Whether your heart belongs in The Shire, Hogwarts, Winterfell, Wonderland, Neverland, or Narnia, it’s clear that books have a way of transporting us to worlds unknown. Since the Greek and Roman myths and the fairy tales of The Brothers Grimm, authors and poets have created magical places that oftentimes exist only in our imaginations.
Filled with new vocabulary, or sometimes new languages entirely, these literary worlds are often as much of a character to a book as the hero himself. They give us a setting, a feeling, a grounding in our story and provide the framework to help us assemble these towns, cities, buildings, and universes in our heads.
But before we could dream up our own Hogwarts or create our own version of Camelot, someone had to give us the pieces. What inspired these authors to create these magical places? What was the basis for the school in Never Let Me Go, the characters of Narnia, or the language of the Dothraki?
In Literary Wonderlands: A Journey to 100 of the Greatest Fictional Worlds Ever Created, a team of editors and writers attempt to transport themselves into some of our favorite literary worlds and explore it as only the best travelers can. Filled with beautiful illustrations and photos, each chapter in Literary Wonderlands is like a journey into another story and makes it oh so easy to be swept up in the magic of these otherworldly places.
Starting with ancient myths and legends like Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, and Beowulf, and moving all the way into the computer age with favorites like The Hunger Games, Cloud Atlas, and A Game of Thrones, Literary Wonderlands features essays on 100 magical books that all feature, for lack of a better term, a literary wonderland. Writers attempt to figure out the inspiration for these worlds, try to find the basis for the language and the make-up, and even sometimes try to pinpoint them geographically based on written descriptions and maps.
Though it’s jam-packed with fun tidbits and information, this book could easily be categorized as a coffee table book, just for the shear amount of illustrations and photography included here. If the words don’t do enough to transport you, the photos surely will…and don’t be surprised if you end up adding a few books to your “To Read” list on Goodreads after reading this!
A beautiful book that’s just as eye-catching as it is informative, Literary Wonderlands is sure to add a few more stops to the literary road trip you dream up in your head.
Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.