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Old 05-15-2013, 01:07 PM   #46
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My wife recently read Stephen King's 11/22/63 (her first Stephen King book). She was born & grew up in Ft. Worth, TX, and has lived most of her life in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area - she has a childhood memory of seeing JFK in downtown Ft. Worth just before the assassination.

She had a lot of complaints about various details of King's portrayal of the Ft. Worth area. The only one I specifically remember is she thought it laughable when he talked about being able to smell oil fumes from the the west Texas oil wells in Ft. Worth (or maybe Dallas) when the wind was right. These wells are hundreds of miles from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. She doesn't recall ever in her life smelling oil fumes from west Texas.
I just asked my wife about this. She read the book a couple of months ago. She remembers the passage and said that she just rolled her eyes when she read the passage.
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Old 05-15-2013, 03:47 PM   #47
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How much I enjoy books set in places I have lived or visited depends on how bad the errors are and how much the author claims to be accurate. I've sworn off reading any more Dan Brown novels after all the Washington, D.C. mistakes I found in The Lost Symbol. Fortunately I was reading a friend's copy so I hadn't wasted any money.
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:08 PM   #48
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My wife recently read Stephen King's 11/22/63 (her first Stephen King book). She was born & grew up in Ft. Worth, TX, and has lived most of her life in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area - she has a childhood memory of seeing JFK in downtown Ft. Worth just before the assassination.

She had a lot of complaints about various details of King's portrayal of the Ft. Worth area. The only one I specifically remember is she thought it laughable when he talked about being able to smell oil fumes from the the west Texas oil wells in Ft. Worth (or maybe Dallas) when the wind was right. These wells are hundreds of miles from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. She doesn't recall ever in her life smelling oil fumes from west Texas.
I'm not much of a King devotee, but being born and raised in Fort Worth, I'll have to give the book a try - just so I can find the passage myself.
Who knows? Maybe my elementary school will make it in there... as per urban legend, Oswald was supposedly an alumnus. lol

But in King's defense (again, not that much of a fan) there are oil fields near Fort Worth, although I would figure they would have dried up to the point of being inconsequential by the '60s. Also, not having read the book (yet) he might have meant it figuratively - many of the wealthier families of Ft. Worth (Bass, Richardson, etc) got rich during the oil boom and continued to invest their holdings further west. So it could be the "smell of money" he was describing.

But getting back to the topic at hand, the closest I've come to reading a book set in a city I was well acquainted with was a relatively recent murder mystery set in the rural Minnesota town where my Grandmother lives. Apparently, it caused quite the sensation there as there were enough similarities between minor characters and residents that everyone wanted to see if they were "in the book"!
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:51 PM   #49
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How much I enjoy books set in places I have lived or visited depends on how bad the errors are and how much the author claims to be accurate. I've sworn off reading any more Dan Brown novels after all the Washington, D.C. mistakes I found in The Lost Symbol. Fortunately I was reading a friend's copy so I hadn't wasted any money.
I got a copy of The Lost Symbol a couple of months ago at our public library's used book sale for fifty cents. I can usually suspend disbelief with the factual errors in a book like this if it's a good read, but the characters in this book just didn't feel real to me. About half way through I realized I didn't care what happened and I abandoned it. My TBR list is too long to spend time reading a book I don't care about.
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:27 PM   #50
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But getting back to the topic at hand, the closest I've come to reading a book set in a city I was well acquainted with was a relatively recent murder mystery set in the rural Minnesota town where my Grandmother lives. Apparently, it caused quite the sensation there as there were enough similarities between minor characters and residents that everyone wanted to see if they were "in the book"!
What book is that? Love mysteries set in rural towns.
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:38 PM   #51
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She had a lot of complaints about various details of King's portrayal of the Ft. Worth area. The only one I specifically remember is she thought it laughable when he talked about being able to smell oil fumes from the the west Texas oil wells in Ft. Worth (or maybe Dallas) when the wind was right. These wells are hundreds of miles from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. She doesn't recall ever in her life smelling oil fumes from west Texas.
I grew up in Dallas (as well as rural Montana and the Idaho mountains - we got around) and remember guffawing at this. I was also bothered by the portrayal of poor Texans. We lived in neighborhoods similar to those described by King and in the same era, but the people I grew up knowing were decent, honest, compassionate, and possessed great dignity. Still, I enjoyed the book because I've always expected King's books to be set in alternate universes.

I enjoy books with familiar settings that are obviously well known to the authors. Last year I was loving a book set in and around Death Valley NP where I worked and explored for 8 years. Then the author described her protagonists buying a Big Mac and going to Walmart in the tiny desert town of Beatty, Nevada. It was like getting bucked off a burro. You can buy water by the case, 50 varieties of local candy, a bong, or even legally frequent a brothel in Beatty, but you cannot buy a Big Mac or find a Walmart. I kept wondering why the author would infest an authentic, dusty desert town with the retail monotony of most other American towns. Made it hard to get back into the book.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:10 AM   #52
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Then again, I live in Canada. It seems as though books that feature Canadian cities are written by authors who have lived in those cities. It's not like the US, where even a small town can be used as a trope by an author who has never even visited the place. I don't think any of our cities have earned reputations internationally, like some of the metropolises of the world have (e.g. Paris, London, Moscow, Tokyo, etc.).
I'm Canadian too and I enjoy books set in Toronto where I can recognize specific references to things and places I'm familiar with.

I also enjoy the Kathy Reichs "Bones" books which are often set in Montreal or other parts of eastern Canada I'm familiar with.
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:12 AM   #53
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What book is that? Love mysteries set in rural towns.
Dark of the Moon by John Sandford. It did well enough that the author has continued the series (now up to 6). Although the name of the town was changed for the book, it's still pretty recognizable through events/locales that occur as the story progresses.
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:28 PM   #54
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I've read two books that made mention of Portland, OR. One of them had a chapter or so set here. I was so delighted that the author had obviously either been here or done extensive research. The author nailed the climate, the surroundings, and the culture of the city. I kept showing passages to friends who were equally delighted.

The other has a minor side character that supposedly lives in Portland, OR. Unfortunately, that author has a mistaken impression that the entire US west coast is like Los Angeles. It was so jarring that I had to put down the book more than once. I find this especially disappointing because I otherwise enjoyed the books. This is an alternate reality in this series, so I keep trying to tell myself that it's not MY Portland. It's still very disturbing.
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:41 PM   #55
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I got a copy of The Lost Symbol a couple of months ago at our public library's used book sale for fifty cents. I can usually suspend disbelief with the factual errors in a book like this if it's a good read, but the characters in this book just didn't feel real to me. About half way through I realized I didn't care what happened and I abandoned it. My TBR list is too long to spend time reading a book I don't care about.
I don't go through books to nitpick them but the errors, almost from the beginning of The Lost Symbol, kept distracting me. This only compounded the problems with the plot and characters. You did well to abandon the book.

I'll share the big secret, as I remember it:
Spoiler:
Humanity has great untapped potential that the powers that be want to keep a secret.


What's that saying about a book you can't stand to finish? Something about seven deadly words?
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:29 PM   #56
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Artistic licence is fine but glaring errors can be a little off-putting. Generally though, I do like reading books set in places I know. As already mentioned, despite authors like Stuart Macbride and Ian Rankin giving very dark portrayals of Aberdeen & Edinburgh respectively, they are still very enjoyable!
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:55 PM   #57
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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?
You are not the only one. I live in a relatively out of the way place and I once found a book that was set here. The choices the characters made, geographically, boggled my mind and pulled me out of the story. For example, the main character went to one of the further away and lesser acclaimed hospitals when, geographically, it would have made more sense to go to the nationally recognized teaching hospital located 15 minutes from the character.
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Old 05-16-2013, 05:05 PM   #58
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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.
If they take the time to reference real locations rather than invent Mayberry (Andy Griffith reference), I do expect that they have done their research.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:07 PM   #59
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I've read several books set in RI and have enjoyed most of them. I remember when that show Providence was on. I used to get a kick out of the fact that the main character and her sister appeared to come from an affluent family and lived in a nice neighborhood, yet were said to have attended South Providence High School. South Providence is NOT a nice neighboorhood,lol. Not exactly a PC term, but it's for all intents and purposes a ghetto.

Family Guy is pretty accurate as far as the accents.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:58 PM   #60
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If they take the time to reference real locations rather than invent Mayberry (Andy Griffith reference), I do expect that they have done their research.
Anybody who needs "Mayberry" explained to them isn't likely to know who Andy Griffith is either.

Clearly we don't agree on the need for authors to be geographically/socially/visually/economically meticulous when writing fictional narratives set in "real" places. The good news is... we don't have to agree!
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