- ^ "The 10 Best Books of 2008". New York Times. 3 December 2008.
"unaccustomed earth" is a phrase used by Nathaniel Hawthorne in his novel The Scarlet Letter. It appears in the introductory chapter "The Custom House," and refers to Hawthorne's ancestral ties to Salem, a town that the author feels tied to; his children, however, will be free of Salem's influence since they were born elsewhere, and are now free to "strike their roots into unaccustomed earth," that is, new places free of their ancestors and the past.