Some of the Best Books by Maryland Authors

shelved under Travel & Places

My adopted state of Maryland has more than the Chesapeake Bay and crabs to crow about. Maryland also has a plethora of authors and poets. The following list includes books by some of my favorite Maryland authors.


The Accidental Tourist

by Anne Tyler

Ms. Tyler was born in Minnesota, but has made Baltimore, where many of her novels are set, her home for many years. Even if you have seen the movie adaptation of this novel starring William Hurt and Geena Davis, you must read the book. The author’s charming, dysfunctional characters leap off of the page. Tyler does in this novel what she does so very well in all of her novels: teaches the reader about life and love.

This book also appears on Nick Hornby's Favorite Books


The Best of Ogden Nash

edited by Linell Nash Smith

Ogden Nash was one of the best purveyors of light verse. He made Baltimore his home and was such an avid Baltimore Colts fan; he used to write odes to the team. This book, edited by one of Ogden Nash’s daughters, contains over 500 of his very clever, fun verse.


Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988 to 2000

by Lucille Clifton

Lucille Clifton was born in New York, but has been a Maryland resident for many years. She was the writer in residence at Coppin State College in Baltimore. She has served as Poet Laureate for the State of Maryland and is currently Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. This collection of poems won the National Book Award in 2000.


The Maltese Falcon

by Dashiell Hammett

Dashiell Hammett was born in Maryland and is considered one of the pioneers of hard-boiled American crime fiction. His character Sam Spade is legendary, and The Maltese Falcon is one of the better known Spade books. In this book Spade’s partner is murdered, and the police blame him. There are thugs, a beautiful redhead dame, and all sorts of great noir background, but what shines through is the great character Sam Spade. If you never read any other crime fiction, you must read The Maltese Falcon, you just must.


The Sot-Weed Factor

by John Barth

John Barth, a native Marylander, is an award-winning author known for his postmodernist writings. This book is a parody of historical novels, and follows the adventures of Ebenezer Cooke, author of the poem The Sot-Weed Factor. This tome has more twists and turns than a roller coaster ride, and you never know what is going to happen next. Entertaining, humorous, and thoroughly unexpected, this is truly one of Barth’s best efforts.


Stirring the Mud: On Swamps, Bogs, and Human Imagination

by Barbara Hurd

In these, gorgeous, lilting essays the author explores the allure of bogs and swamps and their effect on the human imagination. I know I never thought about how swamps and bogs, “perch between liquid and solid” before I read this Maryland naturalist’s essays. The author is an English teacher and a poet, and you can tell that in her clear, luminous prose.