Hosted by The Broke and The Bookish
It’s my very first TTT on this blog, and I’m very excited to start with this topic ! Settings are seriously so important. They’re on my criteria list when determining if I like a book : good characters and good setting, I can even excuse mediocre writing if the characters and the setting are good.
So, let’s do this chronologically.
Ancient Greece – Ancient Rome
No, but seriously, there are so many reasons why I love these time-periods ! First and foremost, the mythology. I’ve been fascinated by/obsessed with Greek mythology since I was a kid and I never managed to grow out of that phase. The more I learn, the more I want to find out. Their society was fascinating : the plays, the philosophy … And I just find the whole concept of religion back then so interesting : I’ve always had a soft spot for the Greek divinities and their mythology. There are so many to know about, and then there’re the nymphs and demi-gods, and heroes, and creatures … The list goes on and on. And they’re so human, I love how everything can be summed up by “some god really fucked up” or “Zeus had sex with a woman and then things turned to shit”, which is what makes their stories as fucked up and twisted and scary, but also as fascinating as they are. It’s so so good.
Set in Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome :
Medieval / Middle-Ages
I like me some knights and dragons. Even though I would absolutely hate to live in that time (I would probably end up being hanged for witchcraft for speaking my mind, or something), you have to admit that it kicked-ass. Yes, sure, people died at 30, you couldn’t drink clear water, and you didn’t take bath as often as I deem necessary, but think about the castles, the dresses, the green marshes, the muddy roads, the broken carriages, the plague, the rapists … Well, at least it always looks amazing on TV and books usually have a knack for making it seem awesome. The power of fiction.
Set in the Middle Ages :
- The Once and Future King, by T.H. White
- The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer
- The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
It’s the court of, probably, the most famous French king. If you didn’t think History-bling was a thing, then take a look at how life was for the nobles in the 18th century. The clothes were embroidered, intricate and unpractical … but so pretty ! The wigs were basically as long as your arm, heavy and powdered. The perfumes were rich, the faces were caked with powder and rouge, like layer upon layer. The nobles were paranoid, none more so than the King himself, the arts were thriving, and everyone was always standing proud and poised. Again, probably not a time I would enjoy, but they knew about a thing or two about splendor.
Set in Versailles :
- The Affair of the Poisons, by Anne Somerset
- Cette Pute me fera Mourir (This Whore will have me Killed), by Saint-Simon
(I really hope this book will be translated at some point, because it had me at “This Whore”)
- Versailles, the TV series (because I couldn’t resist)
The only French books that I’ve managed to enjoy (apart from a few exceptions) are from this period. I love … everything : the clothes, the talk, the art, the air of revolution, the Romantic movement, the Jane Austen-ish clothes, the tailcoats, the waistcoats and the puffed-up dress sleeves that came after, the balls and the intricate dance moves (seriously, how did they manage to remember them all ?). This century just really speaks to me, you know ? It also helps that Victor Hugo (pope of French literature and dominating figure in France during that time) is one of my absolute favourite authors. When I think 19th century, my mind automatically jumps to him, and the way he represented the essence of this century in his books (all the gritty, dirty, bottom-of-the-chain characters) somehow only make me like this century more.
Set in the 19th century :
- Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoï
- Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo
- Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Suzanne Clarke
I absolutely love the 20’s aesthetic, caught somewhere between classicism and modernity : I’m a tiny, flat girl with a boyish haircut, I think I would have fitted perfectly although, when it comes to books, I have a bit of a hard time dealing with stories written during that period. There’s something so specific about the way authors used to write back then, how they liked to create aloof, eccentric or “superficial” characters, that makes it difficult for me to really connect. But the decors, the clothes, the atmosphere, the exuberance of the Flappers, sort of turn the 20’s into one of the most attractive periods. I mean, if you don’t count the War.
Set during the 1920’s :
- The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Diviners, by Libba Bray
- Mrs Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf
There’s a certain vibe to it, you can’t deny it. Call it nostalgia, if you want, but I love reading about grunge music, boybands and the Prince of Bel-Air. It’s the decade of denim, chockers (I loved those so much, I thought it made me look edgy) and oversized plaid shirts. It’s like home, you know ? There’s a certain familiarity that comes with it that isn’t there for any other decade. I can love other time periods, but in the end, the 90’s are like an old pair of jeans : a little shredded, a little used, but so comfortable and ones that fits you like no other.
Set during the 1990’s :
- My Fat, Mad Teenage Diary, by Rae Earl
(I loved the show too much not to mention the book)
It’s difficult to be really precise when it comes to the future. What, do I like adventures in space ? Do I like dystopias or maybe near-future fictions ? Well, basically all of them. Though, I do tend to read more about the past, the future is a really fascinating place too. And the best part is, you don’t know which future will happen. Or maybe it’s the scary thing, because when you look to fiction to see what the future could be like, it’s terrifying. Lighten up, guys !
Set in the future :
- The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
(and every other dystopian book out there : Divergent, The Giver …)
What are your favorite settings ? And, more importantly, do you have any cool recommendations you would like to share ?