Books that make you want to visit places: this is an important subject to me, because I literally chose the place where I live (Laramie, Wyoming) based on three books I read as child, the series starting with My Friend Flicka, by Mary O'Hara. When I was about 10 or 11, I told my parents I wanted to move to Wyoming. I moved here when I was 24 and have been here ever since.
(This post is part of Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish blog with a different top bookish ten list theme, every Tuesday) (see the full list here).
To this day, I have never read any other books that have such a vivid, vibrant, emotional connection to place and setting as these books. I dearly wish for books that make that connection to place, and I was surprised at how hard it was to make this list because so many books have excellent settings, but not a deep connection to them. Here are the ones that do have that deep connection to a place:
All Creatures Great and Small series by James Herriot, set in the Yorkshire Dales
I got to visit the Yorkshire Dales many years ago, and it has been the most vividly remembered of the places I've been to in Europe (with the Swiss Alps being a very close second). I am 100% sure the strong memories are because of my deep love of these stories.
The Mitford series by Jan Karon, set in a small North Carolina town in the Blue Ridge
If there were any other place in America I'd want to live besides my own beloved Wyoming Rockies, it would be in the North Carolina or Virginia Blue Ridge/Appalachians, in a small town like Mitford.
Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery, Prince Edward Island
Haven't been there yet, but it's on my bucket list.
Jack London's stories set in Alaska/Yukon
Absolutely, emphatically on my bucket list
Desert Solitaire, by Edward Abbey
This is non-fiction, but it still tells stories: stories of the land rather than of characters. I actually visited the slick rock country and canyonlands of Utah before I read this book, but the land so deeply impressed me that I began to look for stories set in this most unsual of wildernesses. Abbey's stories and descriptions of the Utah deserts always bring me back to my first time hiking in a state of wonder through Canyonlands National Park.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor, set in Prague, Czech Republic
I'm not much of a city girl, though I've been very fortunate to have opportunities to visit great cities like London, Paris, Rome, and most great American cities. Currently, this is the only large city that I specifically want to visit, and I blame it totally on this book.
I can't talk about books with a sense of place without mentioning James Michener. I've read Alaska, Centennial (set in Colorado), Chesapeake, and the Source (set in Israel), and all of them have brought these places alive to me.
Amazing places I want to read more great stories about, and visit someday:
These are places that I love because of all their fascinating history, and purposefully seek out books about them to read. I've listed some good books I've read set in these places, but have not yet found THE BOOK. The book that really makes that hard-to-describe deep connection.
Greece. Some good books that have whetted my appetite: the Island, by Victoria Hilsop (set on Crete); My Best Friend, Maybe (set on Santorini)
Egypt. Have read so many books about ancient Egypt; would love a modern book set here, too. The book that has stuck with me the most: River God, by Wilbur Smith.
Italy. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I'm sure I've read many others set in Italy. But none of them really stuck with me, and I really want something to stick.
Israel and the Levant. The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth Speare. Would love a book set in Damascus, Bagdad, Babylon or any place in Israel, Lebanon, Arabia, etc - modern or ancient. Ancient Sumeria or Persia. So many books touch on these places, but I want one that is deeply tied to place.
Russia. I've read some Tolstoy, and probably half a dozen other stories set here, but most were character-based or so broad in scope it was hard to really get connected to any particular place, to make that deep connection.
What story has made you want to visit a place?
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