It’s been a couple of months since I wrote a Top Ten Tuesdays post, but I’m back!
The meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. The blog hop features lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to connect with bloggers who love the books you do.
American authors — and American settings — dominate much of contemporary literature in English, but this week’s theme whisks us across the world.
The theme is top ten non-books with non-USA settings. Considering that I have immediate family in the Canada and the Netherlands as well as the US (with a son who used to live in England), I have a focus on the world that means this theme should be right up my alley.
VIRGIN ISLANDS — The Jumbee, by Pamela Keyes
This intelligent and ingenious YA novel is a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera in contemporary times. I list its setting as the Virgin Islands because the author lived there, but in truth the story is set on the fictional island of Cariba.
FRANCE — The Three Musketeers, by Alexander Dumas
I absolutely loved this book growing up — so much so that I’ll watch any movie rendition of it, no matter how execrable. And most of them are. One thing I don’t understand, though. If they’re musketeers, i.e. soldiers who use muskets, why do they always fight with swords?
CANADA — The Toothpaste Genie, by Frances Duncan
With no oil lamps to live in these days, where can a poor genie live? How about inside a tube of toothpaste! Back when I taught elementary school, I read this book to my nine- and ten-year old students and they loved it. I did too — it’s silly but fun, as when the anglophone girl wishes to talk to her cat. Turns out Fifi (the cat) speaks French … and suddenly the girl can only parlez vous.
FINLAND — Winter Fire, by William R Trotter.
Erich Ziegler, a German intelligence officer in Finland during WWII meets composer Jean Sibelius and finds that his 8th Symphony may actually exist and Ziegler, a conductor as well as a hard-fighting hero, wants to present the work to the world. In one of those life-imitates-art moments, fragments of Sibelius’s 8th were found last year in an attic — which is a big deal for an orchestral oboist like me. I hope I get a chance to play it some day.
ENGLAND — Emma, by Jane Austen
As this list attests, I lean toward the classics. I don’t really need to write a blurb for this well-known tale, do I? It’s set near south of London in Surrey.
CENTRAL AFRICA — The African Queen, by C.S. Forester
To be honest, I prefer the movie over the book. Forester, who also wrote the Horatio Hornblower books, was more interested in the boat than his characters. I love the movie so much that I wrote a science fiction retelling, entitled Escapee.
CANADA — Still Life, by Louise Penny
This is the first book starring Inspector Gamache, and it remains my favorite in the series. The mysteries set in the Quebec hamlet of Three Pines are the best, in my opinion. They’re all exceptionally deep and intelligen, though.
SCOTLAND — Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
Strong-willed and sensual Claire Randall leads a double life with a husband in the 20th century, and another in the 18th. I wonder … does that make her liable for arrest as a bigamist?
RUSSIA — The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
I haven’t read book this in ages, but I went through a Dostoevsky phase at one time and my favorites are either this one or The Gambler.
What about you? What are some of your favorite books with settings outside the US? Tell us about it in the comments.