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Can the locale of a book affect your interest in reading...

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I was emailing with someone yesterday about books set in Minneapolis such as Sunshine by Robin McKinley, War for the Oaks by Emma Bull, contemporaries from Susan Johnson and Connie Brockway; the super fabulous Monkeewrench mystery books by PJ Tracy (they have a new one coming out next year!).    Some authors really imbue their love for their towns in their books (Beth Kery’s Ode to Chicago aka Daring Time is one of those).   One of the fun things about urban fantasy is the re-envisioning of these noted urban areas like Atlanta in Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniel series.

I loved seeing the places that I know reincarnated in fiction works.   But there are other areas of the country that don’t interest me as much, like um, the state I currently live in and other nearby cities.

I don’t know that I would be more interested in reading a book set in a particular area but it could turn me off.   You?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

46 Comments

  1. Anne Douglas
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 12:20:21

    Very much so.

    It’s no secret I’m from NZ, and we can be a pretty proud bunch about our country :0) So when ever I see a romance with NZ I’m off and buying because they are few and far between. But, do it wrong (as in it’s very obvious the author has done little research and just throws in a few cliche sayings) and I don’t give them a second chance. (One of the reasons I liked Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy so much was that it was so obviously Australian and while NZ and AUS are not interchangeable, there are many similarities in attitudes/speech that it was a read that made me smile as it felt familiar in a way that same story set as with the NFL as background never could). So yeah, NZ, Aussie and for some reason Egypt with a smattering of Africa.

    I also get tired of locations – New Orleans for example. Maybe I’d be more forgiving if ‘d been there, but I’m sort of over it – I’d pick any other location over NO as a setting to read a story in.

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  2. Moriah Jovan
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 12:37:09

    I set my first book in Kansas City, Missouri, and most of my second book in Mansfield, Missouri (which is where Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home is). I love local flavor as written by authors who know their towns, and so I don’t set stories anywhere I haven’t been and thoroughly explored.

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  3. Jill Sorenson
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 12:42:53

    I have a fondness for local settings. I love it when Dean Koontz mentions a freeway I’m familiar with, for example. I guess it makes me feel connected to the author. Also, a little known mystery author named Jeff Shelby does San Diego settings for his surfer PI books. Those cool, “insider” details appeal to me.

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  4. RStewie
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 12:53:08

    Certain settings turn me off of books: Alaska (I don’t know why), the Middle East (I’ve been there, and there’s few things unsexier than sand everywhere), the South (I live here, and the portrayals are usually off for me). Also, I’m not big on WWII books …I’m not sure why.

    I don’t get interested in reading a book just from its setting, though.

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  5. Zoe Archer
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 13:11:23

    I will be following this thread with great interest, since most of my upcoming books are set in some pretty different (for historical romance) settings.

    Which makes me biased, because I really do love settings outside of the norm.

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  6. kaigou
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 13:22:12

    Can we get a checkbox? I said “turn me off” but “turn me on” is also true.

    Because some locales turn me off, and some make me more interested; the former if it’s been done a hundred times (hello, New York City) and the latter if it’s uncommon in the genre, or a city I know personally.

    The caveat to the latter is if I know the city personally and the author starts throwing in elements that aren’t endemic to the city, like narrow twisty alleys for Washington DC or forty minutes walk worth of major skyscrapers for Phoenix AZ. Unless I got a big signal early on that this is an alterno-city kind of deal, I’ll soon get as annoyed with the book, just like I do with any movie filmed in a familiar city where the director just ditched all reasonable and sane geography for What Looks Cool.*

    Strangely, the lack of a locale can also turn me off, which is common in urban fantasy and/or paranormal, when the author “creates” a city — that’s all well and good, but if I don’t even have a general sense of location, I get frustrated. By general, I mean: is it in the Southwest? Or the northeast? Or is it not even in the US? I don’t mind made-up locations (and in some cases it works better), but I do prefer some kind of regional flavor.

    *best example ever: the chase scene in No Way Out. Watch with a DC native sometime, but brace yourself for hysterical laughter.

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  7. ms bookjunkie
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 13:22:49

    Pretty much any setting will be foreign to me. Therefore, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a small town or a big city, a ranch, a farm, the Arctic Circle, Antarctica, what-have-you. It doesn’t matter if it’s set in a real country or a make-believe one, on this Earth or somewhere else, an alternate reality… You get my point. I don’t read for setting. (At least I don’t think I do… *g*)

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  8. joanne
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 13:27:25

    As long as the author isn’t writing a travelogue I don’t care where he or she sets the story.

    I went along for 5 pages while an author walked me through the narrow Victorian streets of Venice before I screamed uncle and put the book away. I thought for sure there would be something happening — but nada.

    Some settings would make me hesitate but that totally depends on genre of the book. I’m not going to pick up a romance set in wartime Germany but a mystery set there might entice me.

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  9. Chris
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 13:32:20

    I can’t vote because the locale can make me more interested OR turn me off, depending on the book. :)

    I live in Minneapolis and love reading books that take place at least partially here – especially War of the Oaks (parts of it take place in my neighborhood!).

    I’m not a huge fan of books set in the South (outside of major cities) and have a tendency to avoid them.

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  10. S.
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 13:33:45

    I can’t think of any locations that would actively turn me off. Places like NYC or LA are so ubiquitous and I know so little about them that they’re pretty much just background. I don’t seek out books that are about places I know, though. The details that people get wrong about places I know generally just amuse me more than throw me out of the story. For example, no matter what the pilot episode of Bones would have you believe, you cannot see the Capitol from Dulles Airport. It made me laugh and laugh. However, my bf thought it was complete crap and didn’t watch the show again for ages.

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  11. Caligi
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 13:34:41

    I didn’t vote either, since it can turn me on or off.

    I don’t like western historicals, and I don’t care for exotic (to me) contemporaries. I do like western contemporaries (I blame all the bull riding on Versus) and especially love contemporaries in places I recognize. Setting is one of the things I use to filter which books to buy.

    On the flip side, I hate books which use familiar places as a setting and get it wrong. it totally tosses me out of the book. Lara Adrian, I’m looking at you here. Your blurb says you live in NH. Come visit, it’s not far. We haz Dunkin’ Donuts coffee for you.

    Of course, I will read a book with a setting I usually dislike if it comes highly recommended, and like it despite myself.

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  12. Sparky
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 13:45:37

    Sometimes it puts me off not because of the setting per se, but because I have severe doubts about the writer knowing the slightest thing about the locale. I have been immensely amused by some American authors supposedly writing books set in Britain that have set me howling with laugher – but never really allowed me to get into the book

    Other than that – sometimes I like the feel they give a place, but often I get a bit irritated if it seems they’re writing some kind of tourist brochure rather than a novel. ESPECIALLY if it’s overly idealised

    There are some GENRE settings (usually historic) that really put me off though

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  13. tricia
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 14:03:45

    Yes. I actually didn’t end up reading Sherry Thomas’ latest because I didn’t want to read something set in India/Pakistan. Even though I love Sherry Thomas and never thought I would voluntarily pass up one of her books, and even though I was pretty sure the entire book wasn’t taking place there, I still have no desire to pick it up. And although I can’t think of another example, I’m pretty sure that if I’d pass up a Sherry Thomas book because I didn’t care for the setting, I’d do it for another book too.

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  14. jmc
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 14:05:16

    I love McKinley’s Sunshine…and I had no idea it was set in Minneapolis. Guess that makes me monumentally unobservant.

    I like to read “different” settings and if I pick up a book set someplace unusual, I’ll usually give it more thought than yet another historical set in England. But I don’t seek out different settings actively. Lazy much? Apparently.

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  15. LoriK
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 15:01:52

    *best example ever: the chase scene in No Way Out. Watch with a DC native sometime, but brace yourself for hysterical laughter.

    It is indeed hilarious, but the Micheal Douglas movie Falling Down is equally bad in it’s own way. Watch that with anyone who knows LA—they’ll spend pretty much the whole movie scoffing or throwing things at the screen because it’s jsut that ridiculous.

    I blame all the bull riding on Versus

    Thank goodness it’s not just me. I’ve become weirdly addicted to that since our cable package added Versus.

    I have been immensely amused by some American authors supposedly writing books set in Britain that have set me howling with laugher – but never really allowed me to get into the book

    I’ve had the reverse experience as well–British authors who get America cheerfully, completely wrong in ways that make it obvious they’ve never been here.

    I do enjoy reading books that are set in places that I know and that aren’t the same old same old. For example, I recently picked up a book because it was set in the Great Smokey Mountains. That’s an unusual setting and I’ve been there, and found the area really beautiful, so I gave it a shot. (The book pretty much sucked, but the setting wasn’t the issue.)

    In general I can deal with setting errors if the book is good otherwise, but if there are any other problems with it then setting issues can be the thing that pushes it over the edge into a DNF.

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  16. Ros
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 15:11:16

    I voted turn me on, but the reality is it’s both, depending on the setting in question. I love reading books set in places that I know (so long as the author knows them too!) and I especially love reading books set in places that I’m travelling to. I don’t like reading books set in harsh climates, desert landscapes, space, etc. I like beautiful architecture and lovely gardens and so on. I also like pretty dresses, but that’s not so much a question of setting.

    I do think that this question of setting is the main reason why I just don’t get on well with SF/F. I like familiar landscapes and comfortable houses and lovely dresses and nice gardens. Yes, it’s shallow, but when I’m reading for comfort and escape, that’s what I want.

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  17. Maura
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 15:24:17

    Try Bull’s Bone Dance as well if you get a chance- not only is it my favorite book, period, but it’s also set in Minneapolis, although a postapocalyptic version.

    Location-specific books are iffy with me. I can’t stand books where the protagonist details her entire driving route just to prove the author used to live in Boston or wherever, or even looked it up on Google Maps. And if it’s a location I know well, and they get some detail wrong, I’ll notice and it will annoy me right the heck out of the story.

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  18. Carin
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 15:33:48

    For the most part, I don’t care one way or another about location. There are some turn offs and turn ons for me though.

    -A story turned travel brochure is frustrating to me. I don’t need pages of scenery unless it’s going to become critical to the plot to know about it.

    +On the other hand, I like it when I read about places I’ve been. Fun. (when they get it right)

    +There are times when I like a lot of detail, though. Welcome to Temptation comes to mind. There was a lot of description and even a map in the beginning of the book, and I loved it! The layout of the small town was important to the plot, so I was cool with all the location descriptions.

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  19. K
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 15:53:15

    A book’s setting is more likely to positively than negatively affect my interest in reading it, so I checked the more-interested box even though both are true. But it’s like anything else: if it’s done wrong (as opposed to deliberately altered for a reason), that’s a real turnoff, and so is the, “Look at me, I researched this, so I must include everything!” like people said before. (Another problem can be the author knowing so much about a place is that s/he makes assumptions that the wider audience won’t know how to handle, but that seems to happen less.)

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  20. Nicola Griffith
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 16:56:54

    Yes. Oh, yes, absolutely.

    I like a book with a sense of nature, open space, a kind of wild magic running through it. The moors, the forest, open downland. I love historical fiction, especially, for this: The Crystal Cave, Fire From Heaven, just about anything by Rosemary Sutcliff…

    Campus novels and noir make me feel claustrophobic.

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  21. Lori
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 17:08:00

    I love books set in Seattle because well, that’s where I live. Jayne Ann Krentz has set many in Seattle or the Pacific Northwest and I love love love them.

    I’ve loved reading small towns and big cities and foreign climates and well… Can’t think of any one book that I didn’t like because of setting. Can think of some where setting really helped create the mood (thinking Kristan Higgins and JAK).

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  22. MB
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 19:15:40

    I love pretty much any locale…with one big exception. I am SICK, SICK, SICK of reading about fashionistas, or other self-entitled young semi-professionals in New York, (especially if she is living off her parents’ money). Boring!

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  23. A
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 19:23:56

    I love New Orleans done well. I loathe New Orleans done badly.

    In Christine Feehan’s “Dark Magic,” Feehan describes the hero and heroine eating “baguettes” at the Cafe du Monde. It’s obvious Feehan never visited Cafe du Monde, much less tasted a beignet.

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  24. Zoe Archer
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 19:52:14

    It is indeed hilarious, but the Micheal Douglas movie Falling Down is equally bad in it's own way. Watch that with anyone who knows LA-’they'll spend pretty much the whole movie scoffing or throwing things at the screen because it's just that ridiculous.

    That’s how I feel whenever I watched 24. I could buy Jack Bauer getting knocked unconscious ten times in the span of twenty four hours without suffering neurological damage. I could buy the President of the United States being in league with terrorists. But, as an L.A. native, I cannot buy the idea that someone could drive from Santa Monica at the beach to Downtown in the span of fifteen minutes.

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  25. Sarah
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 19:54:13

    For example, no matter what the pilot episode of Bones would have you believe, you cannot see the Capitol from Dulles Airport. It made me laugh and laugh. However, my bf thought it was complete crap and didn't watch the show again for ages.

    I know exactly what you mean, S. I’m starting to get into it this season (my roommate watches it) and I sometimes have to forget it takes place in DC. In one episode they kept saying “subway” and I kept thinking, “We have a subway? Oh, you mean the Metro!” But I’m a native. And a nitpicker.

    I dont particularly mind locations. But occasionally they grate, I’m getting annoyed with the Southern Vampire series, Sookie’s almost condescension for anyone that prefers a city. So many places have been done to death that they almost stop seeming like places that exist in real life (New York, LA)

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  26. KB Alan
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 20:13:05

    I don’t think I’ve ever chosen or rejected a book based on locale, but it can make it a little more fun if it’s somewhere I’ve been. I’ll never forget, when I was in high school, driving somewhere with my dad (well, he was driving, I was reading) while reading a Dean Koontz novel, and realizing that we were driving along the same road that the MC was driving on while being chased by the bad guy. That was fun.

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  27. Magnolia88
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 20:53:16

    I love New Orleans done well. I loathe New Orleans done badly.

    In Christine Feehan's “Dark Magic,” Feehan describes the hero and heroine eating “baguettes” at the Cafe du Monde. It's obvious Feehan never visited Cafe du Monde, much less tasted a beignet.

    Heh. I haven’t read that book, but I agree on New Orleans.

    It’s a popular setting and normally I would seek books out with a place I love, but so many authors either have never been there or just get a lot wrong. I’ve also read many books with “Cajun” characters and it’s obvious that the author really hasn’t known many Cajuns, if any. They tend to overdo it.

    The only locale that might turn me off is NYC, just because it’s been done to death and every heroine feels like a retread of Carrie Bradshaw. Is there a young woman in NYC who isn’t obsessed with shoes and shopping? If so, you wouldn’t know it from reading romance novels.

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  28. Nicole
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 21:07:17

    I voted turns me on, as I do like book in certain locales. I was especially eager to read Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series as it’s set in the town where I grew up and she did a very good job.

    But when the author gets it wrong, ooph, that really can take me out of the story and make me wonder what else she/he got wrong.

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  29. kaigou
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 21:46:45

    as an L.A. native, I cannot buy the idea that someone could drive from Santa Monica at the beach to Downtown in the span of fifteen minutes.

    I can think of any of a dozen movies or television shows that try to squish the laws of physics like that — shows set in NYC, Boston, Atlanta, DC, Chicago, and on and on. Now I mostly eyeroll, and only DNF if it’s the straw on the long-suffering camel’s back. (When I’m not yelling, “OH I WISH I FREAKING WISH” at the screen, or the page.)

    What I do enjoy, though, is when you get a nod. It’s like an homage, but far more subtle; it’s an in-joke that only natives might get but doesn’t parade itself so noisily that non-natives can tell they’re being left out. Like the directions Holly Hunter’s character gives the cabbies in Broadcast News: so incredibly bassackwards, crazy, turned-around, that the cabbie’s wide-eyed disbelieving stare matches any DC native’s response. To a non-native, it just sounds funny because it’s obviously convoluted; it doesn’t render the joke unfunny if you’re not aware that half her directions involve going the wrong way down one-way streets.

    When textual, it’s usually a throwaway line, and often pivots on a local name or turn of phrase, like Uptown in NYC, or that DC’ers say “going into town” and not “going into the city”. If the author gets that little nod right, the natives will be doing a little dance of glee. If the author misses it or gets it wrong, well, only the natives will be getting restless, really. No one else is even gonna notice. If I get one or two nods that tells me the author at least did some native-person research, and then I’m more likely to dismiss any discrepancies as purposeful, and thus forgivable.

    Come to think of it, two or three well-done nods and I’m likely to enjoy the story even more (at least for its locale) because now I’m feeling comfy that the author knows the city well enough to tweak its nose with a few details. If the author then tells me it’s only five minutes on a Friday afternoon to get from Arlington to the Pentagon via the 110, that’s not a reason to fuss. It’s now a reason to smile and enjoy the sense that the author is sharing a joke with me that no one else would get.

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  30. A
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 21:47:41

    @Sarah:

    I dont particularly mind locations. But occasionally they grate, I'm getting annoyed with the Southern Vampire series, Sookie's almost condescension for anyone that prefers a city.

    Well, in my personal experience, Sookie’s attitude is very in tone with reality.

    I once stayed with some in-laws in Alexandria, LA. I truly felt like I was in an entirely different world of consciousness. My husband’s relatives were all very gracious, down-to-earth folk. They fed us like crazy: homemade preserves, barbecue brisket, big southern country breakfasts.

    But they clearly didn’t understand city life. They laughed at me for locking my car doors when I unloaded my luggage. My husband’s great-aunt asked me plainly, “Who d’you think’s gonna get in your car?” (They lived WAY out in the boonies, and for sure there was no one around for miles.)

    These are people who sleep with their windows open if they feel like it. They feel very free and in control of their surroundings.

    So, when I read Sookie, I always smile, because really, the author “nailed” that mindset.

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  31. Tae
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 00:07:03

    I lived in Minneapolis for seven years and I went on a reading binge on books that dealt with MN and Minneapolis/St. Paul. I did not know Sunshine took place there too. It’s sitting on my shelf to be read. Loved Monkeewrench. I saw the authors at a local bookstore when I was there for a Laurell K. Hamilton signing years ago. It was right when their first book was out, but I had not read it yet. Sadly.

    I am originally from Madison, WI and one of Marjorie Liu’s books mentions Madison and it made me fall in love with the book, or at least love it much more due to this fact.

    i suppose because I am not from LA, New York or Chicago – I love reading books that are set in places I’ve lived.

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  32. April
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 03:15:07

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE it when local flavor is done well. Connie Brockway’s contemporaries have such a real sense of the people and area that it truly makes the book for me.

    Other times, authors do a good job of researching an area, and attempting to insert local flavor, but it doesn’t have a feeling of authenticity for me. For instance, when I was in middle school, I read every Phyllis A. Whitney book. For each book she thoroughly researched a different locale. So, every novel was like a tourist trip through the area. But, one can never really EXPERIENCE a place as a tourist. I’d rather be a resident, and REALLY understand the area.

    That’s why I would prefer writer’s to write what they know. Research is great, but it’s no substitute for life experience.

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  33. April
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 03:20:11

    Heroes took place in Odessa TX for awhile. Urgh. I drove me nuts. The scenes were so clearly filmed in Cali with the desert mountain ranges, etc.

    Which is understandable, why take a shoot to TX if you don’t have to? But couldn’t they have TRIED, just for the authenticity’s sake, to make their scenes look like they took place in flat flat flat flat flat west Texas?

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  34. Serena
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 05:08:50

    It can definitely turn me off. I’ve read some books set in Italy/with Italian heroes that got so many things so wrong, I just couldn’t couldn’t continue reading it. Of course, I only noticed because I’m Italian. There are probably books that get many things from for another culture, but since I don’t know it I’m not bothered.

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  35. S.
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 07:51:11

    Thinking back, I have actually once picked up a movie because of the location, but that was because a scene was actually shot in the cafe of my office building in DC. Not that you’d recognize it from the finished product.

    I did appreciate one thriller in DC (I think it might have been The Jackal?) where while they didn’t get the shape of the tile in the Metro stations right, they did get the color right. Everything else was wrong about the station, but they at least got that. Heh.

    (When I'm not yelling, “OH I WISH I FREAKING WISH” at the screen, or the page.)

    Ever since I moved here, I have wished for the magic cars that Mulder and Scully had that would get them from Alexandria to Silver Spring in 15 minutes.

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  36. Kate McMurray
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 10:21:00

    I love it when settings are done well. I’ve read a lot of novels set in places I’ve never been that made me want to visit. And I love nitty gritty setting details. I’m a sucker for novels set in urban areas, as I think I’m a city person at heart, but I go through phases, too, where I will, for example, read a bunch of Westerns in a row.

    I get a giddy thrill when places I know well are described well. There’s a section of The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud that takes place in Amherst, MA, in the early aughts, which is around when I lived there also. One of the characters gets a job at a bar I used to frequent (which sadly no longer exists) and those scenes made me so nostalgic!

    I live in New York City now, so I’m crazy biased, but setting a novel in New York increases the odds I’ll buy it. But only when done right. Setting, when done wrong, is really irritating. The first chapter of Stephen King’s The Dark Half is set in my tiny hometown in NJ, and it’s clear he just threw a dart at a map and then made up the rest, as none of the setting details are in any way accurate. Similarly, I read a novel recently that was set in New York, and so, so much of it was wrong, especially the geography (the author kept referring to the place the protagonist was staying as “Greenwich” and it took me a couple of chapters to figure out that she meant Greenwich Village and not Greenwich, CT; the tip off was that the protagonist kept tripping over “bohemians” on the street). Mistakes like that will pull me right out of the story.

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  37. Melisse Aires
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 16:03:10

    Sometimes I look for books set in a certain place, like Egypt or New Orleans. It runs in my family–my sister buys every Harlequin that is set in Montana, any category line. We swap books when ever we see each other, so I benefit!

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  38. CrankyBeach
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 22:53:42

    None other than Nora Roberts set a trilogy in my home town–and got so many details wrong it was almost comical. I guarantee you, if she was ever here at all, she did not take good notes, and she never looked at a map. Nor did she bother to find out about local weather patterns, directions and distances, cost of living, etc.

    And then there was the time I nearly fell off my bed, I was laughing so hard. In another book she had the police making a call to a very upscale neighborhood in a locale that I happen to know firsthand consists of mobile home parks, a K-Mart, and a water park.

    And in yet another book, she had someone in California getting a divorce in 6 weeks, from filing to finalized. Uh… no. 6 months minimum from when the court accepts your paperwork. That book also had it snowing in the Napa Valley. Huh??

    Yes, Nora can still tell great stories… but I have just a bit less respect for her because of her sloppy research.

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  39. Janine
    Oct 17, 2009 @ 02:04:45

    @A:

    Meagan McKinney, who lived (and for all I know may still live) in New Orleans, wrote one of my favorite romantic suspense novels, A Man to Slay Dragons, which is set there. Now I have never been to New Orleans myself, but I always feel as though I’m there when I read that novel. And Anne Rice is probably the only other writer who has made me feel that way about that setting. Oh, and the McKinney book has a great scene that takes place in Cafe du Monde and involves beignets.

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  40. Shiloh Walker
    Oct 17, 2009 @ 07:47:16

    Setting alone doesn’t matter much. Now if I hear an author is local to me, that might make me more likely to check their stuff out. But the setting? Nope.

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  41. Heather
    Oct 18, 2009 @ 10:08:16

    PJ Tracy has a new book coming out, oh goodies :). I live in Minnesota, so when I see or hear of a book set in the state I give it a look. Same for Wisconsin. But if it’s in a genre I don’t read I probably will not buy it no matter what.

    Like others I’m tired of books in NYC and New Orleans. I do like Chicago as a setting though. Don’t know why, never been there.

    Heather

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  42. Kalen Hughes
    Oct 19, 2009 @ 08:49:04

    *best example ever: the chase scene in No Way Out. Watch with a DC native sometime, but brace yourself for hysterical laughter.

    The infamous roll down into what should be the Potomac and then escape via the non-existent Georgetown Metro stop? LOL!!!

    San Francisco gets this treatment too (I'm sure most locals do). There's a car chase in The Rock that slays me (he's in Russian Hill, he cuts through a garage, and bursts out in the Avenues. It was a real WTF moment for the locals (not to mention the bizarre fountain and flowers at the Palace of Fine Arts; guess the lake and swans and amazing ruins from the World Fair just weren't enough).

    I tend to avoid books set in San Francisco (or other places I know well). For example, I've never been able to get past the opening paragraph of Blood Sucking Fiends. The second sentence begins: A low fog worked its way up from the bay . . . Um, no it didn't. The fog rolls in off the ocean, over Twin Peaks, across the city and out onto the bay. I love Moore's books, but that line just stopped me in my tracks.

    In Christine Feehan's “Dark Magic,” Feehan describes the hero and heroine eating “baguettes” at the Cafe du Monde. It's obvious Feehan never visited Cafe du Monde, much less tasted a beignet.

    Are you effing kidding me? *jaw hanging open* This is something that an editor should have caught at the very least. *sigh*

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  43. Susan/DC
    Oct 19, 2009 @ 11:13:54

    I’m with those for whom setting can be a plus or a minus, although I voted that it was a negative. The reason is simply all those series books with Texas in the title, where the location is shorthand for a kind of plot/characterization that don’t interest me. I’m also not too fond of books set in small towns in the South because they’ve become so cliched. OTOH, I like books set in New York as long as they don’t turn into the other cliche: big city bad, so by the end the heroine has moved to a small town in the South.

    I do like books set in locations that are underused. I’ve recently become interested in a mystery series set in late 19th C Istanbul, and I loved the first half of Laura Kinsale’s The Dream Hunter. Sherry Thomas’ latest book and Meredith Duran’s first also benefited from their settings.

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  44. Kalen Hughes
    Oct 19, 2009 @ 14:26:41

    I've recently become interested in a mystery series set in late 19th C Istanbul

    Title and author please!!! Pretty, pretty please . . .

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  45. Susan/DC
    Oct 20, 2009 @ 14:09:53

    The Istanbul-set series is only 2 books long at this point, but accordingly to Amazon there will be a third book in March 2010. The author’s name is Jenny White; she’s a professor at Boston University with a speciality in Turkey. The first book is The Sultan’s Seal and the second The Abyssian Proof. The reference to the seal was what attracted me in the first place, as when recently in Istanbul our guide explained the importance of the highly stylized sultan’s signature.

    Hope you enjoy them.

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  46. Rahnee
    Nov 02, 2009 @ 06:07:05

    Anything set in a location I’m familiar with that makes too much of that location’s exoticness is an immediate non-read.

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