What could be more intriguing to a traveling book-lover that a book about literary destinations? Not much…unless it’s actually traveling to those destinations. So when I came upon “Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen’s Bath to Ernest Hemingway’s Key West” by Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon, I couldn’t resist it.
There’s something about visiting the places from your favorite books that the authors have made come alive. Maybe they’re not exactly as you pictured them; maybe they’re more than you expected. But part of the fun is the planning, perusing the information, the anticipation.
Schmidt’s and Rendon’s book is ultimately perusable. It’s well laid out and very informative. Divided into two main sections, the first is called Travel By the Book. Like traditional guidebooks, it lists places to visit such as author houses and museums and is organized into categories like Southern Comfort and Vampires, Ghosts and Ravens. Besides comcplete information for each site the pages are sprinkled with quotes, trivia and interesting sidebars.
The second section takes ten literary locales immortalized by famous authors, such as Charles Dickens’s London or Louisa May Alcott’s Concord, Massachusettes, and gives an overview of each. There are places to eat, sleep or just soak up the atmosphere. Look for the “Don’t Miss” pages that call attention to things like strolling along the Ocean View Boulevard and taking in the scenes brought to life by John Steinbeck, or catching a glimpse of Archibald, the resident feline at Hemingway House.