I once read Under the Tuscan sun in Tuscany while basking poolside in the late-summer Italian sun. Corny? Perhaps. But I wasn’t the only one as I spied the same book cover in Swedish on another lounger not far away. (This was some years ago and later in my stay I moved on to the recently-released Fifty Shades of Grey, which I thought I was stealthily reading on my tablet, until—ironically over Earl Grey—a British traveler confessed she too was reading that title. But I digress.)
I often read books set in the country I’m traveling in; books by Jane Austen in Bath and Lyme Regis, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in London, and by Frank McCourt in Ireland. I devour entire lists of the ‘best beach reads’ at the beach. My favorites are by Dorthea Benton Frank and Mary Kay Andrews.
I love that (at least for me) reading a story while I’m in that particular, unique setting enhances the enjoyment of both the book and the location—especially when the settings are well-researched, serving as sort of a literary travel guide. Although, in the past 12 months, I’ve mostly read about places I wish I was traveling to, which is another pretty-darn awesome thing about books and their ability to take us places we can’t visit in person.
Blackbird Books to take you…
In a quick survey of the books by Blackbird writers, I found that you can travel to modern-day and historical California with stories by Anne Louise Bannon, Laurie Stevens, Sheila Lowe, and Sherrill Joseph, to the Pacific Northwest with Laurie Buchanan and August Norman, to the Colorado Rockies with Margaret Mizushima, to the American Southwest with Sharon Lynn, to the Midwest with Tracey Phillips, Christine DeSmet, Joy Ann Ribar, Jeff Nania, and Maggie Smith, or to New Orleans with Tim Chapman. You can hang out in haunted libraries with Allison Brook or murderous high schools and artist communities with Saralyn Richard. You can travel abroad to Spain, Morocco, Egypt (and more) with Avanti Centrae, to Mexico and Cambodia with Greg Levin, and to Ireland with Donna Rewolinski and me.
You may never have to leave your house again—just kidding—we really don’t want that!!
Have you sought out books that match your location?
Do you seek out books that let you be an armchair traveler?
Obviously, I have done both!!
I also am a fan of seasonal reading . . . somehow this feels like a guilty pleasure or just a bit like something too silly to admit. But I do love reading spooky, haunting stories in October. I sink into the plethora of holiday/winter anthologies and reading lists. Goodreads even has a list of Books to Read When the Snow is Falling along with both Winter Solstice and Summer Solstice reading lists. The solstice lists caught my eye because those holidays are important for my books’ characters as their lives center around the solstices, equinoxes, and the cross-quarter days in between. In fact, this week on February 2 we celebrate Imbolc—one of those cross-quarter days. (Not that there’s going to be a reading list for that particular esoteric holiday—maybe I’ll have to start one.) If you’re curious, you can learn more about Imbolc HERE.
Are you a fan of seasonal/holiday-esque reading? (It’s okay to admit it!)