Placing Literature: Get Out, Walk Your Favorite Novel

by Kelsey Thomas

Ever wish you could be in your favorite literary hero's shoes? While we can't promise you a stroll in Andrea Sachs' Chanel thigh-high boots, we can get you pretty close. Behold Placing Literature, a new website and app that places literary landmarks on a Google map allowing users to map and check in at locations affiliated with books.

As it's largely based on crowdsourcing, the map includes only a smattering of books so far, and many of the works included have only major landmarks rather than full scenes. Yet already literature nerds everywhere are rejoicing over the fun possibilities: Make DFW's Infinite Jest even more visceral on a trip to Boston with a stop at the Ennet House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House, or while visiting Dublin take a jaunt to Blackrock to visit Martello Tower and reminisce about the opening scene of Ulysses by James Joyce. Fans of The Joy Luck Club can even follow the book from San Francisco to China. Sign me up.

The co-founders, author Andrew Bardin Williams and his sister-in-law Kathleen Colin Williams, are in the process of developing partnerships with libraries and educators and hope that eventually users will be able to harness the site to put together trips and walking tours, for educational purposes and academic research, and to form communities based on literature.

"The goal is to gather as much data as we possibly can, get people to share it, and get people to start exploring their neighborhoods and their communities," Williams told Cnet. "We're ready to turn it over to the community now and see what happens with it."

Follow their progress and additions from users on their website and Facebook. And if any Bustle readers want to map out their favorite books we've reviewed, perhaps we'll join you for a walking tour.