Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Book Review: Novel Destinations by Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon

First line: "I felt as if I'd got into a novel while going about in the places I'd read so much of," Louisa May Alcott wrote in her journal after seeing the sights of Dickensian London in 1865., from the Introduction

Book-inspired travel is a favorite of mine and my wife's. On my first trip with my in-laws, they cheerfully indulged my literary nerdiness by diverting a family road trip so that I could search for poet and novelist H.D.'s grave in Bethlehem, PA. Through multiple biographies and Jackson's own writing, my wife and I pieced together a route through North Bennington, Vermont, to explore Shirley Jackson's world. And for my babymoon, my wife took me to Yaddo, famed writing center, so I could walk the grounds so many favorite authors had.

All this is to say: a book that basically does all the work and offers me many, many ways to visit my favorite literary sites is pretty much catnip for me.

In its second edition, Novel Destinations offers a variety of literary and bookish tours to suit all sorts of readers, and I'm not exaggerating when I say it's featuring heavily in my future vacation planning.

The tours and experiences range from tour author houses and museums, walking tours, literary festivals, literary lodgings, and curated sections that collect the various places and museums if one loves a particular author (Austen, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, etc.).

There's a fab index by locale, so if you know you're going to California, you can see what literary things are there to visit. The layout and design of the book is appealing -- color photos and bold callouts, and through browsing the offerings, an opportunity to learn about authors and their lives and work.

A wonderful volume for the bookish traveler. While one could conceivably discover everything here on their own through internet sleuthing, it's fab to have this book in hand to give one a start. Personally, I'm excited for the literary lodgings chapter -- I'm a sucker for a book or author themed boutique hotel or B&B! I'll be sure to blog any trips I take inspired by this book -- let me know if you do, too!

Title: Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West
Author: Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon

Genre: Non-Fiction (Travel Guide / Literary / Domestic / International)
Publisher/Publication Date: National Geographic (5/2/2017)
Source: TLC Book Tours

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I'm thrilled to be able to offer one copy of Novel Destinations to one lucky reader! To enter, fill out this brief form. Open to US readers only; ends 6/2. Complete rules here.


  1. I like travelling via books myself and just love memoirs! this sounds good.

  2. I really loved this one too