Top Ten Tuesday – Vivid Book Worlds/Settings (July 24)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week the topic is the top ten most vivid worlds/settings in books. The setting, or world, of a book/series can make or break it for the reader. Some authors have the ability to describe the setting so well that they almost transport the reader there. Here are ten of my favourite book worlds/settings:

1. Middle-Earth – how could the world that J.R.R. Tolkien not be number one on this list? This ancient world within our world was one that Tolkien described in great detail, as well as producing many maps and drawings of. When reading any of his books set there it is hard not to be transported there in your mind.

2. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – the Gulag camp in which Ivan Denisovich is a prisoner is vividly described in this novel by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The author himself had first-hand experience of life in the Gulag and the picture he paints is one that I’m glad I haven’t experienced.

3. Narnia – C.S. Lewis created a world that I wished I lived in when I was a child. The way he described it made me want to find some secret entrance to Narnia as well. I still enjoy reading these books and still have my picture in my mind of what Narnia looks like.

4. Leviathan/Behemoth/Goliath – I love the Victorian steampunk world of this trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. The setting is still obviously the Victorian world of World War I, but the world of machinery versus fabricated ‘beasties’ is what makes this such a great setting for the series.

5. Hogwarts – I imagine that anyone who has read the Harry Potter books must have at some time wondered what it would like to live in the world that J.K. Rowling has created. Of course it would only be fun if you had wizard powers as well.

6. Fahrenheit 451 – although Ray Bradbury created many different alternative worlds in his writings, the world of Fahrenheit 451 is the one that has had the biggest impression on me. I don’t think I could live in a world without books. It just seems so terrifying to me!

7. Ember series – the world of these books, by Jeanne DuPrau, is a post-apocalyptic version of our world. In the first book the city of Ember itself is vividly described. You can almost see and feel the dreariness of existence there, tinged with sadness and resignation, but you also get glimpses of hope beyond this, which comes as the series progresses.

8. George Orwell – this whole list could almost have been dedicated to the writing of George Orwell. Whether writing fiction (1984, Animal Farm, Burmese Days) or non-fiction (Down and Out in Paris and London, The Road to Wigan Pier, Homage to Catalonia) Orwell had a way with words that painted a vivid picture of the setting of his writing. I never tire of reading his books and stories.

9. Douglas Adams – the picture of the universe painted by Adams in his Hitchhikers books is awesome. It really would be cool if our universe was really like this! The aliens and the worlds they inhabit and encounter on their travels are vividly described and you almost wish you could be a part of it all.

10. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – I was probably about 8 or 9 when I first read Roald Dahl’s classic and I remember how much I wanted to go and live in the factory – who wouldn’t! I still enjoy reading this from time to time, as well as many other of Dahl’s classics, and part of me would still love to spend time or live in a factory like this.


5 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday – Vivid Book Worlds/Settings (July 24)

  1. Absolutely yes to ALL OF THIS. I mean, the only ones I haven’t read are the Ember series and the Leviathan series. I definitely agree with you on Middle Earth, I know I can easily imagine the Prancing Pony and the Shire from Tolkien’s writing.

    My TTT

  2. I’m glad to see someone other than me thinks LEVIATHAN deserves to be listed! 😀 I considered the HITCHHIKER’S series, as I did a number of other books. Another great example of simple but effective world-building. Good list!

  3. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is vivid in the worst kind of way – I can still remember the feeling of total monotony that pervaded this book. I’m glad it was only one day! 😉

    I forgot to put Roald Dahl on my list. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach could easily have made the cut.

  4. We have a few picks in common. I am so excited to see Ivan Denisovich on your list… I absolutely loved that book. And of course, the chocolate factory is always a big win… Roald Dahl is fantastic at creating fun worlds. Great list!

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