Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Top Ten Literary Settings

A Top Ten meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

The great pleasure in reading is being transported into someone else's life in another place and time. And it usually always starts with the setting, doesn't it? There are a few book settings that have stayed with me for years and another few on my bookshelf that I am really looking forward to getting to.

1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - The tomboy in me wants some of this adventure over sea and land in old Europe. It's on my TBR shelf but the size -1400+ pages- is a little daunting. Any suggestions on how to read this or what to expect? I'd need about a month with no distractions to immerse myself in this wondrous world.

2. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper - Again, the adventure. This time it's in the untamed wilderness of western New York state in the mid 1700s. I also like the idea of kinship between the white frontiersman, Hawkeye, and the two Mohicans, Chingachook and Uncas. TBR.

3. Dracula by Bram Stoker - Old Europe! Castles and country villages. Train travel. Apart from this being a super creepy story, it's got some spectacular settings.

4. Icefields by Thomas Wharton - I picked this up on a whim at a used book sale because it hints at adventure through 'mountains, glaciers, maps, history and art'. How awesome is all that!? I can see myself settling down and cooling off with this book on a hot summer night. And it has a lovely ice-blue cover. TBR

5. A Blade of Grass by Lewis DeSoto - South Africa sounds beautiful and otherworldly and is a place I will probably never get to except through books. TBR

6.  This Cold Heaven by Gretel Ehrlich - Greenland is also a place I will probably never see except in books. This is a fabulous adventure/travelogue about a woman who spent 8 months there.

7. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver - Having spent eleven years in North Carolina, I have a soft spot for this particular setting, especially in spring and summer. The air is thick with humidity and filled with the sounds of cicadas and mockingbirds. Reading this book sent me back there with a glass of sweet iced tea in my hand - I love that.

8. Castaway by Lucy Irvine - A woman spends a year on an uninhabited South Sea island. I've read this multiple times just for the dreamy, wild and slightly dangerous setting.

9. Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden - This book makes it onto just about every book list I ever make because I just love the story and writing so much. The setting is lovely too, with most of it taking place in the small towns and wilderness of James Bay, Ontario.

10. Clan of The Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel - I devoured this as a teenager. I loved not only Ayla, the girl heroine of the story, but also the smoky caves and wild plains of prehistoric - Europe? North America? It's been so long since I read it I can't remember now if it ever mentions where it took place. The setting was all just so cool and exciting.

Previous Top Tens:
~Books I'm Glad Were Recommended to Me
~Favorite Places To Read
~Books That Should Be Made Into Movies
~Bookish Pet Peeves


Sidne,the BCR said...

hi, stopping by to read your top 10. oh, yes to 1,2,7 and 8.
stop by my blog for a wonderful huge book giveaway.

Priya said...

Can't believe I didn't include Dracula, that one is awesome!!!


Willa said...

Great list, you have included some really great ones here that I have seen on the other lists!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I have the feeling that I'd much rather read about most of my favorite spots than actually go there. Antarctica, for example?

Here's my list of Top Ten Settings in Books. I hope you will stop by and visit!

Anne said...

I have heard so much about Clan of the Cave Bear, I am going to have to read it. Great list!

Lindsay said...

I almost picked Dracula, because the gothic setting is so well done, and then the contrast with the city... fantastic.

I really liked The Count of Monte Cristo, and it flew by when I read it. What to expect? It's an epic revenge drama. Don't go in expecting Three Musketeers, this is darker and more complex. The politics and character web gets a bit thick at times, but it's worth it.

Skye said...

I haven't read many of these books, but the settings sound wonderful.Like castles and train travel in Dracula and Greenland from A Blade of Grass.

DJL said...

Sounds like your settings are those with high adventures! :D I'd love to see the setting of Dracula, too, though only during the day. Very exciting choices!

Two Bibliomaniacs said...

Great List! The Last of the Mohicans and Dracula are great choices - maybe a bit dangerous...

Also, The Count of Monte Cristo is a little daunting, but very readable. The plot is complex, but the suspense kept me turning the page.

Loni said...

Great list! I'd love some tomboyish European adventure too!

kaye said...

you can't go wrong with the count of monte cristo--love that book, as well as the last of the mohicans. I'll have to check out some of your other books. Kaye—the road goes ever ever on

Christina / Book Addict said...

Good idea including The Count of Monte Cristo. It's one of my favorite reads! Great list!

Tracy said...

From your list, I've read Dracula and Castaway. Prodigal Summer and This Cold Heaven certainly appeal to me - I loved the descriptions of Greenland in Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow. As for what I'd put in my top ten, I'll have to think on that one. Some sci fi and fantasy settings appeal to me too.

Trish said...

sidne - sounds great I'll be over to check it out soon.

priya - dracula is a classic, for story and setting!

willa - yes, some of these are coming up again and again, aren't they?

deb - ha! yes that's why I love reading so much.

anne - it was a really cool book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

lindsay - thanks for the heads-up on CoMC. I'm doubly intrigued now.

skye - yes, places I'll probably never see in person.

djl - I do like some adventure, that's true. Although it's more of the armchair kind lol.

two bibliomaniacs - thanks. Yes I like a little danger in my books!

loni - sounds fun, doesn't it?

kaye - that's great to hear. I'm really looking forward to getting to them.

christina - I'm hoping to enjoy it sometime this summer.

tracy - cool that you've read castaway - I don't often see it on peoples book lists. Greenland isn't often represented out there in book world either. I'll have to look out for Feeling for Snow.

Red said...

I would have never thought of Dracula but the setting is so fantastic, it's almost another character. I mean, could you imagine that story happening anywhere else and having it be as creepy? Awesome list.

Jade said...

Loving the picks for NC and castaway. Both sound so serene and relaxing, and I could use both right now!

Dani said...

I'm all for old Europe and huge castles, so Dracula is an awesome choice!

Like some other readers have said, don't be scared off by The Count of Monte Cristo's size - it really is exciting, suspenseful, and full of adventure. I finished it faster than I ever thought I would.

Trish said...

red - yes, so true. The setting really makes the story.

jade - I know, right?

dani - old Europe is a wonderful setting. I'm really enjoying that type of book right now, so I've moved up Count of Monte Cristo to the top of my TBR pile.

Sophia the Writer said...

ooooh you ARE an adventurer! I'm kind of scared to live in many fantasy novel settings lol

Kayleigh said...

Great list! It's nice to think that even if you never manage to travel to a place, you still get to visit it in your books

Heidi'sbooks said...

Your choice of Dracula reminded me of The Historian--all those old libraries and ancient monasteries with creepy basements.

Prodigal Summer was a guilty pleasure read, but I never thought of that for a setting! (I guess I always think of the guy....)

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

Ten thousand times yes to South Africa...it's my Mother country! :)

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

I love your entire list especially Dracula

LBC said...

Barbara Kingsolver is a very good "place" writer. I haven't read Prodigal Summer, but she is great at bringing the setting to life in her books that I have read.

Check out my list here

Bibliophile said...

You've got some lovely choices there. As for clan of the Cave Bear, I think I read somewhere that it was supposed to take place in what would become central Europe.

Trish said...

sophie - that's what's so great about reading books! I can *live* anywhere and at anytime in history or the future I want. I don't read much sci-fi, but there have been a few that have some pretty cool settings too.

kayleigh - so true.

heidi - yes, the historian was a good one too, as was the thirteenth tale. Haha yeah, that guy, I kind of liked him at first but then he just got on my nerves. I'm glad he left.

melissa - beautiful! What a fabulous mother country to have :)

alexis - dracula is one of my favorites! Bram Stoker is like the original Steven King.

lbc - yes, she is. I really enjoyed Prodigal Summer. It's pushed me to go seek out more of her books.

bibliophile - thanks yes I think I remember that now too.