Friday, January 13, 2006

Traveling Literary America by B. J. Welborn

Across the U.S., in places large and small, local organizations and government bodies maintain literary landmarks for students and travellers to visit. Many are homes of famous authors, like Edgar Allan Poe or Flannery O'Connor. Looking through Traveling Literary America by B. J. Welborn, I see some hotspots, particularly Concord, Massachusetts, and Hartford, Connecticut. Some author landmarks are in remote locals, requiring long drives. I have many still to visit.

Traveling Literary America combines practical information, such as locations, hours, and what to see, with background on the authors honored by landmarks. Most authors even get a bibliography. Having been to Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House in Concord and the O. Henry House in Austin, I think their entries are good. The book lacks (1) indexes by author and place, (2) national and regional maps showing the distribution of landmarks, and (3) photos of the landmarks. I hope the author considers adding these features if another edition is considered.

Even with its shortcomings, I have enjoyed looking at the book. Going to Hartford, Connecticut is now on my wishlist.

Welborn, B. J. Traveling Literary America: A Complete Guide to Literary Landmarks. Lookout Mountain, Tennessee: Jefferson Press, 2005. ISBN 0971897425

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