The one thing I love about reading is all the different worlds I get to read about, all the worlds I can escape to when SoCal is just too boring to be in. That’s what’s so great about reading sci-fi and fantasy books – there’s nothing real about them, right down to where the stories take place. So which places are my favorites? Well, I have a few. Here are the ones I would visit in a heartbeat if given the chance.
Wonderland from Alice in Wonderland
Who, when reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for the first time, didn’t want to go to Wonderland? Yeah, so the fall down the hole probably would have been a little scary, as well as The Queen with her whole decapitation obsession, but still…the animals talked, everything you ate and drank either made you really big or really tiny, the flowers could talk, you could go to really weird tea parties, and, well, everyone is mad there. Come to think of it, maybe Wonderland isn’t such a good place to visit after all. I mean, do you remember the Jabberwocky???
Narnia from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Imagine opening your closet and walking into a winter wonderland. Since I love snow and winter, this would be a dream for me, especially if that kind of weather doesn’t happen where I live. And who wouldn’t want to meet Mr. Tumnus? He’s just full of awesomeness. Of course if you come across the White Witch and she offers you Turkish Delight, I hope you keep your wits about you and decline and run away immediately back into that closet. But until then, just enjoy the snow and the company of fawns and beavers and hope that Father Christmas finds his way to you.
Sherwood Forest from The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
Okay, so I kind have always had this thing for Robin Hood. A bit of a crush, really. Anything to do with the story of Robin Hood, I love. And I know most of the places in the story are real – Nottingham, even Sherwood Forest itself – but it’s the Sherwood Forest from the story that I want to visit. I want to see Robin Hood and his gang of merry men in their hideout, practicing their archery, and having feasts with lots of food and beer and Maid Marian. Sweet.
Moominvalley from Moominland Midwinter
The Moominland books by Tove Jansson aren’t as well-known in the States as they are in Scandinavia, but they’re amazing children’s books that are about a family of trolls who are white and roundish, with large snouts that make them resemble hippopotamuses. The family lives in their house in Moominvalley, in the forests of Finland, though, depending on the book, they’ve also lived in a lighthouse and a theater. But it’s in the book Moominland Midwinter where I love Moominvalley the best. The Moomins hibernate for the winter, but in this book the character Moomintroll does not, which makes him all alone in Moominvalley. Winter becomes a haunting character itself in this book, and makes it all the more beautiful.
Bayern from the Books of Bayern Series (The Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River of Secrets, Forest Born)
Okay, so I’d probably visit the country of Bayern solely based on the Alison Jay covers, but after reading all the books the place seems pretty magical anyway. It’s a fictional kingdom, which means there are fictional kings and queens and other royalty, and who doesn’t love that? But it’s the cover of the book Forest Born that I love the best. Bayern is surrounded by beautiful forests where magic is everywhere, which makes for a wonderful combination.
The Shire, Hobbiton from The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
This was kind of a difficult one, as there are many different lands in Middle Earth created by J.R.R. Tolkien. So what I did was some process of elimination – cross out Mordor, Gondor, Harad – and then decide which place would be the most fun. Rivendell and Lothlorien are beautiful elf lands, but they’re way too serious. Rohan wouldn’t be too bad, what with all the horses and Scandinavian-looking men, but it seems rather cold and windy. And then my decision was easy. I want to live among the Hobbits and drink ale and eat food and smoke pipe-weed and just celebrate a simple life.
The Wizarding World from Harry Potter Books 1-7
There was no picking just one place for this one, as every place in the Wizarding World sounds awesome. Hogwarts with its dorm rooms and common rooms, the Great Hall and its magical feasts, the moving staircases, the Quidditch pitch, and Room of Requirement sounds way better than any school could. And Hogsmeade with the butterbeer at Three Broomsticks, the candy at Honeydukes, the tea at Madam Puddifoot’s, it’s a great way to spend the weekend. And the best way to get to these places? The Hogwarts Express, of course. Grab a compartment, buy some sweets, and enjoy the ride.