I had so much fun with this last week I decided to do it again. This is a link-up hosted every Tuesday over on The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme was made for me I think, bookish settings I’d love to visit. Combining travel with reading, what’s not to love? I generally enjoy reading books set in far away places, even if it’s just a mystery/crime novel, I find the book more entertaining when the location is exotic.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J K Rowling I was in England this past July and meant to go to Harry Potter world, because obviously. Unfortunately I didn’t realize that you have to pre-buy tickets for a specific day and time and by the time I realized this they were all sold out for the days I was there. I just assumed it was like North American theme parks where you just show up on the day and buy a ticket, but it’s more like a pre-organized tour. So, alas my dreams were dashed and I have yet to visit any Harry Potter themed location, I would be happy with any of them really, recommendations are appreciated.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo I am probably taking a few liberties with the theme here as this is non-fiction, but when I first read this book, it made me really want to go to Japan. Well, really I’ve wanted to go to Japan anyway, but this book reiterated that for me. Obviously the book is one woman’s philosophy and not necessarily reflective of an entire culture but it really emphasized a minimalism and sense of zen, while in one of the most densely populated places in the world, that is appealing to me. That and delicious sushi. Edit: I looked it up, Japan actually comes in at like 40th in the world for population density but my excuse is that it has 80 times the density of Canada, which still seems like a lot.
The Leopard – Jo Nesbø I’ve read a few books in the Harry Hole series recently but this one stands out since it’s partly set in remote back-country cabins that just seem so Norwegian. There’s something so romantic about tiny little ski-in cabins set amongst the mountains, excluding the whole murderous serial killer part of course. I got a little taste of Scandinavia when I went on a Baltic Cruise with my grandparents when I was younger, but I’d love a chance to explore this region further.
Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert Obviously I have to include a book who’s whole premise is travelling in order to find your purpose in life, on my list of books inspiring travel. Wouldn’t it be amazing to take a pilgrimage to eat your way through Italy, discover your honest self in India, and find love in Bali? I think travel generally is a great way to expand your horizons although you don’t have to necessarily sell all your belongings and go away for a whole year in order to do that. Fun fact, while I was in Bali I went and saw the same fortune teller that the writer apparently saw while she was there. Obviously I have no way of verifying if that’s true, our tour guide could have been lying to us, but I’m going to stick with it.
Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan This book takes place in the high society of Singapore, introducing the reader to a whole new level of opulence and grandeur. Singapore seedms like such an interesting place to me being one of only three city-states in the world. It’s also leading the way in developing green space in urban environments. One of my friends from high school lives there and is always posting amazing photos on instagramm.
Dead Until Dark – Charlaine Harris This vampy series makes me want to travel to the bayous of Louisiana, preferably with sexy vampires in tow. I haven’t spent a whole lot of time in the southern US and even so, Louisiana seems to have its own very distinctive culture. I never really got super into the whole Twilight vampire craze, but True Blood pulled me in. I actually watched the show before I read the books, but of course then went back and re-watched most of it, I think this may be one of the very rare instances where the show is actually better than the books. I think how well they use the setting helps them do that.
Outlander – Diana Gabaldon I would be remiss to not mention this book since it has single-handedly inspired my obsession (and probably many other people’s) with going to Scotland. In fact, maybe I should re-arrange the list and put this at the top. The interesting thing about the book as well is that it makes me want to go to Scotland in today’s time, rather than when the book takes place. Just imagine it, spending a day walking amongst the green heather, before curling up with a glass of scotch in front of a fireplace in an old castle. Or is it just me?
Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown Not everyone loves this book, but for me it was the first book of this type I’d ever read. It seemed like such an intelligent thriller, galavanting through the European continent and religious history, it makes you want to visit these grand historical places. Some of the facts and interpretations by the author have been challenged by scholars but this didn’t affect me as a reader. I still found it entertaining and captivating.
The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith There’s probably thousands of books set in London, but I went with the one I read the most recently. It was actually on my winter TBR list and I quite enjoyed it. The general flow of the book follows most mysteries, but the characters and story are unique enough to make it stand out. I was in London last summer but the few days I was there only let me scratch the surface, I feel like you could go there one hundred times and there still would be more to do and discover.
Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty Unlike the popular TV show, the book actually takes place in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia, where the author herself lives. I’ve spent a few days in Sydney and visited the posh Eastern suburbs and I can definitely imagine the ladies who lunch attending fancy school fundraisers. Where else in the world can you be downtown in the middle of a major city and at one of the world’s top beaches all at the same time. Everyone who lives here seems to be fit and bronzed and beautiful.
Well that’s my list for bookish settings I’d like to visit. Clearly I’m missing a few major regions of the world so I need some more recommendations for books set in South America, Africa and the Middle East. Does reading inspire you? Do you fantasize about visiting real world locations, or fantasy worlds?