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Reader Participation Day: Do You Read Nevada Barr's National Park-Based Anna Pigeon Mysteries?


Many writers have used national parks as settings for novels, but none have managed to do it more successfully or more durably than Nevada Barr. The books in her Anna Pigeon Mysteries series have consistently made the best seller lists, won prestigious awards, created a large base of fans who eagerly await her next book, and established Barr as the premier writer of national park-focused novels.

If you've read any of the 17 books in the Anna Pigeon Mysteries series, please take a few moments to share your thoughts. 

Tell us about anything that's relevant.  Which books in the Anna Pigeon Mysteries series have your read? Do you believe that Barr's descriptions of park physical and cultural resources are reasonably accurate?  Have you ever visited a park because you read about it in a Nevada Barr novel?  Would reading a Nevada Barr novel set in a particular park be a good thing to do before visiting that park?  How much do you think the characters inhabiting Barr's novels resemble the real-life rangers, superintendents, concessioners, and others who work in, manage, and protect our national parks?


I have read one:  "Hunting Season".  Pretty good, held my interest. 

Love her books and have read all of them.  I especially enjoy her descriptions of the parks themselves and the issues that the rangers have to deal with behind the scenes. Her novels have peaked my interest in several national parks, especially Isle Royale, Natchez Trace and Big Bend (although I haven't been able to get to any of then yet!) I wasn't impressed with her last one "The Rope" - Glen Canyon fascinated me, but the story itself was not great.

I have no idea if her depiction of ranger life is accurate, but I have heard that many rangers don't like the books.

Yes, I have read two books by Nevada Barr. I began reading
her novels first for the wildlife association, and second for the setting of
the national parks. Blood Lure and Winter Study take place in Glacier and Isle
Royale National Parks. Neither are parks that I have visited, however,
comparing my own national park experience, I could see the setting and felt as
though I were there. Barr’s descriptions are lively and intriguing, even if I
cannot verify the physical locations. I have no association with National Park
Service except to be a regular visitor of many national parks, but in my
regularity (and compared to books to make accounts of park rescues, etc.), Barr
accurately make me feel close the parks, like what she writes could be
happening. As I travel the country, these parks are places that I would like to
visit. I intend to read more of Barr’s novels to relate her stories to parks I
have visited such as Big Bend National Park, the setting for Borderline, and I when I visit the parks
in the books I have read, I think I will reread them to enhance my experience
in the parks. If there is anything catching to me about Barr’s novels, it’s
that the animals and nature are not the monsters; it’s humans—us. This insight
is gripping as a reader, and humbling as a park visitor. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Great post! Excited to have been able to participate in
this, and I look forward to what may follow between NPT and Nevada Barr!

I have read several. I like picking up on local history and culture of the parks depicted, which I believe she does a good job of incorporating in to her stories. I enjoy the books because of their tie to the National Parks....not because of the story lines.

absolutely...great mysteries and gives me a taste of some of the parks I have yet to visit.

I used to read them and I really enjoyed the fact that the characters were based on actual park rangers. I always had fun trying to figure out who they were. But I am a stickler for details and I was driven slightly crazy whenever she called an alligator or a turtle an amphibian. I guess it's just the biologist in me...

I download the audiobooks from my local library.  I have a great time listening to Nevada Barr on long drives in the car.

I've read every one and look forward to the places Ms. Barr takes us. I've enjoyed most of them and got a particular kick out of Anna Pigeon's "origin story" in The Rope, which I thought was one of Ms. Barr's best efforts. I also particularly liked Firestorm, probably because of the setting (the Sierra Nevada). Anna Pigeon's adventures definitely pique my interest in particular parks, but many national parks are already on my bucket list because I work for a nonprofit that supports national parks. I believe Ms. Barr's physical and cultural resource descriptions are generally accurate, but I know she takes license because I worked in Yosemite National Park when "High Country" came out, and I didn't agree with everything written. I think superintendents and other characters who populate the series are not necessarily reflecting real life. Since I read the books because I like the Anna Pigeon character and Ms. Barr's sense of humor and irony, I'm not distressed if the parks and the people who manage them are not depicted entirely accurately. These books are, after all, fiction.

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