This Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, lists my favorite settings and worlds in books. In this installment, I'm going to focus on setting more than other worlds in the sense of worlds being planets—settings that are originally unfamiliar to me but are vivid in the way they are described and the way the characters interact with them. Though I will include some fantasy and sci fi.
1. The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness
This series takes place on another planet called New World, which has been colonized by people from Earth. The biggest problem with New World, unknown by the colonizers when they landed about 13 years before the story begins, is the Noise. Thoughts can be heard by anyone around the thinker, and this includes animals. You really have to read this to understand how incredibly well written and conceived New World is, and I highly recommend this series as a whole.
2. When the Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer
When the Stars Go Blue gives us an in-depth look at the incredibly intense world of drum and bugle corps. Bonus: this is a retelling of Bizet's opera Carmen.
3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Are we surprised this one made it onto another of my Top Ten Tuesdays? This book and all its worlds will forever have a place in my heart.
4. Feed by M.T. Anderson
I dare you to read/listen to this book and not see some terrifying parallels to our world today.
5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
This is probably one of the best YA books ever written. It's a world I've never experienced first-hand, but Alexie does an incredible job bringing his readers into the world he grew up in—in this book, it's a reservation in Spokane. Side note: if you haven't read this book yet, you probably should soon.
6. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
This book was so vivid that after I stopped reading, I had the incredibly strong urge to go stock up on canned goods and bottled water.
7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Another one of the greatest YA books in existence, possibly just one of the best books in existence. In my opinion. We see the white, happy Southern side of Macomb County, but in stark contrast we see the racist, dangerous segregation of this small town too. Please read this if you haven't already!
8. Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell
This is the Hawaii we don't see in the guide books or paradise pictures. A full, remarkable history of one of the most recent additions to our country. I got a much better idea and understanding of Hawaii and its people from this book than I had prior, and I'm so glad I listened to this on audio before I went there.
9. Shark Dialogues by Kiana Davenport
Sticking with the Hawaii theme, this novel gives us the history of Hawaii in a fictionalized form, telling the story of seven generations of women as they live through Hawaii's history. This does an even better job of describing the islands and its people than Vowell's book, as Davenport is part native Hawaiian herself and grew up on the islands. Disclosure: I'm still in the middle of reading this one, as its very dense and long, but it's wonderful.
10. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
No one does a better job at humorously taking an in-depth look at society, culture, and place than Bill Bryson. This book is a great example of this, as is I'm a Stranger Here Myself which takes a look at American culture as a whole. If you know me, you know my deep and abiding love and admiration for this author and won't be surprised to see him appear on this (or any) list of mine.
Have you read any of these? What are your top ten settings?