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Old 05-13-2013, 11:05 PM   #1
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Do you enjoy books set in your city?

I suppose people who live in big cities such as New York or London are used to reading books set in their hometowns. I live someplace much smaller and just recently, for the first time, I came across a book set where I live. I found I did not enjoy it as much as I had expected.

Early in the book, the main character passed Point A and drove "a few miles" to Point B. In reality, the distance is less than a mile (and there was no reason to stretch it for storyline purposes). After that, I found myself constantly on the lookout for similar errors. There were only a few, but I still found them annoying.

In addition, every time an actual local restaurant, landmark, etc. was mentioned, it jerked my mind out of the story.

When I read a book set in a city I've never been to, I have no idea if distances given are accurate or whether the restaurants named really exist or are fictitious, so I don't worry about it and just enjoy the story. I'm fine with books set in fictitious locations.

Am I the only one?
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:24 PM   #2
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I've only read one book set in where I live. Though it was by one of my favorite authors she got so many details wrong it was obvious she'd never been here.

When I lived in Las Vegas I felt the same way. I've read a lot of books that capture what people think Vegas is supposed to be like, but that's not reality.

So I enjoy reading books that are set in places I have never lived more.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:45 PM   #3
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The smallish town I grew up in was significant in America's revolutionary war, and there are quite a few stories in that setting. I can think of a couple of stories set in more recent times that are set in my town, but not to the point that details were noticeably wrong.

Of course, Trenton isn't too far away -- that's why I read the Stephanie Plum stories. Again, accurate enough.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:52 PM   #4
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I don't think anybody will ever write a novel about my small agricultural town with a population of 280. I do enjoy reading novels set in my own state, though - it helps me feel a greater bond with the protagonist (or the antagonist, if it's that kind of novel) if I can recognise where they are.

According to my mother, who is by no means an official source, the restaurant that Edward and Bella visit in the Twilight series of novels actually exists, but didn't include the dish that the couple kept ordering until after the popularisation of the novels through the movies - they ended up having so many requests for that dish that it became a permanent addition to their menu. I don't know the validity of this story, but if true it shows the influence novels can have on real-world locations.
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Old 05-14-2013, 05:06 AM   #5
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I think I've only ever read one book about Belfast and that was back in primary school and forced on me I can't even remember anything about it but the title "Across the barricades"

I would probably be more interested now I've grown up a bit but I still don't really know any books about Belfast although I'm sure there must be a few with the troubles and stuff.
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Old 05-14-2013, 06:35 AM   #6
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I have read a couple of books with my town in them. I do not remember where anything extraordinarily wrong ever jumped out at me.
Matlock the TV show was another story altogether. One episode had him traveling from Atlanta to my town. That is kind of hard to do since I live less than 15 miles from the Florida border. I guess he went through the arctic to Antarctica and up.
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apache View Post
I have read a couple of books with my town in them. I do not remember where anything extraordinarily wrong ever jumped out at me.
Matlock the TV show was another story altogether. One episode had him traveling from Atlanta to my town. That is kind of hard to do since I live less than 15 miles from the Florida border. I guess he went through the arctic to Antarctica and up.
Apache
Huh? I think you must have left something out, it's pretty easy to drive from Atlanta to the Florida border, I've done it many times. From your reference to the Arctic and Antarctica, I assume that the show had Matlock drive _North_ from Atlanta to your home town.

I generally enjoy books set in my home town (Atlanta). I haven't read all that many of them, but one ones that I have, it's pretty obvious that the author has actually been in the city at some point in their life.

For the most parts, inaccuracies don't bother me all that much unless the book is suppose to be non fiction. Heck, I even like the song "The Night they drove old Dixie Down", with all the blazing errors in that one (note to Canadian song writers - Robert E Lee, was in North Virginia, not Tennessee and Stonewall Jackson was not a cavalry general (he also was in North Virginia, not Tennessee)). The fact that silencers don't work on revolvers didn't bother me at all in The Sting.
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:43 AM   #8
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Huh? I think you must have left something out, it's pretty easy to drive from Atlanta to the Florida border, I've done it many times. From your reference to the Arctic and Antarctica, I assume that the show had Matlock drive _North_ from Atlanta to your home town.

I generally enjoy books set in my home town (Atlanta). I haven't read all that many of them, but one ones that I have, it's pretty obvious that the author has actually been in the city at some point in their life.

For the most parts, inaccuracies don't bother me all that much unless the book is suppose to be non fiction. Heck, I even like the song "The Night they drove old Dixie Down", with all the blazing errors in that one (note to Canadian song writers - Robert E Lee, was in North Virginia, not Tennessee and Stonewall Jackson was not a cavalry general (he also was in North Virginia, not Tennessee)). The fact that silencers don't work on revolvers didn't bother me at all in The Sting.
I left out the word North.
He stated that he had to drive North to my town the next morning.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:01 AM   #9
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Don't think I've ever read one set here...
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:13 AM   #10
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I do not remember reading anything set in my town. I do not remember reading anything set specifically in my country either ;-). With the exception of stuff written by our national writers. For the last 20 years I read almost exclusively in English, and English writing writers do not usually set the books in my insignificant European country, let alone town.

I do enjoy reading books set in places where I have traveled. It gives me feeling like I know the place better than other [non-resident, obviously] readers.

The most recent example. While I was in USA I happened to read some stuff I have purchased (long ago with a huge discount) from our resident Scott Nicholson. Some of the books were set in the general area where I was staying and I liked that.

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Old 05-14-2013, 09:15 AM   #11
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The smallish town I grew up in was significant in America's revolutionary war,
Hey, me too. I grew up in the city where the Bill of Rights was first ratified.

It was mentioned in at least one Bugs Bunny cartoon, an episode of "Wiseguy" and was one of the settings in one novel I've read.

Yes, I enjoy that.

I also like when rock performers say the name on stage. Partially because I'm pleased that the classic rock artists I enjoy have retained enough of their mental faculties in their old age to remember where they are.
It suggests it'll be a good show, with coherent lyrics.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:33 AM   #12
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I tried to read one book (mercifully I've forgotten the name) that took place in
Ann Arbor (Michigan) - I had to stop reading it, it got so many things wrong about the geography of the town. If the author had just pretended it was an un-named Big College Town in the Midwest Somewhere, that would have been much better.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:37 AM   #13
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English writing writers do not usually set the books in my insignificant European country, let alone town.
But they do often refer namelessly to an insignificant European country.
(It's usually where the villain's family is from.)

Now, every time they do, I'm going to think of you!
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:43 AM   #14
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Ann Arbor
I love her work.
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:05 AM   #15
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I usually enjoy stories written in/near settings I'm familiar with. Inaccuracies concerning those settings don't really faze me at all in novels. I don't expect authors to visit every real location they might include in their stories and conduct intensive geographical surveys. I may notice (and even chuckle) about such inaccuracies, but it's certainly not likely to spoil my enjoyment of a work of fiction--provided the story is already sufficiently engaging, of course.
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