As travelers, we often read fiction about our travel destinations.
When we lived in New Orleans in 2012, we picked up Anne Rice. While driving up the California coast, we listened to Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur and Dharma Bums. When in San Francisco, it was Amistead Maupin’s Tales of the City.
In many books, setting is a core part of the tale. Interview with the Vampire and Sex and the City have a lot in common with Tales of the City: the setting is as critical as the characters and plot.
Books allow us to travel in our imaginations. Combine that with actual travel, and you’ve got a double rainbow of travel joy. Discovering a new place through the senses of a poet, or through local fictional characters, brings depth and adventure to travel. We discovered a few new and now-favorite places in San Francisco based on Tales of the City.
So when we learned about Placing Literature, a new project that geo-maps literature, we raised our eyebrows: A map showing you which books are set in your neighborhood? We resolutely raised our bowls and begged, “Please sir, may I have some more?”
Placing Literature’s map has hundreds of books ranging from Ulysses to Eat Pray Love. You can see where they’re set in the world, or, just jump to a place that interests you, and you can discover more books that feature the area.
As you can see below, some places are teeming with books (San Francisco is flooded), while others–entire countries and a few U.S. states–have just one or two. Case in point: we’re currently in Washington state and its only listing is the Twilight series. Overall, Placing Literature is fun to browse, but at times, it leaves us wanting more—more books tied to more places. But the map is growing super fast (we noticed 40+ new entries added in 1 day) and we’ll be consulting this often for our upcoming travels.
The map is open to all, so if you want to add a book, just log in on their site to get started.