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Literary landmarks you've always wanted to see

By / May 21, 2008

If you haven't yet planned your summer vacation (or even if you have), there's a book coming out today you're probably going to enjoy. It's called Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West, by Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon.

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It can be read as an armchair travel book or relied upon as a trip planner. Either way, it catalogs and comments on a goodly number of book-related travel destinations. There are author homes (everything from John Milton's cottage to Tolstoy's country retreat), book-related sites (the house that stood in for Pemberly in "Pride and Prejudice," the Yorkish town where Charlotte Bronte conceived and mentally set "Jane Eyre," hotels that Edith Wharton and Henry James enjoyed on their grand tours), and information about literary walking tours, festivals, etc.

I have my own list of personal favorites (Wordsworth's Dove Cottage, Thomas Hardy's Maxgate, the Maison de Balzac, and 221b Baker Street all rank high on the list), but flipping through "Novel Destinations" serves to remind me of the fabulous visits I have yet to make – including several in my hometown of Boston.

But of course, there's also Hemingway's Paris, the windmills of Don Quixote, and the streets of Sam Spade's San Francisco. Anyway, you get the idea – this is a fun read.

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