Good morning Virtually Readers. You are all travelers, going back and forth between cities and oceans and galaxies and all the places in between (usually through books let’s be real). So it is with great pleasure today that I can give you a guide to one of the most wonderful places of all: an island. Sometimes these islands are magical; sometimes they are tropical. Whatever it is, you’ll be glad you went there.
Description: The key feature of the island is its isolation from the rest of the world. This can create a magical feeling where relationships are more intense, and time has its own spin. This creates a story that is compelling, for how self sustaining it is. The outside world loses its influence; you are in a bubble of island life. But islands still have problems; don’t forget that, no matter how absorbing they are. Islands are still part of the world, and that is part of what makes them so worth visiting. Don’t let the island consume you, despite the wonder of the ceaseless ocean and the people. Each island is unique, and therefore it is worthwhile to visit several, just to get a sense of the breadth and range of this location.
People: The gorgeous pageant contestants of Beauty Queens (by Libba Bray); Puck and Sean from Thisby, in The Scorpio Races (by Maggie Stiefvater); Morveren and Jenna from Stormswept (by Helen Dunmore); Persis, from Across a Star Swept Sea (by Diana Peterfreund); Sophie from A Brief History of Montmaray (by Michelle Cooper); Tamsen, from Young Widows Club (by Alexandra Coutts); Anne, from Anne of Green Gables (by L.M. Montgomery); Frances from Daughter of Deep Silence (by Carrie Ryan); Katie Morag from Katie Morag (by Mairi Hedderwick and okay this is technically a childrens picture books series but IT’S REALLY BEAUTIFUL) .
History: Some islands have been there forever, such as Thisby. Others are seemingly newly inhabited, like the island in Beauty Queens. Wherever you are, there are often residents who would love to introduce you to the history. Pick up a brochure, ask someone at the local shop. If you’re really lucky, someone may have written a history—for example, the isle of Montmaray has a Brief History written by Princess Veronica Fitzosbourne.
Where to Stay: Many islands have a bed and breakfast where you can stay. Otherwise, you’ll have to hope you can find a castle or a friendly resident. If the island is uninhabited, Robinson Crusoe it up (or Swiss family Robinson if you’re with others) and make huts, feed yourself from the jungle and so on. You can do it. (probably.)
Culture: Island culture, rather like finches on the Galapogos islands, develops independently. Try to figure that out. Some places have water horses, others have grief support groups, vengeance plots, or mermaids. Most islands have a hatred of tourists. So don’t act like a tourist. Be genuinely interested. Don’t be a prat. This is good life advice in general. Islanders don’t like to be taken for granted; ask them questions, discover what makes them different, what makes you the same. Be respectful. Also enjoy the food. Islands, at least those with decent housekeepers, have great food, like November cakes. You can visit islands at any time of year—so what are you waiting for? If you can’t *actually* go to an island, spray some salt water in the air, grab a book, and commence your journey.
What’s your favourite book set on an island? Have you read any of these ones? let me know in the comments!