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Footnotes 2017-2018 > Sunday Coversation Topic - 8/26

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message 1: by Theresa (last edited Aug 27, 2018 12:52AM) (new)

Theresa | 8421 comments I am taking Jason at his word, and plunging ahead with a Sunday conversation topic, even though a newbie. Don't worry Jason - I am sure my topic will not be nearly as interesting or provoking as yours! Your place will not be usurped.

Topic: books specific to a place you are going on vacation. Not travel guides, but do you set out to read books set in the specific location you are vacationing in? What kinds do you read - fiction, non-fiction, travel essays, contemporary, historical? Do you notice a difference in a vacation when you have not read books set there? Have you ever included a books locations or activities as part of your vacation.

Personally, I like to read fiction and travel essays set in places I am visiting on an upcoming vacation, but can be more diverse. I am spending a week in Big Sky, Montana next month, to see Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks. I have already read several books, including Summer of Fire about the 1988 fires, Blind Your Ponies a Montana town and its losing basketball team. I have 2 more to read before I go: Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Park and Letters from Yellowstone. Might see if I can find some more fiction set in the area.

And I absolutely have set out to experience...or maybe re-enact is a better word, some scene I read in a book! For example, on a trip to Istanbul, I spent time drinking scotch at the bar in the Pera Palace Hotel, reliving Eric Ambler. Paris, which I visit often, has seen me checking out the many locales memorialized by Cara Black and Dan Brown. And I took the Blue Train to the South of France in honor of Agatha Christie.

I don't really care if the books are set in recent times...as no place exists purely now. A variety of books can take you deeper into a place. Visiting Ephesus which includes an amphitheater, first basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and the nearby Temple of Artemis made Paul's Letter to the Ephesians in the New Testament (originally presented in that amphitheater) come to vivid life as it lays out the rise of the cult of the Virgin to supplant the Goddess Artemis, thus assisting this new religion to get a toehold in one of the richest of the ancient Mediterranean ports.

For me, all this reading makes me a traveller, not just a tourist.


message 2: by Amy (new)

Amy | 9377 comments Theresa, thrilled that you came up with an idea. This is an excellent question. Do any of us read about certain places when we are there are just before going, to get us in the mood... in theory that’s fabulous. To read about Paris or Italy or China while there. Or to get you in the mood. Or the mountains from the mountains, or the South. Once in awhile it works. Other times it’s more like Christmas is July. Or a beach warm weather read when you are chilled.

We go to Mexico every February, and damn if I have read one book set in Mexico when we are there! Hoping to go to Charleston next summer. Actually hoping to go to Israel next summer, but if I get the opportunity to teach again, that likely can’t happen. But I read so many books set in Israel, I don’t really need to try. I have a thing about reading books set in Paris, and for one of my PBT yearlong challenges, it was a central personal focus for me and I read six books (more?) set in Paris over the year (Climbing the Stairs, 2017). So I still unofficially just kind of enjoy that. Just like next year in 2019, I am likely to still keep track of noting Remarkable Women in Historical Fiction, long past my listopia challenge. The Rain Watcher was lovely for Paris. It is a thought. Maybe to shoot more for reading books set where you are heading. Do others make it happen more easily than I have been able to?

For your pleasure however, Nicole and PBT does an annual Fall Flurries, so you will certainly be reading in the mood this upcoming Fall Season.

Now that you mention it, I have in the past saved an Esther book for Purim time, and Passover is certainly a great time to read Dovekeepers. I did plan to read We Were the Lucky Ones around this time with Jason and Rachel (so glad he’s popping in - though losing the audio feature is going to be a big change). Perhaps September wasn’t a complete accident in timing.

Curious to hear if others have achieved this more intentionally and have done this with better strength. Great question, Theresa!


message 3: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (tstan) | 1238 comments I’m a bit backwards- I picked a destination based on books I’ve read and music I love. I’ve been to New Orleans on a literary tour because of a past obsession with Anne Rice’s vampires and witches, and multiple other books set in NOLA, like A Confederacy of Dunces.
And the music! Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, the Preservation Hall, the street musicians..
.I’ve been there twice, and plan to go again someday. Love that town!


message 4: by Idit (last edited Aug 27, 2018 07:44AM) (new)

Idit | 1028 comments Theresa - I enjoyed reading your travel and book relationships.
I love how the reading make the travel more meaningful and vice versa.

Amy, did you follow any specific book in Israel?

and I love how books made you love New Orleans Tracy

the two book-travel related thoughts I have are both connected to Japan.

While we were traveling in Japan I read a small book of japanese myths and old stories.
One of them was the beautiful heroic story of the 47 ronins. It caught our imaginations and we were happy to find out that there's a temple where the ronins were burried. We went there, and even though it was not a very big touristy thing, it was very special to us.

We are going again to Japan in December, and I have read this year the book The Temple of the Golden Pavilion which I have loved very much, and only after I have finished, I realized that it's actually a fictional description of a real historical event.

I have been there before but didn't know the story. I can't wait to go there again, with that beautiful story still fresh in my mind.


message 5: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6406 comments I've never tried to match my reading to the location I was visiting. My husband was in international business and we traveled extensively. I certainly did research on some of the locations (Sarajevo), but didn't specifically try to match up my vacation reads with any of the locations.


message 6: by KateNZ (new)

KateNZ | 2672 comments I’m the same as BC. I’ve often thought it would be nice to read a book set in the place I’m visiting, but then I get carried away with other books and run out of time. So I end up with retrospectives instead (Oh I remember that street ...)

I usually *buy* a book in the place I’m visiting though. Does that count? 😉


message 7: by Joi (last edited Aug 27, 2018 11:40AM) (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3834 comments Love this topic. I pretty much always try and use my travel locations as inspiration for reading.

Someone on PBT recommended these sites to me last year before our Europe trip, and they were super helpful for finding books based around a certain location.
Books Set In
Trip Fiction

Theresa, I love the sound of "recreating a moment" within a book. A special restaurant mentioned, or place.

Last year I read The Miniaturist before going to Amsterdam and it was so awesome to go to the Rijksmuseum and see the dollhouse the entire book was based off of. Also did some Sherlock and Harry Potter for London.

Tracy- very interested in hearing about your literary tour in New Orleans!

Also, perfect timing- anyone have any recommendations for the Carribean?
Puerto Rico, St Lucia, BVI, ABC Islands, Jamaica?


message 8: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 8421 comments Amy wrote: "Theresa, thrilled that you came up with an idea. This is an excellent question. Do any of us read about certain places when we are there are just before going, to get us in the mood... in theory th..."

Amy - I frequently am attracted to books set in Paris - it's one of my favorite cities in the world, one I fell in love with as a student in 1976. I literally pull out my Plan de Paris to follow the locales in books set there!

Confession: I do that with lots of books, actually! When I read Istanbul Passage recently, I recognized so many places I'd visited, that I had to pull up a map.

Geographic setting - clearly something I relate to very strongly when reading. Perhaps that's a result of my travels? Or are my travels in some respect an offshoot of my reading? Good questions.


message 9: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 8421 comments Tracy wrote: "I’m a bit backwards- I picked a destination based on books I’ve read and music I love. I’ve been to New Orleans on a literary tour because of a past obsession with Anne Rice’s vampires and witches,..."

Oh, I've done that too, Tracy! Actually, a trip I still have to take -- safari in Africa -- is a direct result of reading Deadly Safari. And I became an avid fan of the Iditarod and dog sled racing after reading Murder on the Iditarod Trail.


message 10: by Theresa (last edited Aug 27, 2018 12:23PM) (new)

Theresa | 8421 comments Idit wrote: "Theresa - I enjoyed reading your travel and book relationships.
I love how the reading make the travel more meaningful and vice versa.

Amy, did you follow any specific book in Israel?

and I love..."


Idit - How wonderful and I'm sure you will find even more to enjoy at the Temple on this trip!

I had a similar experience relating to the Grand Canyon. I actually had to make a second vacation visit there a couple years ago after reading Appetite for America: How Visionary Businessman Fred Harvey Built a Railroad Hospitality Empire That Civilized the Wild West because on my previous visit, I had not realized the role Mary Calder, Fred Harvey and Ford Harvey had on every aspect of Grand Canyon National Park, it's structures and access. It brought a whole new level to my experience!


message 11: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 8421 comments KateNZ wrote: "I’m the same as BC. I’ve often thought it would be nice to read a book set in the place I’m visiting, but then I get carried away with other books and run out of time. So I end up with retrospectiv..."


LOL - KateNZ - I always buy books wherever I visit! On my recent trip to Santa Fe, NM, I had to visit Collected Works Bookshop and of course decided I had to try Craig Johnson's mystery series, so of course had to buy the first in the series at that bookstore!


message 12: by Sushicat (last edited Aug 27, 2018 12:39PM) (new)

Sushicat | 805 comments I always try to read a book set in the country I’m travelling to, preferably by a local author. I find it adds to the experience.

I’m just back from Scotland where I finally read Outlander (since I visited Castle Doune where part of the TV series was filmed) and while there I made sure to visit the Isle of Lewis, because I liked The Blackhouse and the rest of the Lewis trilogy so much for their sense of place.

Earlier in the year I went to South Africa and there I read Red Dust and Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood.


message 13: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 8421 comments Joi wrote: "Love this topic. I pretty much always try and use my travel locations as inspiration for reading.

Also, perfect timing- anyone have any recommendations for the Carribean?
Puerto Rico, St Lucia, BVI, ABC Islands, Jamaica?


Dance of the Mongoose - originally published under his pseudonym TS Phillips - set in VI

Wide Sargasso Sea - Jamaica


message 14: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 8432 comments Never thought to read a book about where I was visiting....like others though, I always find that "cute little book store on main street" and bring home 2X the books I brought with me!


message 15: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 9081 comments Before visiting somewhere, I'm simply more likely to get a travel guide for the place.

However, I particularly enjoy reading books set there, afterwards, because NOW I can picture it better in my head!


message 16: by Michael (new)

Michael (mike999) | 569 comments I never vacation, so I often read books about places I doubt I'll get to. E.g. Greenland, Newfoundland, Patagonia. After a long winter in Maine, I set out walking by audiobook in the Sierra Nevada and then visited a lot of glaciers in Alaska. Before development spoiled much. These are the journals of that old tree hugger John Muir in mid-19th century, free on LibriVox.

Another reading strategy is to read Artic adventures or the like in summer, and tropical or desert stories in the winter. As I live in Downeast Maine, it is worth reading from my own backyard. I loved naturalist Bernard Heinrich's tales of observations at his summer retreat in the Maine woods: Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival; Summer World: A Season of Bounty.


message 17: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 8421 comments Michael wrote: "I never vacation, so I often read books about places I doubt I'll get to. E.g. Greenland, Newfoundland, Patagonia. After a long winter in Maine, I set out walking by audiobook in the Sierra Nevada ..."

Michael - cheapest way to travel anywhere -- reading!

I have been known to gravitate to books sent in cold snowy locales when temps in NYC start inching up above 80...and pull tropical, jungle, dessert or beach locales out of the TBR pile when a blizzard rages. I have several books in my TBR about Lawrence of Arabia and Gertrude Bell awaiting the cold winter (assuming we have one). And this week I'm starting a wintry mystery --- temps are in the mid 90s!


message 18: by Sushicat (last edited Aug 29, 2018 01:11PM) (new)

Sushicat | 805 comments Michael wrote: "I never vacation, so I often read books about places I doubt I'll get to. E.g. Greenland, Newfoundland, Patagonia. After a long winter in Maine, I set out walking by audiobook in the Sierra Nevada ..."

I loved Bernd Heinrich's Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds - though the major part is set in Maine, you get to travel. Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival is waiting for it's turn. Soon.


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