Literary Places

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

What a great book! It mixes both travel writing and literature, as Baxter discusses the history and culture surrounding some of the most iconic locations in popular books. I discovered new books I wanted to read, learnt about places I've never visited before and loved to read through the ones I knew all too well! 

This is a perfect read for anyone who loves travel and classic literature.
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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the stunningly well done ARC.  This is like the best possible travel guide for a book lover.  The pictures were simply beautiful and the research that went into the book was evident.  I found myself adding quite a few places to my bucket list for sure.
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A journey through some of the key locations of literature in a guide to literary travel for booklovers.
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A very interesting and evocative travel writing book, covering twenty-five literary travel destinations around the world. Each travel spot gives a look at the area at the time the corresponding book took place, and compares it to the modern location- what's changed, what remains the same. A look at events and culture of the times help complete the picture. Rather than photographs, the book is filled with lovely, vibrant illustrations by Amy Grimes. Each location takes on a life of its own, like a character from the book it comes from. A very informative read for any bibliophile!
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Literary Places by Sarah Baxter takes you through lit-inspired travel! 
If you are a book lover then you must know and will have surely experienced the delight on travelling on the armchair, or wherever you sit to read. Writers can take us to the farthest places of the world in any time period they like and give us a sense of being in that place. The concept of literary places is indeed appealing to readers. 

Literary Places by Sarah Baxter takes readers on a literary tour across the world. Good literature can help you traverse not only physical locations but also travel across time. The format of the book makes it accessible. Each chapter begins with a different place. There is a little snippet right at the beginning which tells the reader about which novel has evoked the place, as well as a little bit about the place itself. 
In the book, we travel across time in Paris, during the era of the setting of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. The book paints a picture of what part of ‘that’ Paris is lost today and what still remains.
There were some places that I could immediately recognize because I had been there, such as Florence. But, I instantly wanted to reexperience the memories of this wonderful city through the book “A Room with A view” by EM Foster, thanks to this book. Being familiar with London, I could understand when the author spoke about seeing the city through “Oliver Twist”. The remark that “many a corner still conjures up the past” seems true of London even today, as does Dickens’ entire description of horrors on the lives of the margin.

And then there were places I had not visited and books that spoke of those, that I had not read. But, the descriptions made me want to undertake the literary and the physical journey. For instance, I desired to devour Cairo’s labyrinth of mosques, souks and secret, and also relive them by reading Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz. 

And then, there were places I had read about in other books, and I longed to see how still other books of fiction would do justice to these. I have not read Burger’s Daughter by Nadine Gordimer. But, it talks about Soweto, and I have read another book on the struggle in this township. I have read Arushi Raina’s, When Morning Comes, and the Soweto therein, makes me feel familiar with the Soweto described in Literary Places. 

Think of “Literary Places” as a literary tour guide. You can hold it in your hand (or kindle!) and actually trace the paths of the authors and characters of yesteryears. You can see for yourself what has remained and what has changed. You can feel the pulse of the place beating in the book or can sense if the passage of time has dimmed the flavours. Let it become a journey of sorts- a journey within as much as it is a journey without. 

Literary Places by Sarah Baxter takes the reader on a journey to 25 different places through 25 different books. To add to the experience, there are some truly breath-taking illustrations.
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Love this beautifully illustrated coffee table book by travel journalist Sarah Baxter, which offers a colorful look at 25 literary locations around the world. You’ll be introduced to Heathcliff’s gloomy moors, Hugo’s City of Light, Quixote’s sunny La Mancha, with details on how place, culture and history impact famous authors’ famous works. With gratitude to author Sarah Baxter, Quarto Publishing Group - White Lion Publishing, and Netgalley for the ARC. Opinions are fully mine. 5 of 5 stars.
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Literary Places by Sarah Baxter: I will recommend this title through Readers’ Advisory, book clubs, and events and my library. My Library has purchased a copy of the book to be add to the collection. I did not submit this book to LibraryReads.
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The tautology of describing a character as "Naïve ingénue Lucy", and mixing up Joyce's 'Ulysses' with his 'Finnegans Wake' - it's the latter which is considered the most unreadable book in literature - as well as the confusion between interred and interned, mean that this book could probably have benefited from an editor. 

The concept is alluring; pick 25 of the cities or other places represented in world literature and describe how we can return to the scenes of the books. Paris of Victor Hugo was a stinking, crowded, dark city; the modernisation swept away many streets and created those wide boulevards, too big to barricade. But some of the locations can still be found.  Similarly, Florence of A Room With A View is still a warm, scented, cultured contrast with an English city, while Naples still has the mafia and backdrop of Vesuvius experienced in M'Amica Geniale or My Brilliant Friend. The Spanish mountains of For Whom The Bell Tolls are still available for walkers. Yes, we can go and visit, even time travel. Dickens' London, Austen's Bath. Mahfouz's Cairo, Gordimer's Soweto, Hosseini's Kabul, Twain's Mississippi. 

We get a little of the life of each author, and where they are buried, in case we'd like to visit the tomb / grave. Some authors later became controversial. Quite a few are Nobel laureates, or Booker winners, or similar. This may have been a standard used for selection. Because of this, you could also take the book as a guide to a list of literature to read and cross off, in order to be well-read and well travelled. I haven't read all the books. And confession time: I had presumed that The Catcher in The Rye was about a farming community. Rye fields. Apparently it's set in New York City. I had never heard anything about this book that made me interested in reading it. After this summary, I definitely am not interested, and I still don't know where the rye comes in. I did read Harper Lee's book aged 12, and I was fascinated to find how much of the action I could retrace today. 

The account I enjoyed most in this book is how scholars puzzled out clues from Don Quixote to recreate the journeys of the book across La Mancha, where today we can see museums, plazas with statues of characters and a preserved farmhouse.  The illustrations are simplistic and, as described at the back of the book, bright and bold. The idea is to capture the essence of each locale rather than to reproduce faithfully. I could not see all of them in my e-ARC but I enjoyed the pictures I did see. 

I downloaded an e-ARC from Net Galley. This is an unbiased review.
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An interesting book, especially to anyone that reads a great deal. I was really taken with the illustrations of the setting of the various book stories and back history of the locations. I was intrigued at what would be included on the story of hanging rock, as I lived for over 30years at Macedon, and found it very factual. The rock is a very spiritual place and one can feel it when wandering through the area.
Enjoyed the book, and my travel within the places I have read about.
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Literary Places makes for a perfect coffee table book as Sarah Baxter takes you on an enlightening journey through the key locations of literature’s best and brightest authors, movements and moments. 

With short chapters, comprehensive research and beautiful illustrations, Baxter outlines of the history and culture of 25 literary places around the globe including the wild Yorkshire moors from Wuthering Heights to Lucy's romantic Florence in A Room with a View and the languid backwaters of Arundhati Roy’s Kerala. 

A perfect book to dip in and out of, I got lost in the wonder and culture of each place which for most resulted in me going back and re-reading the original book or dreaming of visiting the locations for myself. 

I'll definitely be checking out Baxter's Spiritual Places, and look forward to what will come next in the Inspired Traveller’s Guides.
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This book has very nice illustrated maps and has a lot of great stories and details. I did like that. The format was a bit too much for me, would be great in a version that is designed for multiple short reads.
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This book is the perfect combination of two things I love - travel and reading. After reading it I’ve added lots of new places to my want to go here list.
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In Literary Places we get a tour of twenty-five places around the world and their relation at a point in time to  literary history.  Some of the locations are to be expected (Paris, Dublin) but others are a surprise like Alabama (To Kill a Mockingbird) and Naples (My Brilliant Friend).   One of the delights of the book are the illustrations by Amy Grimes.  Beware that it's very possible you will come from the book with a list of books you want to read or reread..  

One caution, this is a book that doesn't come across well on an e-reader,  For that reason, and because I already knew I liked it, I bought a hardback copy.
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A fantastic read - a non-fiction book that talks passionately about the writer's craft to take the reader to a place or give life to a place. Literary Places is a journey throughout literature history and the world at the same time, plus the illustrations are magical and capable of capturing the places described just as well as the literary works featured in this book. 

It was a joy to read!
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This is a beautiful and interesting book. If you are interested in books, reading and learning more about the places of literary works this is a great book. The illustrations going with each one are works of art with some summary of the location including a few details of the story and more. It really is interesting for any reader that likes learning more about books or inspired by more details featured in books. You'll find a variety of classic book literary places inside this book.
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Less a travel guide and more a coffee table book, Baxter entertains her readers with charming short texts about the places where major literary works are set. We hear about the meaning of those places in the context of the stories, but also in real life - but these are no elaborate or even scientific examinations, mind you, but small vignettes that intend to evoke an atmosphere. The effect is supported by lovely drawings by Amy Grimes that dominate the whole book.

The "literary places" and their respective books are: 

Paris, "Les Misérables"
Dublin, "Ulysses"
Florence, "A Room With a View"
Naples, "My Brilliant Friend"
Berlin, "Berlin Alexanderplatz"
Nordland, "Growth of the Soil"
St. Petersburh, "Crime and Punishment"
Sierra de Guadarrama, "For Whom the Bell Tolls"
La Mancha, "Don Quixote"
Davos, "The Magic Mountain"
Bath, "Northanger Abbey" & "Persuasion"
London, "Oliver Twist"
Yorkshire Moors, "Wutherin Heights"
Cairo, "Palace Walk"
Soweto, "Burger's Daughter"
Kerala, "The God of Small Things"
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), "The Quiet American"
Kabul, "The Kite Runner"
Hanging Rock, "Picnic at Hanging Rock"
New York, "The Catcher in the Rye"
Monterey, "Cannery Row"
Mississippi River, "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"
Monroeville, "To Kill a Mockingbird"
Cartagena, "Love in the Time of Cholera"
Chile, "The House of the Spirits"

Full disclosure: My epub ARC expired before I could read the whole thing, but I think I got a decent impression of the book.
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This is perfect for fans of literature and travel. This is book is the perfect companion on your travels sharing with you the literary background of well-known or lesser well-known places.
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The essays about books and places they inhabit were truly evocative, enticing me not only to read those books (again if I'd already read them!) but to visit those places myself. Suggested works are also great substitutes for people not able, for various reasons, to visit those cities and landscapes. I am sure the authoress had a very difficult task to select only twenty-five essays among so many good books/places. There are so many great books set in various locations, but she had to choose only a few, that had to be spread across the globe. I liked the selection and wished for more when I came to the end. Thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for allowing me to read the book.
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The predominant appeal of this book by far are the illustrations. They are gorgeous and unique. Sarah Baxter brings twenty-five well known literary settings to life. Each offering the reader both a visually pleasing and informative experience. I would love to own this one as a coffee-table book!
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Love the idea of setting the scene of the time well know novels were set/written. When reading I felt transported back to the time, the detail in each place is enough to make you feel a part of it.
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