Friday, May 19, 2017

Novel Destinations, Second Edition by Shannon McKenna Schmidt & Joni Rendon, 2017

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on National Geographic 
Follow in the footsteps of much-loved authors, including Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac, Jane Austen, and many more. For vacationers who crave meaningful trips and unusual locales, cue National Geographic's Novel Destinations a guide for bibliophiles to more than 500 literary sites across the United States and Europe. Check into Hemingway's favorite hotel in Sun Valley, or stroll about Bath's Royal Crescent while entertaining fantasies of Lizzie Bennett and her Mr. Darcy. The fully revised second edition includes all of the previous sites with updated locations plus color images and an expanded section on all things Bronte. The book begins with thematic chapters covering author houses and museums, literary festivals and walking tours. Then, in-depth explorations of authors and places take readers roaming Franz Kafka's Prague, James Joyce's Dublin, Louisa May Alcott's New England, and other locales. Peppered with great reading suggestions and little-known tales of literary gossip, Novel Destinations is a unique travel guide, an attractive gift book, and the ultimate bibliophile's delight.
(392 pages)

This book is amazing.

I mean it. It's a travel guide for bookworms! How perfect is that? As a book lover who loves to travel and will be moving to Scotland to attend college next year, I love everything about Novel Destinations.

I didn't read every single page, of course, because it's so big and detailed that doing so would basically be like read an encyclopedia cover to cover. I did flip through the entire thing, though, and I read quite a few of the entries. And it is so cool.

Setting my own feelings toward the book aside, let's focus on the nitty gritty. First, the book actually looks nothing like that cover suggests. It's a very nice light blue, not the weird greenish color it appears to have above, and it's more . . . I don't know how to put it. Boxlike? It's not square, but it's shaped kind of like an old classic tome. Hmm, maybe they did that on purpose. Anyway, the book is sorted into two main parts. The first, "Travel by the Book," discusses destinations by sorting them into five categories: author houses/museums, the sites connected to artists who traveled the world, literary festivals/tours/etc., and literary restaurants and hotels. The second part, "Journeys Between the Pages," offers more detailed biographies of some of the most famous authors that include detailed must-see spots when describing their hometowns. Some of the authors featured include Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The back of the book includes an index by locale, for finding cool sites near a specific travel destination, as well as a general index for hunting down certain sites.

Honestly, what more could a bookworm want from a guide book? The only thing I can think of is some modern authors–the book deals pretty much exclusively with old, classic writers. It would have been nice to have, say, some discussion of J.K. Rowling's haunts in Edinburgh, but I can understand why the authors chose to stick with the past: classic authors are more accepted, familiar, and beloved in much of the literary world than any newcomer could ever be. If books are blankets, then the classic authors' books are the soft, broken-in, cosy blankets that almost everyone can agree are the best.

Hmm, that's a strange analogy. Anyway, suffice it to say that I really love Novel Destinations and I'll definitely keep it to plan my own future travels. According to the book, there will be no shortage of cool Scottish literary sites for me to check out!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to participate in a TLC tour.


  1. Wow, you'll be in Scotland next year?! How exciting! I have a friend there who is always offering me a place to stay but I haven't made it there yet ...

    Thanks for being a part of the tour! I'm so glad you loved this wonderful book.

    1. Yep, I'm excited to head to Scotland in a few months! It's a gorgeous country, definitely worth a trip if you find the time.

      Thanks for arranging for me to review such a wonderful book!


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