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One of the fun things about reading books are the settings in large cities that we can visit virtually. Sometimes the setting is nearly a character in the book. People speak of books they enjoy that take place in New Orleans and Miami or New York and Los Angeles.
It is thrilling to visit London, Paris, Istanbul, Cairo, or Athens. Both fiction and non-fiction books can showcase a city and help us see it or fall in love with it.
After reading Joyce’s Ulysses with pico’s help, the thing I missed most was walking on Dublin’s streets.
Dubliners by James Joyce
Dubliners is a collection of 15 short stories by James Joyce, first published in 1914. They were meant to be a naturalistic depiction of Irish middle class life in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century.
The stories were written when Irish nationalism was at its peak, and a search for a national identity and purpose was raging; at a crossroads of history and culture, Ireland was jolted by various converging ideas and influences. They centre on Joyce's idea of an epiphany: a moment where a character experiences self-understanding or illumination. Many of the characters in Dubliners later appear in minor roles in Joyce's novel Ulysses. The initial stories in the collection are narrated by child protagonists, and as the stories continue, they deal with the lives and concerns of progressively older people. This is in line with Joyce's tripartite division of the collection into childhood, adolescence, and maturity.
I am reading The Princes of Ireland: The Dublin Saga by Edward Rutherfurd and I am learning about early Dublin.
Pgs. 17, 18
Below her, a stream came from the south to join the river, and just before it did so, encountering the end of the little ridge, it made a small bend, in whose angle there had developed a deep, dark pool. Blackpool, they called it: Dubh Linn. To the ear it sounded “Doove Lin.”
…Deserted as it might be, Fergus’s territory was not without significance, for it lay at one of the island’s important crossroads. Ancient tracks, often hewn through the island’s thick forests and known as slige, came from north and south to cross at the ford. The old Slige Mhor, the Great Road, ran west…
Once, the place had been busier. For centuries, the open sea beyond the bay had been more like a great lake between the two islands where the many tribes of her people dwelt, and across which they had traded, and settled, and married back and forth for many generations. …Roman merchants had come to the western island set up little trading posts along the coast, including the bay, and would sometimes come into the estuary…
Another story set in the Dublin area is Brian Boru: Emperor of the Irish by Morgan Llywelyn
On thousand years ago, during the Viking Age, an extraordinary young man was born in Ireland. His people, plagued by warfare, were weary not only from the Vikings' brutal raids along the coast, but also from the continuous warring among local chieftains. The Irish had become a drowntrodden race.
But a real-life hero changed the destiny of Ireland. This is the story of Brian Boru, who as a young man took it upon himself to revolutionize tenth-century Ireland, striving to create a peaceful land where his fellow Irish men and women cold be safe from harm. And succeed he did. Brian, crowned High King, restored peace and fostered prosperity in the country that was his home--and his heart. Brian Boru: Emperor of the Irish is a beautiful and compelling true story of Irish history.
Books I have enjoyed by by Morgan Llywelyn:
1916: A Novel of the Irish Rebellion
Lion of Ireland
Maeve Binchy has also written about Dublin. I have enjoyed many of her stories set in Ireland.
This looked interesting:
New Dubliners: Original Stories Celebrating 100 Years of Joyce's Dubliners by Oona Frawley (Editor) , Maeve Binchy , Dermot Bolger
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the year in which Joyce penned his famous -collection, New Dubliners presents eleven deeply human, evocative stories set in the Irish capital, by such award-winning and leading Irish authors as Roddy Doyle, Colum McCann, Joseph O'Connor, Bernard MacLaverty, and Frank McGuinness.
Wiki has pictures of Dublin:
Dublin has a world famous literary history, having produced many prominent literary figures, including Nobel laureates William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett. Other influential writers and playwrights include Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift and the creator of Dracula, Bram Stoker. It is arguably most famous as the location of the greatest works of James Joyce, including Ulysses, which is set in Dublin and full of topical detail. Dubliners is a collection of short stories by Joyce about incidents and typical characters of the city during the early 20th century. Other renowned writers include J. M. Synge, Seán O'Casey, Brendan Behan, Maeve Binchy, and Roddy Doyle. Ireland's biggest libraries and literary museums are found in Dublin, including the National Print Museum of Ireland and National Library of Ireland. In July 2010, Dublin was named as a UNESCO City of Literature, joining Edinburgh, Melbourne and Iowa City with the permanent title.
There are several theatres within the city centre, and various world famous actors have emerged from the Dublin theatrical scene, including Noel Purcell, Sir Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Stephen Rea, Colin Farrell, Colm Meaney and Gabriel Byrne. The best known theatres include the Gaiety, Abbey, Olympia, Gate, and Grand Canal. The Gaiety specialises in musical and operatic productions, and is popular for opening its doors after the evening theatre production to host a variety of live music, dancing, and films. The Abbey was founded in 1904 by a group that included Yeats with the aim of promoting indigenous literary talent. It went on to provide a breakthrough for some of the city's most famous writers, such as Synge, Yeats himself and George Bernard Shaw. The Gate was founded in 1928 to promote European and American Avant Garde works. The Grand Canal Theatre is a new 2,111 capacity theatre which opened in March 2010 in the Grand Canal Dock…
Apart from being the focus of the country's literature and theatre, Dublin is also the focal point for much of Irish Art and the Irish artistic scene. The Book of Kells, a world-famous manuscript produced by Celtic Monks in AD 800 and an example of Insular art, is on display in Trinity College.
What stories have shaped your view of London? Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Connie Willis, Harry Potter?
A non-fiction book that is very good is London 1945 by Maureen Waller
Wiki has a list:
A few from the list:
19th century fiction
Many of Charles Dickens's most famous novels are at least partially set in London, including Oliver Twist (1838), The Old Curiosity Shop (1840), A Christmas Carol (1843), David Copperfield (1850), Bleak House (1853), Little Dorrit (1857), A Tale Of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1861), Our Mutual Friend (1865), and The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870).
William Makepeace Thackeray - Vanity Fair (1847)
Jules Verne - Around the World in Eighty Days (French: Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours) (1872)
Henry James - The Princess Casamassima (1886), A London Life (1888), What Maisie Knew (1897), In the Cage (1898)
Robert Louis Stevenson - The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)
Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)
H. G. Wells - The Time Machine (1895), The Invisible Man (1897), The War of the Worlds (1898)
Somerset Maugham - Liza of Lambeth (1897)
Bram Stoker's - Dracula (1897) comes to London in order to seduce Mina Harker.
Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. Holmes live at 221B Baker Street - a fictional address since Baker Street was much shorter in Victorian times. The Docklands area plays a large part in The Sign of Four.
20th century fiction
Joseph Conrad - The Secret Agent (1907)
D. H. Lawrence - Sons and Lovers (1913)
P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster novels (1919 onwards). Wooster lives mainly in London, and is a member of the Drones Club.
Virginia Woolf - Mrs Dalloway (1925)
T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land makes frequent reference to the Unreal City.
Chesterton's allegorical works The Man Who Was Thursday and The Napoleon of Notting Hill both feature surreal depictions of London.
Evelyn Waugh - Vile Bodies
Aldous Huxley - Brave New World (1932)
P. L. Travers - Mary Poppins (1934). Takes place on Cherry Tree Lane and at the Bank of England.
Elizabeth Bowen - The Heat of the Day (1949)
George Orwell - Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
Agatha Christie - Crooked House (1949)
John Wyndham - The Day of the Triffids (1951)
Graham Greene - The End of the Affair (1951) & The Destructors (1954)
Iris Murdoch - A Severed Head (1961)
Muriel Spark - The Girls of Slender Means (1963)
Doris Lessing - The Four-Gated City (1969)
Thomas Pynchon - Gravity's Rainbow (1973)
Iain Banks - Walking on Glass (1985), Dead Air (2002)
Martin Amis - Money (1984), London Fields (1989)
Tom Clancy - Patriot Games (1987)
Salman Rushdie - The Satanic Verses (1989)
Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere (1997) is set partly in real London, and partly in an alternative "London Below".
J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series (1997 onwards) features fictional London locations: the hidden Diagon Alley
and a Platform 9 3⁄4 at King's Cross.
Owen Parry - Honor's Kingdom (2002)
William Gibson - Pattern Recognition (2003)
Neal Stephenson - The Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver (2003), The Confusion (2004), The System of the World (2004))
Ruth Rendell - Portobello (2008)
Audrey Niffenegger - Her Fearful Symmetry (2009)
Books about Barcelona
One of the books set in Barcelona is Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón which many people enjoyed. I read it and sent it to a friend who really liked it a lot.
Barcelona, 1945-just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother's face. To console his only child, Daniel's widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona's guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Daniel's father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him.
And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax's work. To his shock, he discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written. In fact, he may have the last one in existence. Before Daniel knows it his seemingly innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelona's darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness and doomed love. And before long he realizes that if he doesn't find out the truth about Julian Carax, he and those closest to him will suffer horribly.
One I enjoyed from Madrid by Arturo Perez-Reverte is Nautical Chart.
25 Top Novels Set In India/Pakistan During/Post British Raj
Novels Set in India
A few from the list (the whole list deserves a look. The ones I have read have two stars):
Compiled by Melissa Rice of Morton Grove Public Library, from contributions by the members of Fiction_L.
(To use this list in your library, book club, etc., please include the following credit line: "Compiled by the subscribers of the Fiction_L mailing list." This list may not be used for commercial purposes.)
Adult fiction novels and short stories set in, or mostly in, India. Young adult (YA), children's (C), or nonfiction (NF) titles are indicated.
Alexander, Lloyd The Iron Ring (J)
Anthony, Piers and Tella, Alfred The Willing Spirit
Buck, Pearl S. Mandala: A Novel of India
Burgess, Justina Winds of Eden
Chandra, Vikram Red Earth and Pouring Rain
Chaudhuri, Amit Freedom Song: Three Novels
Cleary, Jon The Faraway Drums
**Conrad, Joseph Lord Jim
Cornwell, Bernard Sharpe's Tiger
Corwell, Bernard Sharpe's Trafalgar
Cornwell, Bernard Sharpe's Triumph: Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Assaye, September 1803
Davis, Kathryn Lynn Somewhere Lies the Moon
Davis, Kathryn Lynn Too Deep for Tears
de Camp, L. Sprague An Elephant for Aristotle
**Delderfield, R.F. God Is an Englishman
Desai, Anita Fasting, Feasting
Desai, Anita Fire on the Mountain
Desai, Anita Journey to Ithaca: A Novel
Desai, Kiran Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard
Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee Arranged Marriage: Stories
**Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee Sister of My Heart
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan The Sign of Four
Fast, Howard The Pledge
Fitzgerald, Valerie Zemindar
Flint, Eric and Drake, David In the Heart of Darkness
**Forster, E.M. A Passage to India
Fraser, George Macdonald Flashman
Fraser, George Macdonald Flashman and the Angel of the Lord
Fraser, George Macdonald Flashman and the Mountain of Light
Fraser, George Macdonald Flashman in the Great Game
Godden, Rumer Coromandel Sea Change
Hesse, Hermann Siddhartha
Hill, Porter The War Chest
Holt, Victoria Secret for a Nightingale
Holt, Victoria The India Fan
Irving, John A Son of the Circus
Kaye, M.M. Death in Kashmir
**Kaye, M.M. Shadow of the Moon
**Kaye, M.M. The Far Pavilions
Kipling, Rudyard The Jungle Book
Kipling, Rudyard Just So Stories
Kipling, Rudyard Kim
**Lahiri, Jhumpa Interpreter of Maladies
Markandaya, Kamala Nectar in a Sieve
Markandaya, Kamala The Golden Honeycomb
**Maugham, W. Somerset Razor's Edge
**Mistry, Rohinton A Fine Balance
Mistry, Rohinton Such a Long Journey
O'Brian, Patrick H.M.S. Surprise
Roy, Arundhati The God of Small Things
**Rushdie, Salman Midnight's Children
Rushdie, Salman The Ground Beneath Her Feet
Rushdie, Salman The Satanic Verses
Scott, Paul A Division of the Spoils
Scott, Paul Raj Quartet
Scott, Paul The Day of the Scorpion
Scott, Paul The Jewel in the Crown: A Novel
Scott, Paul The Towers of Silence
Scott, Sir Walter Guy Mannering
**Seth, Vikram A Suitable Boy: A Novel
Smiley, Jane Ordinary Love
Staples, Suzanne Fisher Shiva's Fire (YA)
Trollope, Joanna Mistaken Virtues
Trollope, Joanna Parson Harding's Daughter
Vidal, Gore Creation
I enjoy Lindsey Davis’ stories set in Rome in the 70’s AD with Falco as the PI.
Dorothy Dunnett’s stories have taken me all around the world.
The Lymond Chronicles is a series of six novels, set in mid-sixteenth century Europe and the Mediterranean, which follows the life and career of a Scottish nobleman, Francis Crawford of Lymond, from 1547 through 1558. The series is a suspenseful tale of adventure and romance, filled with action, intense drama, poetry, culture and high comedy. Meticulously researched, the series takes place in a wide variety of locations, including France, the Ottoman Empire, Malta, England, Scotland and Russia. In addition to a compelling cast of original characters, the novels feature many historical figures, often in important roles.
The volumes are as follows:
1. The Game of Kings (1961)
2. Queen's Play (1964)
3. The Disorderly Knights (1966)
4. Pawn in Frankincense (1969)
5. The Ringed Castle (1971)
6. Checkmate (1975)
The six volumes of the Lymond Chronicles, set in the 16th century, are part of what Dunnett viewed as a larger fourteen-volume work, which includes the eight novels of The House of Niccolò series, set in the 15th century. The House of Niccolò, which was written after the Lymond Chronicles, tells the tale of Lymond's ancestors in the previous century and includes allusions to events in the Lymond Chronicles. Dunnett recommended that readers begin with the Lymond Chronicles and then read The House of Niccolò.
The House of Niccolò
The House of Niccolò is a series of eight historical novels set in the late-fifteenth century European Renaissance. The protagonist of the series is Nicholas de Fleury (Niccolò, Nicholas van der Poele, or Claes), a talented boy of uncertain birth who rises to the heights of European merchant banking and international political intrigue. The series shares most of the locations in Dunnett's earlier series, the Lymond Chronicles, but it extends much further geographically to take in the important urban centres of Bruges, Venice, Florence, Geneva, and the Hanseatic League; Burgundy, Flanders, and Poland; Iceland; the Iberian Peninsula and Madeira; the Black Sea cities of Trebizond and Caffa; Persia; the Mediterranean islands of Cyprus and Rhodes; Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula; and West Africa and the city of Timbuktu.
The volumes are as follows:
1. Niccolò Rising (1986)
2. Spring of the Ram (1987)
3. Race of Scorpions (1989)
4. Scales of Gold (1991)
5. The Unicorn Hunt (1993)
6. To Lie with Lions (1995)
7. Caprice and Rondo (1997)
8. Gemini (2000)
What cities have bloomed for you as you read about them?
Diaries of the week:
Write On! He do the police in different voices.
Thursday Classical Music OPUS 46: Mozart Symphony #41, "The Jupiter Symphony"
My Favorite Authors/Books: Peter Hessler
Who wants to write a diary?
Any author or book is fair game -- we would love to hear about and add it to our "Must Read" list. And I KNOW you don't want me to resort to me talking about the book that I wrote!
Here's what the schedule looks like so far:
Jul 25 -- Ellid, Walter Hunt
Aug 15 -- Diana in NoVa -- TBD
Just send me a message...with a date (and topic if you know it) and I'll add it to the schedule.
plf515 has a book talk on Wednesday mornings early.
sarahnity’s list of DKos authors