Every state is known for something. As you work your way through the list, don’t miss the best books set in Utah.
Utah is a landlocked state in the Mountain West sub-region of the Western United States. It is bordered to its east by Colorado, to its northeast by Wyoming, to its north by Idaho, to its south by Arizona, and to its west by Nevada. Utah also touches a corner of New Mexico in the southeast.
What themes are in Books Set in Utah?
Books set in Utah often explore a wide range of themes, reflecting the state’s unique history, culture, and landscapes. Some common themes in these books include:
1. Mormonism and Religion: Given the historical significance of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) in Utah, many books set in the state touch upon themes related to religion, its impact on individuals and communities, and the cultural and social dynamics of the Mormon faith.
2. Wilderness and Nature: Utah is renowned for its breathtaking natural landscapes, including national parks like Zion, Arches, and Bryce Canyon. Many books set in Utah emphasize the beauty and power of nature, often exploring themes of conservation, environmentalism, and humanity’s relationship with the wilderness.
3. Identity and Belonging: Utah’s history includes a complex mix of Native American, Mormon, and other cultural influences. Some books set in Utah delve into themes of identity and belonging, particularly for individuals or communities with diverse backgrounds.
4. Polygamy and Alternative Lifestyles: Utah has been associated with the practice of polygamy, and some books explore the challenges and consequences of this lifestyle on individuals and families. These books often tackle themes related to family dynamics, gender roles, and personal freedom.
5. Isolation and Survival: Utah’s remote and rugged landscapes often serve as settings for stories of isolation, survival, and self-discovery. These themes can be found in narratives about desert adventures, ranch life, and frontier existence.
6. Social and Cultural Change: Like many places, Utah has undergone significant social and cultural changes over time. Some books set in the state address themes of progress, modernization, and the tension between tradition and change.
7. Family and Community: Family plays a central role in many Utah-based novels. These stories explore themes of love, conflict, and the bonds that tie individuals together, whether they are traditional nuclear families or non-traditional structures.
8. Mystery and Suspense: Utah’s rugged terrain and its mix of natural and human-made challenges provide an excellent backdrop for mystery and suspense novels. These books often involve elements of danger and intrigue within the state’s unique settings.
9. History and Heritage: Books set in Utah frequently engage with themes of history, heritage, and the legacies of the past. Whether it’s the early Mormon pioneers or other historical events, these novels often explore the impact of history on the present.
These themes reflect the diverse and complex aspects of life in Utah and offer readers a broad range of narratives and perspectives. Books set in Utah use the state’s backdrop to tell compelling stories that resonate with a variety of themes and issues.
Best Books Set in Utah
Author: Edward Abbey
Desert Solitaire is a collection of vignettes about life in the wilderness and the nature of the desert itself by park ranger and conservationist, Edward Abbey. The book details the unique adventures and conflicts the author faces, from dealing with the damage caused by land development or excessive tourism to discovering a dead body.
The Executioner’s Song
Author: Norman Mailer
A reconstruction of the crime and fate of Gary Gilmore, the convicted murderer who sought his own execution in Utah where he was imprisoned, is based on taped interviews with relatives, friends, lawyers, and law-enforcement officials
- Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, paperback
- Williams, Terry Tempest (Author)
Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place
Author: Terry Tempest Williams
In the spring of 1983 Terry Tempest Williams learned that her mother was dying of cancer. That same season, The Great Salt Lake began to rise to record heights, threatening the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and the herons, owls, and snowy egrets that Williams, a poet and naturalist, had come to gauge her life by.
- Udall, Brady (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
The Lonely Polygamist: A Novel
Author: Brady Udall
Beautifully written, keenly observed, and ultimately redemptive, The Lonely Polygamist is an unforgettable story of an American family―with its inevitable dysfunctionality, heartbreak, and comedy―pushed to its outer limits.
- Ebershoff, David (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
The 19th Wife: A Novel
Author: David Ebershoff
It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of her family’s polygamous history is revealed, including how both she and her mother became plural wives.
Now that you’ve completed the list of best books set in this state, why not check out some others? Here are the Best Books Set in All 50 States.
DOWNLOAD AND PRINT BOOKS SET IN ALL 50 STATES
Click here to download the printable. It has a list of books in all 50 states including the Best Books Set in Utah.
Want to keep learning about the States? Traveling the States offers a comprehensive educational journey through all 50 American states, making it suitable for individuals of all ages!
The program encompasses each of the fifty states and provides the flexibility to explore them in any preferred sequence, whether alphabetically, in the order of statehood, or in accordance with your travel route. You can even involve your children in the decision-making process by allowing them to select a state, granting them a sense of involvement in their learning experience.
For each state you choose to explore, your family will engage in various enriching activities. These activities involve identifying the state’s location on a map, delving into its history, creatively coloring a unique artwork page, gaining insights into the state flag’s history and creating your own representation, stamping a passport to mark your journey, accessing a curated YouTube playlist, and immersing yourself in the state’s history and its natural world, which includes details about the state’s designated animal, bird, flower, and tree. Additionally, you’ll partake in enjoyable and educational games, and even prepare a traditional recipe unique to that state.
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Further Reading About the State:
- Fodor's Utah: with Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Capitol Reef, and Canyonlands National Parks (Full-color Travel Guide)
- Utah Bucket List Adventure Guide: Explore 100 Offbeat Destinations You Must Visit!
- Idaho Road and Recreation Atlas - 7th Edition, 2022 (Benchmark)
- Utah: The Beehive State
- Moon Utah: With Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Capitol Reef & Canyonlands National Parks (Travel Guide)