Apparently this is a thing I like to do: read a book set in the place I’m traveling to.
Right now, I’m heading off to a weekend in Acadia, Maine, and I’m reading The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel, about a man who lived as a hermit in the backwoods of Maine for nearly 30 years.
When I went to Iceland, I read a book called Boy on the Edge by Fridrick Erlings, about a foster kid growing up in Iceland – I could look outside and understand the descriptions of the lava fields in a way I probably couldn’t have if I hadn’t been right there.
When I went on a road trip after college, I read Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild. I also read, as we drove through the southwestern states, a terrible book by Bentley Little called The Revelation, which took place in Arizona.
These were all nearly coincidences – I requested Stranger in the Woods a while back and only now just got it. And I had Boy on my Overdrive Wish List, and it just happened to be available as I was loading up my Nook for the trip. Most of my road trip novels were ones I took with me, so I did choose them with the trip in mind, but The Revelation was found somewhere along the way. More loosely, when I did a semester in Italy, I picked up a copy of Alex Garland’s The Beach in an English bookstore – it wasn’t about Italy, but the traveling aspect was there. And the movie was released in Italy at around the same time.
This summer I’m heading over to Ireland, and I would love to read something set there. Of course, I’ve already read The Dubliners. Any suggestions? Otherwise I’ll just hope that a magical coincidence will bring me a good Irish-themed book just in time… or that we’ll find an Irish bookshop to visit there…