Connecting the 2,369 miles of U.S. Route 1 from Ft. Kent, Maine, to Key West, Florida, the Route One Reads initiative is a partnership between 16 affiliate Centers for the Book to promote books that illuminate important aspects of their states or commonwealths for readers travelling the major and meandering highway. The initiative was launched at the 2015 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit Route1Reads.org or follow #Route1Reads on Twitter.
For the third consecutive year, Florida Center for the Book is participating in the Route One Reads initiative. In 2017, the theme of the initiative is memoirs and biographies, and the selected book to represent Florida is Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston by Valerie Boyd.
About the Author
Zora Neale Hurston published seven books, many short stories, and several articles and plays over a career that spanned more than thirty years. Today, nearly every black woman writer of significance—including Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker—acknowledges Hurston as a literary foremother, and her 1937 masterpiece Their Eyes Were Watching God has become a crucial part of the modern literary canon.
About the Book
Wrapped in Rainbows illuminates the adventures, complexities, and sorrows of an extraordinary life. Acclaimed journalist Valerie Boyd delves into Hurston’s history—her youth in Eatonville, Florida, the country’s first incorporated all-black town, her friendships with luminaries such as Langston Hughes, her sexuality and short-lived marriages, and her mysterious relationship with vodou. With the Harlem Renaissance, the Great Depression, and World War II as historical backdrops, Wrapped in Rainbows not only positions Hurston’s work in her time but also offers riveting implications for our own.
Selected Works by Zora Neale Hurston*
- Jonah's Gourd Vine, 1934; 1990
- Mules and Men, 1935; 1990
- Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937; 1990
- Tell My Horse, 1938; 1990
- Moses, Man of the Mountain, 1939; 1991
- Dust Tracks on a Road, 1942; 1996
- Seraph on the Suwanee, 1948; 1991
*Hurston's publisher during her life was J.B. Lippincott, with the exception of her last novel, which was republished by Scribner. Her reprinted works are published by HarperCollins.
- I Love Myself When I Am Laughing...and Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive: A Zora Neale Hurston Reader. Ed. by Alice Walker. New York: The Feminist Press, 1979.
- Mule Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life. Written with Langston Hughes. Edited and with introductions by George Houston Bass and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. New York: HarperPerennial, 1991.
- The Complete Stories. Introduction by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Sieglinde Lemke. New York: HarperCollins, 1995.
- Every Tongue Got to Confess: Negro Folk-Tales from the Gulf States. Edited by Carla Kaplan, foreword by John Edgar Wideman. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.
Other Works about Zora Neale Hurston:
- Hemenway, Robert E. Zora Neale Hurston: A Literary Biography. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1977.
- Hurston, Lucy Anne, and the Estate of Zora Neale Hurston. Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston. New York: Doubleday, 2004.
- Kaplan, Carla, ed. Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters. New York: Doubleday, 2002.
- Walker, Alice. In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens. New York: Harcourt, 1983.
If you want to read other novelists influenced by Hurston, you might enjoy:
- Toni Morrison's Jazz, 1992
- Gloria Naylor's The Women of Brewster Place, 1982
- Alice Walker's Meridian, 1976
If you want to read other writers of the Harlem Renaissance, you might enjoy:
- Langston Hughes's The Weary Blues, 1926
- James Weldon Johnson's The Book of American Negro Poetry, 1922
- Jean Toomer's Cane, 1923
The diverse reading list created by Route One Reads highlights each individual State Center for the Book while celebrating the East Coast as a whole. By participating in Route One Reads, readers can travel across 15 states and the District of Columbia without taking a single footstep, or load selected books into the car for a literary road trip. The full list of featured books for the 2017 Route One Reads initiative is available along with a map of participating states at Route1Reads.org.
Route One Reads is a partnership between the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, and its affiliates in: Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; Virginia; and, Washington, D.C.