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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Places I've Visited So Often In Books That I Might As Well Live There

Since travelling has been so restricted of late, I'm sure I'm not the only one who's itching to jet off to some exotic locale just for a change of scenery!  I've done a little bit of world traversing in real life, but I've experienced a whole lot more through books.  As Emily Dickinson famously wrote, "There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away..."  

Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic concerns Places In Books Where I'd Want to Live.  Since I read mostly mystery/thriller type books, this is kind of a tough one!  I've learned through many a murder mystery (especially cozies) that no place in the world is entirely safe and idyllic.  Murder and mayhem can happen anywhere—even in sleepy little towns where nothing ever happens.  So, I'm going to twist today's TTT a little bit and tell you about the Top Ten Places I Visit So Often in Books That I Might As Well Live There.  Since I read mostly realistic fiction, I'm going to concentrate on places that actually exist on the map (no Narnia or Hogwarts this time around, I'm afraid).  

If you want to join in the TTT fun, click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl for all the details.

Top Ten Places I Visit So Often in Books That I Might As Well Live There:

1.  Scotland—I have strong Scottish roots, so it's no surprise that I love to connect with the country through fiction.  If all goes well, I'll be there in person this Fall.  Can't wait to finally see its beauty with my own eyes!  Favorite Scottish Authors/Authors Who Write About Scotland:  Jenny Colgan, Peter May, Anna Lee Huber, etc.

2.  Canada—My American grandmother lived in the Vancouver area while I was growing up, so I've been to the Great White North many times.  I'd love to visit other parts of the country, however, including Prince Edward Island (famously portrayed in the Anne of Green Gables series), Nova Scotia (where my Scottish ancestors landed after leaving their homeland), Quebec (Three Pines is fictional, but still...), Banff, and more.  Favorite Canadian Authors/Authors Who Write About Canada:  L.M. Montgomery, Louise Penny, Kelley Armstrong, etc.

3.  Maine, U.S.A.—Although I have stepped foot in Maine, it was only just over the border.  We spent about an hour there, most of which was in an International House of Pancakes (IHOP) restaurant.  I know there's more to see in The Pine Tree State than waffles!  Books always make it sound like a moody, broody, mysterious place.  Its craggy coastline looks amazingly beautiful in pictures.  Just the other day, my husband and I started planning a trip to visit Maine (where he has ancestral roots) and Nova Scotia (where I do).  Famous Maine Authors/Authors Who Write About Maine:  Stephen King, Cynthia Lord, Rory Power, Sarah Graves, etc.  

4.  Antarctica—Okay, so I've actually only read a few books set in Antarctica and it's not a place I would actually want to visit or live (because I'm a big wimp and also, brrrrrrr), BUT it's a fascinating land to investigate from the safety of my nice, warm home.  Its rugged, dangerous landscape makes a perfect setting for the mysteries, thrillers, and survival novels I love so much.  Favorite Antarctica books:  The Split by Sharon Bolton and My Last Continent by Midge Raymond

5.  Australia—Although a lot of the Australia books I've read are gritty mysteries set against a dry, dusty Down Under backdrop that is perfect for murder, mayhem, and apocalyptic disasters, I know there's a lot more to this wondrous country.  I'd love to see its unique landscape, wildlife, and culture for myself.  Favorite Australian Authors/Authors Who Write About Australia:  Jane Harper, Liane Moriarty, Tea Cooper, Kate Morton, etc.

6.  Ohio, U.S.A.—I do have ancestral roots in Ohio, but it's mere coincidence (or is it??) that I spend a lot of my reading hours in The Buckeye State.  Several of my favorite cozy and historical mystery series are set here.  I've been to northern Ohio, but my ancestors settled more to the south, so there are still places in the state I'd like to visit.  Favorite Ohioan Authors/Authors Who Write About Ohio:  Amanda Flower, Vivien Chien, Jess Montgomery, etc.

7.  North Carolina, U.S.A.—This is a state in which I have no roots and to which I have never gone.  Somehow, though, I end up reading a lot of books set here.  Why is North Carolina such a popular fictional setting?  Not a clue.  Favorite North Carolinan Authors/Authors Who Write About North Carolina:  Diane Chamberlain, Cindy Baldwin, Charles Frazier, etc. 

8.  England—Many Americans have a strong connection to England and I'm no exception (24% of my DNA, says Ancestry).  I've traveled all over the country, from London to Cornwall to the Isle of Man to Liverpool.  At least in books.  In September (fingers crossed), I'll visit the Motherland for real for the first time in my life.  Yippee!  Favorite English Authors/Authors Who Write About England:  Gilly Macmillan, Ruth Ware, Sharon Bolton, Elly Griffiths, etc.

9.  Ireland—With a maiden name like Kennedy, you'd think I'd be more Irish than I am (20%).  Still, I've always loved reading about The Emerald Isle.  Everything—from its craggy landscape to its dreary weather to its rich culture—just speaks to my soul.  It's not on the itinerary for our upcoming U.K. trip, but hopefully I'll get there someday!  Favorite Irish Authors/Authors Who Write About Ireland:  Tana French, Jane Casey, Dervla McTiernan, Maeve Binchy, etc.

10.  New York, U.S.A.—If you take a gander at my right sidebar, you'll see that I keep track of the places where the books I read are set.  Guess which U.S. state I've visited most in fiction?  New York!  Tons of books are set there, which really isn't surprising since it's such a colorful, diverse place.  I've been to NYC (noisy) and upstate (peaceful) and I can't think of any other place in the state that I really want to go.  I did recently discover the Shauna Merchant mystery series by Tessa Wegert, though, and the Thousand Islands region sounds lovely.  Favorite New York Authors/Authors Who Write About New York:  Tessa Wegert, Jacqueline Woodson, Riley Sager, Carol GoodmanA.J. Finn, etc.

There you go with the ten places I visit so often in my reading that I might as well live there!  Which locales do you enjoy reading about?  Which other books/series/authors do you love that fit the categories above?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!       


  1. Choosing places to live based on mysteries is definitely taking a chance, but by choosing countries (instead of small towns were there always seems to be a string of murders), you've given yourself a chance at survival. :-)

    1. Right? Ha ha. I can move from town to town within a country and start country-hopping when one gets too dangerous!

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

  2. Hello from Canada! I think it's great you picked us as one of your options.

    My post:

    1. I loved visiting Canada when I was a kid! We stayed mostly in the immediate Vancouver area, though, so there's definitely a lot more of the country I want to see.

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

  3. Great post Susan. I love that you keep track of where you have been in your books, I need to do that. I would love to do another of these posts and just include the US. I have traveled extensively in the US, but not everywhere. Maine, California, Washington and NYC would definitely be on that list. I have spent a lot of time in NC and SC or they would be as well.

    1. It's been fun to keep track of where I visit in books over the years. It's always interesting to see where I end up :)

      I grew up in Washington State, so I've been all over it. It's beautiful! I've also vacationed a number of times in Southern California and driven through northern CA once or twice. NYC is not my kind of place, but I'm glad I visited once. Maine is a state I definitely want to explore more since we really just drove across the border, ate breakfast, and left on our last trip! There is so much to see in this country, isn't there?

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

  4. Love your twist on this week's TTT! :D

    1. Thanks! It was a fun topic to do :)

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

  5. This post is definitely giving me wanderlust! Would love to see New York and really need to do Scotland properly one day as it's only a few hours away. Liverpool's my city but I've never read a book set there!

    1. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure I've ever actually read a book set in Liverpool either, LOL. It is a city I want to see, though, as my great-great-great grandparents left from there when they emigrated to the U.S. back in the 1800's.

      NYC is a place everyone should probably experience at least once. I know lots of people who LOVE it there, but once was enough for me. Upstate is really beautiful, but I visited in the middle of summer and it was SO humid! Luckily, we were staying by a lake, so we could cool off easily :)

      Thanks for stopping in, Catherine!

  6. I really like your take on this prompt. I would love to visit Scotland. It's so beautifully written in books. Well pictures are also beautiful. haha. I live in Ohio.. and it's not great. LOL! I live in the southern most part now.. Cincinnati. There's some fun things to do here but there's so many nicer places! I used to live at mid-point (mid-ohio) and it's even worse! There is nothing within miles around and boring. I would stick to some bigger cities like Cbus or Cinci if you ever did visit. :-) <3

    1. Ha ha ha. This comment totally made me laugh! I'd have the same response if someone told me they were visiting my city - why? I hate living here, LOL.

      The only reason I want to go back to Ohio is to do some on-site family history research in Licking County. When I visited before, my husband and I flew into Cleveland and then drove to Kirtland to visit sites that are important in the history of our church. It was winter and SUPER cold, but we had a good time looking around. We went to an Amish restaurant to experience that culture as well. A good trip, all and all.

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

  7. Scotland is at the top of my list of places to go. Something about the place- its wild beauty, I guess- just calls to me lol. Canada (especially the maritimes) would be wonderful. Ireland as well.

    Antarctica is a place I do enjoy exploring, but only in books. :)

    1. Right? I've always felt a kinship with Scotland, which makes sense since my roots are strong there. Same with Ireland and Canada. Antarctica is one of those places I find endlessly fascinating, but I can't imagine having the kind of hardiness it would take to live there in real life.

      Thanks for stopping in, Greg!

  8. Great choices!! I’d love to live in New York or Ireland too!

    1. I could probably handle living in upstate NY, although the humidity during the summer might kill me, but I definitely can't take the city. Too much. I haven't been to Ireland yet, but it's a place I absolutely want to visit.

      Thanks for coming by, Stephanie!

  9. I'll keep my fingers firmly crossed that you get your wish to holiday in the UK in The Fall. And I absolutely loved this post, so interesting!

    1. Me too! We bought out tickets, but the dates are flexible just in case. I'm really hoping we get to go in late September/early October as planned. We'll see.

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

  10. Ohio would be a cool place to visit.

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday.

    1. My husband and I enjoyed our first visit there. We saw historical sites that are important in the history of our church. We were in Amish country, so it was fun to get a taste of that culture as well.

      Thanks for stopping by, Astilbe!

  11. This is a great post, Susan. My favorite part are the suggestions for Antarctica. I have added two books to my list to look for.

    1. I loved both the books I mentioned that were set in Antarctica. I also liked but didn't love THE ARCTIC FURY by Greer McAllister. Although it's set in the Arctic, not Antarctica, it has a similar feel to the other books.

      Thanks for coming by, Tracy!

  12. Great twist! I track where my books are set too, and NY and CA dominate my list. I am impressed by the number of books you read set in Antartica. I read one last year, Up to this Pointe, and it was excellent, but that's the only one.

    1. There are SO many books set in New York and California! They are my most visited states by far.

      I haven't heard of UP TO THIS POINTE. I'm definitely going to check it out. Antarctica books are so interesting to me!

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

  13. I've read books set in both Carolinas. I think I could live there by how much I've read of them, too!

    1. Ha ha. Right? I've never been to either of them IRL, but I visit them a lot in books.

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

  14. Fun take on this week's topic. If I had to guess, I'd say NYC, Paris, and London probably top my list of most visited cities in the books I read.

    1. Those are all popular book settings, for sure! I've been to NYC IRL and, if all goes well, I'll be visiting London and Paris for the first time in September/October. Yay!

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

  15. I live in Sri Lanka and it is tiny! I've gone all over the world in books and find USA, Canada, Australia and Europe fascinating because of its vastness.

    1. When I lived in The Philippines, people there always asked me if I knew their friends and family in the U.S.. It made me smile because I didn't know all the people in my little town, let alone in the entire state and country! They just couldn't conceive of a country as vast as the U.S. It's giant!

      Sri Lanka looks like a beautiful place to live. I've been to Asia, but only to The Philippines and Japan (and that was only in the airport). I'd love to go back and explore Asia more.

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

  16. I really like your spin on this!! I'm from Cornwall so seeing that featured is so lovely and some of my dream destinations are also on here (New York, Canada, Ireland)

    1. Nice! I saw Cornwall on several lists this week. We're planning to be in the U.K. in September/October and I'm hoping Cornwall is on our itinerary. My British brother-in-law is planning the trip for us, so we'll see where we end up!

      Thanks for stopping in!

  17. The title made me laugh so hard: "Top Ten Places I Visit So Often in Books That I Might As Well Live There." Very, very true! Esp. Scotland, Ireland, England, Canada, Australia... I would add Japan to the mix, and maybe France too. These places don't seem so far away, they are as familiar as my own home. 😂 Thanks for sharing some lovely imagery as well! ~ Lex

    1. Right? I FEEL like I've been to all these places, even if I actually haven't. I need to read more books set in France, since I'll be visiting Paris for the first time in October. Can't wait!

      Thanks for coming by, Lex!

  18. I love that you have Antarctica on your list! What a great place to set a book.

    1. It's a great setting, especially for survival novels and mystery/thrillers. It's isolated, the climate is extreme, and the people who trek all the way out there are definitely all a little bit crazy! I love reading about Antarctica.

      Thanks for stopping in, Danielle!

  19. Great places, Susan. As you've already said, we share England and Ireland. I'm sure you would love that.

    Since you mentioned your ancestry, any Germans among them? Anyway, I hope you get to visit my country one day. Maybe we'll even meet.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT earlier.

    1. I have a *tiny* bit of DNA from "German Europe," which Ancestry defines as from Germany/Switzerland. One of my ancestors married a woman who was from a German emigrant family, so I imagine that's where the DNA comes from. I'd love to visit Germany someday! It's on the travel bucket list, but right now, the U.K. is our priority. We're visiting Paris as well because my BIL is our travel guide and it's his favorite city in the world--and he's been EVERYWHERE.

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

    2. Well, most Americans have, there were just so many Germans who went there. Paris is a wonderful city, so I don't blame you for wanting to go there, we all love it.

      If you ever want to come to Germany, talk to me, I'll have lots of recommendations.

  20. This is such a unique take on the prompt! I love it. Great list! :D

    1. Thanks! It was a fun list to put together :)

      Thanks for stopping in, Felicia!

  21. Canadian, here and BC is gorgeous! Scotland and Australia are on my bucket list. One day, I hope. Also Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. :)

    1. My grandma's second husband was a Vancouver native and he was SO PROUD of his city. He took us all over the city when we visited. I visited Victoria later in life. So many beautiful places in your neck of the woods!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting!

  22. I would love to visit all these places once, too! Great list!

    1. There are SO many places I'd love to visit at least once. Too bad travel is so expensive. If money were no object, I'd be all over the place!

      Thanks for stopping in, Epsita!

  23. Rural Ohio? LOL Most of us here want to leave LOL. I'd have to take my local Amish store with me tho--I'm addicted to the big pretzels. Good list!
    Lisa @

    1. Ha ha ha ha. Poor Ohio! I'm only interested in visiting for family history research - we'll see if I ever actually make it back there. Homemade pretzels sound really good, so that's definitely an enticement :)

      Thanks for coming by!

  24. I certainly feel the same about England, Scotland, and even Wales...and certain regions of England, in particular, seem to appeal to me as a reader and to some of my favorite writers as settings. Not sure which came first, the reading egg or the writing chicken.

    1. Ha ha. There are definitely places that authors pick to write about more than others. For instance, I never have trouble finding books set in California or New York. Arkansas, though? Those are rare!

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

  25. So many good choices here! I'd absolutely love to visit Australia and England one day, although I'd add Japan to the list as well. It's funny you say that North Carolina is popular... I've actually read a couple of YA books lately that took place there. I live close to the state, but only ever went there once or twice when I was too young to remember anything.

    1. Technically, I've been to Japan. It was only in the airport, though, so that hardly counts. I would love to see it for real.

      North Carolina really is a popular book destination. So is Ohio for some reason. I just started a new book and guess where it's set? Columbus! Even when I pick books at random, they always seem to be set in Ohio. LOL.

      Thanks for stopping in, Holliehocks!

  26. I've been to Ohio, New York, Canada and Australia, but not the others. I'm pretty sure I've read books set in all of them except Antarctica and Ohio and NC which I'm not sure about.
    I'm from Alaska and books I've loved that are set here that you might want to add to your list are Sweet Home Alaska by Carole Estby Dagg, The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, and The Alaskan Courage series by Dani Pettrey. :)

    1. I actually love books set in Alaska, so thanks for the suggestions. I think I've read the first book of the Pettrey series, but that's it. THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE'S HOUSES is on my TBR list - just haven't gotten to it yet.

      Thanks for coming by, Heather!

  27. These are great book places! I got to go to Australia once for five weeks and I LOVED it! I'd go back in a heartbeat. When me and my now dh lived in Rhode Island, we took a road trip to Stephen King's house in Maine. That's the only time I've ever been.

  28. Loved your spin on this week's topic. So many beautiful places! 😍


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