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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Do You Know Your Literary Geography?



Millions of people are planning family vacations for the summer and one place to consider for ideas on where to go if you love books is a cool site,  www.PlacingLiterature.com.

The website may not be able to tell you which beach, national park, or natural wonder to visit, but it does highlight over 3,000 locations that serve as settings from novels, short stories, poems, and plays.  In the past three years, readers, librarians, publishers, educators, and authors have mapped out the street corners where a significant scene took place from a favorite piece of literature.  For example, locate Jackson Island, near Hannibal, Missouri, and you’ll see it’s the island introduced in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

It’s a creative way to learn geography and study up on literary trivia and cultural lore.

Users, when clicking on a city – or by author or title – csn view a photo of the location, search Google or Wikipedia for more information on the place, purchase the book from a local bookstore, write a review on Good Reads, share the place on social media, and report they’ve been on that particular location.

Literary explorer should be amused at the site.

The crowdsourcing website invites anyone to make an entry.  You can follow them on Facebook.com/placingliterature and @placinglit.

The site recently issued a press release to call attention to the revamping of the three-year-old site, saying this:

"Exploring the literature of a place or browsing the location from a particular author or book has never been easier.  You can now search by location (Verona, Central Park, Castle Elsinore); by author (Cormac McCarthy, Bernat Metge, Robert Ludlum); or by book (Canterbury Tales, Anne of Green Gables, Love in the Time of Cholera).  You can also browse collections of literary locations that have been curated by museums, libraries, publishers and cultural organizations around the world, including by the State Library of Queensland (Australia), St. Thomas Moore Chapel at Yale University, the Amistad Center, the Catalan Literary Heritage Network and the Mayor of Doonesbury.  Featured authors such as Hugh Howey, Assaf Gavron, Matthew Thomas and Brian Freeman have also created maps of their own novels.

So many books exist in places that aren’t real or take place somewhere else in space.  Don’t look for a map of Heaven, Hell, Mars or the Matrix any time soon.  But this attempt to map out the locations of books and authors is one to be applauded and represents a modern way to highlight the rich literary culture that we live in.


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016

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