Friday, August 22, 2008

Literary Landmarks - Novel Destinations

One of the advantages of being a bookseller that I have eagerly anticipated is getting advance reading copies (ARC) of books before they are released to the general public or published in final form. Distribution of ARC's to booksellers and reviewers is a popular way for publishers to promote a new title. My problem will be finding time to read these copies, not to mention having time to review them.

My first ARC is a special book and will have a place of honor and distinction in Paragraphs. It is unique not only because it was the first ARC I received but because the author, Shannon McKenna Schmidt, interviewed me in February about the opening of Paragraphs and her article appeared in Shelf Awareness and was posted here.

Additionally, Novel Destinations is co-authored by Joni Rendon and it is always a surprise to see my name, using the same spelling, but referring to some other person, not me.

When I came upon the notice in Shelf Awareness that this book was being released, I sent a note of congratulations to Shannon and thus received my first Advanced Reading Copy in my new career as a bookseller.

Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West
By Shannon Mckenna Schmidt, Jodi Rendon, Matthew Pearl
Contributor Matthew Pearl
Published by National Geographic Society, 2008
ISBN 1426202776, 9781426202773
368 pages

For a reader and one who loves to travel in unconventional ways to unexpected destinations just perusing the Table of Contents provides one with a diverse selection of tableaus from which to choose, all equally enticing. Given the opportunity of visiting the homes of many of one's favorite authors the imagination is attracted to the possible beauty of "Atmospheric Literary Landscapes" or the serenity of "Contemplative Places" and then when needing a fright to stir things up we are offered a possible visit with the "Vampires, Ghosts, and Ravens".

Schmidt and Rendon then ask us to join the Chronicler of the Jazz Age (F. Scott Fitzgerald) and the Rugged Adventurer (Ernest Hemingway) as well as other well-known authors at home and abroad. Continuing on our travels, the authors take us to literary festivals and must see libraries. Finally, at the end of Part I, and after an exhausting trip through time and place, what more could we ask than to join some of the literary greats in Booked Up: Literary Places to Drink, Dine and Doze.

Part II of the book is titled Journeys Between the Pages and guides us to ten locales that have been "immortalized by famed novelists". Jane Austen's English countryside is balanced by the London as seen by Dickens. The Paris, of Hugo, in the Hunchback of Notre Dame gives way to Joyce's Dublin, made famous in Ulysses. The good old USA is not neglected as we travel the northeast where the Little Women grew up and stop by to visit The House of Seven Gables and then the pages of Steinbeck's epic novels spring to life in the Salinas Valley of California.

From the book jacket:
"Novel Destinations"--a new offering that guides bibliophiles to more than 500 literary sites across the United States and Europe. From the moody, windswept moors that inspired the Brontes to the Old Courthouse immortalized by Harper Lee, the authors create a veritable life-list of must-see sites from literary history--and tell travelers how to visit on your own. The book begins with thematic chapters covering author houses and museums; literary festivals and walking tours; and hotels, bars, and restaurants. Then, in-depth explorations of author and place 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" will appeal as a unique travel guide, an attractive gift book, and the ultimate browser's delight.

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indie bookstore will be chosen for you at random, and any of these stores can mail this title to you.

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