Books are a great form of escape. Through them we can travel to any corner of the planet, no matter how remote – we can even travel to planets not yet discovered, or those born purely in the imaginations of writers from throughout history. Other books act as practical guides to the places we want to visit, navigating us through places to see and things to do.
Equally, we can use books to better get to know the places we live and work in – whether it’s classic fiction or modern realism, diving into a book about your neighborhood will peel back layers you never knew were there and give you the chance to see, hear and smell your hometown anew.
The most popular book settings in each American state
The only difficulty with this is how to actually find the right books about the right places. Going on vacation to New York City or Los Angeles? Then you’ll likely have no problem finding plenty of reading material, but then you face the tyranny of too much choice. But what about if you’re headed somewhere less written about – Bloomington, Indiana or Black Hills, South Dakota – or what if you want to know more about a specific district or neighborhood rather than the whole city?
For armchair travelers everywhere, there’s a new tool from Crossword-Solver that uses Goodreads data to help you find the books set closest to the places you’re interested in – just enter a zip code and see what you can find: uncover books near you.
The data provides some interesting facts. New York City is the most popular literary setting in the US starring in some 2,609 books, followed not that closely by LA, Chicago and San Francisco. Every novel set in Pearl Harbor is listed in the Historical genre on Goodreads. And back to Bloomington, Indiana where we find an impressive 92.59% of all books set there are categorized as Romance novels – so you now know where to go for that anniversary weekend!
The most popular states for book settings
Broken down by the six most popular genres, we find that the Blue Ridge Mountains of Arizona are the number one setting for Fantasy novels, while in the same state it’s Bisbee that’s the focus for Mystery books. Sci-Fi fans should make a beeline for Spokane, Washington while perhaps unsurprisingly in the Thriller genre it’s the nation’s capital that takes the most popular setting spot.
You can see the top ten locations for books across the six main genres on Goodreads and understand the methodology used to create them here.