So in the last few months, I have requested a couple books through NetGalley to read. They weren't bad, but just not my favorite. In fact one of them I couldn't finish. (A bit to graphic, but mostly the characters weren't likable, even the narrator didn't like them.) Both were set in the same place. It was not a setting that I normally read. I was kind of excited about reading a new setting. I assumed the first one was just a story I didn't like. So I started reading the second one, but couldn't finish it. Now I'm thinking, I just don't like the setting. So with that thought in mind, I'm going to tell you the settings that I do like.
What I like....
The British Isles any time in HistoryEngland, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, etc. I love them all. It could be Jane Austen or Hamish MacBeth and I would be equally in love and enthralled. When I read a book in this setting it feels like coming home again.
Spain 20th centuryI have read a few novels set in Spain, like The Time of Doves and The Shadow of the Wind. I am currently reading Verse in Arabic. And I love them! This is another place where I open the book and the streets all seem familiar and comfortable.
New England any timeAnything from Jessica Fletcher to Nathaniel Hawthorne and I'm in love. The houses, the weather, and the people have me intrigued. I'm ready to read on and already thinking that this will be a good story and this will be a strong character.
Small Town ItaI can only think of two books I've read with this setting. However, they both impressed me. The Reluctant Tuscan and The Miracles of Santo Fico were both simply wonderful. The sense of place was strong and comfy.
Towns on the river or a lake
If it is set by a body of water, I will probably like it. River's Edge and The Lake of Dead Languages are a couple water favorites. River's Edge is obviously one of my favorites because I keep going on and on about it. The Lake of Dead Languages is a book I read about 10 years ago. I even had to do quite a bit of googling to discover the name again. I had forgotten the name, but the setting sticks with me to this day. (As a side note, I just added about 4 more of the Carol Goodman's books to my Want To Read shelf on Goodreads now that I have discovered her again.)
What doesn't interest me...
The SouthThere are some books that I have read that are set in the Southeastern United States that are very good books. For instance, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and The Widow of the South were very good novels that I enjoyed. I even enjoyed the setting. However most of the time when I have read or attempted to read a book set in the Southeastern United States the characters all seem unrealistic and too stereotypical. The setting then comes off seeming fake or forced. Maybe I just haven't read the good ones.
New York CityMy complaints are similar here. The characters are too stereotypical and not realistic. The setting is portrayed the same way. Of course I may not have read the right ones. And the ones I can think of off the top of my head are a bit old, The Catcher in the Rye and The Bell Jar.
FranceThe very few novels I have read with France as the setting have all seemed to be forcing the envelope too much. I'm just not interested in a bunch of gratuitous sex and violence. The characters all seem to be obsessed to the point of sacrificing the story. They start to get annoying. Then I root against them which is the opposite of what the author is doing, so I end up disappointed.
These are all totally my opinion and you have every right to disagree with me. That is the fabulous thing about literature is that we don't have to agree.
So agree with me or disagree with me. Prove me wrong even. What are your favorite literary settings? Or least favorite?