Last week I asked you about literary characters: Which oneyou most resemble, and which one you'd most like to be. Your answers were delightful; thanks to all who left comments.

 

Those comments helped inspire my question today, which also comes from reading Kate Christensen's "Trouble." That book references E.M.Forster's classic "A Passage to India," and while reading Christensen's book I recalled how I longed to be on the picnic procession to the Malabar Caves (even after I knew that that afternoon came to a sad, indignant end). So many books have opened mental "slideshows" to new places: "The Towers of Trebizond," "The Secret Garden," John Lanchester's "Fragrant Harbor," Keri Hulme's "The Bone People," "Enchanted April," and "Midnight's Children" to name a very, very few.

 

The "place between" book covers has always been, for me, the easiest and fastest way to travel - but I've been fortunate enough to also have taken some trips based on books I've read (if you need ideas, my pals Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon have lots in their wonderful book Novel Destinations). My fellow bibliophiles will know what I mean when I say there is nothing quite like seeing a house or a monument or a place that you've read about, even if it's entirely different from your imagination.  

 

Of course, it isn't necessary to make the trip; which book or books have most made you want to visit a place? I'm still looking forward to visiting Dublin and walking in James Joyce's footsteps - but alas, I doubt I'll ever get to make a trip to Hogwarts Academy...

Message Edited by Bethanne on 07-07-2009 06:42 AM
Message Edited by Bethanne on 07-07-2009 05:56 PM
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Comments
by JTBanks on ‎07-06-2009 06:13 PM

Bethanne,

 

There's a moment in most of the novels I read that I wish I could transport 

myself to the setting. But if I really could wish for a super power, it would be 

in whose arms would I like to find myself. I'm just saying. . . .

by tanyaegangibson on ‎07-06-2009 10:53 PM
Graham Swift's Waterland -- which I first read nearly 20 years ago -- left me fascinated by the idea of living in the Fens.
by Bethanne on ‎07-08-2009 08:58 AM

JTBanks, TanyaEganGibson, thank you so much for your comments. JTBanks, you have a point...future blog entry!

 

Tanya, your pick is fantastic -- loved that book and the movie, too. The Fens seem quite magical but also quite scary.

 

The first time I remember wanting to escape into a book was on reading HEIDI -- the Alps! 

by Padanaram on ‎07-08-2009 09:25 AM

Funny you should ask! I'm from New Bedford, MA (but transplanted to Manhattan), and have been think about Katherine B. Howe's hidden and mysterious house in THE PHYSICK BOOK OF DELIVERANCE DANE. This wonderful new bestseller, which centers on the Salem with trials and the years after, leaves me full of questions about how these people lived in -- and through -- these times.

 

Must take a trip up there -- and do John Adams' farm, too! How have I missed these?

 

 

by Sunltcloud on ‎07-08-2009 01:56 PM

Most of my travels are inspired by books. Some by paintings or painters. For instance, last year I traveled to Guernsey after reading "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society." In the process I discovered "The Book of Ebenezer Le Page" by G. B. Edwards and spent a week searching out Ebenezer's hang-outs. Ebenezer is a fictional character, but he has such a fierce fan base that people are actually visiting the cemetery near the place he lived, and are disappointed when they don't find him buried there.

 

I've also sat on Bob Marley's bed in Nine Mile, Jamaica, after reading "Catch a Fire" and other books about him. The German painter Franz Marc made me travel to Kochel am See in Bavaria. Interest in walking and reading about the Roman Empire sent me to walk 84 miles of Hadrian's Wall across England. A number of Chinese poets like Bai Juyi accompanied me through China. I was taken with Chinese symbols and found even graffiti engrossing in Beijing. I also spent a month in a walled town in Germany, (the town's name is Dilsberg) just because Mark Twain said some really mean things about the people there.

 

Of course a reverse order of things is evident in the fact that I have made trips to  places and have bought books about them while there. In Heidelberg, Germany I bought books on famous authors and their view of Heidelberg. While at the Ghost Ranch at Abiquiu in New Mexico, I came across a book in the library about Los Alamos. "The House at Otowi Bridge" the Story of Edith Warner and Los Alamos by Peggy Pond Church. Edith Warner lived between nature and the atomic bomb, an interesting, if disturbing combination. I loved Edith's journal pages.  Somewhere she said, "Just now as I watched the ever-changing beauty, I saw a cloud pass over the earth on long grey stilts of rain." 

 

My plans for the future include Prague (Rilke and Kafka) and Weimar in the former East Germany. Goethe and Schiller lived in Weimar; a young man named Doppel-U now raps the poems of the two masters in order to bring German children back to the writers of the past. The "Schiller-Rap" contest resulted in submissions from all over Europe.

 

Of course I occasionally take a trip without specific reason, but always come home with an insight, maybe with a memory of something from long ago. When I was a child my mother used to tell that fall was coming by the storks.

"They are leaving for Marrakech" she would announce at the beginning of September when they left their nests atop the church steeple. I suddenly remembered this, while in Marrakech, standing in the ruins of a palace, watching the storks fly in and out of their nests, listening to their chatter. I told the guide. He was a most gracious young man, smiled at me and said, "Madame, the storks of Marrakech are welcoming you."

by Sunltcloud on ‎07-08-2009 02:03 PM
Ah, I forgot about James Joyce. I have a map in front of my right now, "June 16, 1904: The Journey of Leo0pold Bloom." Maybe someday.
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