Oh man. This one is hard. I’m so tempted to just make this a list of travel memoirs and call it a day, but I want to try a little harder than that! (Though there will be some. I just have to.)
First, a few fictional books based on real places I’d like to visit (or move to):
I kind of like the idea of living a simple life as a concierge in a fancy Paris building like the one in The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I’m sure my enjoyment would wear off the first time someone knocked on my door at 7AM, but hey, I’d give it a shot. Though a lot of the events in Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore aren’t ones I’d particularly enjoy experiencing, that bookstore is. I would love to have a bookstore near me that was open at all hours so I could spend my nights of insomnia browsing the shelves. Yes please! And finally, though the story was only middling, the floating bookshop that served as the main setting for The Little Paris Bookshop sounds like a dream come true to me.
And a few straight-up fictional settings:
Who doesn’t want to visit Manderley from Du Maurier’s classic Rebecca? It is so beautifully written that I almost feel as if I have been there. The Book Scavenger is primarily set in San Francisco, which is one of my favourite places, but it’s more the concept that I like – it’s about an online community where members leave books in random locations for others to find, and post clues on a website to their location. It just sounds like so much fun and I really wish it were real! And finally, the Harry Potter universe because, as obvious and unoriginal as it is, of course I want to go there.
Next a few memoirs that made me want to go places:
I read Under the Tuscan Sun in high school, and it was the first travel memoir I’d read, but led to a life-long love of the genre. It also led to an obsession with Italy that I have yet to experience first-hand! Bill Bryson was a slightly later discovery for me (my Nan had one of his books that I picked up when visiting her) but I love all his work I’ve read so far. In A Sunburned Country is his account of Australia, including all the many, many things there that can kill you. But it is a fascinating read – it helps that one of my favourite people in the entire world is from there, and I’ve always wanted to visit him there. Unfortunately it’s quite far from where I am, but one day I hope to make the trip. Travels is part memoir of med school, which is not something I’d like to experience, and part random stories of travel and adventure. There are a few stories in here (seeing gorillas in the wild, diving in tropical waters) that did strike my fancy, but the entire book is well worth reading.
A couple of books I haven’t read yet but that have settings I think I’m going to seriously want to visit:
I’ve heard so many BookTubers talk about how reading Helen Russell’s book made them want to visit and/or move to Denmark, so I’m sure that when I finally read this book, I’ll be bitten by the same travel bug. The Hundred-Foot Journey is the book upon which the film was based, and the setting in that film made me want to step right through the screen. That town when the family views it from above for the first time… heaven. Not sure if the book is exactly like the film, but if it is, I’d like to go.
And because this prompt was challenging and in researching my answers, I came across a fair few books that made me stop and go “aw, HELL no I don’t want to go there,” here are a few settings I’d really rather not ever experience first-hand:
Alive is a YA thriller set in an undisclosed location full of nightmarish encounters, darkness and pain. Coventry is an account of the night the city of Coventry was bombed and nearly completely destroyed during the second world war. It’s the combination of place and time that make this one terrifying. And The Devil in the White City is about H.H. Holmes, one of the first documented serial killers in the US who built a kill house and used Chicago’s world fair as a hunting ground. So much no thanks. And finally, The Martian by Andy Weir. I am neither resourceful nor educated in the fields that would allow me to even begin to understand the Martian environment. I wouldn’t stand a chance. I’d be dead in an hour.
So that’s my somewhat random take on the topic of the week! What about you guys? Which fictional worlds would you like to visit? Which would you absolutely not like to end up in?
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly link-up feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week TTT has a different topic, and everyone who links up has to create a link of ten items that fit that topic. To see past and upcoming topics, go here.