April 20, 2013

On the Map - review

On the Map
author:  Simon Garfield
publisher:  Penguin Group, Gotham Books
source:  publisher

We grew up with maps;  some of us have maps in our brains and know to turn left or right while driving.   Once I visited a friend in New Jersey -- we went into New York City.  Coming back to her parents' home,  she told me to turn right,  I said "no" and turned left.  That was the correct way to her parents'.  Other people have absolutely no sense of direction;  for example, my sweet husband cannot drive himself to one of the Malls in our town because he can't remember how to get there.

I thoroughly enjoyed browsing through the maps and tales in Garfield's book  On the Map.  He begins with the earliest maps in the Great Library of Alexandria during the third century B.C.

Garfield covers the globe well.  Some intriguing chapter titles are:
  • Cholera and the Map that Stopped It
  • X Marks the Spot: Treasure Island
  • Pass Go   (about maps as games)
My favorite chapters were about the London Tube and the celebrities' homes in Hollywood.  How I wish I had bought a t-shirt or coffee cup of the Tube when I visited there in 1989! 

Simon Garfield is a fabulous writer who can boggle one's mind on the way the world looks.