What Do I Read Next?
The Country of the Pointed Firs, Jewett’s 1896 novel, is often considered her greatest work and one of the nineteenth century’s best pieces of regional fiction. Set in a New England coastal village and the surrounding countryside, and narrated in a strong female voice, it tells the stories of the typically eccentric people who shape the landscape, and are shaped by it.
Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio (1919) does for the American Midwest what Jewett’s work does for New England: presents universally recognized characters in a highly localized setting. Anderson’s male narrator observes life in his small town, recording the secret loneliness and pain of his neighbors.
Mary Austin’s 1903 The Land of Little Rain is an early work of Southwestern regional literature. It is nonfictional but very personal, a detailed look at the terrain, plants, animals, and Native Americans in the Sierras, presented by a woman who spent years living in the dry mountains and fighting to protect them from human exploitation.
Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences is Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1987 collection of short stories. Le Guin may be best known as a science fiction writer, but these stories explore the place of women and animals in a male-dominated culture. In ‘‘May’s Lion’’ and other stories, she describes a world of women in which the earth’s creatures are respected and welcomed.
In one of the best-known works of American natural history, Walden, or Life in the Woods (1854), Henry David Thoreau abandons civilization for two years and attempts to live a life of self-sufficiency and exploration in a tiny cabin at the edge of Walden Pond.