books · shanti

Setting in Stone: The big announcement

Hi Virtually Readers! Do you remember Setting in Stone, the feature I’ve been doing for the last few months about the role that settings play in stories? (you better, because I love that feature). Anyway, I started this because I felt like setting representation is more important to me than character representation (which there will be a post about next time it’s my blogging week, don’t you worry ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). I often feel stuck in a rut with settings: so many of the books I read are set in the UK or the US or another place that feelsย  very distant to me.


So I discussed the power of settings for a few months, and I have no intention to stop. But I’d like to make this about more than me. I’m a book blogger who doesn’t live in any of the countries where the big publishing houses are based, and there are lots of other people who do as well. Even if you do happen to live in the UK or the US, it can be boring just reading all of the same settings over and over again.

So I have decided to make Setting in Stone into a challenge.

Is this a reading challenge? nooo

Is it blog hop/ meme challenge? Well, sort of.

What is it, Shanti, I’m sick of this aura of mystery, just tell us how this is going to work!

Basically, it’s about whatever you want it to be…. as long as it focuses on settings outside of the UK/US. (Ideally for me, this will be a setting in Asia/Africa/the Pacific/West Asia/South America/Latin America/The Caribbean, and not mainland Europe/ANZ, in the interest of not just being developed countries, but if you have a little seen setting there, go for it!). So, the Setting in Stone challenge could be you writing a post about books with under utilized settings. It could be you reading, say, two books with ‘exotic’ settings, and writing a blog post with those reviews. It could be a twitter thread of book reccommendations. It could be an instagram post with a picture of a book set in, say, Kuala Lumpur, while you’re actually in Kuala Lumpur.

All I ask is that if you do anything inspired by Setting in Stone, just mention me, link the post, or use the hashtag #SettinginStone. Then leave the link to whatever you do below (in the comments for now, though I hope to create a link up. I’ve been having some issues ugh) so other people (or at least me) can see it. (Realistically, I’m not going to be scouring the internet for people stealing my idea, and I’m not expecting a lot of people to participate, though it will be great if that does happen, and it will be fun, hopefully)

This is going to run until the end of February. Now, I’m going to be very busy doing other things over the next two and a half months, but I’ll do my best to produce more Setting in Stone content and support yours. Hopefully I can get myself organised and think of a cool giveaway open to anyone who participates, but we’ll have to see.

This is really flexible. If you want to use my pretty(ish) graphic, go for it! If you want to make your own, go for it! If you don’t want to use the name Setting in Stone (Shar is not a fan, though I think it’s funny), make up a new name. I’m cool with whatever you do, okay? I just want to spread the love for settings in places that shouldn’t be so unusual.

If you’re in need of inspiration, check out this post, this post, this post or the whole #settinginstone series, or ask me questions and we can brainstorm together in the comments.

For my part, I am challenging myself to read at least 6 books set in non-Global North places and by non-Global North authors in January. If you guys have any recommendations, please let me know!

So is this a good idea or totally crazy? Are you going to participate? what’s your favourite book set outside of the developed world? let me know in the comments!



11 thoughts on “Setting in Stone: The big announcement

  1. THIS IS SUCH A GOOD IDEA! I love reading books set in “unusual” places, I always learn so much whenever I do. I’m definitely guilty of writing books in similar settings, but I suppose it’s because I write about where I live because I know it best. I feel like if you write about somewhere you’ve never been/only visited then it’s kind of inauthentic, or you have to do research until your eyes fall out and even then you might not even get it right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope my setting in stone posts helped you find some more books to read! authentic setting is important too, that’s why I prefer to read settings written by people who have lived there/ are from there.


  2. I think this is a really good idea! You’re right: many books, especially YA books, ensue in America or Britain so it’s not often readers are exposed to different settings and other cultures, experiences etc. tied to those settings. I hope to read more books set outside those areas in the coming year.

    claire @ clairefy

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a cool idea!! I hardly ever think about setting which tbh is probably because all the settings are pretty similar in the books I read. I’m definitely going to try challenge myself to read some books next year that are out of those usual settings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh this is such an amazing challenge, Shanti, I love it SO much. I think we talked about this before, but just like you, I feel like I’m reading too many books with similar settings and I so want to broaden my horizons. I’ll have to see if there are books I can read to join this challenge ๐Ÿ™‚ Great idea, I love it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is so great!! I’d love to read more diverse settings, too. There are SO many awesome places out there…and only a section of them are featured in books. Honestly, I would absolutely LOVE to read more books that are set in Greece, as I’m Greek, and because I hardly EVER see them (actually, now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever read any in YA? Or even Adult? But maybe I’m missing some great ones.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Settings really represent the people who read books in English, but there’s such a lag, because publishing (and the English language) are absolutely global. I actually was reading a book set in Greece last week–Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which you may have heard of


  6. This is so cool!! I hardly ever blog about settings, although I did just recently ๐Ÿ˜‚, and I’d love to more! I always kind of am challenging myself to read more books not set in Westernised countries too, because there’s like so many perspectives and viewpoints and settings to experience out there and I want to read them all and more of it!! I love that you’re making this into a meme. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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