Reading around the word - Shawna Seed

Reading around the word

At dinner last night, a friend mentioned she was hoping to visit Morocco this year, which gave me a chance to recommend Jane Johnson’s The Tenth Gift, part of which is set in Morocco. I love to read novels set in places I’m visiting, so of course I assume everyone else does too.

I still remember my glee when I discovered that Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust and More Book Lust could help me find books set in any U.S. state.

When we took a big trip awhile back that included several Scandinavian and Baltic countries, I decided I wanted to read a novel set in Estonia. Not Sweden or Norway or Finland or Russia, which would have been much easier. No, it had to be Estonia. This was before everyone and her mother was on Facebook, so I couldn’t crowd-source my quest. Even Nancy Pearl (hey, she has a website now!) was no help.

I turned to the Los Angeles public library and ended up reading The Czar’s Madman by Jaan Kross. I must confess that I did not love it. But it was set in Estonia, a very pretty country with an interesting history. (How can you not love a place where public singing helped spark a revolution? Ah, I digress.)

If I’d waited a few years to visit Estonia, I could have read Purge, which seems to top everyone’s list of novels set in Estonia these days.

Do you read novels set in the places you’re visiting? What’s been your most challenging spot?

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