Good Roots — 2006

Writers Reflect on Growing Up in Ohio

Edited by Lisa Watts
Foreword by R. L. Stine
Afterword by Mark Winegardner

Featured title of the first annual Ohioana Book Festival

“It’s rare to find an anthology whose entries are consistently well written and delightful to read. Good Roots: Writers Reflect on Growing Up in Ohio is just that… Every piece in this book is a gem.”

The Bloomsbury Review

“One of the deep pleasures of Good Roots: Writers Reflect on Growing Up in Ohio is its rousing examples of the intimacy of place… Editor Lisa Watts had the clever idea of inviting 20 gifted poets, novelists and nonfiction writers to consider their Ohio beginnings. She enhances the appeal of this anthology with childhood snapshots at the start of each writer's section.”

The Plain Dealer

“I'd move back to Toledo if it weren't for my children. The rest of the world does not seem to be a happy or levelheaded place. And I want the kids to fit in.“

P. J. O’Rourke

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“A good place to be from.” That's how some people might characterize the Buckeye State. The writings in Good Roots: Writers Reflect on Growing Up in Ohio, are testimony to the truth of that statement. By prominent writers such as P. J. O'Rourke, Susan Orlean, and Alix Kates Shulman, these contributions are alternately nostalgic, irreverent, and sincere, and offer us a personal sense of place. Their childhoods are as varied as their work. Some were raised in urban Cleveland, Akron, and Cincinnati, others in the small Ohio towns that typify the Midwest, and still others in the countryside. Yet what they have to tell us about their roots resonates with a shared heritage, a sense of what is universal and enduring about growing up in the heartland.

Their collective résumé reads like a literary Who's Who, including four Pulitzer Prizes, several National Book Awards, and many prestigious fellowships. Good Roots is also plain good reading from some of our country's most accomplished contemporary writers.

Contributors include: Jill Bialosky, Dan Cryer, Michael Dirda, Elizabeth Dodd, Anthony Doerr, Rita Dove, Ian Frazier, Dale Keiger, Andrea Louie, Kathleen Dean Moore, Mary Oliver, Susan Orlean, P. J. O'Rourke, Julie Salamon, Scott Russell Sanders, Alix Kates Shulman, Jeffery Smith, James Toedtman, and Mark Winegardner.


Picture of Lisa Watts

Ohio native Lisa Watts is an editor and writer who raised her family in a small Ohio town for ten years.

  • Winner of the Ohioana Library’s 2008 Ohio Legacy Citation
  • 2014-2015 Choose to Read Ohio selection
Cover of 'Good Roots'

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