A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Literary QOTW: It's All in the Setting

For this week's Question of the Week, we're talking about one of Chris's favorite story elements--setting.  Feel free to post your answer as a comment.

Question:  Of all the books you've read, which one has the most unique setting that impressed you?

Stef says:  Okay, I know we talk about Harry Potter a lot (What can I say? We're Potterheads.), but seriously, very few book settings come close to wowing me the way the wizarding world does. Moving photos, chocolate frogs, Whomping Willows, flying cars...what's not to love? Not to mention that the settings are just so diverse. In one world you have places that make you blissfully happy (like Olivander's Wand Shop) and completely terrified (the cave in Half-Blood Prince) and everything in between. Honorable mention goes to C.S. Lewis' Narnia. The idea of walking into a wardrobe of old winter coats and out into an enchanted snowy forest had me standing in a closet and using my imagination a lot as a kid. 

Chris says:  While I'm a fan of wizarding worlds and fantastical furniture, I'm going old school with this one, all the way back to a book published in 1979.  Kindred by Octavia Butler doesn't exactly have a new setting, per se, but it does put very unique spin on a few you might be more familiar with.  Kindred is a science fiction novel in which Dana, a 26-year old African American female, travels back-and-forth between modern-day California and the antebellum (pre Civil War) South to help the son of the man who owns the plantation on which Dana's ancestor is enslaved.  Obviously, these two settings are not just dissimilar--they're total opposites, with 20th century California representing freedom and the American dream and 19th century Maryland representing the slavery-laden past of the U.S.  (I know, I'm probably getting too deep and philosophical. . .)  Anyway, I had previously read books about time travel and books about the antebellum South, but this one blew me away. Octavia Butler doesn't hold back on the reality of the plantation setting, and she uses the differences between the past and the present to make the story that much more powerful.

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