Read local: books about where you are, where you're going, or where you want to be.
We've curated some of the best novels, movies, articles, podcasts and other content that tell the stories of some of the most interesting places in the world. We hope you enjoy exploring.
Authors' Insights: Yvvette Edwards' A Cupboard Full of Coats - Why London's East End?
Hackney is incredibly diverse and rich in culture, a melting pot of social classes and race. It has its own unique pulse and vibe. I love its physicality, the density of housing that sits alongside its many fabulous open spaces. I love the variety of its buildings, from the old Georgian and Victorian houses in De Beauvoir and around Victoria Park, through the sixties estates like Kingsmead and Pembury, on to the new developments, like the new shiny glass apartments along Queensbridge Road. Its buildings are like its population, all so different, yet sharing the same space, working side by side. I love the fact that you can literally pluck a nationality from the air and find a restaurant somewhere in the borough that specialises in that country’s food. My book is based in Hackney because it is a part of London I’m familiar with and love with a passion. Read more.
Authors' Insights: Claire McMillan's Gilded Age - Why Cleveland?
I wanted to provide a fresh take on Cleveland and the rust-belt in general. There is one story about Cleveland that gets told a lot, and I wanted to provide a different one. Also, when The House of Mirth was written in 1905, Cleveland would have been a big city, but Edith Wharton would have considered it highly unfashionable. I liked the irony of setting Gilded Age in a city she would have considered devoid of society. Read more.
Authors' Insights: Taylor Polites' The Rebel Wife - Why Alabama?
In so many ways, the story of a place is told to us, often a combination of myth and history. History is memory, too, and memory has a way of reshaping itself to reflect the values of a particular people at a particular time. My early fascination with the intersection of Huntsville and the Civil War led me to create antebellum towns full of noisy business districts and neighborhoods of gracious homes. When I went to college, this fascination continued, as did my study of the period and the place. Very quickly, the stories from childhood and old history books conflicted with the more rigorous discipline of historical study in an academic environment. Many new voices were added to the others that I had been reading and hearing since childhood. The clash of these voices was like another battleground and one that fascinated me. Read more.
Authors' Insights: Jonathan Odell's 'The Healing' - Why Mississippi?
I grew up in Mississippi. When I was 30 I escaped, headed up the river and landed in Minnesota. I call Mississippi my wondrous monster. No matter how far I flee, she tracks me down and whispers into my ear, "Explain me or I'll drive you crazy." My violent ambivalence toward the place of my birth is why I write. I'll probably never explain her, or her people’s insanity about religion, race and violence, but nevertheless, I'm not able to stop trying. Read more.
Authors' Insights: Jillian Medoff's I Couldn't Love You More - Why Atlanta?
The people are diverse in some neighborhoods, not so much in others, but every stereotype is represented and easily exploited—the overly obsessive mothers, the wealthy private school crowd, the low-budget wannabe artist, the southern loyalist. Atlanta is a great city--it's got a long, complicated history, but it's also cosmopolitan and relevant. The suburban angle, though--that's what really drove my decision. Read more.
Authors' Insights: Jean Zimmerman's The Orphanmaster - Why Manhattan?
New Amsterdam was a volatile, energized place in 1663, when the story begins. Eighteen languages could be heard on the streets. Beaver was king, and people were flooding in from all over the world to make a fortune in the fur industry. Immigrants were intent upon making new lives, starting over. It is all of this coming together that made it a great place to set a novel. Also there is the sense of the inevitable, that no one on Manhattan owns up to – that the English are on the verge of taking over, which they do in 1664. The drama of this transitional moment inherent. Read more.
Authors' Insights: Joe Lansdale's Edge of Dark Water - Why East Texas?
I have written mostly about East Texas, and will probably continue to make it the main background for my stories. Read more.
Authors' Insights: Eleanor Brown's The Weird Sisters - Why Ohio?
One of my favorite novels is Stephen King’s The Stand, which is not only a great story but a love letter to America. I wanted to write my own love letter to America, and I thought, ‘What’s more American than the Midwest? What’s more American than green fields in Ohio in the summer?’ There are so many great cities and wonderful small college towns in Ohio, and it’s gorgeous in the summer. Read more.
Authors' Insights: Zoe Zolbrod's Currency - Why Thailand?
I backpacked around Southeast Asia in my mid-twenties, and I spent chunks of time in Bangkok, where a friend of mine was living. When I settled back in to life at home, I found myself writing a lot of travel-themed material, always from the perspective of the American abroad. One day I sat down to explore the first-person voice of a Thai man, just as an experiment to help me flesh out a character in a story I was revising. I ended up writing nonstop for hours. That voice turned out to belong to Piv, one of the two main characters in Currency. The novel could not have been set anywhere else, because his voice and his situation were the driving force behind it. Read more.
Authors' Insights: Geraldine Brooks' Caleb's Crossing - Why Martha's Vineyard?
When I was about 10 years old and living in Sydney, I started writing to an American penpal who spent every summer on the Vineyard. She would send me postcards of incredibly beautiful sunsets over golden marsh grasses and impossibly aquamarine seas. When I was in my 20s and came to the USA as a graduate student, I badly wanted to visit this island and see if it was as lovely as the postcards. I did. It was. And now I live there. Read more.
Authors' Insights: Amelia Gray's Threats - Why Ohio?
"I needed a place that was small and snowy, with a rough winter, not much by way of local trade, no college beyond a beauty school, a low enough property tax that a man could skate by in an old home without a steady job. Ohio was perfect." Read more.
Authors' Insights: Lauren Groff's Arcadia - Why Western New York?
We asked Lauren Groff about Western New York as the setting for Arcadia. "I return again and again to upstate New York when I sit down to write. I grew up in Cooperstown, not far from where Arcadia is set, and I think there's something in me that longs to go home again; I get the chance to do so every single day for hours when I write stories about the place." Read more.
Authors' Insights: David Vann's Caribou Island - Why Alaska?
Books tell more than the story of their characters; they tell the stories of the place in which they're set. We asked David Vann about Alaska as the setting for Caribou Island and he shared the following excerpts. Read more.
Local Libris Blog: Utah - Books to Read
If you're heading to Sundance to watch or to ski, or to Moab, Utah, Frommer's Top 2012 adventure destination, there are plenty of good books and movies set in Utah to download or toss in your bag. Read more.
Travel Pairings Blog: New York Times 45 Places to Go in 2012 - Part 1
The New York Times picked 45 places you should go in 2012. We've selected a novel you can pack for each destination. Below is Part 1 of our fiction pairing series for the New York Times picks. Read more.