Traveling with Books

A Reader’s Guide to New England  

Happy Thanksgiving, American readers!

Many of us spend this time with family and friends. For those of you heading back to (or staying in) New England this year, I put together a list of books from our favorite genres that are set in the region.

A note about this controversial holiday: I admit I have very little knowledge of non-colonialist fiction about New England. I believe that the Thanksgiving holiday has been simplified, and that we need to expand the narrative to include voices from other cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives. As a start, I’ve included in the list below some novels I have enjoyed that take place in New England, and some that I’ve found that add native voices to the narrative.

If you have more knowledge, or have read great books from the American Indian (or First Nations) perspective that you think should be on this list, do please share in the comments!

Click on any of the images to see the full caption and mini-synopsis of each book, or scroll down for linked titles.

 

  1. The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare
  2. Nightlife, by Matthew Quinn Martin
  3. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle
  4. Return of the Sun: Native American Tales from the Northeast Woodlands, by Joseph Bruchac
  5. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, by Katherine Howe
  6. Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman
  7. The Dreamer, by Lora Innes
  8. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
  9. Carousel Seas, by Sharon Lee
  10. Dawnland Voices: An Anthology of Indigenous Writing from New England, by Siobhan Senier
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Reading ‘The Rose Garden’ in Devonshire, England

the rose gardenThe Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
Allison and Busby: 2011 (Fantasy / Time Travel / Historical Fiction)

Outstanding adventure!
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There isn’t much I like more than reading books set in the places I travel to. Sometimes, reading these books before I travel will make the trip seem more exciting; sometimes, reading them while I’m there allows me to emotionally and intellectually immerse myself more fully in (or even provide distance from) the experience of travel and adventure.

That will come as no surprise to our followers, since our whole blog is about the places you can go with books. No surprise that we love traveling almost as much as we love reading.

As soon as I learned that Devon and Cornwall are neighbors, I knew that a re-read of Susanna Kearsley’s The Rose Garden was a must. It is perhaps my favorite Kearsley novel, and it’s set in Cornwall. OK, so I wasn’t actually in Cornwall. But Devon is as close as you can get, I believe –  and there are several cultural and geographic commonalities between the Cornwall I was reading about and the Devon I was adventuring in.A re-read is often more comforting than a new read, and comfort is no bad thing on a solo trip to a foreign country. Also, I couldn’t think of another book that wasn’t Hound of the Baskervilles that was set in Devon. Or, maybe I didn’t try very hard, having decided on The Rose Garden.

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A Reader’s Guide to Devon, Bath, and London

If you’re like me, you love reading about places you travel to. Or want to travel to.

I was much busier than I expected to be (or I was nodding off on the train, or watching the scenery pass by), or I would have read more of these.

On my recent vacation to England, I was forced by necessity (a wedding) to establish a vacation base for the majority of my stay in the Devon countryside. Since I was so near, I dropped into Bath for a few days, before spending my last night in London (because trains aren’t always reliable, and getting the train to the airport on the same day I needed to fly out just seemed too risky).

Despite the distractions of exploring the outdoors, meeting up with old friends, touring tangible history, and watching British TV in hotel bedrooms, I managed to get some reading done – and to put together a list of ideal books to read to set the tone of travels to these places.

Turn the page for my guide to reading for Devon, Bath, and London.

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From the States to England: Distraction to the nth Degree

This post brought to you from 30,000 feet above the Altantic Ocean.

In the first post of our Traveling with Books feature, I hope you’ll follow me to the UK for traveling and reading adventures. In this new series of posts, we write about the books we read on the travels we take, review some and share why we read others… the format may change, but the point: traveling with books, will stay the same.

If you’ve been across the Atlantic, or even if you’ve been on a flight more than three or four hours, you know flying can be cramped, dry, stuffy, and in other ways entirely uncomfortable. To take my mind off the discomforts of my 8-hour flight – that is, before I take the Benadryl* and pass out – I will start with some new magazines: Money and Bazaar**

Of course, since this is a book blog about science fiction, fantasy, romance, and all the other good genre fiction genres, I’m going to focus on the books I carried with me to read on the plane.

So this one, not very distracting – at least, it’s not as absorbing as the genre fiction I usually use to escape. But, I have an agenda in picking this (heavy) book to bring with me. It’s all about strong women, in often dangerous and adverse circumstances. When compared to any of these queens, my paltry cross-atlantic flight seems much less dreadful. Life is all about perspective. Also, I picked it up on a solo trip in Canada, which is a bracing memory to have.

I purchased a few e-books recently from Book View Cafe – I tend to like their selection, and they often have deals, but I especially like that it belongs to a consortium of authors who sell the books themselves (avoiding publishing middlemen).

This one, by one of my favorite authors, Sherwood Smith, looks like such a fun story about a young magical thief who meets up with three other youths to have adventures. It reminds me of Wren and her group having adventures, and takes place in the same world. Comfort reading for sure!

Then, there are the advance copies I need to hurry up and review…

I absolutely cannot wait to open this one. A city of living bone, full of secrets and strange creatures, and one young woman who breaks a law and tumbles into those secrets.

I am also incredibly excited to finishing this space opera about alien encounters that also has some sort of time twist. Plus, a soldier heroine with psychic abilities!

Stay tuned for more traveling and reading adventures from across the pond!

*Word to the wise: Don’t buy a special OTC sleep aid, especially if the active ingredient is just 25mg of Diphenhydramine HCl. It’s Benadryl. Benadryl is cheaper.

**Am I getting older, or what?