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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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic; Reprint edition (June 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 142620454X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426204548
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 6.5 x 1 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: #1,032,057 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.

More About the Author

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

Customer Reviews

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This is an excellent book for anyone who likes to travel or read about traveling.
Donna
Novel Destinations has inspired me to re-visit some of the novels from my youth as well as venturing into new and uncharted literary territory.
Meredith Smith
Admittedly, I'm a sucker for anything that combines travel and literature, but I thought this book was terrific.
Margaret

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 Kimberly Bouchard on June 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I am an armchair traveler at the moment, but this book brought back fond memories of my junior year abroad in college when I visited many of the destinations listed. Traveling to the setting of the novel or home of the author made the stories richer, which is why this book appealled to me. I loved both the practical information and the obvious affection these book-loving authors had for literary travel. The organization of the book and headings were clever. I was not aware of some of the locations that are close to home. I am inspired to visit more literary landmarks in the near future.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christina Lockstein on August 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Novel Destinations is a uniquely wonderful idea for a book. The two authors, both huge literature fans, visit the places around the world associated with certain authors and detail their findings in a travel guide for fellow bibliophiles. At first I was a little disappointed, because I expected personal journal style escapades, but instead I was quickly pulled in to their descriptions of the museums devoted to Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Ernest Hemingway. They thoroughly cover each of the selected authors even including local pubs and restaurants that bestow honors. I was tickled to discover that there is a Stella Shouting contest in honor of A Streetcar Named Desire as well as a Papa Hemingway look-a-like contest. The book really shines in its focus in the back on very specific authors like Austen and Steinbeck. Short, concise biographies are given with detailed places to tour to get to know them better. It made me want to read those classics as well as biographies of their writers. This is one of the few books that I would actually want to own and keep on my shelf for future reference, because who would ever want to go on a vacation again without checking to see if a great literary spot is near by?
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