The Greatest "Arizona" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

    The novel follows the journey of a young woman from rural Kentucky who, on her drive west to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, is unexpectedly entrusted with a three-year-old Native American girl. The protagonist settles in Tucson, Arizona, where she builds a non-traditional family with a group of resilient and unconventional women. The narrative explores themes of love, friendship, and the power of the human spirit while tackling issues of social injustice and immigration.

    The 986th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

    In "The Andromeda Strain," a team of scientists investigates a deadly extraterrestrial microorganism that has wiped out an entire town. As they race against time to understand and contain the mysterious organism, they must navigate through various obstacles, including the threat of a potential outbreak and their own internal conflicts. With a blend of science, suspense, and government secrecy, this thrilling techno-thriller keeps readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

    The 1322nd Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan

    This novel follows the lives of four African-American women living in Phoenix, Arizona, each of whom is "holding their breath" as they navigate their personal and professional lives. The women are all in their mid-thirties, successful, and single, struggling to find love in a world that seems to offer few prospects. Through their friendship, they support each other and learn to let go of their pasts, "exhale", and move forward.

    The 1716th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey

    "The Monkey Wrench Gang" is a novel about four environmental activists who form a group to sabotage projects that they believe harm the natural environment in the American Southwest. The group's activities range from vandalism to arson, as they target billboards, bridges, and bulldozers, among other things. The novel explores themes of civil disobedience, the ethics of violence, and the tension between individual freedom and societal structures, all set against the backdrop of the expansive western landscape.

    The 1838th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

    "Lost Children Archive" by Valeria Luiselli is a novel that follows a family on a road trip from New York to Arizona. The parents are documentarians and are working on separate projects, while the children are preoccupied with their own interests. As they travel, the family becomes increasingly aware of the migrant crisis and the children's obsession with finding lost things takes on a new meaning. The novel explores themes of family, identity, and the power of storytelling.

    The 3730th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Yes Is Better Than No by Byrd Baylor

    Set in the American Southwest, the novel explores the lives of impoverished Native American families living on the edge of a white man's town. Through the lens of a young girl from the Papago (Tohono O'odham) tribe, the story delves into themes of cultural identity, resilience, and the struggle between traditional ways and the encroaching modern world. The narrative poignantly captures the challenges faced by the community as they navigate poverty, discrimination, and the complexities of adapting to a world that often seems to value material wealth over spiritual richness. The title reflects the optimism and the spirit of affirmation that the characters must embrace to find joy and meaning in their difficult circumstances.

    The 3764th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. Forged Under The Sun by Fran Leeper Buss

    "Forged Under The Sun" is a compelling narrative that chronicles the lives of Mexican-American women, offering a vivid portrayal of their struggles and resilience. The book is a collection of oral histories that weave together personal testimonies, revealing the cultural, social, and economic challenges these women faced. It delves into their experiences with immigration, labor, family, and community, painting a picture of their determination to forge identities and lives under often harsh and unforgiving circumstances. The stories serve as a testament to the strength and endurance of these women, as they navigate and shape the world around them despite the adversities imposed by both society and the blazing sun under which they toil.

    The 5432nd Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. Timeline by Michael Crichton

    In "Timeline" by Michael Crichton, a group of archaeologists and historians are given the opportunity to travel back in time to the 14th century. As they venture into the past to rescue their colleague, they find themselves caught in a dangerous and unpredictable world. Faced with medieval warfare, treachery, and the challenges of adapting to a different time period, they must race against time to survive and make it back to the present.

    The 6474th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac

    The book is a historical novel that tells the story of a Navajo man who serves in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. Recruited for his unique linguistic skills, he becomes one of the Code Talkers, a group of Native American soldiers tasked with using their native language to create an unbreakable code for transmitting messages. The narrative follows his experiences of discrimination, the horrors of war, and the crucial role the Code Talkers played in the American military victories in the Pacific Theater, all while exploring themes of cultural identity, bravery, and the complex nature of patriotism.

    The 6743rd Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver

    The novel follows the story of Codi Noline, a woman who returns to her hometown of Grace, Arizona to help her aging father. As she reconnects with her community and navigates her complicated relationship with her sister Hallie, who has disappeared in Nicaragua, Codi grapples with feelings of displacement and a lack of identity. The story explores themes of memory, heritage, love, and environmental conservation as Codi learns to find her place in the world and protect the land she calls home.

    The 6885th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. The Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko

    "The Almanac of the Dead" is a complex narrative that explores the histories and struggles of indigenous peoples in the Americas, particularly in the Southwestern United States and Central America. The story is centered around a 500-year-old manuscript known as "the almanac," which prophesizes a massive, revolutionary upheaval led by the indigenous people against the oppressive forces of capitalism and colonialism. The novel delves into themes of resistance, survival, and the power of storytelling, weaving together a multitude of interconnected narratives and characters.

    The 6919th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. Half Broke Horses: A True Life Novel by Jeannette Walls

    Half Broke Horses is a novel based on the life of the author's grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, who grew up in the early 1900s on a ranch in Texas. The book follows Lily's journey from a young girl with a thirst for adventure to a strong-willed woman who becomes a teacher, a rancher, and a mother. Despite facing numerous challenges and setbacks, Lily remains determined and resilient, forging her own path in a world that often tries to limit her. The book is a tribute to the indomitable spirit of one remarkable woman and a celebration of the American West.

    The 7944th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. Titan Ii by David Stumpf

    This book provides a comprehensive history of the Titan II missile program, detailing its role as a key component of America's Cold War nuclear arsenal. It delves into the technical specifications, operational history, and strategic significance of the Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which was the largest and most powerful ICBM deployed by the United States during the Cold War. The narrative also covers the challenges and accidents associated with managing such a potent weapon system, offering insights into the complexities of nuclear deterrence and the technological advancements in military weaponry during a tense period in global politics. Through meticulous research and detailed accounts, the book sheds light on the often-overlooked aspects of America's nuclear history and the delicate balance of power that defined the Cold War era.

    The 8175th Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. Angels by Denis Johnson

    The book is a gritty, harrowing tale of two lost souls, Jamie and Bill, who meet on a cross-country Greyhound bus and form an unlikely bond amidst their personal turmoil. Set against the backdrop of America's seedy underbelly in the 1980s, their journey takes them from the East Coast to the streets of Phoenix, Arizona, where they become entangled in a world of crime and violence. The narrative explores themes of desperation, redemption, and the elusive nature of grace, painting a stark portrait of characters on the fringes of society, struggling to find their way amidst the chaos of their lives.

    The 8331st Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. The Man Who Walked Through Time by Colin Fletcher

    This book is a captivating account of the author's two-month solo journey on foot through the Grand Canyon. The author, a seasoned hiker, narrates his experiences with vivid detail, describing the breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and the profound solitude he encounters. As he travels, he also delves into the geological history of the canyon, contemplating the passage of time and the impermanence of human life. The book is a remarkable blend of adventure, nature writing, and philosophical reflection.

    The 8658th Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. A Season In The West by Piers Paul Read

    "A Season In The West" is a gripping historical novel that takes place during the American Civil War. Set in the tumultuous West, the story follows a young Union soldier named John who finds himself caught up in the chaos and violence of the war. As he navigates through battles, encounters with Native Americans, and the harsh realities of army life, John must confront his own personal demons and question the morality of war. With vivid descriptions and compelling characters, the book offers a thought-provoking exploration of the human experience during a time of great conflict.

    The 8965th Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. Grant by Ron Chernow

    "Grant" is a comprehensive biography of the 18th President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow, the book explores Grant's early life, military career, presidency, and post-presidential years. Chernow portrays Grant as a complex and often misunderstood figure, highlighting his military genius and leadership during the Civil War, as well as his struggles with alcoholism and financial ruin later in life. The book also delves into Grant's relationships with his wife, Julia, and political figures such as Abraham Lincoln and William Tecumseh Sherman. Overall, "Grant" offers a detailed and nuanced portrait of one of America's most significant historical figures.

    The 9184th Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. The Line Becomes A River by Francisco Cantú

    "The Line Becomes a River" is a memoir that delves into the complex and often harsh realities of the U.S.-Mexico border, as experienced by a former Border Patrol agent. The author recounts his personal journey, from his initial idealistic desire to understand border issues to the moral conflicts he faces witnessing the suffering of migrants. Through vivid narratives that blend his own experiences with those of the people he encounters—migrants striving for a better life, and fellow agents caught in the system—the book offers a poignant exploration of the physical and psychological borders that define both the landscape and the human lives involved.

    The 9587th Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. Inland by Téa Obreht

    Set in the arid American West of the late 1800s, the novel weaves together the lives of two remarkable characters: a frontierswoman awaiting the return of her sons and husband to their drought-ridden homestead, and an outlaw on the run from his past, haunted by visions of lost camels and a mysterious boy. Their stories converge in a desolate town, where their fates intertwine through a series of events that encompass both the supernatural and the deeply human. The narrative explores themes of survival, myth, and the intersection of different cultures against a backdrop of a harsh and unforgiving landscape.

    The 10400th Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. The Wood Wife by Terri Windling

    "The Wood Wife" by Terri Windling is a fantasy novel that follows the story of a young writer named Maggie Black who inherits a house in the remote Arizona desert after her mentor dies. As she explores the surrounding wilderness, Maggie discovers a hidden community of artists and musicians who are connected to the magical spirits of the land. When a local gallery owner is murdered and the community is threatened by outsiders, Maggie must use her newfound knowledge to protect her new friends and the natural beauty of the desert. The novel explores themes of creativity, nature, and the power of myth and folklore.

    The 10577th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.