On this day in 1889, North Dakota became the 39th state! To celebrate, here are some books that take place in, or are written by authors from the Peace Garden State. (annotations are from WorldCat)
Out of the Blue by SL Rottman. After moving to Minot, North Dakota, with his mother, the new female base commander, Air Force dependent Stu Ballentyne gradually becomes aware that something terrible is going on in his neighbor's house.
Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota Chuck Klosterman. Chuck Klosterman's hilarious memoir of growing up as a shameless metalhead in Wyndmere, North Dakotoa (population: 498). With a voice like Ace Frehley's guitar, Klosterman hacks his way through hair-band history, beginning with that fateful day in 1983 when his older brother brought home Mötley Crüe's Shout at the Devil.
The Sixth Shotgun by Louis L'Amour. Wild Leo Carver is going to hang for his crimes; he says he didn't do it and a lot of folks want to believe him. (Our note: L'Amour grew up on Jamestown, North Dakota. While his books are for adults, many teens enamored with the Wild West enjoy his work.)
The Round House by Louise Erdrich. When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 13-year-old Joe Coutts sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family. Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and son, Joe. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared. While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning. (Our note: Erdrich grew up in North Dakota. This is an adult book, but one that mature teens can relate to.)
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is Dee Brown's eloquent, fully documented account of the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the second half of the nineteenth century. Using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions, Brown allows the great chiefs and warriors of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes to tell us in their own words of the battles, massacres, and broken treaties that finally left them demoralized and defeated. A unique and disturbing narrative told with force and clarity, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee changed forever our vision of how the West was really won. (Our note: While the scope of this book extends far beyond North Dakota, the Dakota territories, including the land that became North Dakota was a major location in the Indian Wars.)
Surely there are other books that we're missing! Add 'em in the comments!
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