Without a good setting, is the book really that good?
No is the answer. Whether it's the Capitol in Hunger Games or the various locations of Harry Potter, all the good plots would be nothing without the good settings. Am I right?
Yes. Yes I am.
Besides those being said above, there are a couple of settings that really stick out in my mind.
1. Water For Elephants
I didn't see the movie but the book is definitely one of my favorites. I LOVE the circus. Love. Love. Love. The very opening of the book is older Jacob at a circus which I think is genius. Only can the person Jacob is telling the story to (I think he's the manager of the circus) be part of the circus himself other wise I don't think the story would mean as much. Right from the get go we have the image of a modern day circus in our heads which then transitions to the way they use to be. The use of setting to show the passage of time is just one of the many ways this book gets it right. I really need to get my hands on Night Circus for the same reason that the Circus is a great setting in my imagination.
2. To Kill a Mockingbird
Monroeville, Alabama is a small, southern town that is so beautifully describe by Harper Lee through the eyes of a child. This is an instance where it's not the place itself but more how the place is percieved that really gets me. It was an average place at the time but as a reader you get to know the small places because it's all happening through the eyes of Scout. It helps that the characters in this book are so rock solid either in the evil or their goodness but the setting really supports the plot here. By being just a small town, the gravity of the trial and the lessons learned are amplified in a way.
3. All the good westerns. Ever.
I love Westerns because I love the rugged country. Maybe it's because I'm Alaskan and I love the wide open, untouched outdoors that I love Westerns. Whatever the reason is, give me the purple sage or big sky country of Montana and I'm yours forever.
4. Lord of the Rings.
To be completely honest, the books where hard for me to get through BUT after the movies....I wished and hoped that I could somehow get to Middle Earth. I mean, New Zealand is real enough but all of the Middle Earth places like Helm's Deep and Lothlorian are the places I wanted to go. It's common that when I get sad or depressed I watch Lord of the Rings because even though those places aren't real, just seeing them through film makes me feel better.
And those are a few of my favorite settings!
I figured I talk about Harry Potter enough that you didn't need a detailed description of my favorite individual settings in that world and why.