In the May 2023 newsletter, I asked the readers what their favourite settings in books are.

Here were their responses:

Christine: I like books with quaint rural settings like somewhere in the countryside of Scotland, or in a charming Irish Village, or a Sea Coastal town of Maine, or the Beaches of Nantucket (which I am currently reading). I can tell by the books I read that I am totally drawn to places that happen in these places.

Chris: This month’s question about what setting I like in books is an easy one. Since I love gardening in general and herbs specifically, I enjoy books where the main characters have gardens or like visiting them. That means that I love the Susan Wittig Albert book series about China Bayles, who solves crimes along with working in her herb garden. I also like the many references to medicinal herbs and gardens in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Then there are the many garden mysteries out there, such as Roots of Murder by Janis Harrison, Mulch by Ann Ripley and more. It’s simple, if there’s a garden involved in a story, I’m in!

Sue: The first adult books I read were Stephen kings and it was mainly because they were so weird and they were the longest books I could find. I never could find a book by the time I was 12 that would last me for more than a day. Books were to easy for me to read. I now stick to more normal books murder mysteries, detective type.

My book settings are more honest, like he ate a burger at a greasy burger joint, then he eating in some fancy restaurant having something I never heard of. I like books I can relate to. Kathy Reichs is in Canada so it make it closer to home for me. I wish I found more books that are Canadian. The teacher series I like how he describes when he gets to new places on the map you are able to kind of picture it.

Phillip: Hi Graeme. My favorite setting is in the mountains, far away from civilization. With danger lurking around every corner.

Loretta: My favorite setting for a book is a quaint village somewhere because it may look sweet but it holds secrets that are not always sweet. The characters always seem to have two very different sides.

Constance: For me, the unsurpassed surprising setting for a book is China Mieville’s The City and the City.

AJ: The only setting I return to with multiple authors is Regency London. Otherwise setting is just not something I put a lot of thought into. I like stories in remote places, big cities, moving places, I just can’t think of any setting I prefer.

Barbara: My favorite setting is somewhere I am familiar with. An example is James Patterson’s Lindsey Boxer series set in San Francisco. Anywhere in California is good. Texas is another favorite. Any southwestern US state is good too. Love New Mexico settings, especially Native American stories, usually Navajo people. Tony Hillerman was great for those and his daughter, Anne, is continuing the series.

Christine: Since I was about 12 years old my favorite place for books to happen is The Old West. Being a Baby Boomer, I was weaned on Westerns; among the first things I can remember watching on TV were The Lone Ranger and The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, and when I was about 12 my grandfather introduced me to Gunsmoke and I was lost forever. About the same time I took out three books from my local library: John H. Culp’s Born of the Sun, which I must have read at least half a dozen times; Ramon F. Adams’s The Old Time Cowhand, a factual study of the cowboy and his work and play; and Foster-Harris’s The Look of the Old West. The latter two hooked me on O.W. social history, which I’m still a bug on, and the former on “adult Western” novels, from which I went on to Zane Grey, Luke Short, Peter Dawson, Alan LeMay, John D. Nesbit, and many others. Most recently I’ve discovered Elmer Kelton, who, if you want to read about old-time Texas (or even more-or-less-modern Texas, as in The Time It Never Rained), is definitely worth your time. I also read sf and fantasy, historical novels (mostly older, non-PC ones), and some classics, though I have to admit that though I’ve read both, I can’t understand what the fuss is about Pride and Prejudice or Withering Hoots, I mean Wuthering Heights.

Jessica: For right now I’m stuck reading King of Fools by Amanda Foody. I don’t want it to end. The book is set in an alternate Las Vegas called New Reynes. I’m loving the setting because I had been to Las Vegas once with my boyfriend. But normally I like settings that are set back in time, or alternate real places.

Kat: i would love to find some current books that take place on greek islands that dont have to do with politics or fantasy

Mishawn: I have recently gotten into mysteries set in Scandanavia. I have always wanted to visit there and the books I’ve been reading have helped me visualize it. I made it through the Sandhamn mysteries series by Viveca Sten in about 2 weeks. I then did the Jamie Johansson series by Morgan Greene in about 2 weeks. I am now starting the Malmo series by Torquil Macleod, only 1 book in so far. I read the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo a few years ago and forgot how much I loved the Nordic landscape.

I can read a book set anywhere, but once I’m hooked on a series, I don’t quit until I’ve read them all!

Kathy: Hello, I love reading books set in a city I have either visited or wish to visit. Mystery books are my favorite. Since a trip to England I’m always looking for books set there especially London.
Love your site keep it up.

Kim: I love to read a book that takes place somewhere that I have been. The writer creates a world for his characters, which make the pictures in the reader’s mind. It’s almost like the character is in a bubble of the writer’s creation. But if it’s some place that you’ve been your mind can fill in all those blank spaces around the edges. I read the Travis McGee series when I lived in Miami. When Travis drove across Alligator Alley I could feel the depth of the darkness around him, or down Biscayne Boulevard I could see the lights of Miami Beach and Little Havana. It makes the story world bigger.

Linda: I love to read books that are in different cities that I have never visited. Authors who describe the cities makes me feel like I am there. I do not travel hardly at all, so this helps with my desire to experience the other locales. London is probably my favorite destination. Always wanted to visit London, but never got even close. Then in those cities I love the book to be in a library or a farm. Both of those places are my favorite places on earth, so when the book takes me there, it is heavenly. Thank you for another great newsletter. I must mention that Canada is also another place that intrigues me. That is probably why The Three Pine books are one of my favorite series. Have a wonderful spring.

Order of Books » Newsletter » Reader Mailbag: Favourite Book Settings

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