Planning a Trip to Arkansas Soon? If so, A. I strongly encourage that, and B. then you’re in the right spot because I’m going to list for you 9 awesome books that will give you all the Arkansas feels and vibes you can handle. All the following books are set in different parts of Arkansas and cover quite a different range of genres but I suggest you give them all a try because they’re all written brilliantly and will really kick off your Arkansas trip before you even set foot in the state!
- True Grit set in Northwest Arkansas: At the tippity top of my list is True Grit, a story about a young lady who searches Arkansas and Oklahoma for her father’s killer. I like this story because it’s told through the eyes of such an independent, determined girl who will stop at nothing to achieve what she’s after.
- Cody: Clicking Beat on the Brink of Nada set in Central Arkansas: This was a very interesting book and written so well it was hard to put down (aren’t those the best ones?). It’s about a homosexual teenaged boy who has two love affairs throughout the story and his hardships with, well, those relationships.
- Where Things Come Back: set in Northeast Arkansas: This was another great book set in Arkansas that involves a kid going missing one summer and his family’s search for him.
- A Painted House: Set in Northeast Arkansas: When I was in high school, we had to do a ‘reading hour’ where everyone in the class read from a book together like a bunch of first graders. One of the books was a John Grisham book and I remember the teacher saying how Grisham peaked with ‘A Time to Kill’. I never picked up another book by him until years later, A Painted House. I loved it! It’s in the narrative of a young boy and all the adventures he has one summer during harvest season. Some good, some bad.
- I know why the Caged Bird Sings Set in Southwest Arkansas: The setting of this classic American novel is set half in Arkansas and half in California. The main character has good, but poor times in Arkansas but things take a turn of some sorts after moving to California.
- The Little Rock Nine Set in Central Arkansas: This is a nonfiction book about the integration of the first public high school in Arkansas, Little Rock Central High School. What these nine black teenagers go through is insane to read about, offering so much detail about what they faced on a daily basis as part of this experience.
- Sugar Set in Northeast Arkansas: Sugar has been a prostitute her whole life, starting out in Arkansas. After moving around the country some she returns to Arkansas and after befriending her neighbor, both women’s lives begin to change.
- Hot Springs set in Hot Springs and various parts of Arkansas: Ok, this book is cool because it talks about the tourist town Hot Springs and the illegal gambling that went down in the 40s and 50s. It was a hot spot for sin, bringing out big name movie stars and gangsters like Al Capone and Mickey Rooney. A crew of men are hired to take it all down.
- Lightning Bug set in Northwest Arkansas: This book is a little hard to describe as it is somewhat plot-less to me but the basis of it talks about a small town and it’s wacky characters surrounding two people with a past and the possibility of a future.
After reading these, you will find out that all of these books are sent in the 20th century. It makes me wonder if that’s when Arkansas had it’s glory years? I think perhaps this state is good choice to write about for authors because there are quite a bit of books based there, but not hardly any movies. Interesting, huh? Happy reading from one book worm to another!