All Iowa Reads

Established in 2003, the All Iowa Reads program is one of the first projects to be provided by the Iowa Center for the Book.

The purpose of All Iowa Reads is to foster a senseĀ of unity through reading. We encourage Iowans statewide to come together in their communities to read and talk about a single book title in the same year. Libraries, book clubs, schools and other local organizations are encouraged to sponsor discussions of the title.

Bottomland by Michelle HooverBottomland by Michelle Hoover is the 2017 All Iowa Reads title.

At once intimate and sweeping, Bottomland--the anticipated second novel from Michelle Hoover--follows the Hess family in the years after World War I as they attempt to rid themselves of the Anti-German sentiment that left a stain on their name. But when the youngest two daughters vanish in the middle of the night, the family must piece together what happened while struggling to maintain their life on the unforgiving Iowa plains.

In the weeks after Esther and Myrle's disappearance, their siblings desperately search for the sisters, combing the stark farmlands, their neighbors' houses, and the unfamiliar world of far-off Chicago. Have the girls run away to another farm? Have they gone to the city to seek a new life? Or were they abducted? Ostracized, misunderstood, and increasingly isolated in their tightly-knit small town in the wake of the war, the Hesses fear the worst. Told in the voices of the family patriarch and his children, this is a haunting literary mystery that spans decades before its resolution. Hoover deftly examines the intrepid ways a person can forge a life of their own despite the dangerous obstacles of prejudice and oppression.

Michelle Hoover is the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University and teaches at GrubStreet, where she leads the Novel Incubator program. She is a 2014 NEA Fellow and has been a Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell Fellow, and a winner of the PEN/New England Discovery Award. She is a native of Iowa and lives in Boston.

-Text from All Iowa Reads 2017 announcement.

Additional information about All Iowa Reads, including past book choices, is available at the Iowa Center for the Book.