About the Whodunit Book Club

Whodunit Book Club has met in its present location for almost seventeen years! If you would like to join us, our meetings are held on the last Tuesday of every month (except December).
We meet at the Chapters Store located at 41 MicMac Blvd., Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Phone (902) 466-1640

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

How important is the setting of the novel?

Further discussion on a topic raised at the Whodunit Bookclub.
Is the setting of the novel you are reading important to you?
I always find that the if the setting is one I am familiar with or comfortable with, then I get more enjoyment from the novel. For instance I love books that are set in the United Kingdom, Canada or the Eastern seaboard of the United States and I will choose those titles first over others with settings that are more foreign to me personally.
For instance, I avoid settings in the Orient, Southwestern U.S., and South America. That is just a personal quirk of mine, and not a reflection on my feelings toward those places. That is not to say that I NEVER read books with those settings, but that they are not my first choice.
When I am reading a good book, I immerse myself in it. If it is a place that I like, I find the immersion less painful which in turn increases my pleasure in reading the novel.


Honour2212 said...

I agree. I find myself reading books set in places and time periods that I am most interested in. I avoid anything set in the Western US or Canada. I also avoid the Medieval and Renaissance time periods. I think that when we read for enjoyment, we should not apologize for what we prefer and where we prefer it. Isn't that what reading for enjoyment is all about? Anyway, I wholeheartedly agree with your post. I am interested in what other people think. Do they read fiction to "travel" and explore, or do they find themselves returning again and again to their favourite places.

Dorothy Gracie said...

I'm with you on this one--setting is key when it comes to mystery fiction. I also prefer mysteries set in the UK. For me it's not only a matter of the scenery (I particular like moors, country pubs/countryside, and wooded areas), but also the language/dialect depicted. I'm a HUGE fan of UK accents and the word usage/phrasings. Having said this, I'm not a huge fan of the "cosy" Agatha Christie-type British mysteries--I prefer the more gritty, real-life down and dirty psychological thriller-type tales (e.g. Denise Mina's Garnethill trilogy).

In terms of scenery/setting, I also like reading mysteries set in Canada, particularly the more remote regions as opposed to big urban, metropolitan areas. There's just something more atmospheric it seems to me with wilderness settings that lend themselves to mysteries. I also like series that are centered around the changing of the seasons (Giles Blunt and Louise Penny both come to mind).

As for time periods, I tend to stick to modern times when it comes to mystery fiction although I did go through an Anne Perry Victorian mystery stint. I guess I prefer my historical/cultural fiction in its more purer, fictional non-genre specific form...

So, in answer to the original posting question, setting is very important for a myriad of reasons, but (for me) mainly because when successfully interwoven with the plot, it becomes inseparable.