Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and every week they come up with a new Top Ten theme. This week’s theme is pretty cool! To come up with list, I simply thought back to the books I’ve read that gave me a tingly feeling that I only get when I’ve been transported to someplace extraordinary. For the most part, the books mentioned are fantasy or science fiction, and the settings are invented. But they all have one thing in common: I remember exactly where I was when I read them. Here they are in no particular order:
1. Hogwarts (and all the other locations in the books) from the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling. This was the first thing that popped into my head when I was thinking of vivid worlds. Rowling created literal magic with her seven Harry Potter books, and I can’t imagine a top ten list without mentioning Hogwarts!
2. Lyra’s Oxford from His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman. The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass are three of my all-time favorite books. They mostly take place in Oxford, England, and alternate between the real Oxford and a magical version of the city.
3. The desert world of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. Yes, here it is again on this blog. The Dark Tower. Best series ever! King’s desolate wasteland of a desert is so beautifully drawn and is the perfect setting for this complicated and epic story. The setting changes throughout the series, and each location is as vivid as the last.
4. New Orleans, Louisiana in Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice. Rice’s seminal vampire tale set the standard for the romantic vampire stories of today, and her descriptions of the French Quarter in the 1800’s are perfectly suited to the story and characters. You can practically smell the air of New Orleans in this book!
5. The world of Hyperion in Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons. Here is another series I keep going back to on this blog. I can’t help it, the best books keep resurfacing. If I mention them often enough perhaps I can get more people to read them! Hyperion is science fiction at its best. Simmons is amazing, and his take on The Canterbury Tales will leave you speechless. Seriously.
6. New Crobuzon from Perdido Street Station and The Scar by China Miéville. Miéville is a true poet, and this fantastic world comes alive in the pages of these books. I have to admit some of Miéville’s work has left me cold, but these two stories rank among my favorite books of all time. Please read them!
7. Great Britain from The Eyre Affair (and other Thursday Next books) by Jasper Fforde. This fun series from Fforde takes place in an alternate 1980’s England, where characters from literature exist inside and outside of the pages of their books. In this first book of the series, Literary Detective Thursday Next must track down Jane Eyre when she is kidnapped from the pages of her book.
8. Manchester, England from Vurt and Pollen by Jeff Noon. Another science fiction series I love, the strange and drug-infested world that Noon has created is unlike anything I’ve read before. Vurt is a drug, feathers that you put on your tongue. The different colored feathers give you different types of highs and lows, and some of them are extremely dangerous. I felt like I was on drugs the whole time I was reading these books. What better example of a vivid world could there be?
9. Hell in Mortality Bridge by Steven R. Boyett. I’ve never read anything like Boyett’s ghastly descriptions of Hell and what one man experiences when he takes an extremely long trek there and back to save his wife. Based on the story of Orpheus and other legends, Boyett forces you to watch all the torments of Hell, and I guarantee you won’t be able to look away.
10. Wisconsin from The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. It may seem like a strange choice, but this book had such a strong impact on me that I had to include it. Edgar Sawtelle is my only mainstream fiction title, but the lonely farmland in Wroblewski’s first novel plays a big part in the story, and this strange and sad retelling of Hamlet is one of my favorite books ever. And I mean that!
Please let me know your Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds! I’d love to see what you’ve picked.