Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings In Books

Hey there! It’s Tuesday, and as usual I’m participating in the “Top Ten Tuesday” link-up hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.


Today’s list is the “Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings In Books.” Featured today are books (and book series) that are set in particularly interesting worlds and/or time-periods. You’ll notice that most of the books on my list are part of a series…which isn’t really that surprising when you think about it. In a stand alone novel, you “live” in that world for a few weeks while in a series you are exposed to it for months or even years. I had fun with this list, and I hope you enjoy reading it!

Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings In Books:

1. The Roaring Twenties in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I finally finished reading this classic last week! I loved the descriptions of 1920’s Long Island that Fitzgerald gives in the book. I was fascinated by the lavish parties, the giant mansions, the casual day trips to New York…I don’t know if I’d want to stay there permanently but I certainly wouldn’t mind a visit!

2. Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

After reading this entire series, who WOULDN’T want to take a trip to Hogwarts? Between the castle, the classes, and all of the interesting food…I’d be the first to sign up for a visit!

3. Redwell Abbey in the Redwall series by Brain Jacques

I’ve only read a few books in this series but I was always struck by the lush details that Jacques gives in these books (it’s probably part of what makes them so long). After traveling with the characters for 600ish pages, I always felt like I had a good feel for Redwall Abbey and the Mossflower woods.  Also, the descriptions of the feasts in the books is enough to make my mouth water even today.

4. Panem in the Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins

Considering the immense success of these books and the movie, I’m sure I won’t be the only one to have Panem on my list today. It’s certainly not a place I’d like to live, but it might be interesting to visit. Especially the capital city–I’d love to see more of the crazy hair and fashion.

5. 1870’s New York Society in The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

I loved this book, and I especially loved reading about New York society in the late 19th century. The characters in this novel are constantly going to lavish parties, taking trips to the opera, and vacationing in picturesque locations. Wharton’s characters and their lives are very different from the people and places in my own, and I felt like a voyeur while reading this novel.

6. Westeros from A Song of Fire and Ice series by George R. R. Martin

This is the only book series on my list that I haven’t actually read, but from what I’ve seen from the HBO show “Game of Thrones” this world is definitely vivid. From the cold and mysterious north to the politically intriguing south, this continent (and the people who inhabit it) in Martin’s world keeps me entertained every week.

7. The late 19th century midwest in the U.S. from the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

These books are the ones that made me fall in love with reading. I loved reading about Laura and her adventures, and part of what made the experience so vivid for me (I think) is that most of her stories take place in the Midwest (where I am from). In fact, Little House on the Prairie takes place about 2.5 hours from where I grew up (yes, I have been there to visit). Laura’s descriptions of the landscape, her travels, and the people she and her family come across fascinate me even today.

8. Kabul in A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

I have never been to Afghanistan, but Hosseini paints a beautiful (if tumultuous) picture of it in A Thousand Splendid Suns. Like Age of Innocence, the places and events in this novel were far removed from my own life and I was fascinated by it while reading.

9. Clayton County, Georgia in Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Anyone who has ever seen the movie or read the book knows why this novel made the list.

10. Russia during the War of 1812 in War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Although this is not a time period during which I would like to visit Russia (I think I’ll take a pass on that brutal winter of 1812), Tolstoy did paint a vivid picture of it in this epic novel.


What worlds/settings in books were vivid to you?


18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tinalinatime
    Jul 24, 2012 @ 17:05:30

    You have so many awesome settings in your list! The 20s, Hogwarts?! Yes please!! 🙂


    • exlibrisheather
      Jul 25, 2012 @ 07:11:19

      Thank you! There are so may literary places I wish I could visit! I don’t think I’d want to stay permanently (I mean I do like my real life), but a quick trip might be enough to satiate me!


  2. megan
    Jul 24, 2012 @ 17:36:12

    Oh, I love Little House on the Prairie. Growing up I wanted to live with the Ingalls. I would settle for Hogwarts. The Seven Kingdoms made my list too. I am trying to get a few books off my TBR pile before diving back in to book 3! Here are my picks


    • exlibrisheather
      Jul 25, 2012 @ 07:13:02

      Well I’m impressed you’ve made it that far in the series…I have yet to crack the cover of any of them yet 😦 (Westeros was my one cheat in this list). And I hear you about the overflowing TBR list…mine grows larger every day…


  3. Amy
    Jul 24, 2012 @ 17:50:02

    Tolstoy’s Russia was an amazing creation. I wonder if you’d also like A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. It’s the same sort of accomplishment–a picture of an entire society at a certain historical moment–but it’s India in 1951, just after the British pullout and partition. I’ve just finished it and I’m always comparing it to War and Peace and telling people to read it, lol.


    • exlibrisheather
      Jul 25, 2012 @ 07:14:46

      LOL. I’ve done the same thing before! It’s hard NOT to share the excitement when you read a really great book (or talk about it all the time while you’re reading it). I haven’t heard of this one, but thanks for the recommendation I’ll definitely check it out!


  4. Tanya Patrice
    Jul 24, 2012 @ 20:09:11

    Awesome picks. I’ve only read Harry Potter and The Hunger Games from your list, and loved the World building.


    • exlibrisheather
      Jul 27, 2012 @ 14:19:08

      Those were two particularly vivid worlds 🙂 I can’t imagine the time and effort that goes into building a world…but I’m glad someone can do it because I sure enjoy reading about them.


  5. Streetlight Reader
    Jul 24, 2012 @ 20:45:36

    I wouldn’t have thought to include Great Gatsby in my list! I have to re-read it sometime before the movie comes out. Also I love the fact that you included A Thousand Splendid Suns, again it’s another book that I want to read sometime. It’s awesome that you included Tolstoy as well 🙂 Great List!


  6. Cassie
    Jul 24, 2012 @ 21:51:46

    I have yet to read The Kite Runner, but I really want too. Also, I’m so glad you chose some southern settings. I think the south pre-1950’s is a crazy, and odd, and wonderful place to set a story. Not sure why since it was also filled with hate, but I just love reading books over that time.


    • exlibrisheather
      Jul 25, 2012 @ 07:19:30

      I know what you mean about the southern settings. It feels a little weird to be like “oh I love it,” when you consider all of the negative (and terrible) things associated with that time period. I think the appeal (for me at least) is like any other historical novel–reading about cultures and time periods long gone. I feel like it helps give me perspective…


      • Cassie
        Jul 25, 2012 @ 08:41:54

        Exactly. I think, honestly, I really like the idea behind Southern ladies. I like the idea about how hard women had to work to be these little dabs of perfection if they were in upper class. They had to be like unstained handkerchiefs. That’s so against anything I would believe or want to be now that it fascinates me that these women tortured themselves to get at that perfection. I also love how romantic the south was at that time. It’s just a strange and fascinating place with so many opposites.

  7. Eagle-Eyed Editor
    Jul 26, 2012 @ 12:48:45

    Well, in a way, you CAN visit the world of Hogwarts. I once read about someone offering tours of the locations where they filmed Harry Potter. Not exactly the same thing, but it could be fun.

    And I would want to go to 1860s, the 1920s and the 1870s, too. Where’s H.G. Wells with his time machine when you need him???!!! 😉


  8. OrganisedClutter
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 06:27:28

    Gone with the Wind is my favorite novel an film, and definitely a setting I wish I could travel to!


    • exlibrisheather
      Aug 11, 2012 @ 11:05:45

      Totally agree! I also think Gone with the Wind is one of the few movies that stays very true to the book without being boring. I think that’s really what made it come alive for me!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: