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Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks From Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West Paperback – June 16, 2009


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Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks From Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West + Book Lust To Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic; Reprint edition (June 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 142620454X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426204548
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #690,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Want to explore more than 500 literary landmarks without leaving your living room? Then pull up an armchair and pick up a copy of Novel Destinations. "—Tampa Tribune

About the Author

Shannon McKenna Schmidt is a regular contributor to Shelf Awareness, as well as to Bookreporter.com. She held positions in marketing and promotion at several major publishing houses.

Joni Rendon is a contributing writer at Bookreporter.com and FocusNews for Expatriates. She spent ten years in marketing and editorial in the book publishing industry.

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Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

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One of my all time favorites, Gone With the Wind and the author Margaret Mitchell, are also included in Novel Destinations.
Meredith Smith
Publishers know this, and so there are endless "world of" books: great for the obsessive, way too much information for the merely interested.
Jesse Kornbluth
It's a compact, attractive book, chock full of helpful and friendly advice more than sufficient to fuel a lifetime of literary tourism.
Bookreporter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Kornbluth TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
For real book fanatics, great novels are only the beginning. Closing the pages of a beloved Jane Austen or Charles Dickens or James Patterson for the umpteenth time is a cue to pack suitcases and head out to visit the sacred places where Austen, Dickens or Patterson --- well, maybe not Patterson --- created their masterpieces.

Publishers know this, and so there are endless "world of" books: great for the obsessive, way too much information for the merely interested. All I want --- and unless you revere Jane and worship at the shrine of Charlotte, may I speak for you here? --- is a book that ventures wisely but briefly into the lives and haunts of a gaggle of writers.

At last: Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks From Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West does just that.

Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon are my kind of bibliophiles --- they know a lot but only tell you the coolest stuff. And their hearts are pure. They're not stalkers. They just seek "a deeper perspective on the books we cherish."

They start, therefore, Where They Wrote. With Shakespeare, of course, but they move on briskly to Eugene O'Neill (did you know his boyhood home is a nearly exactly model for the set in "Long Day's Journey into Night"?) and Charlotte Bronte (don't miss the "eerie blank space" on the portrait of the three sisters at the Bronte house) and John Milton (I, for one, had no idea the blind poet wrote "Paradise Lost" in his head, then dictated it to his secretary). Robert Frost is buried in Bennington, Vermont? I lived there and never knew. And how about Edgar Allan Poe's house in Baltimore --- in addition to his writing desk, fragments of his coffin are displayed. How cool.

Another section focuses on American writers at home and abroad.
Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Margaret on May 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Admittedly, I'm a sucker for anything that combines travel and literature, but I thought this book was terrific. It combines a wealth of information organized in a way that makes it a delight to peruse. The forward (by Matthew Pearl) was engaging, as was the introduction by the authors. And the voice of the text was lively and fun. Section titles like "Eat Your Words: Literary Places to Sip and Sup" and "Unpersuaded: Jane Austen's Persuasion and Nothanger Abbey" are just the start. It's sprinkled throughout with interesting tidbits on the lives of the writers, things like Dickens' Gad's Hill Place being coincidentally cited on the locale Shakespeare set Falstaf's highway robbery in Henry IV and Robert Frost's struggle to make a living farming while suffering such stinging rejection of his poetry as "We find that The Atlantic has no place for your vigorous prose." Since Agatha Christie is my weakness, I was delighted to see the pages on her. I left the book feeling I would have enjoyed it even if I were only an armchair traveler, but, since I'm not, already planning my next excursion that might combine my two loves.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By LonestarReader VINE VOICE on June 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is so appealing. The dust jacket is textured to evoke the feel of a moleskine cover. The spine is colored to suggest a worn and much handled book. The design and feel of the book works on every level for this bibliophile.

The book is divided into sections including "Author Houses and Museums," Writers at Home and Abroad," "Literary Festival, Tours, and More" and "Booked up: Literary Places to Drink, Dine and Doze." Book lovers will find suggestions for hotels and restaurants. Schmidt and Rendon have also documented locales to visit like Cannery Row and East of Eden--Monterey and Salinas California.

Visit Washington Irving's "Sunnyside" in Tarrytown, NY, or Snagov Monastery--the reputed burial place of Vlad Dracula. There is Thomas Hardy Country in Dorset, England or the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum in Mansfield, MO. The Keats-Shelley house in Rome is included as well as the "southern comfort" locales of Flannery O'Connor, Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee.

An entire section follows Charles Dickens around from home to home to debtor's prison and traces the places where he ate and drank. I did not know there was a Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England each September. From Kafka to Alcott, this is the most entertaining travel guide I have ever owned.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marsh Muirhead on July 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book in which literary travelers (armchair and otherwise) will lose themselves -- literally and figuratively. Literary history, criticism, geography, biography, anecdote, sidebars, and small but relevant photos are woven into this exploration of writers and their haunts. From Shakespeare to Dashiell Hammett, Robert Burns to Emily Dickinson, the authors visits graves, festivals, birthplaces, bars, libraries, cafes, gardens, hotels, cottages, meadows, and lanes.

The book seems to wander in time and place and in its focus and organization. This is both appealing and maddening. You will, for example, find Hemingway on more than 40 pages; first in a brief mention of a bar in Paris (the Dingo American Bar where he met F. Scott Fitzgerald), later in a 7-page biography, "Rugged Adventurer." Farther along is a 6-page feature on six Heminway watering holes (in France, Spain, and Cuba). Later still, there is a 14-page section on Hemingway in Key West -- more bars there as well. He is also found on other pages having to do with other locales (New Orleans, Venice) and various festivals -- Ketchum, Idaho; and Key West.

Nevertheless, this is a wonderful book (for reasons listed by other reviewers), a book to get lost in and with . . . in Harper Lee's Monroeville, Alabama; Steinbeck's Salinas Valley; Jane Austen's Bath, England; in Joyce's Dublin . . . jump in anywhere, and away you go.

Marsh Muirhead - author of "Key West Explained - a guide for the traveler."
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