Where Are You Going to Read About Today?

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In my two previous entries,  I’ve talked about two of Readers’ Advisor guru  Nancy Pearl’s Doorways into fiction,  Story and Character. Pearl believes that readers will often seek out books according to their preferred Doorway. Those who prefer story often look for fast-paced stories or books they  just cannot put down. Readers who are drawn to character as their Doorway like well-drawn characters who they feel as if they get to know them as they read the book.


Pearl’s third Doorway is setting. Readers who seek out books in which setting is dominant often enjoy reading about the daily activities of their characters or details about the places where the books takes place. Readers of science fiction, fantasy and historical fiction like to get lost in worlds and times that are completey foreign to them.  Readers whose main doorway is Setting enjoy the feeling of traveling to new places from the comfort of their own armchair. Patrons who are about to travel to a new place often come to the FMM desk  for help finding fiction set in that country. Recently, a patron asked us to help  find her books about Turkey, in advance of her trip to that country because she wanted to know more about the place than she could learn from reading travel books and maps. I have a friend who is reading everything she can find about England during WWI---she’s also a big fan of Downton Abbey.  Another patron always comes to our desk for help finding books set in the American South because she grew up there and reading about it seems to assuage her homesickness a bit. I love reading books about small towns because I grew up in one and can identify with many of the issues that face those living in this sort of community. If you like to read books that take place in a specific place or time-frame, your preferred Doorway is setting.


Here are some authors for whom setting is an important part of their novels:


1. Carl Hiaasen (Florida)

2. Pat Conroy (South Carolina)

3. James Michener (varies by book)

4. Louise Penny (Quebec and environs)

5. Alexander McCall Smith (Botswana and Scotland)

6. Sara Paretsky and Jim Butcher (Chicago)

7. Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan)

8. Charles Dickens (19th century London)

9. Kent Haruf (Colorado)

10. Louise Erdrich (North Dakota)

11. Tana French and Maeve Binchy (Ireland)

12. Ron Rash (North Carolina)

13. Barbara Kingsolver (Appalachia region)

14. Nevada Barr (American national parks)

15. Jacqueline Winspear (WWI, London)

16. Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus, fantasy world)

17. David Wroblewski (The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Wisconsin)

18. Pete Hamill (Manhattan)

19. Stieg Larsson (Sweden)

20. Fannie Flagg (American South)


Come see us at the FMM desk!

Ellen J. cool



Ellen Jennings works at Cook Library as a Readers’ Advisor and the Teen Services Coordinator. When she’s not working she can be found reading, researching her genealogy,  walking at Independence Grove or taking care of her family. Of the many  jobs she's had, working at Cook Library is definitely her favorite because every day she gets to learn something new.