Top Ten Tuesday: Most Vivid Worlds

Aaaaand I’m back to the memes! This is my first night at home (from work or fun) in over a week, so I’m ready to get back into my routine.

Top Ten Books with the Most Vivid Worlds or Settings

  1. the wizarding world in the Harry Potter series: My favorite thing about the wizarding world is that it’s right alongside the regular world. I won’t even tell you how long it took me to realize that Diagon Alley is a hint to the way J.K. Rowling built her world—diagonally to this one. It’s not quite the same, but there are enough similarities to make everything familiar. The wizards’ clothes and attitudes can seem stuck in the Middle Ages (Molly Weasley wants Bill to cut his long hair, they listen to the radio), but their interaction the Muggle world reminds us that it isn’t Middle Earth. Speaking of which…
  2. Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings books: Sometimes I’m afraid to admit that I haven’t actually read The Lord of the Rings. I tried The Hobbit and got bored, and I haven’t had to willpower to give the main series a try. I did watch and enjoy all three movies, though, and I know enough to know that the world is incredibly rich. Tolkien took the time to formulate an entire language! That’s epic.
  3. Annapolis/Avalon in Avalon High, by Meg Cabot: I tore through this book. It was even better than I expected. It combined my love of and knowledge for fantasy (Arthurian legend in particular) with my love of YA. The vividness came not so much in the building of the world but in the basically believable combination of the two. One of these days I’ll hunt down the Disney Channel Original Movie, but something tells me it won’t do it justice.
  4. Narnia in The Chronicles of Narnia: I can’t believe I almost forgot a world that we basically get to watch being built! The Magician’s Nephew never gets as much popular appreciation as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but from those first pages on, we get a world that, although parallel to ours, is not nestled quite as close as Harry Potter’s. And it has a lot more Jesus in it to go with the good triumphing over evil.
  5. Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale: It was a scary world, but Atwood did a fair job building on the problems of the world today (or rather, in the 80s) and how they might spiral out of control. Her world leaned hard conservative, though, and I’m not sure I would predict that or be comfortable with it.
  6. the not-so-distant future U.S. in Bumped: In this case, the world’s problems dealing with sex and babies have swung hard liberal, and people are buying other people. I’ve gushed far enough about this book, but I can’t help it!
  7. Palomar in Heartbreak Soup, by the Hernandez brothers: This might be cheating a little bit because it was a graphic novel compendium, so I had actual pictures to look at with the story. I hadn’t had much experience with graphic novels before I read it, though, and I later found out there are about a dozen other books that are set in that world, so it’s definitely bigger than even I know.
  8. 1980s Iran in Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi: I didn’t know much about the Iranian cultural revolution before reading this, I’d never read a graphic novel, and I’d never expected one to be in black and white. I was delighted on all counts. It was an intense story, and I imagine the original (it’s in French) is only more intense.
  9. Panem in The Hunger Games: As with Harry Potter, it’s the similarities to our current situation that make me feel the most unsettled. How far away are we from public executions and totalitarianism?
  10. the slightly-more-distant future U.S. in The Giver: Again, it’s a little scary to have all choices taken away, but look at the world that resulted. Scary times.

Hooray! I got all ten in this week: a triumphant return indeed.

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