Hey everyone! So this week’s Top Ten is about settings and honestly, this isn’t something I think about much. Sure, setting is super important to a story. It impacts so much of what happens. But I don’t normally have a problem finding the settings I want (and I’m always looking for something new and exciting!) so I haven’t struggled too much yet. Still, I’ll give this a go.
Top Ten Settings I’d Like To See More Of
For the last year or so, I’ve been absolutely obsessed with France. (It happens when you realize about a third of your heritage comes from there.) If I pass a book in the library that has an Eiffel Tower on the spine, you can guarantee I’m picking it up. And most of the time, they’re really good. But they’re still pretty rare and it would be fun to see more of the City of Lights in literature.
I’m dying to travel to London at some point in my life and until I do, I love reading about it. I don’t even care what century the story’s set in if it’s about London. Present day, Roman invasion, I don’t care. Just give me London.
3. Colonial America
As far as history goes (and I do love my history), Colonial America is one of my favorite time periods. And I’m talking early colonial, pre-1700s. Jamestown, Roanoke Island, the beginnings of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Back when relations with the Natives weren’t initially troubled. Native American cultures are fascinating to me and the way very early colonists interacted with them was actually quite friendly. I wish there was more of that in books rather than King Phillip’s War onward, when everything is bloody and brutal. But that friendship doesn’t give a story conflict, I guess.
This is my nod to the fantasy genre. I wasn’t sure what else to call it. I’m not always the biggest fan of stories where fae infiltrate our world, but I kind of like the ones where someone from our world ends up in theirs. Think of Julie Kagawa or A Court of Thorns and Roses. It’s almost an Alice in Wonderland effect where we’re submerged in a world we don’t understand. I like trying to learn the new worlds.
5. Present day with the past
Ok, maybe the last one wasn’t my only nod to fantasy. I love time travel stories and that’s what I meant here. It’s the juxtaposition, like in the last one, of the world I know with a world I’m not as familiar with. Going back and forth between them is fun for me. Outlander is a good example of this, even if it’s not present day.
6. The Underworld
I have a fascination with how differently everyone pictures the Afterlife, even within the same religion. (I truly don’t think any two people picture Heaven the same way.) So I like stories that present a new and imaginative picture of what the Underworld (ideally ruled by Hades, who is my favorite of the Greek gods) to see what they think it might look like and how they reconcile it with modern religions. The Goddess Test does a fantastic job of this and I’d love to see more like it.
My home state! Indiana gets a bad rep a lot of the time for being nothing but soy beans and corn (which is only like half true) or for being a firmly Red state (sadly, that’s true). We’re even slammed in the Broadway musical The Prom, which I recently started listening to. (My initial excitement of it being set in Indiana was quickly dulled in like the third song when Emma says, “People suck in Indiana.”) John Green, who lives in Indianapolis, put us on the map with The Fault in Our Stars, which I am so happy about. And Francesca Zappia is also from the state and she’s set her latest book in Indiana. But that’s about it, of all the books I’ve read.
(Perfect irony here, as I’m writing this, the song “Indiana” by Just Kiddin came on. And I downloaded that song 50% for the title and 50% because it actually has a great beat.)
8. Medieval Europe
History nerd, remember? Medieval Europe is full of conflict, interesting characters, and complete overhauls of society depending on where you’re looking at. It’s fascinating stuff. A lot of what I’ve read focuses on England or France, which is totally fine and I will totally read more there (see first two in this list), but I’m open to more. And actually, you know what I’d love to see? A story of Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was #FIERCE. I mean, the girl ruled a huge chunk of France in her own right, then married the King of England, then rebelled against him and got their own sons to fight him. I need to see a book about her. If you know of one, hit me up.
For being places of such magic, why are there so few books set in libraries? Seriously. This baffles me. I spend more time at the library than I do anywhere else, not counting my house or work. We need to rectify this.
10. Around the World/Little Known Places
I love learning about exotic places and cultures through books because it’s safe. I’m not exactly the adventurous type, so actually going to these countries (especially if they’re war torn or dangerous) is highly unlikely. So I liked reading books set around the world in far flung places. I’ve read books set in Central America, Pakistan, Japan, and more that I will probably never get to. But I’d love to see more, especially in South American and Africa.