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Books Set in the Place That You Live?

 
 
Reply Mon 19 May, 2003 11:12 am
Do you like to read books set near where you live (or have lived), or do you prefer those set elsewhere, possibly in more exotic locales?

I'm not sure of the answer myself, though I just finished Kesey's "Sometimes A Great Notion" set on the Oregon coast, not far from where I used to live. The novel resonated more with me as a result, I think.

I'd like to hear from others!
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Letty
 
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Reply Mon 19 May, 2003 02:57 pm
D'art, Yes, indeed, I think books written about areas with which one is familiar makes them so much more meaningful. I loved Spencer's Mountain by Earl Hamner because I knew the characters and my extended family lives in the vicinity of Virginia where the entire story takes place. Another is Follow the River by James Thom, and is about the same area where I lived before moving to Florida. Both books are based on true events and dramatized beautifully.
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New Haven
 
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Reply Mon 19 May, 2003 02:58 pm
I never read fiction, that takes place in Boston. I like NYCity the best.
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Walter Hinteler
 
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Reply Mon 19 May, 2003 03:02 pm
Since a couple of years, there started a new kind (well, "new" for us Germans, at least) mystery books: situated in German regions.

I really like them, because it makes me smile to read about people I could know, places, I've been, characters, I like/dislike ... ... ... .
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fishin
 
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Reply Mon 19 May, 2003 03:10 pm
I have experiences both ways. In some cases it's nice because it makes things easy to relate to. You know the streets and can follow along better. The mental image is more vivid.

On the other hand I read one book where the author obvioulsy wasn't from the town. They had streets intersecting that never meet in reality or the person is driving the wrong way on one way streets, etc... You can also pick out the parts that are exagerated or pure fiction and that causes my mind to wander because then I start wondering what else in the book is wrong and I get distracted from the story itself.
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Dartagnan
 
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Reply Mon 19 May, 2003 03:20 pm
That's interesting, fishin'. Reminds me of movies that are set in places I know, only they weren't really filmed there--or were, but certain details are changed for reasons best known to the director. And that IS distracting!

I recently read Conrad's "Lord Jim", which is highly evocative of parts of Asia. I felt as though I was there, although I never have been. Torrential rains and steamy heat...
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Noddy24
 
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Reply Tue 20 May, 2003 05:18 am
Library web sites list fiction in many ways, including geographic location. So does www.stopyourekillingme.com a website devoted to murder mysteries.
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BeachBum
 
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Reply Tue 20 May, 2003 07:10 am
I enjoy reading local authors, especially when they're based in Boston area: Spenser books, "Mystic River" or any of the other Denis Lehane books, but it's not a necessity. My favorite series of books are the "Prey" books by John Sandford, all based in Minneapolis. As long as they're good, I'll read.
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bigdice67
 
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Reply Tue 20 May, 2003 08:01 am
I'm prone to reading books, especially crimenovels, set in areas that are familiar to me, or places that I enjoy. There is an author from Gothenburg that I really enjoy, Ake Edwardsson, and his characters are moving and living in areas of gothenburg that know really well. I know the exact way that the main character is walking home from work, for instance. And being a swedish ex-pat, I'm grateful for anything that comes from my neck of the woods!

BUT! Since I'm a real Florida Freak (ask my wife), I also love reading John D. McDonald's books about Travis McGee set in the late '60's, and I can understand his sentiments about that beautiful state being sold out to land developers, and amusement parks.

And I like the Preyseries from Sandford, too, just like BeachBum. probably because the great stories and characters.


But then again, I'm no critic
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bigdice67
 
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Reply Tue 20 May, 2003 08:05 am
Hey, Noddy! Thx for the link, I bookmarked it very pronto!
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Jim
 
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Reply Tue 20 May, 2003 08:56 am
There's a popular Mexican restaurant in Denver named Casa Bonita. Somehow I never ate there when I was going to school in the Denver area, but over the years I read several books where the characters ate there. I finally took the family there for dinner about 18 months ago while in the States on vacation.

I also enjoy reading history books about places I've lived. I recently finished "Otter Pelts, China Goods, and Boston Ships" about the trade between Europe, New England, the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii and China in the early 19th century. It was especially interesting to me since I grew up in Seatttle.
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Dartagnan
 
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Reply Tue 20 May, 2003 12:41 pm
I might have to check that out, Jim. Thanks for the tip. I've lived in Seattle 20+ years, and only recently became interested in reading about its history...
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Noddy24
 
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Reply Tue 20 May, 2003 03:27 pm
I used to wonder why Pennsylvania libraries--for example--had many, many books set in Pennsylvania as opposed to books set in the mid-west or the southwest or the deep south.....

Sometimes local color is more enchanting when you have no specific knowledge of local.

Of course, a lot of my general information comes from local color.
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Setanta
 
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Reply Tue 20 May, 2003 03:33 pm
I'm currently re-reading anovel set largely in Lunnon. Never been to England, but i've visited the Capital so often in literature, it almost feels like home.

I read The Milagro Beanfield War and a few others by the same author. Having briefly lived in northern New Mexico really didn't matter much to me in the reading. I also read a few novels by a Yankee who had settled in North Carolina--i've been fortunate enough to have forgotten his name and those of the novels. All the novels were set in North Carolina in various historical periods. The quality of the writing was so poor (in the movies, you would say his continuity was all over the road--he also butchered history unmercifully), that knowing the countryside was no saving grace.

I guess i'd say that i enjoy visiting in print places i've never been.
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Sun 25 May, 2003 12:38 am
A good part of why I ever read police procedurals/mysteries is for the sense of place....thus I have learned a thing or two about Japan and Sweden and the Netherlands and Italy and probably Peru (not identified)...or not, as any one book is only one mirror.

I have also read batches of books set in the SF bay area and Los Angeles, common enough as California is a favorite setting for a variety of writers, as everybody here knows. There is a well thought of young, or fairly young, short story writer from my new area in California, an area that has a relatively low population, and is little written about, the land near the Oregon border, which also has a mountainous region called the Trinities; the fellow's name is Roy Parvin. Will be back with some book names. He has been reviewed well. The books are part of my getting to know my new general area.
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Noddy24
 
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Reply Sun 25 May, 2003 12:09 pm
Aristotle had six areas of importance when judging tragedy. I remember only three: plot, character and atmosphere (aka local color).

A lot of light fiction can be weak in plot with rather preposterous characters, but if the atmosphere, the local color, is well done the light fiction is read joyously despite its shortcomings.
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farmerman
 
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Reply Sun 25 May, 2003 12:35 pm
The 1985 movie, WITNESS, was filmed just a few milesw from our home and that alone kept my interest high, even though the movie mostly sucked.
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Dartagnan
 
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Reply Tue 27 May, 2003 10:46 am
How about books (or movies) that are supposedly set in places we know, but the author (or director) gets key details wrong? Such as buildings in the wrong places. I find that bothersome. If the creator had to fudge that, what else may be wrong?
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ellieZeeTheSprite
 
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Reply Mon 2 Jun, 2003 07:47 pm
I just finished two books that take place where I live! Well, sort of anyway.... Boston area circa 1659. Witch Child and Sorceress by Celia Rees. Actually, in Sorceress, the character travels through many places I've lived or at least know well... Boston area, other parts of Mass, CT, the lakes region of NH. I liked that.

I've also read Milkrun... can't remember the author at the moment. It also takes place in Boston. But in that one, because I was so familiar with the place, I noticed some inaccuracies.
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Joe Nation
 
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Reply Mon 2 Jun, 2003 08:26 pm
I like Paul Auster books that are set in New York. His world view is such that any resemblance to the city is reflection in a twisted mirror.

==
Movies: one night we were at the movies watching "You've got mail" . On the screen the characters were going to a movie..... you guessed it. On the screen they walked into the theatre we were in, up the escalator, and INTO THE SCREENING ROOM we were in. It was spooky.
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