Destination: The World
- Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
- A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
- Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
A GUEST POST by Shannon McKenna Schmidt, co-author of Novel Destinations.
I blame it on Jules Verne. My wanderlust began with a children’s version of his novel Around the World in 80 Days. Reading the thrilling story, with its depictions of distant ports of call, was like a siren’s song. I went along as Phileas Fogg circled the globe to win his wager, from London to India and China, and across the American frontier.
Over the years I’ve visited many places on the page, some of which I’ve since had the chance to the see in person. One of the most atmospheric is the Yorkshire moors in northern England, vividly depicted by Emily Brontë in Wuthering Heights. And Paris, brought to life in Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast and Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. When it was published in 1831, Hunchback drew so many readers (including the Duchess of Orléans) to see “Victor Hugo’s cathedral” that it compelled the city to restore the rundown Notre-Dame.
Sometimes visiting a place motivates me to seek out a book, like Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. Near Paris is one of his most imaginative creations: the Château de Monte-Cristo. On the grounds are a castle that resembles a confection made of stone, man-made grottos, a waterfall, and a stone tower he used as his office. Dumas’ “paradise on earth” is so intriguing that it made me want to read its namesake novel.
Stateside, a visit to Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts, is like stepping into the pages of Little Women. Louisa May Alcott used the house as the book’s primary setting, and fans of the novel are sure to recognize things like the trunk of costumes the March sisters used to stage their plays and the parlor where Meg got married.
A well-worn book on my shelves is Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck’s memoir about his road trip exploring the U.S. with his French poodle in a pick-up truck camper (which he named Rocinante after Don Quixote’s horse). This spring I’m setting out on a Travels with Charley-style road trip, traveling the U.S. and Canada in an RV for several years with my husband and two cats.
For me, the allure of travel is too great to resist, inspired early on with a globetrotting adventure tale.
Shannon McKenna Schmidt is the co-author of Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen’s Bath to Ernest Hemingway’s Key West (National Geographic Books) and also blogs about literary travel. Her writing has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Continental, The Miami Herald, and other publications. She lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Thanks, Shannon. I appreciated this peek at your bookshelf.
Any readers who are interested in ordering any of the books mentioned, can click on any Amazon link on my site and everything you order will help keep A Traveler’s Library in business. I suggest you start by clicking on Around the World in 80 Days (in the 1st paragraph). Also, we have talked about several of these books before, and if you click on any of those titles, you will be taken to a previous post. Don’t miss Shannon’s great web site Novel Destinations.