Books Set in or about Appalachia

Playing Books and Bites Bingo? Here are some suggestions for the Books Set in or about Appalachia square.

Updated January 13, 2023
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Blood runs coal : the Yablonski murders and the battle for the United Mine Workers of America
Bradley, Mark A.
In the early hours of New Year's Eve 1969, in the small soft coal mining borough of Clarksville, Pennsylvania, longtime trade union insider Joseph "Jock" Yablonski and his wife and daughter were brutally murdered in their old stone farmhouse. Seven months earlier, Yablonski had announced his...
Trampoline : an illustrated novel
Gipe, Robert.
Dawn Jewell is fifteen. She is restless, curious, and wry. She listens to Black Flag, speaks her mind, and joins her grandmother's fight against mountaintop removal mining almost in spite of herself. "I write by ear," says Robert Gipe, and Dawn's voice is the essence of his debut novel,...
What you are getting wrong about Appalachia
Catte, Elizabeth
In 2016, headlines declared Appalachia ground zero for America's "forgotten tribe" of white working class voters. Journalists flocked to the region to extract sympathetic profiles of families devastated by poverty, abandoned by establishment politics, and eager to consume cheap campaign promises....
The girl singer : poems
Worthington, Marianne
Feminism, Appalachian culture, and country music: three threads beautifully woven into one in Marianne Worthington's poetry collection The Girl Singer. The poet grew up in urban Appalachia, listening to country and folk music and letting it live within her. The speakers in The...
Demon Copperhead
Kingsolver, Barbara
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE * WINNER OF THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION A New York Times "Ten Best Books of the Year" * An Oprah's Book Club Selection * An Instant New York Times Bestseller * An Instant Wall Street Journal Bestseller * A #1 Washington Post Bestseller...
In the shadow of the valley : a memoir
Conn, Bobi
A clear-eyed and compassionate memoir of the Appalachian experience by a woman who embraced its astonishing beauty, narrowly escaped its violence, and struggles to call it home. Bobi Conn was raised in a remote Kentucky holler in 1980s Appalachia. She remembers her tin-roofed house...
Perfect Black
Wilkinson, Crystal
2022 NAACP Image Award Winner Crystal Wilkinson combines a deep love for her rural roots with a passion for language and storytelling in this compelling collection of poetry and prose about girlhood, racism, and political awakening, imbued with vivid imagery of growing up in...
Something's rising : Appalachians fighting mountaintop removal
House, Silas
Like an old-fashioned hymn sung in rounds, Something's Rising gives a stirring voice to the lives, culture, and determination of the people fighting the destructive practice of mountaintop removal in the coalfields of central Appalachia. Each person's story, unique and unfiltered, articulates the...
Where all light tends to go
Joy, David
The area surrounding Cashiers, North Carolina, is home to people of all kinds, but the world that Jacob McNeely lives in is crueller than most. His father runs a methodically organised meth ring, with local authorities on the dime to turn a blind eye to his dealings. Having dropped out of high...
Clay's quilt
House, Silas
In his New York Times bestselling debut novel, Silas House introduced himself as an important voice for Appalachia, and indeed, for the entire rural South. In Clay's Quilt, now a touchstone for his many fans, House takes us to Free Creek, Kentucky, where a motherless young man forges his...
Appalachian reckoning : a region responds to Hillbilly Elegy
Harkins, Anthony
With hundreds of thousands of copies sold, a Ron Howard movie in the works, and the rise of its author as a media personality, J. D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis has defined Appalachia for much of the nation. What about Hillbilly Elegy accounts...
Appalachian elegy : poetry and place
hooks, bell
Author, activist, feminist, teacher, and artist bell hooks is celebrated as one of the nation's leading intellectuals. Born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, hooks drew her unique pseudonym from the name of her grandmother, an intelligent and strong-willed African American woman who inspired her to...
The Weight of This World
Joy, David.
Critically acclaimed author David Joy, whose debut, Where All Light Tends to Go, was hailed as "a savagely moving novel that will likely become an important addition to the great body of Southern literature" (The Huffington Post), returns to the mountains of North Carolina with a...
The giver of stars
Moyes, Jojo
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER |  A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK   "A great narrative about personal strength and really captures how books bring communities together." --Reese Witherspoon   From the author of the forthcoming Someone Else's Shoes<...
Black bone : 25 years of the Affrilachian poets
Spriggs, Bianca Lynne.
The Appalachian region stretches from Mississippi to New York, encompassing rural areas as well as cities from Birmingham to Pittsburgh. Though Appalachia's people are as diverse as its terrain, few other regions in America are as burdened with stereotypes. Author Frank X Walker coined the term...
Blacktop wasteland : a novel
Cosby, S. A.
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Winner * New York Times Notable Book * NPR's Best Books of the Year * BookPage's #1 Mystery and Suspense of the Year * Sun Sentinel's #1 Best Mystery of the Year "I loved Blacktop Wasteland...[A] fast-paced,...
Child of God
McCarthy, Cormac
From the bestselling author of The Passenger and the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Road * In this taut, chilling story,Lester Ballard--a violent, dispossessed man falsely accused of rape--haunts the hill country of East Tennessee when he is released from jail.<...
Gregory, Daryl
ONE OF THE WASHINGTON POST'S BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR * The dark, gripping tale of a 1930's family in the remote hills of the Smoky Mountains, their secret religion, and the daughter who turns her back on their mysterious god--from the acclaimed author of Spoonbenders. ...
The coal tattoo : a novel
House, Silas
Two sisters can't stand to live together, but can't bear to be apart. One worships the flashy world of Nashville, the other is a devout Pentecostal. One falls into the lap of any man, the other is afraid to even date. One gets pregnant in a flash, the other desperately wants to have child. ...
Death in Mud Lick : a coal country fight against the drug companies that delivered the opioid epidemic
Eyre, Eric
A New York Times Critics' Top Ten Book of the Year * 2021 Edgar Award Winner Best Fact Crime * A Lit Hub Best Book of The Year From a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter from the smallest newspaper ever to win the prize in the investigative reporting category, an...
The book woman of Troublesome Creek : a novel
Richardson, Kim Michele,
RECOMMENDED BY DOLLY PARTON IN PEOPLE MAGAZINE! A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A USA TODAY BESTSELLER A LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER A PBS BOOK PICK The bestselling historical fiction novel from Kim Michele Richardson, this is a novel following Cussy...
Brother : a novel
Ahlborn, Ania.
From the bestselling horror author of Within These Walls and The Bird Eater comes a terrifying novel that follows a teenager determined to break from his family's unconventional--and deeply disturbing--traditions. Deep in the heart of Appalachia stands a crooked...
Soul full of coal dust : a fight for breath and justice in Appalachia
Hamby, Chris
In a devastating and urgent work of investigative journalism, Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hamby uncovers the tragic resurgence of black lung disease in Appalachia, its Big Coal cover-up, and the resilient mining communities who refuse to back down.   ...
Outer dark
McCarthy, Cormac
From the bestselling author of The Passenger and the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Road * A novel at once fabular and starkly evocative, set is an unspecified place in Appalachia, sometime around the turn of the century. A woman bears her brother...
Twilight in Hazard : an Appalachian reckoning
Maimon, Alan
An intimate portrait of Appalachia, East Kentucky, an area still beset by the worst poverty in the US, tracing how events at the start of the new millennium continue to impact life in the region and the soul of the nation as a whole.
Hill women : finding family and a way forward in the Appalachian Mountains
Chambers, Cassie
After rising from poverty to earn two Ivy League degrees, an Appalachian lawyer pays tribute to the strong "hill women" who raised and inspired her, and whose values have the potential to rejuvenate a struggling region. "Destined to be compared to Hillbilly Elegy...
Devil's Creek : a novel
Keisling, Todd
The twisted ones
Kingfisher, T.
Winner of the RUSA Award for Best Horror When a young woman clears out her deceased grandmother's home in rural North Carolina, she finds long-hidden secrets about a strange colony of beings in the woods in this chilling novel that reads like The Blair Witch Project...
The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded : poems
Brown, Molly McCully
Haunted by thevoices of those committed to the notorious Virginia State Colony, epicenter ofthe American eugenics movement in the first half of the twentieth century, thisevocative debut marks the emergence of a poet of exceptional poise andcompassion, who grew up in the shadow of the Colony itself.
Every bone a prayer
Blooms, Ashley
"Blooms has taken the voice and names of Appalachia, tended, and evolved them, and created a book that is at once haunting and hopeful."--NPR Praised by BuzzFeed, Good Housekeeping, POPSUGAR, Bustle, and more! Misty's holler looks like any of the thousands of hollers that fork...
WWJD and Other Poems
Sipple, Savannah
"Savannah Sipple's debut is proof of a woman rising--up from the strung-out, Christ-haunted carcinogens and violences of a land stripped of its coal; up from nine-hours on her feet followed by the extra work back home of picking gravel out of pinto beans; up from a return visit to the honey...
The revolutionary spirit in France and America
Fačy, Bernard
All this marvelous potential : Robert Kennedy's 1968 tour of Appalachia
Algeo, Matthew
"A powerful story, skillfully told." --Booklist  A new portrait of Robert Kennedy, a politician who, for all his faults, had the uncommon courage to stand up to a president from his own party and shine a light on America's...

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