308, Available as BARD Download

The creator of Garp introduces the Berry family, which includes five children plus a dog and a pet bear and has always lived in hotels the father manages. John, the middle son, relates all the family’s favorite stories–how their mother and father fell in love, how father bought the bear, and how it learned to live with humans. Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 1981.

Download The Hotel New Hampshire, DB 17308


by Emily Ruskovitch

DB 87431, LT 22457, Available as BARD Download

Ann cares for her husband, Wade, as he loses his memories to early-onset dementia. She tries to capture what Wade remembers of his ex-wife, Jenny; what happened when Jenny killed their younger daughter; and the circumstances of their elder daughter’s disappearance. 2017.

Download Idaho, DB 87431

Kansas Pacific

Directed by Ray Nazarro

DVD 788

With the Civil War looming, the North is hurrying to complete a railroad across Kansas to connect its eastern cities with the western frontier. But Southern sympathizers, desperate to keep Northern influence and troops out of the territory, are doing all they can to cripple construction. As their efforts escalate, an Army engineer is assigned to complete the vital Kansas Pacific rail link. Can he get the job done despite increasingly violent efforts by Quantrill and his Southern raiders to sabotage the project? Starring: Sterling Hayden, Eve Miller, Reed Hadley, Barton MacLane, Tom Fadden. Not rated. 72 min. 1953.

Kentucky Rich

by Fern Michaels

DB 54431, LT 3462, Available as BARD Download

Nealy Coleman’s brutal father forces her and her illegitimate child out of the house. She is adopted by the Diamonds, owners of a thoroughbred farm in Kentucky. Nealy becomes wealthy and successful over the decades and returns to her father’s deathbed to confront him about the past. 2001.

Download Kentucky Rich, DB 54431

Looking for Alaska

by John Green

DB 61873, LT 18473, Available as BARD Download

Entering boarding school in Alabama, sixteen-year-old Miles “Pudge” Halter encounters new experiences: challenging classes, extreme pranks, and Alaska Young, a moody, sexy girl whose death in a car crash might be a suicide. Some explicit descriptions of sex and some strong language. For senior high readers. Printz Award. 2005.

Download Looking for Alaska, DB 61873

Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Adventure

by Julia Flynn Siler

DB 74159, Available as BARD Download

History of Hawaii and its Polynesian natives, and the Christian missionaries, sugar barons, politicians, and military leaders who conspired to overthrow the country’s monarchy. Discusses the annexation of the islands. 2012.

Download Lost Kingdom, DB 74159

Louisiana’s Way Home

by Kate DiCamillo

DB 92573, JL 746, Available as BARD Download

Louisiana Elefante’s granny wakes her up in the middle of the night and tells her they need to leave home immediately–and this time Granny intends for them never to return. For grades 3-6. 2018.

Download Louisiana’s Way Home, DB 92573

Mississippi Bridge

by Mildred D. Taylor

DB 32807, BR 8560, JL 274, Available as BARD Download

The author weaves a disturbing tale of racism in Mississippi during the 1930s. Told by Jeremy Simms, a ten-year-old white boy who aspires to be friends with the Logan children, this is the story of a rainy day, an overloaded bus, and its tragic destiny after the driver has ordered the black passengers off to make room for latecoming whites. For grades 5-7 and older readers. 1990.

Download Mississippi Bridge, DB 32807

Download Mississippi Bridge, BR 8560

One Night in Georgia

by Celeste O. Norfleet

DB 96356, LT 26876, Available as BARD Download

Zelda and her friends Veronica and Daphne drive from Harlem to Atlanta with Veronica’s family friend Daniel to go back to school for their senior year. But the deeper they get into the South, the more dangerous the trip becomes. 2019.

Download One Night in Georgia, DB 96356

Rainbow Valley/Neath the Arizona Skies

DVD 152

A young John Wayne stars in two of his early Westerns. In the first, he’s hired by the town of Rainbow Valley to oversee construction of a road over the mountains. In the second, he protects his young Indian ward, Nina, from a gang of outlaws who covet the oil royalties the little girl has inherited. Galloping good fun. 1990.

Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine

by Alan Lightman

DB 92190, LT 23826, Available as BARD Download

Physicist presents collection of twenty essays exploring the connections of scientific ideas and the wider world. Topics covered include caves, hummingbirds, stars, atoms, ants, monks, truth, transcendence, laws, doctrine, motion, centeredness, death, certainty, origins, multiverse, humans, and the longing for absolutes in a relative world. 2018.

Download Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine, DB 92190

Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa: Stories

by W.P. Kinsella

DB 38976, Available as BARD Download

Collection of ten stories set in Iowa, Canada, and San Francisco. The title story was the basis for the movie Field of Dreams. Other stories include “First Names and Empty Pockets,” in which a doll mender fantasizes about being Janis Joplin’s savior; “Fiona the First,” in which a salesman picks up girls at the airport; and “The Grecian Urn,” a tale of time travel. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. 1984.

Download Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa, DB 38976

Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri

Directed by Martin McDonagh

DVD 1632

After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby, the town’s revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon, an immature mother’s boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing’s law enforcement is only exacerbated. Starring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell. Rated R for violence, strong language and sexual content. 115 Min. 2017.

Thursday Night Lights: The Story of Black High School Football in Texas

by Michael Hurd

DB 87986, Available as BARD Download

Historian chronicles African American high school football in Texas, in particular the Prairie View Interscholastic League. During the decades of segregation in the state, the PVIL nurtured the talent of countless players, many of whom went on to successful NFL careers. 2017.

Download Thursday Night Lights, DB 87986

Winesburg, Ohio

by Sherwood Anderson

DB 18118, BR 18637, Available as a BARD download

The revolt of the twenties against the mediocrity of small-town life in favor of realism is reflected in these sketches of a Midwestern community. 1919.

Download Winesburg, Ohio, DB 18118

Download Winesburg, Ohio, DB 18637

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