Top Ten Tuesday- Vivid Worlds/Settings

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is about Vivid Settings.

Holy crap, where do I begin?  That’s one of the most amazing things about reading: that we can be transported to a place we’ve never been or to somewhere that doesn’t truly exist.  A good author can take you there with lush descriptions or with a few simple words and before you know it BAM, you know that place as well as you know your home.

There are so many I could list, but here are the first few that came to mind.

1. Hogwarts, The Harry Potter series– Well, YEAH. This is going to be on everyone’s list, I realize but that is only because it is so truly magical.  JK Rowling made me believe in this amazing world where you could step off Platform 9 3/4 and take a train to the most bad-ass wizarding school evah.  Not only did I want to live there, I felt like I’d been there for years.


2. The Real World vs. The Mythical World, Daughter of Smoke and Bone– I’m pretty much a homebody, but Laini Taylor made me wish I were a world traveler.  From Prague to Marrakesh, to magical worlds that don’t exist (or do they?) every single place is described in such vivid, beautiful detail I truly wanted to go there.

3. The Capitol, The Hunger Games series– I’m not sayin it’s a nice place or anything, but tell me you don’t want to go there and see the amazing gadgets and all the freaky business those people do to themselves.  I mean Tigris the fur lady with the cat face (Mockingjay) is enough to make me want to have a quick visit.

4. The Chocolate Factory, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory– I’m not sure if you know this, but I’m pretty much willing to take candy from a baby if it’s the only way to get my chocolate fix every day.  I love the stuff. It’s my heroin, Spidermonkey.  Imagine how enthralled I was as a child reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory over and over again and imagining that beautiful chocolate waterfall.  The only reason I wouldn’t have gone full-on Augustus Gloop is that looming promise of a lifetime supply of chocolatey goodness.  Otherwise, Augustus, I totally feel you buddy.  Chocolate.  In a river.  What could be better?

5.  Cousins Beach, The Summer books– That beach house with those Fisher boys.  Man, I practically had to rinse the sand off my feet, that’s how real those books felt.  There is something so amazing about the smell of the ocean, the feel of the sand, the way it the salt sticks to your hair and your skin and permeates everything. And I think Jenny Han really captures it all here with Belly and the boys and the love and heartbreak that plays out.  I’d love to spend my summers there, too.

6. New York City, The Princess Diaries series and Where She Went– HRH Mia Thermopolis lives in NY and thinks it’s pretty much the greatest city on the planet.  And while I’ve only been once, I’d have to say it is definitely one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been.  I love how Meg Cabot and Gayle Forman (who has Adam in NY during the entirety of Where She Went) name real places and streets. It’s like a little love letter to the city and speaks to its unique personality and constant life.  Every time I read those books I want to visit again!

7. Paris, Anna and The French Kiss– Okay, I’ll be honest, I’d probably want to go to Paris anyway, even if I hadn’t read this book. When I found out that Stephanie Perkins had never been to Paris I was totally shocked.  Girlfriend made me feel not only as if I’d visited there, but as though I’d moved into Anna’s dorm with her for the duration of that school year. She described the sights and the food, the people–even the cobblestones in the street.  It was truly well-done and totally charming.

8. Jellicoe School, Jellicoe Road– The book is amazing. Marchetta does such a great job at describing the boarding school, the territories, the Prayer Tree–everything that I felt as though I could actually see it.  And when I reread this book I still see it the same way. It’s like coming home again.

Image from the 1993 film

9. The Garden, The Secret Garden When I fist read the title of this book as a kid, I kept wondering what was so great about a garden. So there are some flowers. Big deal! But holy wow, this isn’t some rinky dink garden (this should tell you what type of gardener I am), this is like another world.

10. The Town of Clover, CA, The Sky is Everywhere– I loved this sweet little imaginary California town complete with a river and forests and that small town vibe.  Jandy Nelson described it in such detail from the main watering holes, to the gossip around town, to the bed in the forest to the main road where one might run into a cowboy on a skateboard. And Lennie’s home, complete with lush gardens and the sound of the river rushing by…I felt as if I could practically hear it.

Happy Tuesday!

14 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday- Vivid Worlds/Settings

  1. Love your places! The Secret Garden was my FAVORITE fictional hangout as a kid. I loved the vivid descriptions of the garden before and after, the spooky moors and lush English countryside! Oh, and the chocolate factory? Yeah, I would’ve been a goner on that chocolate river!

  2. geez, where to begin? i totally feel you re: hogwarts & prague, but the way that Stephanie Perkins described Paris? it’s the one time I think I actually could envision it, not in the vague, general sense that you normally visualize somewhere you’ve never been, it felt real. also, New York? i’ve read so many books with New York as the setting, i feel ike i could actually navigate the place on my own. one day *sigh* ~dixie

  3. Wow this list is amazing! I totally forgot about The Secret Garden! I used to try to find gardens to hang out in when I was a kid so I could pretend I was there haha.
    Of course HP & THG, but I love that you included regular cities as well! I totally agree with If I Stay – I felt like I was a part of Mia’s story. And I forgot about The Sky is Everywhere!

  4. How could I have forgotten the Chocolate Factory!! I saw the Secret Garden movie as a kid, but I never read the book, although I’ve been told you’re never too old to read it. Great list.

    • I do the same thing! I always forget something that is so obvious and then I want to kick myself! Last year I had to make a list of Most Anticipated Reads of 2012 and I forgot to put Insurgent. Um, hello.

  5. So you are my book soul mate. The only book I wouldn’t have thought to include is Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. BUT what a brilliant choice! Love, love your books! I used to read The Secret Garden ALL the time. I loved that book growing up! 🙂

    • I was just checking out your blog and yes Magan, you and I were made to be friends. 🙂 And I probably only remember Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is because I’ve read it a couple of times again in recent years as my daughters have gone through their Roald Dahl phase (I have one past that stage and one just entering it). It’s truly just as magical now as it was when I was a kid.

  6. The chocolate factory is a great choice! I always thought it would be an amazing place to visit (I am a bit of chocolate addict too). I like it when authors name real streets or locations in their books, it feels much more real, and I love disappearing into all these different cities and places.

    • I’ve always wished someone would open a chocolate store/factory that tried to recreate some of the silliness of the book. There’s a great place we visit in Paso Robles, CA (I think it’s called Powell’s) and they play the movie over and over and have tons of memorabilia from the film (along with mega tons of awesome candy). Of course, it isn’t the same, but I love how they pay homage to the wackiness of the book/film.

  7. I love the pictures you have for each of your places. I always forget that the Princess Diaries is set in New York – the film where it’s set in San Francisco always takes over in my head.

    I’d love to visit Willy Wonkas chocolate factory too! How incredibly would that be.. how sick would you feel when it was time to go home? 😛

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