Visited States

I wish this was an interactive map, but it's not. There's an alphabetized list of states on the top left sidebar that is interactive.


[DSC00152.JPG]This week we are visiting Amanda from lovely Tennessee.   Her blog is A Bookshelf Monstrosity and she is nearing 100 followers.  When she gets just 3 more followers she's going to host a huge giveaway!  I'm spreading the word because I love giveaways!  In addition to that giveaway, every Thursday she posts a list of all the giveaways she knows about that are happening in the blogosphere.  Check out this last Thursday's List .  There is some good stuff listed, trust me!

1.  Start by telling us a little bit about yourself.  (family, job, likes, dislikes, favorites, idiosyncrasies, pet peeves, or anything else you'd like to share that will help us know you better)

Hmmm...I've lived here my whole life. I'm not single but not married...somewhere in the middle, haha. I'm in graduate school to be a school librarian. I love to read (duh), listen to music, and blog! Oh, yeah, and I love sushi. Can't make a plant grow to save my life.

2.  What do you love about your state?  (please include the name of your state)

I love Tennessee because...
1. It's beautiful!
2. I live within 40 minutes of The Ryman Auditorium (where the Grand Ole Opry once performed).
3. The state parks are great!
4. It's the home of the Tennessee Aquarium! My favorite exhibit there is the seahorses.
5. People are really nice and caring. Example: I rear-ended a lady in my car the other day and she got out and asked if I was okay! Now, where else does that happen?

3.  Is there anything you don't like about where you live?

The weather here in Middle Tennessee is so erratic! We have huge temperature swings throughout the course of one day. I don't ever really pack away any season of clothes, cause you never know when it'll get hot again. I'm still wearing flip flops right now! Not to mention the mosquitoes...

4.  If job, money, family did not enter the equation, would you prefer to live in another state?  Which one?  And why?

I would love to live in North Carolina. My family took a trip to the Asheville area almost every summer when I was growing up; it is so beautiful there!

5.  If I visited your state what cities, sights, and/or activities would you recommend I check out, see and/or do?

Well, I live right next door to the Music City, otherwise known as Nashville, so there are plenty of sights and sounds there. Another quirky little area of interest is the elephant sanctuary a couple of towns over. Yep. That's right. Elephant sanctuary. As for my town (Murfreesboro), we're a run of the mill college town, so we have plenty of pubs and restaurants to keep you occupied :)

6.  Who are some authors that currently live in your state?  Any famous authors from the past?

For a full list of Tennessee authors past and present, check out Some highlights? Ann Patchett, Shelby Foote, James Agee, Robert Hicks, Nikki Giovanni, William Gay, Roy Blount, Jr., Cormac McCarthy.

7.  Do you have a favorite book set in your state?

Robert Hicks' book Widow of the South is set about 25 minutes east of my house in Franklin, TN.

Thank-you so much, Amanda, for answering my questions.  I love traveling for real, but since I can't right now it's awesome getting to travel like this.  I remember visiting Tennessee 10 years ago.  We drove from Memphis to Nashville in the dark, but we did see the outside of the Grand Ole Opry.  Unfortunately, we just saw the outside and the parking lot.  We tried to imagine how exciting it would be to attend a performance.  I'm sure our imagination fell short. 

District of Columbia

My PhotoI am excited to introduce you to Thomas of Washington D.C.  When I posted my first Blogging Around the States he left a comment reminding me to not leave out the District of Columbia.  I sure would have without his reminder so I thought it only fitting that Thomas should be chosen to represent the District.

You can find Thomas at his blog, My Porch, a place to sit back and visit.  He can also be found on Bad Chart! where he points out the flaws in charts posted in the New York Times.  I like this idea a lot.  As a science teacher I was quite often taken back with the way charts could and were manipulated. even in the area of science, to subtly distort data in support of an erroneous conclusion.  Thomas and a few friend contribute to a blog called Opensewer with brief commentaries on politics.

Thomas recently returned from a trip to Europe, visiting the Netherlands.  I want him to send me the complete itinerary so I can see all the beautiful, enchanting places he talks about in his recent posts.  Places like Piet Oudolf's Garden, a person and place I've never heard of but now would like to know more about.   Each of these pictures can be seen bigger along with several others on Thomas' blog.  He shares pictures of his time in Brussels, Bruges, and Antwerp.  I hope there will be more from this trip.  I love traveling and when I can't do it myself, I'm quite thrilled to share the fun other's have experienced in their travels.  

And now for my questions and Thomas' answers about himself and his area of the U.S.

Start by telling us a little bit about yourself.

I have loved reading since since I was a kid growing up in a smallish town just outside the northwest suburbs of Minneapolis. I used to practically live at the public library and even ended up working there in high school. Since finishing college in 1992 (History at the University of Minnesota), I have lived in London, Washington DC (the first time), Honolulu (for a graduate degree), back to Minnesota, then to Ithaca, New York (for a second graduate degree) and then back to DC in 2002 where I live with my partner John whom I met soon after I moved back.

I started blogging in 2006 because I needed a creative outlet that I wasn’t getting in my work life. From the start I wrote bits and pieces about books and reading, but in the last six months or so I have focused more and more on bookish things. Part of my inspiration has been the great community of book bloggers I have recently discovered.  (Booklogged comment - that is something that all us book bloggers have come to experience, isn't, it?)

Besides books, I love classical music, cooking, and travel (and shhh, don’t tell anyone…television).

What do you love about living in the District of Columbia?  

The vast quantity, and amazing quality, of art available at the city’s many museums is something I love having access to. The National Cathedral is like no other in the US, like a great British cathedral plopped down in DC on St. Alban’s hill. It is a great place to visit. I also love strolling through the beautiful neighborhoods in the fall when the weather is cool and the leaves are turning.

Is there anything you don't like about where you live?


The weather is probably the biggest thing. It is too darn hot and humid too many months of the year. The kind of heat that has you sweating even before the sun comes up. Plus I would prefer colder, whiter winters. The other thing is that Washington can be a little too buttoned up for my taste. Too many lawyers and public policy types who only seem to have work on their minds. Even with all of the great schools in the area, I recently tried to find a creative writing or literature class to take in the evenings and came up with nothing. Kind of indicative of what is, and isn’t, important here. Oh, and the public libraries here are pretty sad.

If job, money, family did not enter the equation would you prefer to live in another state?  Which one?  And why?

Yes, somewhere in the Northeast. My two years at Cornell in upstate New York really got me hooked on small town life. Both John and I would consider places in Bucks County, PA; the Hudson River Valley in New York; the Berkshires in Massachusetts; or somewhere in Connecticut. There is something about the pastoral rural landscapes and the historic quality of the built environment that is very attractive. Plus there are more distinct (dramatic) seasons than in Washington. And frankly, I want to stay on the East coast because of its proximity to Europe.  (Booklogged adds - I love those small northeast towns, too.)

Having said all that, I think northern California and Portland, Oregon are the bees knees and I could be persuaded to move that direction as well.  (Booklogged can't remain quiet because you all know how much I love Oregon!)

If we visited the District of Columbia what cities, sights and/or activities would you recommend we check out see and/or do?  I know that there are many so why don't you tell us about some of your favorite and some lesser known places. 

Well, no visitor should miss the obvious things (the Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, the White House, and the Smithsonian), but the official parts of DC can be pretty sterile. To see the real DC, you need to get out into the neighborhoods. Eastern Market near Capitol Hill, Dupont Circle, U Street, Adams Morgan, and the residential parts of Georgetown.   (Booklogged chimes in - I missed seeing all those neighborhoods.  I'll need to make another trip!  I did see and love parts of Georgetown.  My brother took us to the most fabulous Argentine restaurant in Georgetown.  Can't remember the name or I'd recommend it to you.)

Large ImageFor art the choices are endless but the National Gallery should not be missed. Julia Child’s kitchen at the Smithsonian is a personal favorite. The aforementioned National Cathedral is a must see.  (Booklogged - I'm kicking myself that I didn't go to the National Cathedral.  Another one for my next trip!) 

For those with strong stomachs, the medical museum at Walter Reed Medical Center is truly wild and off the beaten path. Just think of lots of “things” in formaldehyde.

Who are some authors that hail from the District of Columbia?

I have never actually thought about this before. There are plenty of journalists and politicians who have written books who live or have lived in the District. But I tend not to read non-fiction so I don’t pay too much attention to them. However, there are two biggies that come to mind. Edward P. Jones who wrote the The Known World which won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. It’s a great novel that chronicles the lives freed slaves who actually owned slaves themselves. An interesting book of historical fiction. And then there is Tracy Chevalier who wrote Girl With a Pearl Earring among others. Although she may have grown up here, she doesn’t live here anymore and I don’t think her work reflects her DC roots. But I am no expert on Chevalier so I could be wrong. Incidentally, I was just in The Hague last week and saw the painting Girl With a Pearl Earring in person.

Do you have a favorite book set in the District of Columbia?

I haven’t come across much fiction that takes place in Washington DC, or it might be that the themes of typical Washington fare aren’t necessarily my cup of tea. Too much about politics and such. However, Edward P. Jones who I mentioned in the last question has written two collections of short stories that take place in and around DC and focus on the day-to-day lives of DC residents, the majority of whom are African American and aren’t connected with “official” Washington. As for the more typically DC kind of book, Christopher Buckley has written some hilarious satire about Washington life including The White House Mess and Supreme Courtship the latter being about the President appointing a Judge Judy type character to the Supreme Court. But my favorite novel that takes place in Washington DC is Echo House by Ward Just, a former journalist for the Washington Post. Just has written about 15 novels and writes amazingly well. Echo House focuses on one of the grand homes in the District that serves not only as the home of a family political dynasty but also as a center of power in Washington politics. A really great read.  (Booklogged - thanks for that recommendation, Thomas.  I haven't heard of Echo House before and it sounds really good.)

Thanks so much, Thomas.  It was so fun getting to know you better and I'm so glad you reminded me about the District of Columbia.  Have a great weekend everybody.  I'm off to the book festival in Salt Lake City today.  Candleman and Katie are going with.


Today we are visiting with Sheila from the great state of  Minnesota.  Sheila blogs at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books and her byline is Bookjourney.
Any day of the week you can stop by Sheila's blog and find something new. (Personally, I don't think she sleeps!)  Every morning she shares tidbits from her life and thought in Morning Meanderings.  This weekend she will be away at a Women of Faith Conference so we may have to wait until Monday for further episodes of Meanderings.

676She is always on the go and yet she reads lots of books.  (I need lessons, Sheila)  One of my favorite posts was when she shared with us pictures and comments about her f2f book club - Bookies Book Club.  This is a picture of Sheila as the queen of the book club for this year.  Here's just a snippet from that post:
Of course there is always the July Queen event where we all dress up in formal gowns and have speeches to be the Queen of Bookies.  The nominated Queen reigns for one year, receives the royal throne, crown and scepter.  She breaks all ties in voting and chooses where we meet in the event the member who  is suppose to choose is absent.

Running along the top of Sheila's blog are some tabs that offer extra morsels of fun.  One shows pictures of the authors she's interviewed with links to those interviews.  Another  is for giveaways!  I really hate to spread this news around because it lessens my chances but right now there are 8 current giveaways.  There's a tab for Kids Books and another for Guest interviews.  I hope you'll check out all the fun things going on at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.

Booklogged:  Start by telling us a little bit about yourself. 

I am a 42 YO action/adventure lover.  I have two grown boys (19 and 21) and a hubby who plays the role of Super Hero in my life (non fiction).  I am an office manager by day, and a reader/ blogger by night.  I enjoy biking, rollerblading, Group Power Classes, hanging with friends and family and just being alone to unwind.  Ummmm... lets see, I have traveled to Honduras 6 times and if all goes well, my 7th time will be on Oct 30 of this year where we will work with kids who live in the streets and in the dump. 

Booklogged:  What do you love about your state? 


  I love Minnesota Spring through fall - SUMMER being my absolute favorite time of year.  Beautiful summer days in Minnesota sitting on the back deck with a large ice tea and a great read... there is not a whole lot I would trade those moments for.  Minnesota is a beautiful state during these months and the lakes, trees, and fantastic fall colors are just breathtaking.

Booklogged: Is there anything you don't like about where you live?

Sheila:  I am not a fan of Minnesota winters.  The cold and I do not get along.  I really have no outdoor activities I enjoy throughout the winter and if I had my way I would learn to hibernate like a bear. ;)  Or maybe I could just stay in with a blanket and many great books to help me through.... thats pretty much what I do anyway December - March.

Booklogged:  If job, money, family did not enter the equation, would you prefer to live in another state?  Which one?  And why? 
Sheila:  This is a great question and actually one I have pondered.... I think no.  I really do love Minnesota.  I would like to go somewhere for the winters... I wouldn't mind doing winters in Florida - we have some family there or even to go and do longer periods of time in Honduras and then come back in time for spring..... 

Mall_of_America.jpg image by scrappyjessi Booklogged:  If we visited your state what cities, sights, and/or activities would you recommend we check out, see and/or do? 

Sheila:  Oh we would have a blast!  Come in the sumemr and we would travel to the Mall of America and enjoy a great day of shopping, browsing and eating great foods.  I would hook you up with a bike and we would join in one of the many 50 mile bike tours that go on spring through fall.  We would meet so many great people and experience the great tastes of Minnesota.  A day or two on the lakes - boating or fishing, a day at the Mansions in Little Falls and perhaps the Apple Festival in ALexandria, The Blueberry festival in Ely or the haunted ship tour in Duluth to round out your time.

Booklogged: Who are some authors that hail from your state? 

Sheila:  Tami Hoag, John Sanford, Charles Schultz, Jon Hassler, Lorna Landvik, Scott Fitzgerald, Tim O'Brian, William Krueger, ... I know I am probably forgetting some great ones...

Booklogged:  Do you have a favorite book set in your state? 

Sheila:  I am going to go with The Little House on the Prarie books.  I grew up with them and enjoyed the references in them made to Minnesota. As a young girl my mom had bought me a beautiful boxed set of all the books.  through the years I do not know what happened to them but I do wish I still had them today.

I want to thank Sheila for taking time to answer my questions.  I can't wait to visit Minnesota and spend time enjoying its beauty.  I'll be looking you up when I do, Sheila!

HELP!  If you are, or know someone who is, from one of these states will you leave a comment or email
me.  Thank-you.
  • North Dakota
  • Alabama
  • Oklahoma
  • New Mexico