Top Ten Tuesday: Sights to See

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

This week’s theme is settings we’d like to read more of, either because not many books seem to explore them or because we simply want to read more!

1. Space. There’s no end to the ways in which writers depict space travel, colonizing planets, and meeting aliens.

2. The Gothic South. It’s all a giant cliche, but the decaying mansions, moss-draped trees, and humid nights sound like my kind of historical (or modern) romantic setting.  Vampires optional.

3. Ancient Egypt/Rome. Blame my obsession with the “Mummy” movies, but I’d love to read more about pharaohs and oases and treasure buried in the desert.  And Rome is a bit like ancient Egypt, but with more betrayal and less sibling-marriage.

4. Magical houses.  Someone (Mia?) recommended Flora Segunda, which has a house that’s, uh, bigger on the inside.  I love the magical realism involved with houses that look ordinary but have supernatural properties, like doors that go anywhere, windows that look onto different worlds, rooms that you can see from the outside but can’t figure out how to access from the inside…

5. Expat Europe in the Jazz Age.  I don’t necessarily enjoy some of the writing from this era, but there’s something romantically cliche and tremendously enjoyable in reading about people carving a life for themselves in a place that’s foreign and beautiful.  Everyone falls in love, makes bad decisions, faces their demons, and produces immortal works of art – and, failing that, they spend a day on a beautiful beach, drinking too much wine.  Basically it’s a win-win.

6. Tudor/Medieval England.  One of my very first historical fiction reads was “The Other Boleyn Girl,” and while I enjoyed it, I haven’t branched out much from Philippa Gregory.  I’d love to read more historical fiction from that era to see how those characters are portrayed differently.

7. London, any era.  I’d read pretty much anything set in London: medieval London, post-war London, during-the-war London, “Downton Abbey”-era London, 60s London, and modern London.  London has never been boring.

8. Medieval Middle East.  Considering the medical, artistic, and scientific advances going on in the Middle East while Europe was in the throes of the Dark Ages, I’m amazed I haven’t read more about it yet.

9. Almost any era in any Asian country.  Aside from “Memoirs of a Geisha” and a handful of novels set in India, I’ve read very little Asian historical fiction.  Actually, I read “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” and did not enjoy it at all, so I need to try again.

10. Gilded Age America.  The Gilded Age – era of big American business, Edith Wharton, women’s rights, the growth of cities, etc. – is always fun to read about for all the personal turmoils stirring under the surface of prim etiquette and beautiful clothing.  The creator of “Downton Abbey” is working on a similar show for this era for NBC, which is extremely exciting…if you’re into that sort of thing, which I am.  (10.5 would be Russia just before the revolution, where you had a similar disparity of wealth and a whole bunch of people pretending nothing was wrong.)

What places and eras would you like to read more about?

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9 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Sights to See

  1. 2, 4, and 7 definitely. I love reading about the gothic South, even though I never enjoyed living down south. The heat and humidity nearly killed me after living up north for so long. And I love magic/magical houses, but haven’t read much like it.

    • Likewise – I’ve lived in the NW my whole life and have never even been to the South! Books are as good as it’s going to get!

  2. Yes, it was I who recommended Flora Segunda! Or at least one of the people, maybe there were more. It’s an excellent book and a great Magical House example–I’m currently reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which has Magical House properties as well. I’d love to read more fiction set in the modern day in countries I know little about, like Cambodia or Senegal (to give two examples)–I loved reading Aya of Yopougon, and I don’t think I’ve read anything else that takes place in the Ivory Coast, you know? (If I haven’t recommended it before, Aya is a great and delightful series of comic books; I wouldn’t have known about it if Tito hadn’t bought the first three volumes at the Alternative Press Expo a couple of years ago and let me read them.)

    • Ooh, Jonathan Strange is on my shelf waiting to be read! I got it at a book exchange and I am super excited to try it out.

      Also, alternative comic books? Please move closer so we can share libraries.

    • All I can think of is “Time Cat!” There was also that “Dear America” spinoff about young princesses…one of those “diaries” was Cleopatra’s, and I remember it being fairly entertaining. There’s definitely room for more!

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