There are some books whose geographical settings are just as important to the story as the characters are.

Think "Gone With The Wind" (Georgia) or "Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas" (Nevada).

But what about New Jersey?

A friend of mine posted this list of the best books based in every state from the website Realsimple.com.

There were plenty of instantly recognizable books, like those I mentioned above, and famous titles like, "The Shining" (Colorado), "To Kill A Mockingbird" (Alabama), and "The Bridges of Madison County" (Iowa). But, I actually wasn't familiar with the pick for our home state.

According to the list, the best New Jersey based book is "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao", a Pulitzer Prize winning 2008 novel by Rutgers graduate Junot Diaz.

Realsimple.com describes the book like this:

Paterson, New Jersey is the setting of Junot Díaz’s award-winning novel. Oscar de León is a Dominican boy consumed by love, fantasy novels, and science fiction. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao spans his entire life, detailing his two suicide attempts in college, his move to the Dominican Republic, and the violence and heartbreak that follow.

What I also found interesting when researching for this article, though, is the fact that not a whole lot of well known books are set here in the Garden State.

Sure, we've got plenty of TV shows that call Jersey home (I'm looking at you, "Boardwalk Empire" and "The Sopranos"), but not a whole lot of famous books take place here.

Although, I did have to smile when I saw that Judy Blume's timeless kids' favorite "Superfudge" is based in Princeton.

You can't argue with the awards for "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao". In addition to the Pulitzer, the novel also won The National Book Critics Circle Award and was named the #1 Fiction Book of the Year by Time magazine, so maybe it's a good summer reading list pick.

Do you have any favorite Jersey-based books? Tell us about them on our Facebook page!

 

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