There are so many things that are downright better in books.
For instance: delicious chocolate factories. Or magical schools. Or any human ever. Honestly people are just better when they’re not real, is probably what we’re trying to say here. But anyway. Books are a blessing to our existence because they provide us with worlds that are just better!
I can definitely guarantee with about 8% surety (because I’m CONFIDENT in myself) that you’ve read a book and at some point thought: “Wow I wish I lived here.” Whether it’s because the world is full of magic or adventure or dragons or just has a world where they actually fill up the potato chip packets instead of making you pay for half a bag of air.
THE POINT IS we’re often very very in love with worlds that don’t exist!
And there are obviously types of worlds that make our hearts flutter faster or else make us pause, think for 3 seconds, stretch our neck out like a turtle and shout: “nO THANKS.” Today I want to list 5 bookish settings I love VS 5 that I hate. Because #BALANCE.
And there’s a quiz at the end (!! I’m wonderful to you !!) to find out what type of bookish setting YOU would be in if your life was a YA book.
1. OLD LIBRARIES OR CURIOSITY SHOPS
Just give me buildings full of dusty secrets and curious objects that are probably magical and will kill you if you get too close. I love the old and tired and boxes full pocket watches and ancient books and old letters and strange waistcoats. Just try and tell me the aesthetic is nOT EVERYTHING GOOD IN THIS WORLD.
Also fun fact: I’m so allergic to everything I just mentioned above. Like wow if you want to kill me, literally lock me in an old library. I will inhale and die. #FunLifeWithAllergies Clearly I have to read about it to satisfy my aesthetic soul???? WHAT IS THIS LIFE.
2. THE DARK FORESTS AND GARDENS
I HAVE SO MUCH LOVE FOR THE DARK CREEPY WOODS I CAN’T EVEN. I mean, they’re so exciting! Will you go in and then come out? Are there monsters there? Will a faerie still your soul? Do the trees speak Latin? Are there anxious monsters in the trees? Is that flower going to kill you? Is there a witch stuck somewhere in there because they have a terrible sense of direction and can’t get out??
WHO KNOWS. EXCITING. I want to read 20 million books set in forests. No no! Do not doubt this goal of mine! It could be worse anyway — I could be collecting dead bugs or something please appreciate how lucky you are.
3. SUPER RICH, LAVISH CASTLES
You know how our lord and life, Flynn Rider, says, “Guys, I want a castle”??? Well that’s literally me too. SO! I like to read about these to fulfil that need deep in my soul. Also just the rich lavishness is GORGEOUS to read about. Like let’s have everything be jewel-encrusted and your bathtub is a swimming pool and we eat croissants at all hours of the day.
I also love the added bonus of throwing kids who are raised here into those dark forests so they can have anxiety. OR!! Putting poor waifs into this settings so they end up eating the soap and sleeping in the linen closet.
4. STRANGE LITTLE TOWNS WITH WEIRD STUFF GOING ON
There’s nothing quite as lovely as those little towns where everything is quaint and the milkshake place has vintage cups and then — BOOM, ACTUALLY WEREWOLVES LIVE IN THE FOREST AND THERE’S A CUT IN THE WORLD THAT LEADS TO THE SPIRIT REALM. I love it. I adore it.
FUN FACT: I actually live in a tiny town and I’m still waiting for the magic to present. So far at one end of my street there are paddocks of cows, and at the other end of my street is the centre of town. This sometimes makes me cry but okay. And even though I have both (a) mountains, and (b) cornfields, which are BOTH proven to be where magical oddities happen — so far the only weird thing that’s gone down is me balancing two bookshelves on top of each other and they haven’t fallen and killed me yet.
5. CIRCUSES, FESTIVALS, AND CARNIVALS
Because if you see this happening in a book you know (a) someone’s going to get randomly murdered, and (b) there will be MAGIC, MURDER, and MAYHEM. I’ve really only started reading about these, but I love it?! I love how sinister it can be and then everyone exists on popcorn and toffee apples and wonders why they’re so cranky all of the time. Low blood sugar, you fools. Eat some iron. Anyway. I’m so so all for the oddballs and the curiosities and the misfits. I love misfits.
I, personally, am a bit of a misfit because sometimes I can’t seem to match my socks.
(Note: I have MANY books that I love that do have these settings! I just don’t gravitate or choose them willingly…but bribe me with donuts. Like that could help.)
1. SCHOOLS AND CLASSROOMS
Maybe this is because in my wayward youth I actually homeschooled but holY HECK do people actually find books set 80% in a classroom fun??? Don’t we want to escape the notorious classroom when we read?? I honestly can feel some of my brain melting and sliding out my ears whenever I realise a book has a HUGE focus on a prison setting.
OH HAHA DID I SAY “PRISON”?? I meant school.
2. PRISONS OR REHAB CENTRES
But speaking of prisons — I hate them too. Look it’s just boring. There’s not much plot to sustain in a small cell. You just get to be alone with your thoughts, and newsflash: no one wants that. I do like prison breaks and I don’t mind the small flutter in and out of bars, but just don’t LEAVE ME HERE in a book where the setting is so stagnant that a 100-year-old pond has more active social life.
3. DYSTOPIAN FACTION SETTING THINGIES
Is it just me or do I hate on dystopians recreationally these days?? I’M SORRY. I TRULY AM!! I do have love for some dystopians! But just the ones where we’re all sitting in a hole underground or in like a bunker and everyone wears white jumpsuits and eats cream corn (I just threw up a little) and conspires against the evil government…I just feel a little like whitewash was poured into my eyes. IT’S BORING. I don’t want endless hallways in a science lab!! It just don’t work for me!!
4. ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE BECAUSE ROADTRIPS
See road trips can be awesome (See: The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice And Virtue which I will absolutely climb onto your hat and shout about how good it is) but a lot of the time I fall apart because (A) there are SO many settings that nothing gets described really well, or (B) a lot of it is set in the same sort of places, like a weird hotel room or a car or if it’s fantasy it’s some forest and an inn of bedbugs, or (C) the plot is also dull because alllll thatttttt walkingggggg.
I hate reading about people walking. I love walking, but it is very very boring to watch, ok.
5. RICH PEOPLE’S HOLIDAYS TO PRIVATE ISLANDS OR WHATEVER
This is usually because said rich people spend the entire time getting drunk, accidentally falling into love-hexagons, and then murdering each other. I mean that CAN be interesting, but usually I despair for humanity and end up needing to run up Mt. Everest and scream at the sky. It just annoys me. Make good decisions, kids. Put on sunscreen and stop ruining your livers and DON’T KILL ANYONE WITH THE SILVER WEAR OMG IT’S NOT THAT HARD.
Now imagine you are the protagonist of a YA book? What setting would your book take place in?! Lucky for YOU, I exist and am here to tell you everything with a quiz that can’t possibly go wrong!
I’m so reassured already!!