Traveled to any good books lately?

Books can transport readers to faraway lands simply through the power of language, Mail-Oline says, and some novels can transport their fans in reality, too. A survey found that we are often persuaded to visit places across the world because they are the settings of our favorite novels. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is number 1 at inspiring readers to travel, the paper says.

I didn’t go to New York because of the book, but I did go into Tiffany’s because of it, knowing full well that it wasn’t a store where the likes of me could really afford to do anything other than gawp. I came out with a pair of tiny tiny tiny earrings, two minute golden teardrop-shaped studs.

They were the only thing in my price range, but they came in a Tiffany bag… and I was Audrey Hepburn for an hour.

I have gone looking for a lot of places I knew in fiction. I drove through Cornwall looking for the places described by Howard Spring, stayed in TIntagel of King Arthur fame, and visited Penzance where the Pirates were. Of course I went to Sherlock’s house in London, and I went to the top of Empire State Building because of all the movies.

And then there’s the fact that one of my own novels,  “Embers of Heaven,” sent one of my aunts on a trip to China.  

She didn’t find my mythical Syai, of course, but she was delighted by the things that WERE there, and she said, of my writing, that I had “the knack of making the real into the magical and the magical into the real without going overboard in either direction”.

As blurbs go, that’s pretty good – particularly knowing that the China trip would never have happened for her without my taking the “magical” and turning it into the “real” for her.

Books can transport you

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31 day blog challenge
FAVOURITE CHILDHOOD BOOK

No fair because I had so many.

But if you want to pick an intergenerational book which was my mother’s favorite and which she then passed on to me and which I loved in my turn, then it’s a book by Polish writer Henryk Sienkiewicz. He won a Nobel Literature Prize, although not for this book.

The name of the book translates into “Through Desert and Jungle” (although it might have some other “translated” title in an English-language edition.

I read it when I was young in my native  language. I very nearly got named after the little girl in this book, that’s how much my mother loved it. And despite there being areas which (in today’s world and its worldviews) might seem archaic and even problematic, I still love to re-read this thing. It’s the most comfortable of all comfort reads.

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Can reading literature help with species survival?

Stories, Jennifer Vanderbes says in The Atlantic, are complex counterfactual explorations of possible outcomes: What would happen if I killed my landlady? What would happen if I had an affair with Count Vronsky? How do I avoid a water buffalo?

These stories help us adapt to new situations. A good “cautionary tale,” for example, might help us avert disaster.

Stories can also provide useful historical, scientific, cultural and geographical information. i.e. “In armchair-travel fashion, the book acquaints readers with the Australian Outback, while simultaneously describing how Aboriginals sang stories walking at a specific pace so that geographical markers within the story would guide their journey.”

Stories help us survive

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Amazon model favors ‘yakkers and braggers’

Author Jonathan Franzen likens site’s founder Jeff Bezos to one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse for his impact on literary culture.

“Jeff Bezos may not be the antichrist, but he surely looks like one of the four horsemen. Amazon wants a world in which books are either self-published or published by Amazon itself, with readers dependent on Amazon reviews in choosing books, and with authors responsible for their own promotion.”

Jeff Bezos: ‘one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse’

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–Alma Alexander

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