Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Top Ten Book Settings

This week, the Broke and the Bookish are pondering settings.

1. Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft (Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling)

Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy-warty Hogwarts, teach us something please! Whether we be old and bald, or young with scabby knees! 

2. Naboo and Bajor (Star Trek, Star Wars)
I'm cheating a bit here because both settings primarily appear in movies (though book settings have also touched on them). I lump them together because they're...similar in many respects.  Compare, for instance, their  respective architecture. Culturally, they both blend high-technology and rustic simplicity. Despite their obvious technological potency, the cities of both planets still maintain a charming medieval-to-Renaissance appearance.

Also, I'm intrigued by the idea of a planet that elects adolescent girls to govern it.

3. Riverdale (Archie Comics)
Riverdale is the city I always wanted to grow up in. Archie's neighborhood has that cozy surburban look -- sidewalks and picket fences -- but Pop Tate's malt shop is evidently only blocks away, as are ballparks and most of the city except for downtown. It has mountains, beaches, a lake, and a river. Related: whatever town Henry and Beezus (Beverly Clearly) lived in, for the same reason.

4. Palo City, California (California Diaries)
I suppose this is mostly a case of wanting to live where characters I liked so much lived, though Palo City has high points of its own -- a lovely park with rock-climbing opportunities, and Venice Beach is only two hours away.  In my younger days I used to comb through a map of California looking for the city (working within a radius of Venice Beach) before realizing it as fictional.  I did manage to move there in one way, though -- whenever websites ask for my location, I happily respond...'Palo City, CA'.

5. Terminus/Foundation (Foundation series, Isaac Asimov)

It's a city founded by scientist-librarians who are destined to rule the universe.  I don't much care for the neighbors, so let's move there after the Four Kingdoms have been defeated, eh?

6. The Shire, J.R.R. Tolkien
I've never finished the Ring trilogy, but the lack-back feel of the Shire

7. Lake Woebegone
Where the women are strong, the men are good-lucking, and all the children are above average. While this is technically a town that began in a radio/variety show, Garrison Keiller has written books set in Woebegone.

8. The Boxcar in the Woods (Gertrude Chandler-Warner)

In the first  Boxcar Children book, four children -- Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny -- ran away into the woods, where they found an abandoned boxcar. They turned it and the area around it into their home, washing clothes in the stream and building various implements made of wood.  This always enthralled me, and one of the reasons I joined the Boy Scouts was to buy a BSA manual so I could learn how to make my own outdoor structures.

9. Andalite Home (Animorphs)

I want to see the place that gave birth to the Andalites,  They're sort of like elves in that they're very much in-tune with nature, but snobbish. Warrior-scientists, the warrior class can 'acquire' the DNA of any animal and then morph into it. They ingest food through their hooves, and communicate with one another via thought-speak. Intelligent and powerful, they'd be magnificent aliens were it not for their cold-blooded policies when it comes to defeating the galactic-empire-building Yeerks -- which sometimes involves writing off and leveling whole planets taken by the Yeerks because that's easier than fighting for their reclamation.

10. Clanton, Mississippi (A Time to Kill, The Summons, The Last Juror, Ford County, John Grisham)

Clanton Mississippi is a fictional town in equally fictional Ford County, Mississippi. Although urban sprawl has diminished its charm, somewhat, it still manages to hold on to some of that southern-small town idyll, especially downtown -- amid the grand old Victorian homes obscured by Spanish moss and the courtyard square. While the picturesque descriptions of it compel my attention, its colorful characters back the town especially visit-worthy.


  1. Lake Woebegone is a great choice. I grew up on A Prairie Home Companion. :)

  2. Oh Animorphs!! That takes me back! I only read a couple of the books but the show was an absolute favourite of mine!

  3. How could I forget Hogwarts?

  4. @gabrielreads: I like to listen to it on Saturday afternoons! :)

    @Kayleigh: I didn't see much of the show, though I liked some of the actors. I tend to use everyone but Jake and Cassie's actors when reading the books and playing the scenes out in my heads.

    @Loni: Maybe it seemed too obvious? :) That's happened to me many times.

  5. the boxcar in the woods! thats one I haven't seen on a list yet, great choice!

  6. Ooooh Riverdale is a good one. I used to be obsessed with Archie comic books. I still have all of my old ones in the garage somewhere. And Hogwarts is a given..best setting.

  7. This is the second list I've seen with the Boxcar Children. When I was a kid, I really wanted to run away and live in a boxcar. Now I'm not sure why that sounded so appealing.

    Check out my list here


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