Monday, June 16, 2008
Nonfiction Monday: Novel Destinations
Today we have a summer vacation treat.
Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West by Shannon McKenna Schmidt & Joni Rendon, National Geographic, 2008
My family will drive miles and miles out of our way to find a bookstore we've heard of. The opportunity to visit actual literary landmarks en route would be so compelling and enticing that we might never reach our destination.
This book is so appealing. The dust jacket is textured to evoke the feel of a moleskine cover. The spine is colored to suggest a worn and much handled book. The design and feel of the book works on every level for this bibliophile.
The book is divided into sections including "Author Houses and Museums," Writers at Home and Abroad," "Literary Festival, Tours, and More" and "Booked up: Literary Places to Drink, Dine and Doze." Book lovers will find suggestions for hotels and restaurants. Schmidt and Rendon have also documented locales to visit like Cannery Row and East of Eden--Monterey and Salinas California.
Visit Washington Irving's "Sunnyside" in Tarrytown, NY, or Snagov Monastery--the reputed burial place of Vlad Dracula. There is Thomas Hardy Country in Dorset, England or the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum in Mansfield, MO. The Keats-Shelley house in Rome is included as well as the "southern comfort" locales of Flannery O'Connor, Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee.
An entire section follows Charles Dickens around from home to home to debtor's prison and traces the places where he ate and drank. I did not know there was a Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England each September. From Kafka to Alcott, this is the most entertaining travel guide I have ever owned.
We are staying close to the entwood this summer but this guide tells me that there is the Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center in Kyle, Texas as well as the O. Henry Museum in Austin, Texas to visit "locally."
On the other hand, I do not even have to leave the comfort of my armchair to plot a trip to one of our family's shrines, the literary pub, The Eagle and Child in Oxford, England.
I do know, we will travel there one day and now I have a guidebook to highlight the other wonders along the way.