I’ve been thinking of all the different ways books have inspired me throughout my life since Marissa shared her bookish bucket list last month. Even though things are definitely different this year, and we’ve decided to stay safe at home until 2021, I wanted to share five places from my book-based bucket list that are in the US. I hope that the Bookmobile Tour resumes in 2021 and that I have the chance to start crossing off a few of these next year.
1. Stay in the Napping House
Growing up, I loved The Napping House Wakes Up by Audrey & Don Wood. I had this awesome pop-up book version (that I finally tracked down in my parents’ house!) that I would read all the time. The book begins with the line, “There is a house, a napping house, where everyone is sleeping” and that’s just the energy I need right now. As silly as it sounds, considering we’re currently working from home, not traveling, and staying safe to reduce risk and spread of COVID-19, I would like a restful and relaxing napping vacation in a quaint napping house. While trolling through Airbnb, I found a self-proclaimed “Napping House” right on the lake in Lebanon, CT. I think when we find ourselves headed to New England, I may have to set a bit of personal time aside to stay in this cozy cabin and catch some Zzzs.
2. Study Hoodoo in “The Big Easy”
I’m interested in all sorts of cultures and customs from around the world, but nothing tickles my fancy quite like the southern magic of hoodoo. I have a list of different shops, museums, and locations I’m anxiously awaiting to check out when we make our way to New Orleans. New Orleans is on my literary bucket list for a few different authors, and for the chance to eat beignets, but most recently, I have been inspired to visit New Orleans while diving into The Diviners series by Libba Bray. One of the main characters, Henry, hails from southern nobility. Bray’s use of his southern drawl and his overall genteel demeanor makes me yearn for some southern hospitality, while the book’s content has me craving the mystic. This is also a beautifully narrated series, so if you love audiobooks as much as I do, I’d definitely check it out!
3. Cape Cod Curiosities
It’s no secret I’m a HUGE fan of life on the Cape, but after my visit last year to Cape Cod–and reading Cape Cod Curiosities by Robin Smith-Johnson—my list of reasons to return expanded. If saying that I wanted to study Hoodoo in New Orleans wasn’t a tip-off, I love all things supernatural, paranormal, and true-crime. With that in mind, it should be no wonder that I want to visit Hyannis Public Library, which is said to be the home of many ghosts. Cape Cod also boasts a host of cryptids (like the Pukwudgie), true crime cases, and many other mysteries on the water.
4. Peanuts in West Texas
In her book You Deserve a Drink, comedian, actor, and YouTube personality, Mamrie Hart, regales us with her life stories and experiences. In a chapter devoted to a childhood trip to visit family in Texas, Hart talks about the many different ways “The particular part of Texas we were in was known for its peanuts.” From peanut candy to peanut barbecue sauce, she lists it all. The strangest “recipe” that caught my eye was dumping a pack of peanuts into a glass bottle of Coca Cola, and enjoying the now salty Coke and sweet peanuts! While sure, I could try this at home, I was left nostalgic for trips out of state and experiencing these new and unique parts of American culture.
5. The Warren Museum
My last point (at least for today) brings my whole list full circle. This combines my love of the ooky-spooky, with my need to go to Connecticut to book a stay in the Napping House. Nestled in Monroe, CT, the Warren’s Occult Museum has become the home of a large collection of haunted artifacts gathered by the world’s most famous paranormal investigators. You may know of Ed and Lorraine Warren for “The Conjuring” or “Annabelle,” but I know them from The Demonologist by Gerard Brittle, covering “The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren.” Whether or not you believe in the paranormal, I think it’s fascinating to see the world through the eyes of two people so revered within their field.
If you were to look at my list next to Marissa’s list, you’d see that we’re pretty similar, but also very different! I tend to go the way of a lazy, relaxed vibe for my trips, where as Marissa would be climbing mountains and pitching tents! All in all, I know I miss meeting friendly faces at libraries, making waffles in hotels, and checking out fun (and sometimes spooky) places all across the country.