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#Microblog Mondays 108: Story Setting

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I started reading The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close, mostly because it’s set in DC.  There are very few books that are not genre fiction (and usually legal or political thrillers at that) that are set in contemporary DC, and this one is particularly Washingtonish.

I like it because the characters go to restaurants I like and visit local places I enjoy.  If it’s possible to feel homesick while you are still at home, this book is making me feel wistful for the place where I am right now.

I wish more books were set in my city, and I tend to gobble up books set in places I like, especially if they include familiar landmarks that are not the usual tourist sites.  I’m even willing to stick with characters I don’t particularly enjoy making observations which would make me roll my eyes if spoken by an actual human just to keep seeing the city.

Are there books set in your hometown?  And do you enjoy reading location-based contemporary fiction?

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2. Nom Nom With Naba 14. Empty Arms, Broken Heart 26. IF Pom
3. Karen (River Run Dry) 15. Mixed Bag 27. Virginia
4. Anamika 16. Inconceivable! 28. Jess
5. Unpregnant Chicken 17. Delenn 29. Liz Rogers
6. Lori Lavender Luz 18. Deepa Gandhi 30. Mali (A Separate Life)
7. Lori@ Laughing IS Conceivable 19. Cyn K 31. Mali (No Kidding)
8. Dr. Amrita Basu 20. Who Shot Down My Stork? 32. Missing Noah
9. Obsessivemom 21. Just Heather 33. Amber
10. Modern Gypsy 22. Journeywoman 34. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal)
11. Isabelle 23. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled) 35. Cristy
12. Traci York, Writer 24. Esha @ Soul Talk

32 comments

1 Nabanita Dhar { 09.19.16 at 5:33 am }

I think I would but there are no books set in my city, well none that I have read so far. I just finished reading ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ and I love it. It is Historical Fiction and has already become one of my favourite books. A lot is set in Paris which reminds me of the days there.

2 Karen { 09.19.16 at 6:28 am }

In 2006 Jeff and I took a trip to Italy, and out last day in Rome we actually created our own tour and hit every landmark mentioned in Dan Brown’s “Angels and Demons.” It was so neat to stand in real life in a place that was written in a book; to me it felt a little like stepping through a mirror or falling down the proverbial rabbit hole, mixing real life with fiction.

And I’m certain there are tons of good books set in Boston that aren’t mob or crime books, but I haven’t found one yet.

3 Anamika Agnihotri { 09.19.16 at 6:55 am }

I do not have a hometown, having changed places of living and moving in and out of cities every 8-9 years. But yes I would love to read location based fiction.

4 loribeth { 09.19.16 at 8:20 am }

I had trouble thinking of any novels set in Toronto, so I Googled the topic, and there are actually quite a few (lots of Margaret Atwood & Robertson Davies!), albeit not many that I’ve read (oops). I was reminded, though, that while most people think of Lucy Maud Montgomery & Prince Edward Island in the same breath, she did write one book that was partly set in Toronto in the 1930s, Jane of Lantern Hill. I can picture exactly where Jane’s grandmother’s house was, as well as the house in Forest Hill she wants her parents to buy in the end. πŸ˜‰ Another favourite LMM novel, “The Blue Castle,” is set in Muskoka — Ontario cottage country. I haven’t been to Bala, where LMM spent a vacation that supposedly inspired the book, but I’ve been elsewhere in the area, which makes it easy to picture the settings. So, I would say it’s fun to read a book set in a familiar location, but it’s also fun reading about places you’ve never been too.

5 Lori Shandle-Fox { 09.19.16 at 8:39 am }

The other day my husband and I caught “Rear Window” on TV. I love that it’s set in Greenwich Village because I first saw it at a Greenwich Village theater a few blocks away from where the movie was set when I was at NYU. So for some reason I love seeing my NYC in movies, but when I read books, I love to escape to the beauty of New England or the English countryside. I read mostly murder mysteries and I love the contrast of the serene atmosphere.

6 torthuil { 09.19.16 at 8:59 am }

Yes, there are, though I can’t think of any really famous ones. A few years ago I read one and I didn’t know that it was set in my city and it was fun for the first few pages to put the clues together and realize it. It’s nice to read a story about my place(s) because most are set elsewhere and I just sort of cone to accept that.

7 Obsessivemom { 09.19.16 at 9:22 am }

Oh yes I love books set in any town that I have lived in or visited. Those set in my hometown are absolutely special. And they’re guaranteed a very biased review.

8 Jodi { 09.19.16 at 9:53 am }

I just started that. I like it so far.

9 Traci York { 09.19.16 at 10:54 am }

I remember being thrilled when Stephen King’s “Cell” took characters through the area I was living at the time. I think being connected to the actual locations in a fictional universe adds another level of enjoyment – at least for me it does.

10 Ashley { 09.19.16 at 11:01 am }

I don’t know of any books with my hometown as the setting. Lovely Bones has a setting sort of close to me, but Philly far outshines my town an hour north west. I did read a book set in Litiz which is a neat place I like to visit. I have seen a few shows about Nicaragua on the travel channel, one being about a couple looking to buy a beach property at a beach I frequented while living there, that was pretty cool. Hmm, maybe I should write a book set in my hometown so I can answer this question affirmatively. πŸ™‚

11 a { 09.19.16 at 12:01 pm }

Everyone sets books in Chicago…many of them seem never to have been there. πŸ™

12 Working mom of 2 { 09.19.16 at 12:28 pm }

Yes…I usually read mystery series (vs. one-offs) and there’s been a couple set here in my hometown…I’ve also read series set in other places I’ve lived…off the top of my head, at least 3 other locations…

13 Parul Thakur { 09.19.16 at 12:42 pm }

I enjoy reading books set at a location. If that is my hometown, I would love that. Reading to me is a lot of time connecting dots and seeing how close it is to my life. πŸ™‚

14 Hema { 09.19.16 at 12:45 pm }

Unfortunately, no! There are books set in my country which I relate to, but none that I know of are set in my hometown. I wish there were. And so, I’m attempting to write one myself!

15 katherinea12 { 09.19.16 at 12:54 pm }

I love books that are set in places that I know or have visited. None that I can think of that are set in my city, but after I travel, I enjoy finding books set in some of the places that I’ve seen.

16 Risa { 09.19.16 at 2:54 pm }

I’ve read one book that took place in my home state and it was so much fun recognizing the places. I always like when references to cities in my state are made in books. But Minneapolis is probably not a popular place to set a story. πŸ™‚

17 JustHeather { 09.19.16 at 3:08 pm }

I vaguely remember hearing of some books being set in my hometown, but I’ve not read them. I know for sure there is a (detective) series written about my adopted-hometown by a local. It was even set in the suburb of the town I lived in for 10+ years. I have started to read the first book, in Finnish, but I’ve been too lazy to continue. Someday. However, I do love to read/see about places I’ve been or lived.

18 Chris { 09.19.16 at 6:38 pm }

I don’t have a hometown. That’s what happens when you move and go to 13 schools. But, I am especially drawn to books that happen in San Francisco (I lived in the bay area for several years and now am back in the greater Sacramento area.) There are always landmarks that are familiar and that’s close enough I guess. So the Women’s Murder Club books by James Patterson are a special favorite as a lover of mysteries. I do also read his DC based ones btw- and I lived there too, but that was never home. My mom and I counted the days until we got to come back west.

19 Jess { 09.19.16 at 7:59 pm }

I haven’t read a whole lot set in my hometown (my new hometown where I’ve lived since 2001), Rochester NY. I did read a book called “Name All The Animals,” a memoir by a woman who went to Mercy High School and whose brother died in a horrible car crash right down the road from where I live. I liked matching up her descriptions with the actual places, and feeling like I knew what she was talking about, placewise at least. I love when an author really makes a place real. I love how Stephen King make Maine come alive, and Jennifer McMahon shows me a similarly creepy side of Vermont. I love books set in NYC, because I used to work there once upon a time and it makes me feel nostalgic. I can see how books set in your hometown would feel a bit more familiar, and maybe even show you parts of your town you might not experience that way.

20 Jess { 09.19.16 at 8:02 pm }

Oh, Risa! I just read a book set in Minneapolis! It’s super creepy (which is what I enjoy best) but it’s called “The Body Reader” by Anne Frasier. I bet you’d see a lot of things that you recognize in there… πŸ™‚

21 Liz { 09.19.16 at 9:40 pm }

Although there aren’t any books written about my hometown that I know of, I lived in Athens, Greece for 6 months and love reading any book set there. Wish I lived somewhere more exciting and worth writing about.

22 Mali { 09.19.16 at 11:00 pm }

I don’t know if any books are set in Wellington – maybe one or two by local authors. I can however watch Lord of the Rings and recognise the woods just above the city! I adore DC (have visited 7-8? times), so would happily read books (political or not) set there.

23 Amber { 09.20.16 at 12:32 am }

I’ve never read a book based on any of my hometowns, but I have enjoyed reading books set in my state (Oregon)!

24 Esha { 09.20.16 at 1:59 am }

Yes, I can totally relate to that! I’ve read quite a few books based in Calcutta, that has been my hometown even though I’ve actually lived in many different parts of the country since the growing up years! I recall very fondly the book Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh which took me along known places, favourite joints and student haunts since my own college days and so much of what you say, “feeling homesick” for one’s own hometown, is exactly how I felt, reading it then. More recently, another excellent piece of fiction, The Lives of Others, did remind me very closely of my hometown and I recall missing the sights and sounds of the known alleys and the bylanes so much, now that I actually live away from the hometown, in the South of the country! Your post just refreshed my own memories of those two books. I’m joining in with my very first MicroblogMonday post and am excited to be here and meet so many new bloggers πŸ™‚ (https://blogsbyesha.wordpress.com/2016/09/20/microblog-mondays-1-insomnia/)

25 Cristy { 09.20.16 at 12:09 pm }

I’m mixed about this. There are some books that are based in the Puget Sound area that I enjoyed (Snow Falling on Cedars), but then there are others (50 Shades of Grey, The Twilight Saga) which really don’t make sense. I think authors that take the time to explore the region really do a nice job (Twin Peaks was awesome for this reason), otherwise it can be a disappointment.

26 Journeywoman { 09.20.16 at 12:48 pm }

The thing that gets me crazy about some stories set in NYC is that they are written by people who seem to never have been there. Once I remember a car chase in the book and the police said “He’s going up fifth avenue.” Um—then it would be easy because Fifth Avenue is one way going down!

27 Lori Lavender Luz { 09.20.16 at 4:20 pm }

I would love to have that experience. I googled the novels set in my hometown and hadn’t read any of them. Someone should write one.

28 Valery Valentina { 09.20.16 at 4:23 pm }

The Miniaturist is set in Amsterdam in 1686, in the canal we live. Our house is just a few houses down the water. Magic!

29 Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) { 09.20.16 at 5:18 pm }

Yeah, it doesn’t seem like a lot of books that aren’t westerns are set in Arizona. When it does show up, it does make me feel like I can relate to the setting on another level. The author of the memoir Glass Castle spent part of her childhood in Arizona, so her descriptions of old Phoenix neighborhoods with citrus trees in the yards and the smell of the desert after it rained were particularly vivid for me.

30 Persnickety { 09.21.16 at 6:10 am }

I do like reading books set in places I live in or have lives, but it is disappointing when they get key things wrong. I read a romance novel set in Brisbane where they escape to a beach house his family has owned for generations with a private beach with golden sand on it. Yet still within greater Brisbane.

1. Despite an extensive coast line and river, there are few sand beaches, especially on the sea. Those sand beaches that do exist are most definitely not private.
2. Beach houses are usually referred to as beach shacks. Small but irritating detail.
Private beaches don’t exist in Queensland.

There were a number of other errors that indicated that author had just used the name of the city but not bothered to actually research it, or even visit it.

There are a couple of other ones where I know the author is from Brisbane, so they do know the place, but their perspective on the city is completely different.

31 Cyn K { 09.23.16 at 1:16 am }

I experience a certain thrill when reading a book and I recognize a location. “I’ve been there!”, I’ll think.

32 Middle Girl { 09.23.16 at 9:29 am }

The first mystery / crime series I read and grew to love is set in Chicago. Another, not as riveting is set in my current hometown.

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