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Literary Places and Classic Titles – travel the world from your armchair

7th July 2020

Literary Places and Classic Titles

Literary Places by Sarah Baxter, illustrated by Amy Grimes.

Literary Places and Classic Titles

The author wonderfully brings together a collection of literary places, featuring 25 selected books, set all around the world. The settings in the chosen titles are absolutely characters in their own right.

“Writers build places… destinations you can find on a map. And sometimes they manage to make those real places feel more real than any photo ever could. They render locations large in mere ink, perfectly capturing their sights, sounds, smells and essence, turning a previously blank sheet into a teleport for the reader’s imagination”

In these days of lockdown, when travel is still not an option, we need the connection to other places and people, just to keep our horizons open. We need the hope that we can once again spread our wings. Literary Places comprises an overview of 25 books, now all classic titles, in the hope that by reading about these wonderful written worlds, readers will feel inspired to either read the original works or continue their literary travels by searching out more globe-trotting books (and of course you know where to find your next title for literary wanderlust!). The author offers a wonderful and detailed synopsis for each chosen title, in a Blinkist kind of way, sufficient to tempt new readers to pick up a book.

You might even choose to visit the settings of some of the books, now there’s an idea!

She doesn’t shy away from historical novels which often offer insight into events and people that have shaped the places we visit today. The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz sets the location scene as much as the descriptions of food and life, religion and architecture. Historical books offer the echoes of footsteps past.

‘Travel’ to Davos with Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain where Hans Castorp visits a cousin with tuberculosis at the Berghof Sanatorium. Sanatoria were thriving in the early 20th Century until penicillin was discovered and now many of the institutions have been turned into hotels. The present day Schatzalp, served by a funicular railway, could have been the model for Mann’s hotel – it opened as a luxury clinic in 1900 (the light box panels above the bar reveal that this used to be the X-Ray room!).

The God of Small Things (winner of the 1997 Booker Prize) by Arundhati Roy is the ultimate book for literary travel to Kerala. She addresses many issues, from over tourism to the caste system and so much more. The restored-for-tourists kettuvallam houseboats have become a cliche (a very nice one, I can tell you from personal experience) and are one of the best ways to see Kerala and see all these wonderful small things!

There are plenty more great choices to fuel your armchair travel. Now is the time to pick up this beautifully produced little tome of literary delights.  The narrative is interwoven with the most beautiful, naive-style block paintings that cannot fail to add colour to your life. They depict the places described in the featured novels and if you want more info, you can connect via Amy Grimes’ website

Tina for the TripFiction Team

Catch Sarah on Twitter and you can of course buy your copy of Literary Places from your chosen bookseller through the TripFiction database

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