In honour of World Book Day… here are our top picks for 2014.
1. On The Map : Why The World Looks The Way It Does
From the early sketches of philosophers and explorers through to Google Maps and beyond, Simon Garfield examines how maps both relate and realign our history.With a historical sweep ranging from Ptolemy to Twitter, Garfield explores the legendary, impassable (and non-existent) mountains of Kong, the role of cartography in combatting cholera, the 17th-century Dutch craze for Atlases, the Norse discovery of America, how a Venetian monk mapped the world from his cell and the Muppets’ knack of instant map-travel. Along the way are pocket maps of dragons, Mars, murders and more, with plenty of illustrations and prints to signpost the route.From the bestselling and widely-adored author of Just My Type, On The Map is a witty and irrepressible examination of where we’ve been, how we got there and where we’re going.
2. From Here To There
From Here to There: A Curious Collection from the Hand Drawn Map Association is exactly what it promises — a delightful anthology of ephemeral documents that give direction, from quirky doodles to remarkably detailed drawings on anything from Dallas skate parks to questionable tourist routes in Bulgaria’s mountains.
3. An Atlas of Radical Cartography
The art of cartography as it is about social activism, pairing artists, designers, architects, urban planners and cultural institutions in an ambitious volume that explores mapping projects across social justice, globalisation, energy, human rights and more.
It features 10 eye-opening maps on everything from marginal land settlement in Calcutta to the Los Angeles water cycle by 10 different artists, alongside 10 compelling essays on sociopolitical issues examined through the prism of cartography.
4. Strange Maps
Based on the excellent blog of the same name, Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities features 138 of the most fascinating, absorbing and remarkable maps from the blog’s 3-year history of culling the world’s forgotten, little-known and niche cartographic treasures. From the world as depicted in Orwell’s 1984, to a color map of Thomas More’s Utopia, to the 16th-century portrayal of California as an island where people live like the Amazons, the book is brim-full of priceless anecdotes from our collective conception of the world over the centuries.
On a most fundamental level, maps are visual storytelling about the world… about what exists in it, what matters in it, and where we belong relative to it. In Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer, Peter Turchi explores how some of greatest storytellers in literary history employed maps as narrative devices, revealing some remarkable similarities between mapmaking, traditionally perceived as an analytical science, and the art of writing fiction. From Melville to Nabokov to Stevenson to the Marx Brothers, the book features hundreds of extraordinary illustrations from and about iconic works of literature.
Sylvia Sumira’s forthcoming book on globes — titled Globes: 400 Years of Exploration, Navigation and Power is a history of globemaking during its peak: “Showcasing the impressive collection of globes held by the British Library, Sumira traces the inception and progression of globes during the period in which they were most widely used — from the late fifteenth century to the late nineteenth century — shedding light on their purpose, function, influence, and manufacture, as well as the cartographers, printers, and instrument makers who created them.”
7. A History of the World in Twelve Maps
Jerry Brotton is the presenter of the acclaimed BBC4 series ‘Maps: Power, Plunder and Possession’. Here he tells the story of our world through maps.
We suggest anything by Paul Theroux to inspire wanderlust and adventure.
Maps and globes are great inspiration to see the world, but they don’t tell you about the faces, smells or character of a city or country. Paul Theroux has travelled the entire world by land and there is no better account of the people and places that are out there on the road.
What should we add to our list of recommended reads for 2014? Suggestion please!