Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Settings

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme created by The Broke and the Bookish blog.

TTT is taking a well-deserved break until August 15th, so I will be making my own lists- or recycling old topics from before I had this blog- during the hiatus.

This week I decided to recycle the topic: Favorite Book Settings, which first appeared on TTT on June 11, 2011.

As Emily Dickinson writes:

There is no Frigate like a Book

To Take us Lands away

One of the reasons I love reading, is this ability to be instantly transported to another location or time period. Sometimes armchair travel is the best kind of travel!

Here are some of my favorite places to visit within the pages of a book:


1. Scotland

Outlander, The Winter Sea, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Ice Twins, The Flight of Gemma Hardy

Of course Scotland- with its wild landscape and dramatic history- made my list. I love getting swept up into Scottish settings. Books set here tend to be ones I can get happily lost in.


2. Cornwall 

Jamaica Inn, The Rose Garden, The Forgotten Garden, The Camomile Lawn

Cornwall is a setting ripe for adventure and romance. I love reading about its rocky coast, hidden caves, quaint and colorful villages, blooming gardens, and Bodmin Moor. Chances are, if a book is set in Cornwall I will give it a try.


3. Victorian England

The Crimson Petal and the White, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Jane Steele, Gillespie and I

The world of the Victorians is one that is simultaneously recognizable and entirely foreign to us today. It was an era of great scientific and technological advancement as well as incredibly strict social rules. These factors combine to create a setting rich in details that I love getting lost in.


4. New York City 

The Bell Jar, The Age of Innocence, The Devil Wears Prada, Rules of Civility

 For me, NYC is always interesting to read about regardless of the time period. Dreams can just as easily be achieved or dashed in this urban jungle. And there’s always something going on in the bustling metropolis that never sleeps.


5. Islands

Anne of Green Gables, This Rough Magic, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Island of the Blue Dolphins, And Then There Were None

Whether it’s a gorgeous locale or a frightening one, islands are definitely some of my favorite book settings. The isolation, natural beauty, and proximity to water create the ideal environment for interesting plots.


6. College Campuses and Boarding Schools

The Secret History, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Never Let Me Go, Starter For Ten

Academia can be a cruel mistress. This high-stress environment often leads to a highly readable and dramatic plot. Campus settings are enclosed, angst-ridden places where almost anything can happen.


7. Georgian and Regency England

The Grand Sophy, The Fair Fight, Longbourn, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

The Georgian and Regency periods in English history definitely appeal to the Janeite in me. I love the language, fashion, and social customs of the era. I’m glad I don’t have to live in this constricting time, but I do enjoy visiting it!


8. Crumbling Castles and Country Estates

I Capture the Castle, The Distant Hours, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, The Little Stranger

There’s something about old castles and crumbling country estates that immediately piques my interest. Maybe its the combination of history and fading glamour. Whatever the reason, I don’t ever get tired of reading books with this setting.


9. Italy 

A Room with a View, The Enchanted April, Up at the Villa, Beautiful Ruins

Who wouldn’t want to escape to this beautiful and culturally rich country?!  I especially love books where I get to travel vicariously through characters on their own trip to Italy. I realized that I haven’t read very many books written by Italian writers however. Feel free to leave me some recommendations below!


10. Africa 

West with the Night , Poisonwood Bible, Homegoing, Stay with Me 

This vast continent, and its complex sociopolitical history, is endlessly fascinating to read about. There are countless diverse stories worth reading; whether of Africa’s colonial past, or its dynamic present. I want to make a point of reading more works written by African authors.


11. Paris

A Moveable Feast, The Dud Avocado, Anna and the French Kiss, A Paris Apartment

I couldn’t narrow down my list to only ten settings, so here is a bonus entry. Besides, I couldn’t leave out one of my favorite cities. The city of lights is always beautiful and inspiring- whether in person or on the page.


What are some of your favorite book settings? 



4 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Settings

Add yours

  1. Oh yes, I enjoy novels set in New York City and on college campuses for sure and Africa is right up there but that’s a whole continent and a pretty big area – from Egypt to South Africa and Nigeria to Ethiopia and Rwanda, of course. Somalia is the setting of one of my favorites (Maps by Nuruddin Farah). I’ve read books from many, many places in Africa. Novels set in South America are harder to find translated into English but some are great.

    One setting I love is China and another one is India – not to neglect Russia. I had a craving (omg but yes) for a book about India tea plantations one time and I found The Blue Mango by David Davidar. Fine book – not great but quite good.

    Liked by 1 person

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