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Books Set in North America

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As we near the end of the Book Voyage reading challenge, this month we’ll be reading books set in North America.

Even if you call North America home, we bet you still have a lot to learn about this incredibly diverse continent. For example, you might be surprised to learn that while 8 of the 10 largest metropolitan areas are located in the USA, it’s Mexico City that tops the list with the largest population. And did you know that Greenland is the world’s largest island that isn’t also a continent?

North America has a huge range of climates, including every one of the Earth’s major biomes, from the ice and arctic tundra of the far north, to the tropical rainforests of Central America, with temperate forests, grasslands, savannas, deserts, and coral reefs in between.

This continent is also a very important source of information about the Earth’s geologic periods. The Appalachian Mountains, which run parallel to the Atlantic coast from Canada to Alabama, are the oldest mountain range in the world. And more dinosaur fossils have been unearthed in the United States than in any other country.

PS: You can read all about the Book Voyage challenge, find new book lists each month, and download your free printable map book tracker, with a color-coded map of each region here.

As always, you are welcome to choose any book set in North America that you’d like, but we’ve compiled this recommended reading list specifically with the intent to help you explore beyond what you may already know. While many readers may automatically think of books set in the USA, we’d like to encourage our fellow American’s to armchair travel to one of the continent’s other countries or territories, including: Canada, Greenland, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.

Of course, the North American book recommendations that we detail below are just a starting point. We also have lots of other reading resources that you may find useful:

  • Arctic North: The Arctic and Antarctica were the first stop on the Book Voyage Challenge, and our list of Arctic books cover the northern-most parts of Canada, Greenland, and the US state of Alaska.
  • Islands: In addition to the countries listed above, there are also many island nations and territories that are considered part of North America. You’ll find many of those covered on our list of books that take place on islands.
  • Latin America: The term Latin America generally refers to the entire region south of the United States in which Spanish, Portuguese, and French (all Latin languages) are officially spoken. The countries of Latin America span both the North American and South American continents. Accordingly, this North American reading list includes Latin American books set in Mexico and the seven countries of Central America. Be sure to check out last month’s list of the best books set in South America for more Latin American literature and non-fiction.
  • The Past Century in the United States: Our list below includes a handful of books set in the United States, with a focus on works that provide a unique perspective. If you’re interested in learning more about life in the US throughout the past century, we encourage you to check out the reading lists that we’ve compiled for the Decades Reading Challenge. Here you’ll find book recommendations for each decade from the 1910s to present, with many of the books on each list set in the United States.

Books Set in North America

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Throughout the list, we noted the books currently available as part of Kindle Unlimited Subscriptions.

Carl M Stultz

Thursday 4th of November 2021

For North America, I've started with Forgotten Tales of New Mexico by Ellen Dornan.

Kathryn Lang-Slattery

Sunday 24th of October 2021

You include so many books of interest that I often am running several months behind. I just finished a book from the Northern Asia list. How can I enter it into my "books read" for Northern Asia?

Maria Norton

Wednesday 20th of October 2021

I just finished reading Louise Penny’s The Madness if Crowds. Powerful and thought provoking.

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