Books + Places = Trip Fiction

Love books? Love travel? Then you’ll embrace TripFiction as warmly as the Mistral wraps itself around a village square in Provence.

This intriguing and inspiring website recognises that books set in a location offer great holiday reading. They help us get under the skin of a place in a way that is quite different to a conventional travel guide.

How true.

A friend passed me a copy of Victoria Hislop’s The Thread before we visited Thessaloniki recently. Neither an author nor a book I’d usually pluck off the shelves, reading it before we went added so much to what we saw, smelt and felt in this multi-layered and historically important city in northern Greece.

Inspired by our Greek odyssey, I read Things Can Only Get Feta after we got back.  This is about two journalists – and their mad dog – spending a year in a remote hillside village in the Mani area, on the Pelopponese peninsula. A rugged, unspoiled landscape, it was also the beloved home of travel writer and explorer Patrick Leigh Fermor. I lent the book to neighbours and friends Steve & Fionnuala just before they headed to nearby Kalamata. They said it added hugely to their holiday…although they did fight over who got first dibs.

Colin Dexter famously rooted his Inspector Morse books in Oxford. Brilliantly brought to televisual life by John Thaw, part of the success was due to the surprising amount of murder and mayhem being wrought so frequently in such a beautiful city.

Countless other books have come to be known as much by their location as by their content:

  • Death in Venice – Thomas Mann
  • The Shipping News – Annie Proulx
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernieres
  • A Room with a View – E.M. Forster
  • Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

You get the idea. I’m sure you can conjure up many more from your own reading list…..

I contacted TripFiction a few days ago after reading on their blog that they were looking for readers to review some of their location-based books.

I’m now digging in for a Hard Cold Winter. Written by Glen Erik Hamilton, this is a thriller played out in Seattle and the nearby Olympic Mountains. Again, it’s not a book I’d otherwise have chosen. I’m hoping it’s well written and engaging, but if it’s not I can at least immerse myself in the sense of place. And Seattle is on my long list of places to visit.

Thanks to Tina at TripFiction for sending me this book and also The House on Cold Hill by Peter James, based much nearer to home, in Sussex. I’ll post my reviews here as well as on TripFiction’s site when I’ve travelled to each bookish destination.

I am just going outside…and may be some time. 

One thought on “Books + Places = Trip Fiction”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.