Top Ten Tuesday: Settings I’d Like to See More Of (Or At All)

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Unlike last week, I had no problem filling up the list this week. Honestly, I could have shared twice as many ideas!

1. Prehistoric Africa. 

I’ve read dozens of prehistoric novels over the years. The vast majority of them were set in Europe or places very close to that continent. It would be really nice to read more books set in other parts of the world.

2. The Moons of Jupiter. 

I’ve read many books about Mars and the Earth’s moon. It would be interesting to see how authors imagine life might be on other planets or moons. 

3. Dirty Jobs.

That is, I’d love to read more books about characters who make a living as custodians, maids, sewage treatment plant workers, professional cleanup crews who are sent to clean up crime scenes, or other jobs that involve dealing with what can be difficult working conditions.

4. Hospital Waiting Rooms. 

Seriously, think about all of the dramatic things that happen in hospitals: births, deaths, elective surgeries, emergency surgeries, and more. I’ve read plenty of books set in the emergency room, but not so many that focus on what it feels like to sit and wait to find out how a loved one is doing when the outcome is uncertain or you’ve been kept waiting much longer than expected.

5. Somewhere Beyond the “Staff Only,” “Closed for Construction,” or “Do Not Enter” Signs

Have I ever ignored one of these signs in real life? No, of course not.

Am I a little curious to see what those places look like? Yes, especially if they’re in a library or bookstore. What new books might be hidden behind that door? If only we could know!

6. Cruise Ship Stops.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was on an Alaskan cruise with my spouse and extended family earlier this year. All three of our stops were in small, Alaskan towns where tourism had become one of their major sources of income and employment.

I think it would be incredibly interesting to read a book set in one of these stops in the off-season. I wonder what they’re like when all of the tourists stop visiting for the season and only the locals remain?

7. Subway Tunnels. 

Have I ever ignored the “keep out” signs and wandered into one of Toronto’s subway tunnels? No, of course not.

Would I sign up for a guided tour of them in a heartbeat if the TTC ever offered such a thing? Heck yes!

(Have you noticed the pattern here yet?)

8. Vegan Restaurants and Bakeries.

I’m not vegan, but I do go to vegan restaurants and bakeries on occasion because I like their cuisine and because it’s basically impossible to have an allergic reaction to something that is never on the menu! Based on the wonderful personalties of the people who work at the places I visit, I think this would make a fantastic setting.

9. Magic Show Rehearsals.

The cruise I went on with my family included shows from a talented magician. I can’t help but to wonder what the rehearsals for some of his tricks looked like!

10. National Parks. 

As a diehard city person who loves her air conditioning and soft bed, I find the idea of disconnecting from the Internet and all other modern conveniences to go spend time in nature to be as interesting as it is slightly bewildering.

Maybe there are lots of books about spending time in national parks already and I’m not looking in the right places for them? At any rate, I wouldn’t mind having more of them.

124 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: Settings I’d Like to See More Of (Or At All)

  1. Great ideas! I’d definitely read these especially the Do not enter adventures!!
    If you don’t mind a little MG fantasy-horror you may enjoy Malamander by Thomas Taylor it’s about a little touristy seaside town when the visitors have all gone in winter called Eerie on Sea.

  2. Oh this is a great list! I totally agree with hospital waiting rooms as a setting. One of my favourite episodes of the sitcom Frasier was set in a hospital waiting room and it was brilliant.

  3. Great list! I love the idea of more stories taking place in hospital waiting rooms or in tourist spots when the tourists aren’t there. I’ve always been fascinated by people whose homes are a popular tourist destination!

    • Glad to hear that.

      Toronto is a popular tourist destination in the summer. It’s a very positive experience for those of us who live here year-round in general. The tourism revenue is wonderful, and I’ve met so many lovely people from other parts of the world who decided to see what my city is like.

      Although there are a few places I try not to visit during their peak seasons because of how amazingly busy they are. I can always go to them in October once the tourists go home, so I figure it’s better to stay away in the summer when everyone wants to see them. 🙂

  4. What a fantastic choice of places and settings.

    Same as you, I’m not vegan. But I’m lactose intolerant which means I can order anything from the menu if I go to a vegan restaurant. I love that.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT earlier.

    • Thank you and you’re welcome. You had a great post.

      Milk is the food I need to avoid, too! Aren’t vegan desserts the best? I’m in love with cashew ice cream in particular.

    • Yes, absolutely. You could find every emotion in a hospital waiting room…possibly even at the same time depending on how many people were there or what was going on.

      And thanks.

  5. Great ideas! I think Dirty Jobs could be interesting as well as the behind the “staff only” signs.

  6. I could see a sit-com like Barney Miller or Taxi. It’s an orderly whose job is to clean up the messes in an emergency room, then goes back to his break room where there are other orderlies who tell what’s happened in their part of the hospital. You could go from scenes in the waiting room and break room and back.

  7. I am so ready to read about subway tunnels – it combines two items on my own TTT list (underground places and big cities). I also like the idea of stories set behind “Do not enter signs” – I want to know what’s back there!

    Thanks for visiting my blog today!

  8. Great list! I hadn’t thought about including something like “dirty jobs” but it’s true, we usually read stuff with characters in “acceptable” jobs and not difficult in that sense. When the MC is a maid or something else in the service industry, it often seems that the point of the plot is to get them out of such a menial job. Very interesting point.

  9. So many great choices on your list! I’d love to see more books available in the US set in Africa, in general, prehistoric or otherwise (and they do seem to be on the rise, so that’s exciting). Oh, I hadn’t thought about the dirty jobs thing, but I love the idea! It always seems like these characters have the stereotypical “glamorous” jobs in stories, when their job is even mentioned, and how many of us realistically have those? xD Most of us have suffered through retail at some point or another. We need more cantankerous, repressed, slightly sarcastic retail worker protagonists.

  10. Great list! I hate subways, but they would definitely make for an interesting setting. Just think of all the different kinds of people on the subway at one time and all the many, many things that could happen to them. Now that I think about it, it’s weird there aren’t more books that take place on subways and/or in subway tunnels.

    Happy TTT!


  11. Prehistoric Africa- absolutely. Sign me up. Would love to see more of those. And moons of Jupiter too- awesome! I like the “staff only” and cruise ship/ tourist place ideas too. There are a lot of touristy towns in the northern part of Michigan and having gone up there since I was a kid I have seen a little bit about what they’re like in the offseason, and it can be pretty different! I think that kind of setting would be interesting!

      • Well, the obvious thing is the population is a lot smaller in the off season, and it’s interesting when I’ve talked to shopkeepers and whatnot how they manage the lean months of winter. Some live elsewhere, some are local,some have other things going to keep the lights on. The town I vacation in a lot has several independent bookstores, and it’s fascinating to see the difference between the high season and low season there as well, just in terms of how busy they are.

        Also some of those areas do winter tourism as well, skiing and whatnot, so they do survive that way as well.

  12. I think the hospital waiting room idea would be good for a short story. There are so many little stories going on there, I don’t know if it would be novel-length. But you never know!

  13. Oh the drama/angst that happens in hospital waiting rooms! It’s something that keeps you on the edge of your seat while at the same time feeling so sad especially if it’s your favorite character’s life that’s on the line.

  14. okay I LOVE this list. have you ever read the family plot by cherie priest? it’s about a group of salvagers who take pieces out of a beautiful old house. it’s so interesting.

    also definitely for hospital waiting room. hospitals in general.

  15. Great list! Some of these ideas would make some really interesting settings in a book. I particularly like the subway tunnels, the hospital waiting room and behind the “Do Not Enter”.

  16. These are a lot of interesting settings, which seem like you have questions to be answered about them. Definitely a lot could be going on here.

  17. You have such creative setting. I would love to read books set in all of the ones you mentioned but especially prehistoric Africa. Ive noticed that most historic books I’ve read are based in Europe or the USA so I would love to read more vastly

  18. Great post! You have a LOT of great ideas for settings, and I’d definitely love to see more of them – especially in a YA or NA setting, because I’m predictable like that.

  19. This list is fantastic — seriously such creative situations! I love it — and now I am seriously have a hankering for clean-up crew books!

  20. Talking of dirty jobs, and the dignity & honour that comes from doing them well, I can highly recommend The Wrench by Primo Levi.

    I would guess you are more an abstract thinker and ideas person, like me, and Primo Levi himself. The contrast between the author and Faussone, the rigger, is masterfully done and Faussone is a highly sympathetic character who tells his story well, a story we have no first-hand experience of but which should be known.

  21. This was a fun list to read and think about and I actually have a suggestion for the Dirty Jobs category: Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines, a SF novel about janitors in the post-apocalypse.

    • Thank you very much. Terminal Alliance sounds amazing! I appreciate the recommendation, and I just requested it from my local library.

  22. Really interesting and unique list Lydia! I’ve not read it, but I believe that Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere uses the London underground as a setting!

  23. Years ago, I read a series centered around national parks. It was cute as I remember, but I’ve never gone back and re-read them. Hope you find some great new books in all of the places and settings you’d like to see more of! Thanks so much for the Finding Wonderland visit last week, Lydia. 🙂

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