Top Ten Tuesday – Settings Edition

2 Jun

This week’s list from The Broke and the Bookish is “Top Ten Settings In Books.” The list includes my favorite 5 imaginary and 5 real settings and locales from books.

1. Avalon – from Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon. When I first read this book I was 15 and I was completely in awe of Avalon. This mystical island in a lake where women learn ancient wisdom and participate in a sisterhood community sounded amazing. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that Avalon would probably be a terrible place to live. All those women stuck on an island sounds like recipe for disaster, but I would still love to visit if it existed.

2. Tortall – from the imagination of Tamora Pierce. The Song of the Lioness quartet got me through sixth grade. Alanna and her many adventures in Tortall (and other imaginary lands) were a great way to transport myself into a fantastic world of excitement. I was very young, lost and upset with my world when I discovered Tamora Pierce’s books. They transported me to a world much better and interesting than mine. I will forever be in debt to Ms. Pierce.

3. Charlaine Harris’ version of Louisiana from the Sookie Stackhouse series. I’ll be honest here… My main reason for wanting to go to such a place is Eric Northman. The brooding viking vampire is what has brought me back to the series every year when a new book would come out. Seeing the 1000+ year old Sheriff of Area Five in the flesh on HBO’s True Blood is what kept me watching. A world where vampires not only exist, but are known to the public would certainly be an interesting one. A world where Eric Northman exists… well that’s just plain fantastic.

4. Carrie Ryan’s post-apocalyptic zombie infested world. Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t want this world to actually exist, but I would be very interested in seeing it in something like a movie perhaps. I think Carrie Ryan is amazing. I will probably say this a lot as long as she is out there writing new material. I also think she might be kind of crazy. To come up with the world she created in The Forest of Hands and Teeth you would have to be a little crazy.

5. Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, etc. For over a decade I’ve been in love with the world J.K. Rowling invented for Harry Potter. Every setting is full and richly described. Being able to watch the beautiful films has helped satiate my hunger for the imaginary world where magic is normal and humans are weird, but it simply isn’t enough. I NEED to go to Florida and visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Islands of Adventure. My daughter (age 5) also loves Harry Potter. Our plan is to go in a few years when she is A) old enough to remember going, B) tall enough to go on the rides, C) still young enough to enjoy the younger aspects of the bigger park. Now I just need about $1000 to fund the trip.

And now for the “real” places…

5. Every setting from the Bloody Jack series. Everything L.A. Meyer writes in this series is awesome. The world seems much more vibrant and stunning than we hear about in history books that are about the same time period. I’ve always love History (I am working on a degree in it after all), but the worlds I’ve read about always seem more real when written into fiction. I would love to go visit Post-Revolutionary era Boston, Mississippi, Louisiana, and London. Sure some of Meyer’s settings are dark, dirty and dreary, but they feel so real and intriguing.

7. Prince Edward Island (from Anne of Green Gables series). The world that Anne Shirley lives in did in fact exist. It doesn’t quite exist like that anymore. 100 years will change a place. But the life she had in P.E.I. was always something magical to me. It was a world that was always busy and exciting, without having been touched by the existence of modern technology. Anne’s world was exciting because she loved it and I would also love to be able to visit it for just a little while.

8. France. I know this isn’t very specific, but stick with me. I have recently read a few books that have reintroduced my love of all things French. The first is Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins. This book was adorable and the perfect teen romance for younger and older teens. The backdrop is Paris, but seen from a teen girl’s eyes. Another book set in Paris is The Art of French Kissing, by Kristin Harmel. This book was a simple chick lit book I got for free when I bought my Sony Reader, but I really liked it. My all time favorite “French setting book” does not take place in Paris. Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence is not only one of my favorite books, it is completely hilarious. AND it is all true. The story covers the first year that Mayle and his wife live in Provence after leaving behind their hectic lives in England. If you can’t actually go to France at least you can read about it.

9. The South. So I may be a bit biased having grown up in very Southern Alabama, but books about the South always catch my eye. I love reading about the lives of people from a place I only just remember. Reading about Southern women especially makes me feel more connected to my grandmothers that have passed away. Some of my favorites include, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (by Rebecca Wells), Hissy Fit (by Mary Kay Andrews), and The Help (by Kathryn Stockett). I haven’t been back to Alabama in 8 years and reading books about the South really make me want to return (but just for a visit).

10. Ireland. I haven’t read a lot of books that take place in Ireland, but from what I have read I really need to visit. If you haven’t read How the Irish Saved Civilization (by Thomas Cahill), I highly recommend it. Not a typical book for me, but something everyone with Irish heritage should read. If you are looking for some good fiction set in Ireland check out these authors: Cecelia Ahern, Patrick Taylor, and Maeve Binchy.

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