Friday, November 23, 2007

Book travel

If you could travel into any book, what would it be?

This question was posed to us during our discussion of The Eyre Affair, where the heroine Thursday Next (and other characters) travels into Jane Eyre. There is even a book tourism business.

I immediately thought of the Little House books. As a kid, I wanted to be Laura Ingalls, despite the lack of modern conveniences like plumbing and electricity. (Which is strange since I don't even camp without a bathroom and shower, and even then, I don't really like it.) I was enamored with all things calico and covered wagon. Part of it was the storytelling of the books that draws you and my romanticized version of pioneer life. I think part of it, too, was the strong female characters of tomboy Laura, noble mother Caroline, saintly Mary (though I side with Laura and she was a bit annoying at times in all her goodness). And, of course, there's Pa. The writer in me, sparked in the 3rd grade, also admired Laura Ingalls' ability and talent. Most of my "geek-heroes" were writers--Nellie Bly, Louisa May Alcott.

The other book world was, conventionally, Austen's Georgian England. The dresses, the dances, the conversation, Darcy, Mr. Knightly. I'm not sure why given the relative poverty of most of her heroines and again, no plumbing, but the air of formality and decorum is lacking in our modern casual culture and I think many of us long for that--to some degree. The way manners and politeness rule as moral code is not altogether an awful idea.

Any book tourism spots you would want to visit?

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