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It’s one of the first things we discover as children, reading and drawing: Maps have a unique power to transport us to distant lands on wondrous travels. Put a map at the start of a book, and we know an adventure is going to follow. Displaying this truth with beautiful full-color illustrations, The Writer’s Map is an atlas of the journeys that our most creative storyteller It’s one of the first things we discover as children, reading and drawing: Maps have a unique power to transport us to distant lands on wondrous travels. Put a map at the start of a book, and we know an adventure is going to follow. Displaying this truth with beautiful full-color illustrations, The Writer’s Map is an atlas of the journeys that our most creative storytellers have made throughout their lives. This magnificent collection encompasses not only the maps that appear in their books but also the many maps that have inspired them, the sketches that they used while writing, and others that simply sparked their curiosity.   Philip Pullman recounts the experience of drawing a map as he set out on one of his early novels, The Tin Princess. Miraphora Mina recalls the creative challenge of drawing up ”The Marauder’s Map” for the Harry Potter films. David Mitchell leads us to the Mappa Mundi by way of Cloud Atlas and his own sketch maps. Robert Macfarlane reflects on the cartophilia that has informed his evocative nature writing, which was set off by Robert Louis Stevenson and his map of Treasure Island. Joanne Harris tells of her fascination with Norse maps of the universe. Reif Larsen writes about our dependence on GPS and the impulse to map our experience. Daniel Reeve describes drawing maps and charts for The Hobbit film trilogy. This exquisitely crafted and illustrated atlas explores these and so many more of the maps writers create and are inspired by—some real, some imagined—in both words and images.   Amid a cornucopia of 167 full-color images, we find here maps of the world as envisaged in medieval times, as well as maps of adventure, sci-fi and fantasy, nursery rhymes, literary classics, and collectible comics. An enchanting visual and verbal journey, The Writer’s Map will be irresistible for lovers of maps, literature, and memories—and anyone prone to flights of the imagination.  


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It’s one of the first things we discover as children, reading and drawing: Maps have a unique power to transport us to distant lands on wondrous travels. Put a map at the start of a book, and we know an adventure is going to follow. Displaying this truth with beautiful full-color illustrations, The Writer’s Map is an atlas of the journeys that our most creative storyteller It’s one of the first things we discover as children, reading and drawing: Maps have a unique power to transport us to distant lands on wondrous travels. Put a map at the start of a book, and we know an adventure is going to follow. Displaying this truth with beautiful full-color illustrations, The Writer’s Map is an atlas of the journeys that our most creative storytellers have made throughout their lives. This magnificent collection encompasses not only the maps that appear in their books but also the many maps that have inspired them, the sketches that they used while writing, and others that simply sparked their curiosity.   Philip Pullman recounts the experience of drawing a map as he set out on one of his early novels, The Tin Princess. Miraphora Mina recalls the creative challenge of drawing up ”The Marauder’s Map” for the Harry Potter films. David Mitchell leads us to the Mappa Mundi by way of Cloud Atlas and his own sketch maps. Robert Macfarlane reflects on the cartophilia that has informed his evocative nature writing, which was set off by Robert Louis Stevenson and his map of Treasure Island. Joanne Harris tells of her fascination with Norse maps of the universe. Reif Larsen writes about our dependence on GPS and the impulse to map our experience. Daniel Reeve describes drawing maps and charts for The Hobbit film trilogy. This exquisitely crafted and illustrated atlas explores these and so many more of the maps writers create and are inspired by—some real, some imagined—in both words and images.   Amid a cornucopia of 167 full-color images, we find here maps of the world as envisaged in medieval times, as well as maps of adventure, sci-fi and fantasy, nursery rhymes, literary classics, and collectible comics. An enchanting visual and verbal journey, The Writer’s Map will be irresistible for lovers of maps, literature, and memories—and anyone prone to flights of the imagination.  

30 review for The Writer's Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands

  1. 5 out of 5

    Marc

    This first and foremost seems a coffee table book to look at and marvel: it’s full of imagined maps, old and new, mostly made to accompany stories ranging from Gulliver's Travels or Robinson Crusoe to Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and Harry Potter. Various writers and illustrators testify to their fascination for maps and how they portray the real reality, or the reality of a story. Because that is a recurring theme: reality and imagination are only separated by a vague dividing line, and in many c This first and foremost seems a coffee table book to look at and marvel: it’s full of imagined maps, old and new, mostly made to accompany stories ranging from Gulliver's Travels or Robinson Crusoe to Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and Harry Potter. Various writers and illustrators testify to their fascination for maps and how they portray the real reality, or the reality of a story. Because that is a recurring theme: reality and imagination are only separated by a vague dividing line, and in many cases they run together. Editor Huw Lewis-Jones aptly puts it this way: “Maps are invitations. We can read them, read with them, draw and redraw them, use them, share them, add and alter them, enter into them. As representations, they are always partial, always incomplete, and yet they always offer us more than what is held there on paper alone. Maps begin a story. They send us off on new journeys, set our feet moving and our minds racing. Maps inform us and they encourage wonder. Maps give us guidance and direction, and show us the range of a territory, but they can only ever suggest a greater whole. The rest is up to you”. I think that says it all. So in the end, this isn't just a coffee table book, is it?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Vintage

    This book is enchanting! I love it! I bought it for my son as he loves maps, geography, fantasy, history, imagination and the list goes on. For avid readers of children's literature particularly fantasy and magic (Harry Potter, Narnia, LOTR, etc) the book has detailed black and white and color copies of all the popular maps plus more. I've already found one map The Land of Make Believe map which is so charming and would make a great addition to a child's room. There are chapters from either the poi This book is enchanting! I love it! I bought it for my son as he loves maps, geography, fantasy, history, imagination and the list goes on. For avid readers of children's literature particularly fantasy and magic (Harry Potter, Narnia, LOTR, etc) the book has detailed black and white and color copies of all the popular maps plus more. I've already found one map The Land of Make Believe map which is so charming and would make a great addition to a child's room. There are chapters from either the point of view of the author and how maps from other books impacted their imagination and writing as well as one from the illustrator that created the letters and Marauder's Map for the Harry Potter movies. The details of what was needed to create a magical letters map that was beyond the norm was fascinating. This is one of those books that I want to give to each and every long-time fantasy reader and friend as it has so many old literary favorites as well as new ones you will want to explore.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    If for nothing else, I must give this five stars simply for the design. This is a fantastically well-made book—from the dust jacket, through the typesetting, to the end notes, to the end papers. Even the paper quality itself is nice stock. As with any anthology, the writing itself varies. Most of it is musings on how inspiring maps are. The best pieces are thoughts from Miraphora Mina on Harry Potter and Daniel Reeve on Lord of the Rings, who did cartography, calligraphy, and other artwork for t If for nothing else, I must give this five stars simply for the design. This is a fantastically well-made book—from the dust jacket, through the typesetting, to the end notes, to the end papers. Even the paper quality itself is nice stock. As with any anthology, the writing itself varies. Most of it is musings on how inspiring maps are. The best pieces are thoughts from Miraphora Mina on Harry Potter and Daniel Reeve on Lord of the Rings, who did cartography, calligraphy, and other artwork for the films. The value in this book is in the physicality of it, more than the content of the writing. Give this to any lover of fantasy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Richey

    I became a map-lover at age 7 or 8. I had this old green atlas from the 1970s that I would fall asleep with every night looking at the maps of places I'd never been and wanted to visit and memorizing the countries and their capitals. I also loved road maps. When we moved from Washington to Colorado when I was 10, I loved following our route halfway across the country as we traveled. I would beg my father to drive out of our way so that we could go through states to which I had not yet been; I re I became a map-lover at age 7 or 8. I had this old green atlas from the 1970s that I would fall asleep with every night looking at the maps of places I'd never been and wanted to visit and memorizing the countries and their capitals. I also loved road maps. When we moved from Washington to Colorado when I was 10, I loved following our route halfway across the country as we traveled. I would beg my father to drive out of our way so that we could go through states to which I had not yet been; I remember he obliged me once (but only once). When I was 8 or 9 I began drawing my own maps of made up worlds. The primary reason for doing so was to counteract the sadness I felt because there were no new places on earth to find. I drew and redrew these maps through my teenage years and still have one of them. Reading this book was like returning to my childhood. It's written by a variety of authors, many of them illustrators who draw maps for imaginary worlds or the authors who invent them. The best part of the book however are the maps themselves. Some are imaginary maps of our world drawn in the Middle Ages or the maps of Narnia, Middle Earth, Neverland, Treasure Island and a host of places that I inhabited as a young person and am still transported to as I share these stories with my children. I loved the experience of reading this book and studying the maps. It made me want to return to the maps I drew in my youth. Maybe I will.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    A beautiful book, but scattershot. I liked it, and it was (mostly) fun to browse. The illustrations are well-reproduced, and their interesting-factor (for me) was all over the map (heh). The essays, well. Some were interesting, others I skimmed. I did a lot of skimming, actually. It's a good book for browsing -- and skimming. I love maps. In my days as a field geologist, I worked on topographic maps, geologic maps, air photos, satellite imagery, remote-sensing false-color stuff. A colleague once A beautiful book, but scattershot. I liked it, and it was (mostly) fun to browse. The illustrations are well-reproduced, and their interesting-factor (for me) was all over the map (heh). The essays, well. Some were interesting, others I skimmed. I did a lot of skimming, actually. It's a good book for browsing -- and skimming. I love maps. In my days as a field geologist, I worked on topographic maps, geologic maps, air photos, satellite imagery, remote-sensing false-color stuff. A colleague once said he would read a detailed map like a book -- a good observation, true for me too. Still is. So the fantasy stuff, I get a little impatient with (unless I don't). I've gotten impatient with reproductions of historic maps, especially the seriously old stuff -- which are very hard to make out (for me anyway) in the photo-reductions here and elsewhere. The few real historic maps I've seen are more interesting -- but aren't made available to handle, for obvious reasons. My background is much different than most people, and (as you can see) most people seem happy with the book. So, if it sounds interesting, see if your library has a copy and try it, is my advice. My favorite art in the book wasn't a map at all, but an illustration from Mervyn Peake's first book, "Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor" (1939). I couldn't find that one online, but here are some samples: https://gatheringbooks.org/2016/12/05... (scroll down). I wonder if Dr. Seuss came across this book when he he was young? Seems likely.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    Cartography is a somewhat underappreciated aspect of fantasy literature, and this book does a good job at putting fantasy literature with a sense of place that helps both the writer and the reader better understand the worldbuilding that is going on.  Sometimes as storytellers we can better understand the works we are reading or writing once we put pen to paper and sketch out the world we are dealing with?  What is the nature of the city we are dealing with?  Is it one of Calvino's shifting geog Cartography is a somewhat underappreciated aspect of fantasy literature, and this book does a good job at putting fantasy literature with a sense of place that helps both the writer and the reader better understand the worldbuilding that is going on.  Sometimes as storytellers we can better understand the works we are reading or writing once we put pen to paper and sketch out the world we are dealing with?  What is the nature of the city we are dealing with?  Is it one of Calvino's shifting geographies, or is it somewhere that is heavily rural?  What kind of rivers or mountains or forests or deserts are there in the world?  Is there one empire or scattered city-states or a few rival nations and peoples?  Knowing these answers can hep shape the sort of experience that is being written about, and can help the writer and reader zero in on the particular places that are most important.  Maybe there is an area that is contested between different nations, or a remote area where no one would expect a hero to come from or something like that.  That would make an obvious place to focus on. This particular book is made up of four parts with several other pieces of miscellaneous material written by various authors.  The book begins with a prologue by Philip Pullman, best known for the His Dark Materials trilogy.  After that comes two essays in the first part of the book on make believe, looking at literary geographies and the mapping of memories.  After that comes several essays on the writing of maps, which examine first steps, going off the grid, looking at the Viking worldview as well as other examples of imaginary cartography, and looking at imagination and what is wild.  The third part of the book looks at the creation of maps, ranging from Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings to other faerie stories and even Robinson Crusoe.  The fourth part of the book then discusses the reading of maps in such areas as Dungeons & Dragons as well as the landscapes of the mind and the discovery of the unknown.  There is also a postscript of sorts where someone discusses the beauty of books and also ends with some notes about the contributors, acknowledgments, suggestions for further reading, sources of quotations, sources of illustrations, and an index, for a total of about 250 pages or so. For the most part, this is a very excellent book and it was enjoyable to read.  There is definitely some evidence, though, that many of the contributors of this book did not read what others had written, because a lot of the individual essays here cover the same small set of material over and over again, especially when it comes to maps of Middle Earth and Narnia, which are mentioned repeatedly by many of the contributors.  This book could have been even better if the editor had made sure that the authors didn't continually circle around to the same few fantasy worlds and their maps over and over again but explored a broader range of fantasy worlds, or better yet had more original worlds that were not familiar to the reader.  At any rate, this book does succeed at expressing an appreciation for the maps of fantasy worlds and also in encouraging future fantasy writers to pay attention to the mapping of their own or other fantasy worlds.  Whether or not the reader views cartography as important in fantasy worlds, the fact that one is reading this book indicates that the subject is at least of some interest.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pop Bop

    A Very Mixed Bag of "Story-Maps" Read this book blurb carefully - "The Writer’s Map is an atlas of the journeys that our most creative storytellers have made throughout their lives.". It tells you more about this book than perhaps the publisher intended. A great deal of the text, (and there is a lot of text), is by writers and illustrators who share their personal histories with maps - as children, as readers, as "book lovers", as professional writers, and as artists. The book is illustrated with A Very Mixed Bag of "Story-Maps" Read this book blurb carefully - "The Writer’s Map is an atlas of the journeys that our most creative storytellers have made throughout their lives.". It tells you more about this book than perhaps the publisher intended. A great deal of the text, (and there is a lot of text), is by writers and illustrators who share their personal histories with maps - as children, as readers, as "book lovers", as professional writers, and as artists. The book is illustrated with examples - some familiar, some unique, some prosaic, and some odd and lovely - but for the greater part this is a collection of personal essays, mixed up with a rather disordered and idiosyncratic survey of maps in literature and also maps generally through the ages. There are some hits, (the story behind the Harry Potter Marauder's Map or the challenges of creating the various maps used as props in the "Lord of the Rings" movies), and some juvenilia and ephemera that may be of interest mostly to devoted fans of the Brontes, Thoreau, "Pilgrim's Progress", Arthur Ransome, "Treasure Island", Moominland, and so on. Interspersed through this, (the book has chapter and section headings, but they are more poetic flights of fancy than an actual table of contents), are first person testimonials by a wide and varied cast of writers. These bits range considerably in appeal and interest. (I did think it was especially interesting to compare the maps that were doodled by authors with the final maps that were prepared for publication by professional illustrators based on those doodles.) The maps themselves are first rate, and range from the familiar to the odd, with lots of stops inbetween. The appeal of the text varies, and sometimes the contributors lay it on a bit thick. But there is something for everyone, since the list of contributors is rather impressive. You'll find lengthy essays from Chris Ridell, Cressida Crowell, Robert Macfarlane, Francis Hardinge, Joanne Harris, David Mitchell, Kiran Hargrave, Lev Grossman, Brian Selznick, and a host of other contemporary writers with whom you may or may not be familiar. The upshot for me was that this ended up being a quite satisfying, if somewhat haphazard, browsable book. (Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-x-days Adobe Digital copy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    I have read a ton in my life but never a book like The Writer's Map, which is a wonder! So captivating to look at and read, this gorgeous book contains the world — literally — within its 167 full-color images. Included are medieval maps and others related to the classics, sci-fi and fantasy, adventure, collectible comics, and nursery rhymes. For readers who fancy maps, literature and high adventure. 5/5 Thanks to the author, the University of Chicago Press and NetGalley for the review copy. Opini I have read a ton in my life but never a book like The Writer's Map, which is a wonder! So captivating to look at and read, this gorgeous book contains the world — literally — within its 167 full-color images. Included are medieval maps and others related to the classics, sci-fi and fantasy, adventure, collectible comics, and nursery rhymes. For readers who fancy maps, literature and high adventure. 5/5 Thanks to the author, the University of Chicago Press and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #TheWriter'sMap #NetGalley

  9. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    As a big reader of fantasy fiction, I found this atlas of imaginary lands so fascinating. At the best of times, I get very excited when I find maps in the books I’m reading so to have a collection of the most noted ones in a book is pretty cool. Such incredible and detailed artwork of the maps we found in stories we know and love from Narnia to Lord of the Rings to Moby Dick to Harry Potter and much more. The book gives insight as to how these maps came to be and how in some cases, the map actua As a big reader of fantasy fiction, I found this atlas of imaginary lands so fascinating. At the best of times, I get very excited when I find maps in the books I’m reading so to have a collection of the most noted ones in a book is pretty cool. Such incredible and detailed artwork of the maps we found in stories we know and love from Narnia to Lord of the Rings to Moby Dick to Harry Potter and much more. The book gives insight as to how these maps came to be and how in some cases, the map actually wrote the story which is now a treasured favourite! Definitely a collectable for those who like me, adore ‘bookish maps’.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lorianne Reuser

    Ever since I was a child and my babysitter drew careful treasure maps for me to follow through the house, I have loved maps. I’m not even sure what came first - my love for fantasy fiction or my love for maps. This incredibly gorgeous book with its collection of essays and reminisces of writers and artists about stories and maps is one that you happily fall into and rediscover the wonder, the magic of fantasy worlds. I spent hours lost in tracing the colour illustrations, making my own pathways Ever since I was a child and my babysitter drew careful treasure maps for me to follow through the house, I have loved maps. I’m not even sure what came first - my love for fantasy fiction or my love for maps. This incredibly gorgeous book with its collection of essays and reminisces of writers and artists about stories and maps is one that you happily fall into and rediscover the wonder, the magic of fantasy worlds. I spent hours lost in tracing the colour illustrations, making my own pathways through The Hundred Acre Wood, Treasure Island, Narnia. This is a book to treasure, and will inspire you to explore both the page and the world.

  11. 4 out of 5

    raffaela

    The Writer's Map is a collection of short essays by various authors and illustrators about map-making and story-telling, interspersed, of course, by plenty of gorgeous maps. As a writer, I gained insight in how to use maps to help me in my writing, and the maps were interesting and inspiring. The essays themselves are a mixed bag, inevitably, but they're so short that it's easy to skim over the meh ones and linger longer over the better ones. In short, it's a good resource for creative types and The Writer's Map is a collection of short essays by various authors and illustrators about map-making and story-telling, interspersed, of course, by plenty of gorgeous maps. As a writer, I gained insight in how to use maps to help me in my writing, and the maps were interesting and inspiring. The essays themselves are a mixed bag, inevitably, but they're so short that it's easy to skim over the meh ones and linger longer over the better ones. In short, it's a good resource for creative types and a feel-good book for anyone who loves books and maps.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it! It’s one of the first things we discover as children, reading and drawing: Maps have a unique power to transport us to distant lands on wondrous travels. Put a map at the start of a book, and we know an adventure is going to follow. Displaying this truth with beautiful full-colour illustrati I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it! It’s one of the first things we discover as children, reading and drawing: Maps have a unique power to transport us to distant lands on wondrous travels. Put a map at the start of a book, and we know an adventure is going to follow. Displaying this truth with beautiful full-colour illustrations, The Writer’s Map is an atlas of the journeys that our most creative storytellers have made throughout their lives. This magnificent collection encompasses not only the maps that appear in their books but also the many maps that have inspired them, the sketches that they used while writing, and others that simply sparked their curiosity. Philip Pullman recounts the experience of drawing a map as he set out on one of his early novels, The Tin Princess. Miraphora Mina recalls the creative challenge of drawing up ”The Marauder’s Map” for the Harry Potter films. David Mitchell leads us to the Mappa Mundi by way of Cloud Atlas and his own sketch maps. Robert Macfarlane reflects on the cartophilia that has informed his evocative nature writing, which was set off by Robert Louis Stevenson and his map of Treasure Island. Joanne Harris tells of her fascination with Norse maps of the universe. Reif Larsen writes about our dependence on GPS and the impulse to map our experience. Daniel Reeve describes drawing maps and charts for The Hobbit film trilogy. This exquisitely crafted and illustrated atlas explores these and so many more of the maps writers create and are inspired by—some real, some imagined—in both words and images. Amid a cornucopia of 167 full-colour images, we find here maps of the world as envisaged in medieval times, as well as maps of adventure, sci-fi and fantasy, nursery rhymes, literary classics, and collectable comics. An enchanting visual and verbal journey, The Writer’s Map will be irresistible for lovers of maps, literature, and memories—and anyone prone to flights of the imagination. I, too, love maps and have always been drawn to atlases of all kinds. This one was interesting and I really loved the one of Canada, being a Canadian and looking for books that I have read all over that map. Everyone's story and map read as its own chapter/novella which was enjoyable as it was not one that you had to keep reading on and on like an NF book for it to make sense. In fact, you may pick and chose maps like I did to follow your favourite reads and ignore the ones you loathed. (Hobbits, for me!..sheer torturous books those are) A great book for a book lover and those with cartophilia (aka a map lover).

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nostalgia Reader

    3.5 stars. A love letter to literary maps, written by 24 writers and illustrators. Each brief essay gives the reader a glimpse into the author’s childhood, creative process, what maps they’ve found to be most influential on their careers as illustrators of maps or authors of books with maps (and oftentimes, both). The essays are complemented by many photos of a variety of maps, ranging from historical atlases to drafts of worlds (including original drafts of Narnia and Mordor) to the final elabor 3.5 stars. A love letter to literary maps, written by 24 writers and illustrators. Each brief essay gives the reader a glimpse into the author’s childhood, creative process, what maps they’ve found to be most influential on their careers as illustrators of maps or authors of books with maps (and oftentimes, both). The essays are complemented by many photos of a variety of maps, ranging from historical atlases to drafts of worlds (including original drafts of Narnia and Mordor) to the final elaborate endpaper maps. Each essay focuses on the author’s personal experience with maps and adventure, and how they morphed that into their creative employment of today. Some focus more on their present works, detailing their processes of how they start mapping before they write (or sometimes the other way round), while others detail their journey through maps of childhood, whether mapping their childhood explorations or losing themselves in the endpaper maps of a kids book. Even if some of the essayist’s names don’t immediately sound familiar, after reading their essays (or their bios), you’ll realize you’ve likely been familiar with their work for quite some time. Although many of their journeys and observations are similar, they each have their own path that brought them to their love of maps today–much like a map itself. While I was hoping for a bit more of a historical bent to the book, rather than personal essays, I still enjoyed the journey through multitudes of worlds and maps, and was introduced to a few new books and maps along the way (most influential find: “An ancient mappe of Fairyland” from Bernard Sleigh). Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy to review! (Cross posted on my blog.)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

    Hovering between 3.5 and 4. Absolutely gorgeous book. Some of the essays are repetitive, and quite a few are dismissive of technology. Really loved looking at the maps though.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chocolategoddess

    This is such a gorgeous book, it's worth it for the pictures alone. Almost every fictional map I can think of is represented here, with many I've never seen before, and many non-fictional maps too. There are images of gorgeous historical maps I've never heard of and types of navigational charts that are new to me. The text is hit and miss. Each chapter is written by a different person. Some of them are enjoyable explorations of a writer's process, or a recollection of how they became fascinated w This is such a gorgeous book, it's worth it for the pictures alone. Almost every fictional map I can think of is represented here, with many I've never seen before, and many non-fictional maps too. There are images of gorgeous historical maps I've never heard of and types of navigational charts that are new to me. The text is hit and miss. Each chapter is written by a different person. Some of them are enjoyable explorations of a writer's process, or a recollection of how they became fascinated with maps. Some are tantalising hints of their favourite maps. mentioned only in a brief sentence, making me want to go and seek them out. These chapters are lovely and a pleasure to read. Quite a few are simply ramblings about why maps are important and why they trigger our imagination. The first one or two were interesting but by the time I was at the end of the book they just seemed like meaningless, self-indulgent twaddle filled with metaphors that don't make sense, which the editor should have cut. The creator of the famous film version of the Marauder's Map, for instance, could have given us a really interesting bit of insight into how she came up with it. Instead it reads like some kind of marketing copy talking in a sterile fashion about how she got involved and how long it took to make the films. Not really what you're here for in this book. Conversely, the guy who did the maps of Middle-earth for the Lord of the Rings trilogy wrote a fascinating chapter about how he got involved, what he used to create the maps, things that went wrong while doing it, and what other maps he went on to make, talking about his thought process for them. The lacklustre chapters are a bit disappointing, but it's only enough to knock off one star on this rating, because otherwise this was a great read and something I'll enjoy picking up to have a gander at the pictures for many years to come.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sissel

    A delightful book about maps. I loved it so much!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marta Pelrine-Bacon

    I loved this book because it transported me back to so many other books I've loved. I loved this book because it transported me back to so many other books I've loved.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Reads Books

    The Writer’s Map has to be one of the most interesting concepts for a book that I’ve seen in quite some time. Within its pages, the reader is introduced to the great imaginary literary worlds and the maps that inspired them and the maps that came from their stories and descriptions. The book is divided into several section, with each being written by a current author or illustrator. Details are given as to what fueled their love for writing about faraway places or their experiences that led to t The Writer’s Map has to be one of the most interesting concepts for a book that I’ve seen in quite some time. Within its pages, the reader is introduced to the great imaginary literary worlds and the maps that inspired them and the maps that came from their stories and descriptions. The book is divided into several section, with each being written by a current author or illustrator. Details are given as to what fueled their love for writing about faraway places or their experiences that led to their interest in literary maps. The sections hit upon such famous maps and places as Mordor, The Marauders Map, PL Travers London, Treaure Island and many more. I always appreciate a glimpse into the history of books and the authors who write them, so I was fascinated with this unique topic. I do think a physical book would be the best format for this read, as it would enable the reader a better way to really view all of the details in the photos of the maps provided. Overall, this was truly a unique look into both the history of maps and imaginary worlds and, also the stories behind our favorite authors. I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher given in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mia

    Good selection of essays by other map obsessives. Most of them got hooked discovering books-with-maps while growing up, eg Tolkien, Pooh, Pullman, so many more (lots I had never encountered). Plenty of references and leads to follow up. The plates are not as crisp as one would hope for, but a fantastic array of maps.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Etienne

    No really what I was expecting. I would have taken more maps and less writing. This is an interesting concept and the maps are beautiful. Just not necessarily the way I would have done it or wanted it. Good idea but the execution could have been better!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Debbi

    Beautifully illustrated but not exactly what I thought it would be.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alex Sarll

    A gorgeous, enormous book in which to lose oneself – and I normally have no truck with anti-ebook grumps, but I really can't see this one working half so well in anything but its atlas-like hardback edition. As the title suggests, it's a celebration of maps in books – normally, though not exclusively, the fantastical or at least deeply idiosyncratic sort of map. It interleaves essays (by writers, mapmakers, readers and wanderers) with quotations from others, and above all with examples of the fo A gorgeous, enormous book in which to lose oneself – and I normally have no truck with anti-ebook grumps, but I really can't see this one working half so well in anything but its atlas-like hardback edition. As the title suggests, it's a celebration of maps in books – normally, though not exclusively, the fantastical or at least deeply idiosyncratic sort of map. It interleaves essays (by writers, mapmakers, readers and wanderers) with quotations from others, and above all with examples of the form. Some crop up more than once – Middle Earth, of course, but also my new favourite, the Ancient Mappe of Fairyland – which doesn't matter in the least; part of the point of the exercise is to remind us how inexhaustible a good map should be, how it will always hint at some fresh adventure. Contributors include the likes of Robert Macfarlane, Sandi Toksvig, Peter Firmin, and have I ever mentioned how perfect I find it that even in our world, the Marauder's Map was created by someone with the deeply Rowlingesque name of Miraphora Mina? There's also a piece by David 'Not The Funny One' Mitchell, but hey, no anthology is perfect, and the fact that he creates maps for his books but then doesn't even include them in the published editions is as good an explanation as any for why I was never going to gel with his work. I forget which contributor it was who mentioned the way a map inspires the conflicting yet somehow complementary urges to set out to explore the world, and to make another cup of tea before further perusing the map, but oh heavens, they're so right. Although apart from that general longing, the most precise sentiment with which this left me was a wry smile at the Inklings. After all, it's now a commonplace to point out that, as against Tolkien's studious construction of his invented languages, his maps are a geological nonsense. But I don't think I've ever seen that so wonderfully contrasted with the map of Narnia, whose worldbuilding was equal parts theology and whimsy, but whose maps (the Lantern Waste perhaps excepted) somehow look far more plausible.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    We love maps and atlases. We have a very large collection of atlases, and maps adorn most of our walls. Jim likes historical and topographic maps, and I prefer maps of fantasy lands. This gorgeous book, which features all kinds of maps along with essays about them, is the perfect addition to our library, but not one to file; rather, it will stay out, to be savored over and over again. Most of the authors who have contributed to this book report having spent hours in their own childhoods looking a We love maps and atlases. We have a very large collection of atlases, and maps adorn most of our walls. Jim likes historical and topographic maps, and I prefer maps of fantasy lands. This gorgeous book, which features all kinds of maps along with essays about them, is the perfect addition to our library, but not one to file; rather, it will stay out, to be savored over and over again. Most of the authors who have contributed to this book report having spent hours in their own childhoods looking at maps and imagining the worlds depicted in them. I too, spent hours doing so, beginning with maps in The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting. Even today, when I read a fantasy with a map at the beginning, I return to it over and over as I read. The essays in the book are delightful, but it is the illustrations that accompany the text that make this book so wonderful. It includes famous maps as well as idiosyncratic maps that inspired writers, often on two page colorful spreads. For example, one can spend hours examining the details of “The Land of Make Believe” drawn by Jaro Hess in 1930. It shows everything from “Old Mother Hubbard’s Place” to the hill climbed by Jack and Jill. Other landmarks indicate that “Peter Rabbit Lived in This Hole” and “Here the Blackbird Picked Off The Maid’s Hose.” In Huw Lewis-Jones’s own chapter, he opines: “[It is] what is not on the map [that] proves tantalizing. The edges of the maps, the blanks, the borderlands, this is where many writers, myself included, are inexorably drawn. It’s good to head to places where we’re not sure what is going to happen.” I, on the other hand, am drawn to what is included. My favorite maps when I was little were maps from the earliest times that had features like the representations of the four winds in each corner, turtles holding up the world, or dragons in the unknown areas. Lewis-Jones reports that the first atlases were made in sixteenth-century Italy, containing many features from classical mythology, such as a representation of Atlas holding up the Earth. [In Greek mythology, Atlas was a Titan condemned to hold up the sky for eternity. The great cartographer Gerardus Mercator, born in 1512, was the first to title a collection of maps (and a treatise on the universe) as an "atlas." He chose the word as a commemoration of the legendary King Atlas of Mauretania whom he considered to be the first great geographer. This King Atlas was a son of the Titan Atlas but the two myths coalesced.] Individual maps were made much earlier; this book includes a reproduction of Ptolemy’s world map from 1482 - the first to appear in color. The historical maps reveal much about the state of epistemology at the time. We saw some wonderful early maps in the Vatican Gallery of Maps in Rome, and notably they reveal religious conceptions of the shape of the world, with Jerusalem at the center. Lewis-Jones also uses the idea of mapping as a metaphor for the way authors plot out a story as part of their creative process. Readers can often "see" such maps hovering above texts when, for example, they dive into mysteries with red herrings and/or clues strewn throughout the text - these elements had to be figured out in advance, with physical or mental maps carefully followed so both author and readers wouldn’t get lost along the way. Sometimes writers don’t include actual maps in their work, but depict places so real you envision them yourselves, as, Lewis-Jones points out, did Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his poem “Kubla Khan”, which begins: "In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure-dome decree: Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless to man Down to a sunless sea. So twice five miles of fertile ground With walls and towers were girdled round; And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills, Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; And here were forests ancient as the hills, Enfolding sunny spots of greenery." Maps in the book that also have essays about them include Robert Louis Stevenson’s story of Treasure Island, Jonathan Swift’s tales of Gulliver’s Travels, A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh (with maps of the Hundred Acre Wood), C.S. Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia, the Mary Poppins books by P.L. Travers (illustrated by Mary Shepard, whose father E.H.Shepard had drawn Winnie-the-Pooh), and of course the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The works of some authors have inspired maps to be made by others, like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. As one essay notes, “Each new generation finds its favourite literary maps…” Isabel Greenberg, in her chapter, expresses the opinion: “Maps of places that would be impossible to traverse in reality, or visit, are the ones that are most exciting: Faerie, Heaven, the Constellations, Middle-earth, Earthsea; even old maps of our Earth, long before we knew what lay beyond the fringes of experience. The kind of maps with wide-eyed women blowing winds from the four corners, and shaky, beautiful penned lines. It doesn’t matter that you can’t follow them; in fact that makes them better.” I totally agree. And this book allows you to visit many of those types of maps over and over, via not only the essays but also from the 167 beautiful full-color images. Chapters include, inter alia, not only discussions of grid maps and story maps, but explorations of women cartographers, anatomical maps, maps of other planets, and a survey of discoveries that were made in pursuit of erroneous information on maps (e.g., the discovery of America). Huw Lewis-Jones wraps up the book by discussing the accuracy of Google Earth maps, juxtaposing these maps with the need we retain for “there to be some mystery in the world”: “Imaginary places can offer us new kinds of discovery. Some of the pleasure of spending time with maps comes not only from the idea of exploring areas unknown, but also from remembering that where we stand is just a small part of a massive, and bewildering, whole. Maps remind us that there is so much more out there, and so much more at stake.” Evaluation: What a great gift this book would make to any lucky recipient who still takes time to revel in travels of the imagination. It is true the book primarily highlights works done in the West, and a companion book that would include more diverse contributions and influences would be most welcome. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alexander

    In order to properly appreciate this book, you have to really, really, really love maps. And I don't; my sister bought this for me as a gift because of the 'writer'-part. However, even though I'm a fantasy writer, I've always felt eh about maps; I've made one for a fantasy world in the past, but I'm yet to make one recently. They might be tools, but in fantasy books, I myself always end up skipping the maps. I'm more interested in the story, believe it or not. But if there's one book that is so f In order to properly appreciate this book, you have to really, really, really love maps. And I don't; my sister bought this for me as a gift because of the 'writer'-part. However, even though I'm a fantasy writer, I've always felt eh about maps; I've made one for a fantasy world in the past, but I'm yet to make one recently. They might be tools, but in fantasy books, I myself always end up skipping the maps. I'm more interested in the story, believe it or not. But if there's one book that is so full of infectious joy and pleasure that it might just get me to study a fantasy map in detail in future, it's this one. And even if it doesn't; this book is also filled with the authors' processes in building a world, which is something I'm always in for. It's also filled with interesting facts about maps that might interest people at parties, which is something I'm a sucker for. In other words; this book is probably greater than the sum of its parts if you love maps to pieces. I don't, so all I got is the sum. But that is fine, because the parts that the sum consists of are brilliant too.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Katharine Ott

    "The Writer's Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands, edited by Huw Lewis-Jones and published in 2018 by The University of Chicago Press. If you're willing to take a deep dive into the world of maps, especially maps in books, including the thoughts of map lovers, then track this book down right away. "Maps in books call to us to pack a knapsack and set off on a quest without delay, over-the-hills and faraway..." Both ancient and more recent maps are displayed, many on two-page spreads - so fun to pore "The Writer's Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands, edited by Huw Lewis-Jones and published in 2018 by The University of Chicago Press. If you're willing to take a deep dive into the world of maps, especially maps in books, including the thoughts of map lovers, then track this book down right away. "Maps in books call to us to pack a knapsack and set off on a quest without delay, over-the-hills and faraway..." Both ancient and more recent maps are displayed, many on two-page spreads - so fun to pore over. I appreciated the 25 or so chapters, each written by an enthusiast, with many familiar names - Philip Pullman, Frances Hardinge, David Mitchell, Lev Grossman and Brian Selznick to name a few. They dropped the names of so many of their favorite books with maps, several of which I added to my burgeoning TBR. "Books, like maps, are filled with magic." I'll pay closer attention to the maps in the books I read from now on. And a caution - "Just now and then, the giant squid shrugs off the rockpool net and eats you."

  26. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Editor Huw Lewis-Jones collects the personal connections, the nuts and bolts of mapmaking, and the history of. Also, a ton of great maps! If you’ve ever dogeared or bookmarked that page in the front of the book, this is for you! It is an absolute joy to discover how storytelling and mapmaking connect and continue to inspire authors. For the full review: https://paulspicks.blog/2018/09/22/th... For all my reviews: https://paulspicks.blog Editor Huw Lewis-Jones collects the personal connections, the nuts and bolts of mapmaking, and the history of. Also, a ton of great maps! If you’ve ever dogeared or bookmarked that page in the front of the book, this is for you! It is an absolute joy to discover how storytelling and mapmaking connect and continue to inspire authors. For the full review: https://paulspicks.blog/2018/09/22/th... For all my reviews: https://paulspicks.blog

  27. 4 out of 5

    Arend

    Wide ranging set of maps with strong connections to literature. Inspiring and astonishing at times. Essays are of widely varying quality and interest.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kristoffer Liland

    Not quite what I expected, but never the less a beautifully crafted book with many wonderful contributing voices and endearing maps of real and imaginary lands

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Very pretty, but the essays have a bit of sameness after a while.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Really nice book about fictional maps, map and world making and the art/craft of writing. Doesn't work well on a Kindle (or i don't know how to do it) because the captions and art aren't together. i'll be buying this for a gift. Netgalley was kind in letting me have a review copy. Really nice book about fictional maps, map and world making and the art/craft of writing. Doesn't work well on a Kindle (or i don't know how to do it) because the captions and art aren't together. i'll be buying this for a gift. Netgalley was kind in letting me have a review copy.

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