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Which books best represent Idaho? Here's what you told us.

Multiple books laying open.
Becky Harlan

Say someone wants to get to know Idaho … via a book. Which one would you recommend? We asked you on social media for quintessential books you feel illuminate Idaho: its landscape, its history, its people and what it's like to live here.

Here's what you recommended:

Minidoka Book Cover

Minidoka: An American Concentration Camp by Teresa Tamura

Recommended by loveyou_pidge on Instagram

Book description, courtesy of Goodreads: On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing U.S. Armed Forces to remove citizens and noncitizens from “military areas.” The result was the abrupt dislocation and imprisonment of 120,000 Japanese and Japanese American citizens in the western United States.

In Minidoka: An American Concentration Camp, Teresa Tamura documents one of 10 such camps, the Minidoka War Relocation Center in Jerome County, Idaho. Her documentation includes artifacts made in the camp as well as the story of its survivors, uprooted from their homes in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California. The essays are supplemented by 180 black-and-white photographs and interviews that fuse present and past.

Educated Book Cover

Educated by Tara Westover

Recommend by Marie on Twitter

Book description, courtesy of Goodreads: Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag". In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard.

Lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

The Big Burn book cover

The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan

Recommended by Margaret Carmel on Twitter

Book description, courtesy of Goodreads: On the afternoon of August 20, 1910, a battering ram of wind moved through the drought-stricken national forests of Washington, Idaho and Montana, whipping the hundreds of small blazes burning across the forest floor into a roaring inferno that jumped from treetop to ridge as it raged, destroying towns and timber in the blink of an eye. Forest rangers had assembled nearly ten thousand men  —  college boys, day workers, immigrants from mining camps  —  to fight the fire. But no living person had seen anything like those flames, and neither the rangers nor anyone else knew how to subdue them.

Angle of Repose book cover

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

Recommended by Tom Michael on Twitter and lissawhit and wanelour on Instagram

Book description, courtesy of Goodreads: Confined to a wheelchair, retired historian Lyman Ward sets out to write his grandparents' remarkable story, chronicling their days spent carving civilization into the surface of America's western frontier. But his research reveals even more about his own life than he's willing to admit. What emerges is an enthralling portrait of four generations in the life of an American family.

In the Wilderness book cover

In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country by Kim Barnes

Recommended by Sheila Winther on Facebook

Book description, courtesy of Goodreads: Poet Kim Barnes grew up in northern Idaho, in the isolated camps where her father worked as a logger and her mother made a modest but comfortable home for her husband and two children. Their lives were short on material wealth, but long on the riches of family and friendship, and the great sheltering power of the wilderness. But in the mid-1960's, as automation and a declining economy drove more and more loggers out of the wilderness and into despair, Kim's father dug in and determined to stay. It was then the family turned fervently toward Pentecostalism.

In the Wilderness is the poet's own account of a journey toward adulthood against an interior landscape every bit as awesome, as beautiful, and as fraught with hidden peril as the great forest itself. It is a story of how both faith and geography can shape the heart and soul, and of the uncharted territory we all must enter to face our demons. Above all, it is the clear-eyed and moving account of a young woman's coming of terms with her family, her homeland, her spirituality, and herself.

Hungry for more? 🤓

Check out this list NPR put together ahead of the summer travel season — they asked asked poets laureate, state librarians, bookstore owners and other literary luminaries from all 50 states (plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico!) to recommend quintessential reads that illuminate where they live. So no matter where in the country you're road trippin' or flying, there should be a book to help get you acquainted.

For Idaho specifically, they checked in with the current Idaho writer in residence, CMarie Fuhrman. What books did she recommend? You'll have to see for yourself!

And if you think there's a book, obvious or subtle, that best represents Idaho and it's not on these lists, you can tell NPR here.

Hello, I’m Katie and I’m a social media enthusiast here at Boise State Public Radio.