There is a curtain shades advertisement in my country whose tagline is “Setting is everything”. I guess this stands apt to our topic for this month. We human beings need setting for everything. We need setting to propose, to celebrate, to mourn, to read, to write and to eat! I sometimes wonder if we would like a setting to die, if at all we knew the date of our death. I guess we all are pretty dramatic.
When it comes to books, they are a wonderful medium that take us to a completely different world. They take us to warzone, they take us to the North Pole, they take us on a chartered flight, they take us to Buckingham Palace, they take us to the lion’s den and also to the witch’s land. Book is very powerful and the story we are about to read is ought to be set in a perfect place.. because that is where the reader is going to travel.
There are plenty of my favorite settings. Almost every book gives me a unique experience with its setting and ambiance. If you’ve read the book “Room” by Emma Donoghue, you would instantly know what I mean. It’s a novel set up in a small room. I could feel the walls of the room closing in while I was reading that book. Setting up an entire book in a small room setup takes courage. I cheer the author. And, I must say its one of the best novels I’ve read.
On contrary, “Alice in Wonderland” is another by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson is an entirely different set up. A magical world, amazing fictional place with peculiar creatures, the setting is rich and makes the reader dive right into this setting, while reading. “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg is another such fictional story which is set up in a train and equally enthusiastic. That’s one of my favorite book I’ve read in my childhood.
“We the Living” by Ayn Rand is set up in Russia with details of the critical times where communism was prevailing. It’s an amazing book and it entirely turns ones perspective around.
Setting especially plays an important role in thriller, horror and mystery genres. If you’ve read any of Stephen King’s books, you’ll know what I mean. “IT”, “Pet Sematary”, “The Stand” are few of my favorites from Stephen King with breathtaking settings. The author Dan Brown, too, picks crazy settings for his novels like the setting in his novels “The Lost Symbol”, “Inferno”, and “The Da Vinci Code”. “The Moonstone” by Wilkie Collins is one of my favorite classic mystery novels with a beautiful setting. Agatha Christie is also another author of mystery novels who writes her novels in great settings.
The author’s uniqueness is revealed in such setting and in the detailing he writes about it without missing the tiniest of the things. As a reader, I imagine the place where the story is taking place by closing my eyes and putting all the pieces of the details written by the author, together behind my closed eyes. And bam, I can see myself standing right in the middle of the scene literally watching the characters talking to each other clearly unaware of me looking at them. That’s why I love reading books so much.
Purely because I read so many books, I’ve been to wine yards in Italy, been on Atlantic Ocean in a huge ship, flew in a Boeing carrying missiles during the war time, walked on the pastures of Scotland and believe it or not, I’ve been there in Antarctica, too!