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Green Jay



Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Posts: 1605


Location: West Sussex

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:46 pm    Post subject: Books linked with places  Reply with quote

Not an inspired title, but never mind...

I am reading Remarkable Creatures by Tracey Chevalier, and as I am familiar with Lyme Regis in Dorset, I am very much enjoying picturing the town, beaches, and landscapes she describes in detail. Even though I am not familiar with Lyme as it was in the early 19th century!

I was wondering if others might like to suggest novels, and other books, linked to particular real places. I always like to read a novel or two when I am visiting a city or area, in the UK or abroad. I find they work better than a guidebook. I wrote on the old board that before I visited Venice for the first time I read Aurelio Zen in  Dead Lagoon (by Michael Dibden) and Salley Vickers' Miss Garnett's Angel, and these gave me a great grounding for finding my way round!

For Lyme, books include The French Lieutenant's Woman, of course, and Jane Austen's Persuasion.  

Further along the coast, in Devon, The Sidmouth Letters by Jane Gardam, continues the watering place and Jane Austen theme, examining in fiction a hinted-at romantic episode in JA's life.

For the rest of Dorset, Hardy, of course.

I'd love other people to add to this fictional and (auto)biograhical set of tour guides.  Any ideas for the Pembrokeshire and West Wales coastal area, please?


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Green Jay



Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Posts: 1605


Location: West Sussex

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kate Atkinson is good at urban settings: Edinburgh for One Good Turn, York for Behind the Scenes at The museum, and Dundee for Emotionally Weird. Not exactly an advert for bonnie Dundee!  Laughing


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Gino



Joined: 20 Dec 2008
Posts: 127


Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have always enjoyed Great expectations with its setting along the rather eerie north Kent coast and Medway estuary



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Mikeharvey



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 3375


Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is going to sound terribly pretentious, but when I was travelling in India I read the Ramayana.  And the stories of R.K. Narayan when I visited Mysore, which I believe is the basis of Narayan's Malgudi.


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Joe Mac
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Allow me to join you in pretension, Mike. I read James Michener's Caravans while in Afghanistan, and it enhanced the experience greatly. Not a great book, probably, but at the time, and in the place, it had quite an effect on my youthful imagination.


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Jen M



Joined: 24 Nov 2008
Posts: 596


Location: Middlesex, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a brilliant idea for a topic, Green Jay - I've already posted in the What are you reading? thread that I like Lyme Regis and might read Remarkable Creatures before I visit there again.

I too like reading books in which I recognise the locations, and have tried recently to read books set in areas I will shortly be visiting to give me a bit of background to a place.

I read Peter Robinson's Strange Affair (from his Inspector Banks series) which was partly set in a part of London where I used to work - I could clearly visualise the characters in their settings.  

For Oxford, there is Inspector Morse, and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.  
For the Lake District, there are Walpole's Herries Chronicles; although these are set long ago, it is still possible to recognise many of the locations in the books.

I'll post more if I think of them and would welcome others' suggestions.  I don't have my next holiday planned yet - how good would it be to plan a holiday based on book recommendations?   Smile

My contribution to pretentiousness (or maybe not) is listening to Billy Joel's Allentown on my iPod while flying over Allentown.  We then flew over the Blue Ridge Mountains (of Virginia) but, sadly, I don't have that song on my iPod.     Laughing



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Mikeharvey



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 3375


Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I was on an escorted tour of the Deep South a few years ago our enterprising guide always managed to play music appropriate to wherever we were travelling through or to.  Among many places on a marvellous tour we visited Memphis, Atlanta, Chatanooga, New Orleans, Nashville, Savannah, the Mississippi, Civil War Battlefields,  so there was an enormous amount of music to choose from.  Guess who she played in Memphis. I think we passed through all the places mentioned in the lyric of 'Blues in the Night' the great song by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer - 'From Natchez to Mobile from Memphis to St Joe'....what a haunting song  that is.....My partner was embarrassed when I sang 'Chatanooga Choo-Choo' in front of the actual train.  (But not as embarrassed as I was when he actually insisted on dancing to and fro on the bridge in Avignon!)
But we both launched into 'Swanee' when we were on the banks of that river.
I remember riding in a lift (sorry elevator) in Nashville and a young man in a cowboy hat got in and couldn't resist telling us that he'd just signed a contract as a Country & Western singer.  I wonder what happened to him.

I suppose I should have been reading Faulkner and Tennessee Williams while travelling the Deep South, but I don't think I was.


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Green Jay



Joined: 13 Jan 2009
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Location: West Sussex

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike, the idea of songs linked with places is irrestible, if a bit off-topic. We always sings 'I'm in Hove with a wonderful guy...!'   Laughing


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Green Jay



Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Posts: 1605


Location: West Sussex

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This thread sort of followed on from the Deep South/ New South one, Jen, so not very original, but I thought it would be a nice idea to gather some suggestions together for all kinds of places. And if anyone can make some more imaginative links, that would be great.

For Oxford, there is a detective novel called The Oxford Murders but it was rather unsatisfactory, IMHO. There is also Lyra's Oxford, for Philip Pullman fans. And Brideshead Revisited.


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Mikeharvey



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
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Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And Max Beerbohm's 'Zuleika Dobson'. Subtitled 'An Oxford Love Story'. And what about Oxford's Lewis Carroll connection?



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