Tuesday, July 23, 2019

TTT: "Atmospheric," You Say? I'm There!


The topic du jour for my favorite weekly meme is all about book settings.  I love a vivid, well-developed backdrop and will pretty much always want to read a story described as "atmospheric."  While our lists today are supposed to be about settings we'd like to see more of, I'm just going to go with my favorite settings because, naturally, those are the ones I would like to see more of, right?  Incidentally, I created a similar TTT list back in April about topics/settings that always lure me in. 

Before we get to that, I just want to encourage you to join in the TTT fun.  All you have to do is click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl, read a few simple instructions, create your own list, then spend some happy hours hopping around the book blogosphere.  It's a great way to find new blogs to follow, drop in on old favorites, and, of course, add to ye olde TBR pile.  What's not to love?

Top Ten Settings I Love and Would Like to See More Of


1.  Wild West/Pioneers/Homesteading—Between my Mormon pioneer heritage and my love of genealogy, it's probably no surprise that I love me a good pioneer/homesteading story.  They always entertain me while leaving me in awe of the courage, determination, and strength it took for ordinary people to take on the extraordinary task of venturing into the wild, untamed west and trying to eke out a life there.

Favorite Examples:  Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson; the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder; the Gold Seer trilogy by Rae Carson; and Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee


2.  Creepy old houses/Gothic—Give me a crumbling old mansion by the sea or a spooky plantation home on the bayou or an abandoned cottage hidden in the woods and I'm a happy reader.  I always love a shivery haunted house story.

Favorite Examples:  Pretty much anything by Kate Morton or Carol Goodman


3.  At Sea—As a high school exchange student, I once spent an entire day puking my guts out on a voyage across the Philippine Sea and I'm not sure I've quite recovered!  Landlubber that I am, I do possess a healthy appreciation for—and fear of—the raw and magnificent power of the ocean.  For this reason, I love a good "at sea" setting.  Be it a harrowing Titanic tale, a rollicking pirate yarn, or a good, old-fashioned shipwreck survival story, I'm all in.

Favorite Examples:  The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolf, the Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer, and Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys     


4.  Isolated/Insular communities—I also find cloistered communities intriguing.  From gentle Amish settlements to sinister cult compounds to free-spirited hippie communes to religious retreats to secret societies, these types of settings always pique my interest.

Favorite Examples:  the Rockton series by Kelley Armstrong, Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix, The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams


5.  Small towns (especially if they're hiding BIG secrets)—Because I was reared in a quaint little town, I'm naturally drawn to these types of book settings.  I especially love it when these placid villages are hiding juicy secrets that are about to crawl out of the closet to wreak a little havoc.

Favorite Examples:  the Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny; the Big Stone Gap series by Adriana Trigiani; the Grace Valley and Virgin River series by Robyn Carr; and just about anything by Joshilyn Jackson


6.  Australia—I've really been enjoying novels from Down Under lately.  I especially love those set in the Outback, where daily survival is not necessarily an assured thing.

Favorite Examples:  the Tomorrow, When the War Began series by John Marsden, anything by Jane Harper, and books by Liane Moriarty


7.  Antarctica—This unforgiving setting is another one that garners my endless fascination—and fear.

Favorite Examples:  My Last Continent by Midge Raymond 


8.  Bookstores and Libraries—I think people who love to read are naturally drawn to a bookish setting.  I am for sure.

Favorite Examples:  The Bookshop on the Corner and The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan and The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee


9.  Obscure States, U.S.A.—Every year, I keep track of the states where the books I read are set, sometimes as part of an official reading challenge, sometimes just on my own.  Guess which states are the most difficult to cross off my list?  Inevitably, it's places like North Dakota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Delaware.  According to my records, there is one state that has never made an appearance in my reading:  Arkansas.  So, if there's one setting I feel is underrepresented it's the less sexy states like poor neglected Arkansas. 

Favorite Examples:  I got nothin', which just proves my point!


10.  Scotland—I have some strong Scottish roots plus a keen interest in moody, broody settings, so this one is pretty much a given. 

Favorite Examples:  anything by Peter May or Ann Cleeves and the Lady Darby series by Anna Lee Huber 

There you have it, ten settings I enjoy reading about and which I'd like to see more of.  What do you think?  Do we have any favorite settings in common?  Which would you like to see more of?  Can you think of any great books I need to read in the categories above?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on yours.

Happy TTT!

35 comments:

  1. I've only read one book that had an Antarctica setting. We do need more of those.

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    1. Totally agree! I've read two, but one of them wasn't that great so I didn't include it on my list of favorite genre examples.

      Thanks for coming by!

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  2. Small towns are a big YES for me. Yes, there are those secrets, but there is usually a nice community aspect or just the fact that everyone seems to know everyone else.

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    1. Agreed. I like that tight-knit community feel too. It usually makes for a warm, cozy setting for a book.

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by and commenting!

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  3. I will never get enough of creepy old houses and scary/haunting stories about them! Love me some good Gothic vibes. I'm still waiting to get my hands on a copy of The Haunting of Hill House so I can read it!

    If you enjoy at sea books, you might give The Sea-Wolf by Jack London a try. I was pretty young when I read it (probably too young), but I fell a bit in love with it. :3

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    1. Me, too. I've loved haunted house stories since I was a kid and I've never stopped reading them. I'm more wimpy now, but still!

      I read CALL OF THE WILD when I was a kid, but I've never read THE SEA-WOLF. I'll have to give it a go. Thanks for the rec.

      Thanks for coming by!

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  4. Great list! I love a good cult/tight knit community plot.

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    1. For sure! It's a trope that always reels me in.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I found a website that lists cozy mysteries by state they appear in if you need to fill in any gaps. I'm trying to hit all 50 this year. Some are so easy but Nevada is giving me trouble!

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    1. What's the website? I definitely have some gaps to fill. Nevada is a toughie for me, too.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting!

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  6. I never thought I'd like western frontier books but I love almost all those books you mentioned! Guess I need some more YA frontier books.

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    1. Something about that setting just really appeals to me. Always has. It's probably because frontier-type books combine a lot of my favorite elements: survival stories, tight-knit groups, road trip stories, etc.

      Thanks for coming by!

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  7. Have you read any of the Outlander series set in Scotland. I've watched the first two seasons on Netflix, but the books are huge and I haven't invested the time needed to read one of them yet. Plus, they seem to track the Netflix series pretty closely - at least the first two seasons.

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    1. I read the first one and liked it, but I didn't move on with the series. Not sure why. Now I'd have to go back and re-read the first book in order to keep going and those books are seriously huge! I don't watch much t.v., but maybe I'll check it out on Netflix.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Sam!

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  8. I've seen a few today about books set at sea - we definitely need more! And small towns always make for a good atmospheric setting I think

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    1. I agree! The small town I grew up in wasn't nearly as exciting as most of the towns in novels, but it definitely had that cozy, tight knit feel.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. I have seen Antarctica and Scotland on a lot of lists and I agree with both. Plus more books set in bookstores.

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    1. You'd think there would be more set in bookstores and libraries since most bookworms would be attracted to that kind of setting and they're the ones buying books. Seems like a no-brainer!

      Thanks for coming by!

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  10. I think it's cool that you keep track of which states books are set in. I hope you find some Arkansas books soon!

    My TTT.

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    1. It's fun to do, plus maybe it helps other people who want to read books in different states find something to read? It's harder than it seems to get all 50 + D.C.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  11. I really love the selections you included and the examples you added to help our TBRs lol. I'm SHOCKED I didn't see more "cloistered communities" mentioned this week because that IS such a great setting that works for a multitude of genres.

    Thanks for checking out my page so I could find yours! Look forward to future posts! =D

    Taylor/NerdNarration (nerdnarrationblog.wordpress.com)

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    1. I agree! There's so much potential for cloistered communities mysteries, dramas, even horror stories. Laura Bickle wrote an Amish zombie series that's awesome :)

      Thanks for coming by! I'm adding your blog to my Bloglovin' list so I can keep up with what you're reading :)

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  12. Replies
    1. Yeah, I wish there were more novels with western-type settings being written :( I'm a total sucker for them.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  13. Great list, Susan! I agree with all ten of your picks. :D

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    1. Great minds think alike :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lark!

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  14. Thank you for such wonderful recs, in addition to detailed settings and descriptions! Also, I recently started reading the Kate Burkholder series, where in Kate is a cop in a small town, near an Amish community -- she's Amish and was banished from her community and ending becoming police chief. It's fascinating characterisation and also mysteries/ thrillers, though that might not be your cup of tea?

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    1. I read the first book in the Kate Burkholder series and liked it, but the next one was so disturbing that I had to put it down. I think the series is just a little TOO much for me. Bummer because I love Amish settings.

      Thanks for coming by!

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  15. Wonderful settings! I also like small towns with big secrets and the UK.

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    1. Little towns are so much more exciting in fiction than they are in real life, thank goodness!

      Thanks for stopping by, Helen!

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  16. This is a fantastic post! Loved reading it. Funnily enough I read Kelley Armstrong's first Rockton book a couple of months ago. Excellent. Love Peter May's books too. Will look into My Last Continent, sounds interesting. My favourite Aussie book is non-fiction, Down Under by Bill Bryson.

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    1. The Rockton series is great, isn't it? I'm also a big fan of May, although there are a lot of his books that I haven't read yet. I also haven't read anything by Bill Bryson, although I've heard very good things about his books.

      Thanks for coming by, Cath!

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  17. Have you seen the Good Luck Girls book coming out soon?? All Far West vibe ;)

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    1. I've seen this one advertised, but I'm not sure I've ever actually read the synopsis until now. Sounds like a good one! I'm definitely going to check it out. Thanks for the heads-up and thanks for stopping by!

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  18. I agree with all these except the spooky/gothic houses. Not a big fan of that setting. I would love to read more books set in Antarctica, there are so few. Great post.

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