Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Literary Book Blog Hop: A Place to Be

Literary Blog Hop
It’s time for another Literary Book Blog Hop, hosted by The Blue Bookcase.  This week's question has been posed by Robyn who asks:

“What setting (time or place) from a book or story would you most like to visit?  Eudora Welty said that, "Being shown how to locate, to place, any account is what does most toward making us believe it...," so in what location would you most like to hang out”?

As one of the great pleasures of reading is to be transported to far away places and different times, this is a truly difficult, even impossible, question to answer.  After all, where does one start?

There are so many places and times that spring to mind.  I’d quite happily spend time in Tolkien’s Shire, either in Hobbiton itself, especially if it was around the time of a wealthy hobbit’s birthday, or at Farmer Maggot’s house, eating copious amounts of mushrooms and butter and I’d rather enjoy propping up the bar in the Prancing Pony at Bree or relaxing at Rivendell.

If it isn’t to be Middle Earth, how about Jasper Fforde’s Well of Lost Plots?  For any lover of fiction, the place where novels are created must be an irresistible lure.  Alternatively, if you enjoy the odd alcoholic beverage, to sit in the corner of Simon Green’s Strangefellows bar, deep in the heart of the Nightside, would be an eye-opening experience, although I am not sure I have the constitution to spend much time there.  A more gentle drinking experience would be Callahan’s Place, created by Spider Robinson.

Still in the realm of fictional places, most of us would, I am sure, quite fancy going to school at Hogwarts and I’ve always wanted to try butterbeer and chocolate frogs.  Also, as a bit of a glutton, Harry Potter’s school dinners are a universe away from those served at my old school.

Moving back to our world, there is always something magical about Venice, with its faded palazzo, myriad canals and waterways and dream-like luminosity.  Spending time with Donna Leon’s Commissario Brunetti and his family would be very appealing.

Or what about 1980s New York, as described in Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities?  Or the glory days of the Raj, featured in a wide range of novels, including Forster’s A Passage to India and Scott’s Raj Quartet.  New Orleans? Paris? China? Japan? Rome? Florence? Milan?  The Yorkshire moors? Lyme Regis in Dorset?  The Highlands of Scotland? Oxford? London? For the literary traveller, almost anywhere at any time is possible. Ancient Greece?  The Turkey of the Ottomans?  The Egypt of the Pharoahs? The walls of Troy?

So many places, both exotic and more familiar.  My chosen place would also depend on my mood and feelings when asked the question so today’s chosen location would, almost certainly not be tomorrow’s.  Today, I feel like rest and relaxation and so have plumped for a place of peace and sunshine.  In my chosen place, it is always tea-time on a sunny, summer day.  It is a place where God is in his heaven and all is well with the world.  I have decided that, for today, I would like to hang out at Blandings Castle, ancestral home of P.G. Wodehouse’s Lord Emsworth.  Evelyn Waugh wrote of Blandings, “The gardens of Blandings Castle are that original garden from which we are all exiled.  All those who know them long to return.”

I would have some stipulations, however.  The execrable Baxter must have been dismissed from his post as Lord Emsworth’s secretary and replaced by another of his former secretaries, Ronald Psmith.  Lady Constance Keeble must be in America with her husband.  The dastardly Duke of Dunstable must have been banned from the premises and, most importantly of all, the Hon. Galahad Threepwood, Emsworth’s younger brother and member in good standing of the Pelican Club must be firmly ensconced in the castle, armed with a whiskey and soda and a copy of his scandalous unpublished memoirs.  To misquote Wordsworth, what bliss it would be in that dawn to be alive and at Blandings.


Olivia said...

You've given us quite the spread of settings! There's not one that you listed that I wouldn't like to visit. I enjoyed your post tremendously.

Christina said...

Wonderful post! I'm not familiar with all the places you've mentioned, but you make them all sound enticing and I envy your imagination. It's difficult for me to picture myself within a fictional setting.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post!

Falaise said...

Olivia - Thank you very much for popping by and commenting.

Christina - Thank you very much for the comment.

Jenny - Thanks for taking the time to comment.

gautami tripathy said...

Nothing like the present times, for me!

Here is my Literary Blog Hop: Setting (time or place) post!

@parridhlantern said...

I'll have a whisky on the lawn, just skip the soda please.

Em said...

I can't say I'm tempted by all of those places and times. That's the thing about reading I can visit them without being there!

Song said...

WoW! That was a lovely post! The mention of Middle-earth really got me excited, for those are just the kind of relaxing images that come to mymind when I think of that fictional place!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Excellent ideas! Most of the places I visit in books are not quite so pleasant.

I'm a new follower!

Unknown said...

yes to Rivendell and Hogwarts-can't believe I didn't think of those myself. I too had a hard time narrowing it down, but I managed somehow.

Anonymous said...

Well, just reading your post has taken me to all those settings you talked about! Though Hogwarts has tickled my fancy a bit.

Here's my response:

LBC said...

Awesome post! So much fun, and I would definitely like to go to Hogwarts, but will probably have to settle for the theme park.

Here is my post:

Anonymous said...

Your choices are fictional or historical. I'm going for modern Alaska. Although, would that differ all that much from historical Alaska?

I do wish they invented time travel machines anytime soon, though. Wouldn't it be great to visit the times of historical novels?

Read my post here:

Trisha said...

Middle Earth or the world of Thursday Next would be absolutely wonderful to visit! Great answers.

Falaise said...

Gautami - I can understand that although I have an abiding fascination with the past.

Parrish - Depends on the whiskey I suppose!

Em - I agree. There are plenty of places and times that are interesting but where i wouldn't want to visit.

Risa - thanks for the comment!

Deb - thanks for stopping by - I will visit you when I get the chance.

Heather - thanks for stopping by and commenting.

myworldlyobsessions - I will check out your post as soon as I can.

LBC - I myself am still waiting for my letter from the school.

leeswammes - you are correct that most of mine are fictional or historic. I suspect these spring more readily to mind as I know that I won't be able to visit them in reality.

Trisha - thanks for the comment.

Elizabeth said...

Great choice....stopping by ALL the blogs to read all these great answers.

Stop by my blog to see my answer.