Literary Houses

Where I grew up, we have a fantastic public library. I spent many, many happy hours there. When I was in high school, I became addicted to Perry Mason mysteries. (Yes, that’s embarrassing, and yes, I’m a complete NERD, but you already knew that.)  My father checked out of the library with me one night, saw the stack of ten Perry Mason novels and said, “That’s it! For every mystery novel you read, you must read one book off of the classics shelf.” I am eternally grateful that he made me do this. (Of course, compared to what adolescents read nowadays, Perry Mason mysteries are practically classic literature.)

This was how I first read Jane Eyre, and fell in love with the book as many girls do at some point.  The independent soul, awful authority figures, romance, desperation…what’s not to love? I started looking up other books that had to do with Jane Eyre, and happened upon a book that had illustrated drawings of Thornfield Hall, including floor plans.  It also had drawings of other classic books’ houses. It was fantastic to see the world of the book brought to life–I hadn’t known that there were movie versions, and even then there was no Netflix and I don’t think that my friends would have wanted to check out “Jane Eyre” from Blockbuster over watching “Better Off Dead” for the zillionth time.

A few years ago, I tried to find this book. Using the magical power of Google, surely it would be mere seconds before I was in possession of this book. I even hit the “I’m feeling lucky” button. Alas, my search string led me nowhere. I tried every way I could think of to search, to no avail. I even emailed the author of the “Strange Maps” blog to see if he’d heard of it, to no avail.

And then today, for some reason, I read something that referenced Miss Havisham. Miss Havisham, I thought, was in a house, was she not? I wondered if that house was also in the book.  I added “Satis House” to my search, and there it was–available through Amazon from used booksellers, out of print. Even better, the author did a similar book for famous children’s books locales. I feel somewhat ridiculous that it took me years to find a book about literary houses that’s titled, “Literary Houses.

A few clicks later, it’ll be here in a few days. I can’t wait to leaf through it again, though I’m trying to temper my excitement. Maybe I’ll even share it with you.

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