… the cookbook that collects favorite foods from every state in the union? The Great American Cookbook by Clementine Paddleford has 500 time-tested recipes. Little stories throughout each state tell of how some of the recipes came to be. Ever hear of “Zimtsterne,” commonly known as Cinnamon Stars or Potato Kugel? Both are favorites in Illinois.
… the spellwines that Vinearts make? Laura Anne Gilman created a unique form of magic for her book Flesh and Fire*. Although other people can use some of the power in the wines they make, only Vinearts can reach the magic in the grapes to make spellwines and use them to their full potential.
… the dogs and people who work together in search and rescue? In Scent of the Missing, Susannah Charleson describes her experiences working with Puzzle, a Golden Retriever she trained to do search and rescue.
…the beautiful, great western parts of the United States? Adventures in America’s Western Parks: Great Train Rides, Lodges & Inns takes a train ride from Union Station in Chicago to Glacier National Park. If you go coach fare, it’s not terribly expensive. This is one super trip you’ll enjoy whether you actually visit in person or just sit back and be an armchair traveler.
… the vampires in San Francisco? Christopher Moore’sBloodsucking Fiends* is a wonderfully funny story filled with odd characters and bizarre situations. Jody Stroud didn’t believe in vampires until she woke up under a dumpster, burned by sunlight and craving blood. C. Thomas (Tommy) Flood is a would-be writer from Indiana who works nights at a Safeway.
… the unpopular principal who was murdered? Laura Alden’sMurder at the PTA* is set in Wisconsin. Bookstore owner and divorced mom of two, Beth Kennedy gets talked into running for a slot on the PTA board when the school principal is murdered.