Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Most Vivid Book Settings

 
Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
John Shors' novels are going to take the first five spots on my Top Ten this week. I have never read an author who can transport me into a place as well as Shors'. He's brilliant. While reading his books I feel as if I'm literally transported to the setting and experience even the smells around me. Ok, enough with the gushing.

1. Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors

Journey to dazzling seventeenth-century Hindustan, where the reigning emperor, consumed with grief over the tragic death of his beloved wife, commissioned the building of a grand mausoleum as a testament to the marvel of their love. This monument would soon become known as the Taj Mahal—a sight famous around the world for its beauty and the emotions it symbolizes.
Princess Jahanara, the courageous daughter of the emperor and his wife, recounts their mesmerizing tale, while sharing her own parallel story of forbidden love with the celebrated architect of the Taj Mahal. Set during a time of unimaginable wealth and power, murderous sibling rivalries, and cruel despotism, this impressive novel sweeps you away to a historical Hindustan brimming with action and intrigue in an era when, alongside the brutalities of war and oppression, architecture and the art of love and passion reached a pinnacle of perfection.
2. Beside a Burning Sea by John Shors

One moment, the World War II hospital ship Benevolence is patrolling the South Pacific on a mission of mercy—to save wounded American soldiers. The next, Benevolence is split in two by a torpedo, killing almost everyone on board. A small band of survivors, including an injured Japanese soldier and a young American nurse whom he saves from drowning, makes it to the deserted shore of a nearby island.

Akira has suffered five years of bloodshed and horror fighting for the Japanese empire. Now, surrounded by enemies he is supposed to hate, he instead finds solace in their company—and rediscovers his love of poetry. While sharing the mystery and beauty of this passion with Annie, the captivating but tormented woman he rescued, Akira grapples with the pain of his past while helping Annie uncover the promise of her future. Meanwhile, the remaining castaways endure a world not of their making—a world as barbaric as it is beautiful, as hateful as it is loving.

With the blend of epic storytelling and emotional intensity that distinguishes him as a unique talent, John Shors reveals a powerful story of redemption focusing on unlikely lovers, heroes and villains, and war-torn countries—all, in their own ways, fighting to survive.
3.  Dragon House by John Shors

Set in modern-day Vietnam, DRAGON HOUSE tells the tale of Iris and Noah-two Americans, who, as a way of healing their own painful pasts, open a center to house and educate Vietnamese street children. Irish and Noah find themselves reborn in an exotic land filled with corruption and chaos, sacrifice and beauty. Inspired by the street children she meets, Iris walks in the footsteps of her father, a man whom Vietnam both shattered and saved. Meanwhile, Noah slowly rediscovers himself through the eyes of an unexpected companion. Resounding with the powerful themes of suffering, sacrifice, friendship, and love, DRAGON HOUSE brings together East and West, war and peace; and celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.
4.  The Wishing Trees by John Shors

Almost a year after the death of his wife, Kate, former high-tech executive Ian finds a letter that will change his life. It contains Kate's final wish - a plea for him to take their ten-year-old daughter, Mattie, on a trip across Asia, through all the countries they had planned to visit to celebrate their fifteenth anniversary.

Eager to honor the wife and mother they loved, Ian and Mattie embark on an epic journey that retraces the early days of Ian's relationship with Kate. Along the way, Ian and Mattie leave paper "wishes" in ancient trees as symbols of their connection to Kate and their dreams for the future. Through incredible landscapes and inspiring people, Ian and Mattie are greeted with miracles large and small. And as they celebrate what Kate meant to them, they begin to find their way back to each other, discovering that healing is possible and that love endures - lessons that Kate hoped to show them all along...
5.  Cross Currents by John Shors

Thailand's pristine Ko Phi Phi island attracts tourists from around the world. There, struggling to make ends meet, small-resort owners Lek and Sarai are happy to give an American named Patch room and board in exchange for his help. But when Patch's brother, Ryan, arrives, accompanied by his girlfriend, Brooke, Lek learns that Patch is running from the law, and his presence puts Lek's family at risk. Meanwhile, Brooke begins to doubt her love for Ryan while her feelings for Patch blossom.
In a landscape where nature's bounty seems endless, these two families are swept up in an approaching cataclysm that will require all their strength of heart and soul to survive...
I'm transported to the sleepy racist Alabama town of Maycomb and into the Finch home every time I read To Kill a Mockingbird.
6.  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man's struggle for justice—but the weight of history will only tolerate so much.
I picked up this book while visiting my parents and felt like I was on a cattle ranch in Montana instead of in a tiny town nestled in the bluffs of northwestern Wisconsin.
7.  Montana Sky by Nora Roberts

When Jack Mercy died, he left behind a ranch worth nearly twenty million dollars. Now his three daughters—each born of a different mother, and each unknown by the others—are gathered to hear the reading of the will. But the women are shocked to learn that before any of them can inherit, they must live together on the ranch for one year. For Tess, a screenwriter who just wants to collect her cash and get back to Hollywood, it’s a nightmare. For Lily, on the run from her abusive ex-husband, it’s a refuge. And for Willa—who grew up on the ranch—it’s an intrusion into her rightful home. They are sisters…and strangers. Now they face a challenge: to put their bitterness aside and live like a family. To protect each other from danger—and unite against a brutal enemy who threatens to destroy them all…
8. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.
9. Harry Potter by JK Rowling
Jk Rowling introduced everyone to the world of wizardry with vivid clarity which was only solidified by the masterfully done movie adaptations.

10. For number ten, I can't choose between Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte or Wuthering Heights by her sister, Emily.

What book has had the most vivid setting for you? I'd love to hear about it.
Have a terrific week, and I'll talk to you soon,
Angela
 
 
 
 




25 comments:

  1. The Outsiders! A top choice - loved that book. I think I need to start really casting my mind back for these top tens.
    I've never read any Shors - clearly I should!

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    1. Shors is a fantastic writer. Thanks a million for stopping by!

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  2. Oh, yes, To Kill A Mockingbird. Fantastic book, and it's all about its setting, isn't it? A picture of the poisonous hatred in that society.

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    1. Yes it is Amy. I think that unfortunately, the poisonous hatred that Harper Lee wrote about so many years ago is still present. Thank you so much for coming by.

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  3. I haven't read any Shors--which would you recommend as a first Shors book? OOoo... I could have listed TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. That novel is so good in so many ways, description of the setting is only one! And I would favor JANE EYRE over WUTHERING HEIGHTS--as you know, having seen my list! :D

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    1. Hi Colin, thank you stopping by to check out my Top Ten. I would have to recommend Beside a Burning Sea. Jane Eyre was a terrific read.

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  4. I agree with you.. the movies completely solidified Harry Potter's world even more!
    Ooh The Outsiders.. great pick!!

    Great list - and thanks for stopping by! :)

    Michele | TTT

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    1. Thank you for your kind words Michele, and for returning the favor.

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  5. Awesome picks. I've only read Harry Potter from your list, and loved the World building.

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    1. Thanks Tanya. I agree, JK Rowling's world-building was absolutely genius. It will be interesting to see if her adult novel will be as good.

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  6. A really great List!

    I haven't read any of John Shors' books but i will have to now :-)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    -Cassie

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    1. Thank you Cassie. John Shors' work is great. It was my pleasure to stop by to check out your blog.

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  7. Harry Potter has pretty much been a MUST-HAVE on all lists today! :)
    I haven't read many of the books on your list, but I totally agree with To Kill A Mockingbird! There are so many good things about that novel, the setting being only one of them!
    Here’s my TTT

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    1. Rowling did a terrific job writing the setting for Harry Potter. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all-time fave reads, and I sneak it in to probably more Top Tens than I should. But I love it :)
      I really appreciate your stopping by. Thank you.

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  8. How have I only read To Kill a Mockingbird and Harry Potter from your list? Apparently I'm a HUGE slacker! I love that your books have made me skip over to goodreads - always one of my favorite things about TTT since we get exposed to so many new books! :) Thank you so much for your comment on our blog today!

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    1. Hi Magan. I love Top Ten for the same reason. It was my pleasure to stop by. Thank you back :)

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  9. Great List!! I almost put the outsiders on my list!! John Shors sounds interesting, might have to look into those books, thanks :)

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    1. Thank you Michelle. You're quite welcome.

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  10. I'd come down on the side of Jane Eyre, but that's probably just because I enjoyed the book more :-)

    Thanks for stopping by my TTT!

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    1. After thinking about it for a bit more, I think I'd have to agree. But the settings were very vividly written in both. My pleasure.

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  11. I would definitely agree with To Kill a Mockingbird. And I didn't think of Wuthering Heights, but it's certainly a vivid setting for a book! I haven't read it for a long time, but when I did I could picture everything perfectly.

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    1. Both Brontes did a brilliant job of describing the settings. Thank you for coming by smallgirl. I so appreciate it.

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  12. I haven't read anything by John Shors- so #1-5 are ones I don't know about. Guess I should read something by him! I have read #6-10 and agree with all of them. I feel like I know the magical world of Harry Potter very well! :)

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    1. Hi Stephanie. It's great to see you. Thanks for stopping by. I don't think you'll be disappointed with Shors' writing. As I mentioned above in response to Colin's comment, I would suggest Beside a Burning Sea to start. But they all beautifully written.

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  13. Great list! I haven't read any of them but they all sound interesting, am going to have to check them out now xD

    Am super late but thanks for dropping by my blog last week! =)

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