December 19, 2012

On The Map by Simon Garfield


On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the way the World Looks by Simon Garfield
Publisher: Gotham
Publication Date: December 2012
Categories: Cartography, Nonfiction
Source: Gotham Books

Description:

Cartography enthusiasts rejoice: the bestselling author of the Just My Type reveals the fascinating relationship between man and map. Simon Garfield’s Just My Type illuminated the world of fonts and made everyone take a stand on Comic Sans and care about kerning. Now Garfield takes on a subject even dearer to our fanatical human hearts: maps. Imagine a world without maps. How would we travel? Could we own land? What would men and women argue about in cars? Scientists have even suggested that mapping—not language—is what elevated our prehistoric ancestors from ape-dom. 

Follow the history of maps from the early explorers’ maps and the awe-inspiring medieval Mappa Mundi to Google Maps and the satellite renderings on our smartphones, Garfield explores the unique way that maps relate and realign our history—and reflect the best and worst of what makes us human. Featuring a foreword by Dava Sobel and packed with fascinating tales of cartographic intrigue, outsize personalities, and amusing “pocket maps” on an array of subjects from how to fold a map to the strangest maps on the Internet, On the Map is a rich historical tapestry infused with Garfield’s signature narrative flair. 

My Thoughts:

If you would have told me that maps are romantic and fascinating I probably would have smiled at you politely and rolled my eyes behind your back. Maybe even to your face. It's not that I'm that full of snark, it's just that I wouldn't have believed you. After reading On the Map I now know that maps are romantic and fascinating.

This book is just what I love: Nonfiction packed with strange and wonderful facts. Simon Garfield has written a humorous presentation of history told through maps. From cave markings, Lewis & Clark to the maps of the future...I was enthralled from start to finish.

On the Map contains dozens of gorgeous photographs. A sampling:


Mappa Mundi: A scandal in the making: 
Hereford Cathedral's Dean, Peter Haynes (left), and Sotheby's chairman Lord Gowrie 
announce the sale of the Mappa Mundi.

Source
Neverland: The Colgate-Disney map of Neverland— tragically, "of limited use."

I highly recommend On the Map. Highly.



21 comments:

  1. OMG. Ok, this sounds awesome! I love love love maps - they cover the walls in my house. Ok, so not ALL of the walls. But many. And you mentioned a book on typography too? I'm sold. You always review the BEST books. I passed the Hetty Green (I think that was her last name) book along to my stock obsessed bf. He's really enjoying it!

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    1. Thanks Beth! I'm glad your bf is liking the Hetty Green book, I really liked that one :) I want to find Garfield's Just My Type for sure!

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  2. I can sit and look at maps for ages, as can my OH. Think we'd both enjoy this one.

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    1. I hope you both read it then Lindsay, it's a great book!

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  3. I think I'd really like this book, too--I've always been obsessed with maps. Will add it to my list!

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    1. Good to hear! If you like maps you will LOVE this book :)

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  4. This book sounds fantastic. I absolutely love maps. I'm going to add this one to my tbr pile.

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    1. Great! I hope that when you get to it you like it as much as I did :)

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  5. I bought this a little while ago for myself but my boyfriend found it on the shelf the other day and it was *so sweet* to see him squeaking excitedly about this neat book he 'just found'. Maybe he thinks the book fairies add things to the shelves in the night? Can't wait to get to it. :)

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    1. LOL Alex! That is funny! I hope you like it as much as he does :)

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  6. This sounds fantastic! How interesting that it may have been maps, not language, that helped humans develop! Adding this to my list :)

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    1. I couldn't believe how much sense it made while I was reading that section :) I hope you get to this one soon, it's fab!

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  7. This book sounds really interesting! I don't read a lot of nonfiction but I'm definitely going to be adding this book to my TBR list. Great review!

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    1. Thanks Samantha! I'm a big fan of nonfiction and of this book especially :)

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  8. I have to admit that this is not a book I would rush to pick up. But if you like it... I promise to think about it! :)

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    1. Ha! I didn't think I'd be as into it as I ended up being ;)

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  9. I wanna read this SO bad... I'm a huge cartography geek.

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    1. Then you definitely NEED to read this one!! :)

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  10. Jennifer, THIS is what I love about book blogging. Seriously! Normally you'd never read a book about maps, but you found out this one is amazing! And now, you've shared it with people, like me, who might actually pick up a book about maps when normally we could care less! :)

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    1. I know, right?!? Yahoo! :) Seriously, this is a fascinating read, I hope you do get to it!

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  11. I started the book last night and it is a very fun and interesting read. Thank you for the suggestion.

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