(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. Want to make your own list? Clicking the image will take you to this week’s post. Happy listing!)
One of the most fun things about reading is that you can, at a moment’s notice, be transported somewhere (or somewhen) amazing, or frightening, or uplifting. Open one book and find yourself in a small medieval fishing village; open another and lose yourself in a futuristic world on a faraway star. This week’s list is all about the best book settings.
1. Under the Tuscan Sun (Frances Mayes) – I loved reading about Mayes’ accidental love affair with Tuscany, and her adventures in making Bramasole her own. Also, the food. Who doesn’t love the food?
2. Lake Wobegon (Garrison Keillor) – Small town charm is in short supply these days. Keillor creates such great characters, and I’ve been hearing about them for so long that they feel like family. And despite (or perhaps because of) its being filled with Norwegian Lutherans, the city experiences the most ludicrously hilarious situations.
3. Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (Rick Riordan) – A setting where the Greek gods are real, and it’s possible to be their offspring and have powers? Sign me up!
4. Soulless (Gail Carriger) – I list this one more for the Steampunk aspects than the paranormal/supernatural ones. Gotta love crazy inventions, and seeing the future blended with the past.
5. Thursday Next series (Jasper Fforde) – This series makes it onto nearly every list. Fforde’s settings are so detailed, and I love the little things he adds in, like WillSpeak machines and the fact that nearly everything is sponsored by Toast. The BookWorld is just as alive as the “real” world he’s created.
6. The Secret Garden (Francis Hodgson Burnett) – I love Misselthwaite Manor. There are so many secrets there, and I want to discover them all. I’m not a big “outdoors” person, but Burnett’s description of the moors makes me want to be there. I want to help Dickon and Mary make the garden come alive again, and I want to be there when Archibald Craven sees his son walk.
7. The Halfblood Chronicles (Andres Norton and Mercedes Lackey) – Dragons, elves, humans, half-bloods. Telepathy, scrying, magical spells. Adventures, close calls, explosions, fights, and love. Definitely a bit of a scary setting, but one that I fell totally in love with.
8. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) – Like Fforde, Adams created an expansive universe filled with bizarre creatures and things like chronically depressed robots and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. It’s got its moments of over-the-top ridiculousness, but it’s a great set of stories within a fully-realized setting.
9. Fables series (Bill Willingham et. al) – A graphic novel series in which the characters from fairy tales and folk lore find themselves forced out of their Homelands. In order to remain safe from “The Adversary,” they have traveled to the human world and formed a small community called Fabletown — and only in New York would no one notice. I’ve only read one “book” from this series, but it’s a great setting and I’d love to read more.
10. Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice) – An amazingly dark, creepy story set against the lush background of New Orleans (one of my favorite cities). I enjoyed the film, especially the cinematography: all the great colors and rich fabrics of Claudia’s clothes, and the dark back streets of city. Fantastic.
What are some of your favorite book settings? Let me know in the comments.