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Maps in Books

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1PossMan
Jul 21, 10:38am Top

Does anyone else get frustrated by poor maps in books? I started to read "America: The Epic Story of Spanish North America 1493–1898" by Robert Goodwin. It has a few maps at the front but reading the text about early exploration in Florida, Texas, New Mexico, California etc I am often unable to work out where we are. The text talks about New Galicia but I can't find any such area on the map. I realise that many settlements will have changed names or no longer exist but feel the provided maps are not fit for purpose. I'm abandoning the book for now but with some regrets as I'm sure there's an interesting story to be told and in an alternative world large parts of what is now the USA may have been Spanish.

Even in Antony Beevor's book "Arnhem", which has many excellent maps, it was hard to follow the text in a few places where locations were mentioned that didn't seem to appear on any map.

And three cheers for the Landmark Herodotus which has text and appropriate maps together even though that means many are duplicated.

2MarthaJeanne
Jul 21, 10:42am Top

Don't forget the maps that are so poorly reproduced or at such a scale that they can't be read at all.

3bluepiano
Jul 21, 3:21pm Top

Yes, someone else gets frustrated by this. And with books lacking maps when maps are needed. And by books whose maps haven't an inset area for more maps of smaller areas discussed in the book. And special mention for The Survivors: Tribes Around the World: As you might guess, many dfferent regions are discussed. And as you might guess, there's a world map in front of book. As you might not guess, this is the only map in the book. Not to worry, as the longitude and latitude for each tribe's region is shown at the beginning of each chapter. My patience with unnecessary motion has been nearly exhausted by navigation on this site; I had little left for turning back to the map and finding bearings dozens of times whilst reading the book.

4nemoman
Jul 22, 10:52am Top

I once shared the frustration; however, I now just pick up my ipad and google the location. It not only gives you the location, but depending on the site, adds history and other info. I think of it as adding a digital footnote to the book's text. Likewise when a book references a historic building or work of art, but lacks a picture, I simply google it.

5MarthaJeanne
Jul 22, 10:59am Top

I do that, too, but the author and publisher shouldn't depend on a reader having an iPad handy. Not everyone does.

6PossMan
Jul 22, 2:14pm Top

>5 MarthaJeanne:: Agreed. I think the book should be capable of standing by itself. And sometimes I've had the Times big atlas spread out on a nearby table but apart from the inconvenience of having to get out of my chair it has lots of places not relevant to the book.

7MarthaJeanne
Jul 22, 2:23pm Top

I'm thinking it's time to get rid of the big atlas. 1991! There are plenty of places where things have changed in nearly 30 years.

8Cecrow
Jul 22, 2:35pm Top

>1 PossMan:, that edition of Herodotus would have been amazing, although I mostly got by with my Penguin edition. It had three or four maps in the front that I consulted now and then to get the general idea.

>4 nemoman:, I do a lot of following along too, with Wikipedia mostly.

>7 MarthaJeanne:, my globe at home isn't fairing any better. Think of it as changing from a geography aid to a history aid, lol.

I bought a "Historical Atlas" at a yard sale for a buck, and I love that thing. Somebody's worn out trash from their school days in the 1970s, but whatever the period I'm reading about I can usually find something relevant and informative in it, no computer required.

9Lyndatrue
Jul 22, 4:00pm Top

Long ago, when I was gainfully employed, old maps were valued for the information they represented. One of my favorites was from the late 1950s, and was centered on Europe (in the USA, I think people forget that they are not the natural center of maps). The place names and information were in German, and it was instructive, and beautiful. I left it behind, but with real regret.

Maps are amazing documents. I have little use for Google Maps. Don't even get me started.

10nemoman
Jul 23, 10:29am Top

Google maps do have some saving graces. For example, I have a volume of Julia Child's correspondence and many of the letters have her address on them. Google the address and you can view the various apartments she lived in in Paris, Marseilles, etc. and digitally walk down their streets. The maps are strictly utilitarian, however, and have no artistic graces.

11macsbrains
Jul 23, 4:45pm Top

My sister, having recently finished her undergrad degree, rescued dozens of old scientific maps from the 1970s-90s from the geology department at her University from being tossed out with the recycling. Maps of the moon and Mars and other celestial bodies as well as earth ones with such titles as "Stratigraphy and chemical analyses of coal beds in the upper cretaceous and tertiary savaganirktok formation, East-central north slope, Alaska," and "Map showing log of horizontal-gradient magnitude of pseudogravity (color) and location of local maxima (X's) iron point survey," (shown below).




And sure, these may be archived online somewhere, perhaps (I don't know for sure), and we don't know what half of them really mean, geology only being a passing interest and not either of our fields, but they're so beautiful.

12pmarshall
Jul 29, 4:51pm Top

I like reading literary travel and it continues to amaze me how many have no maps at all, or have maps that are so small they can’t be seen or enlarged.

I like maps and knowing where the action is happening. I would like to see them in both fiction and nonfiction where appropriate.

13amac121212
Jul 29, 6:19pm Top

In general I love maps in books, particularly in fantasies. But recently in a history of Scotland the maps were so limited to specific time periods that I couldn’t relate them to each other - one would show Glasgow and various firths, the next one Edinburgh and different firths, the next one both cities and a mix of firths. And even during my trip I couldn’t find out why some are Firth of X and others were X Firth. I don’t like it when they’re too small, which often seems to happen in ebooks, or a bit blurry when the print quality is poor.

14nhlsecord
Jul 29, 7:48pm Top

I love maps. I keep a basket of them in case a book doesn't have any. And of course, now there are maps online.

15jhawn
Jul 29, 9:13pm Top

I keep two atlases next to my reading space. I like the idea of looking things up on the web, but often find that a particular part has so many things to look up it takes away from the book. Having reference maps in the beginning of the book and others along the way is much better. I get frustrated with books that have maps, but the places in the book aren't on them.

16carabosse
Jul 29, 9:34pm Top

A good map definitely enhances the reading experience. It doesn’t have to be overly-designed. But it should be appropriate in scale and level of detail to get the intended message across. I would encourage authors to consider hiring a cartographer if they’re not comfortable doing the design themselves (and I’d be happy to recommend some).

17nhlsecord
Jul 29, 9:47pm Top

I've been a bit frustrated with the Longmire books because we can't really follow the characters very well on maps, not as easily as I can with Tony Hillerman's stories of the Navajo reserve or Louis L'Amour's westerns. I like to use Google Earth with those stories, especially with 3D.

18Carolee888
Jul 29, 10:20pm Top

It all depends on whether the print is big enough to read and it use weird fonts.

19humouress
Jul 30, 1:37am Top

I like exploring in real life, although I'm limited to urban wanderings. But ten minutes ago, I spied on my sister's house in Sydney and then zoomed back to Singapore to inspect my roof. My parents' new apartment block, however, is still a construction site on Google Maps.

I read mainly fantasy and I like to visualise where characters are going so maps in books are more important there since you're not likely to be able to look it up online. If the action takes place in a city, maps may not be so vital or if the text describes landmarks like forests or islands or directions (west, south) I can manage to visualise it, though I'll be a bit grumpy about having to do the work myself.

And, yes, sometimes there are maps that don't help; they don't have the small details or they're copies of hand-drawn maps and the lines and writing are too blurred to make out. I think those are more frustrating than no maps at all.

20reading_fox
Jul 30, 6:33am Top

There is of course an LT group (currently dorment, awaiting new scrolls to drop in) https://www.librarything.com/groups/mapsandatlases

I'm generally less in favour of maps in books unless they're positioned close to the relevant text. I dislike having to lose my place, find the right map, forget the name I was looking for, lose the map page again, etc. But I generally have such a poor sense of direction I'm used to not knowing where places are.

The counterpoint is that when I do need a map, they are things of practical beauty to be enjoyed on both artistic and functional levels.

21vwinsloe
Edited: Jul 30, 8:31am Top

Does anyone use http://www.thebooktrail.com ? I think it shows promise. I am a bit hopeless at visualizing anything without a map.

222wonderY
Jul 30, 8:52am Top

How about books on maps?

Go find a copy of Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps. You won't be sorry.

23benitastrnad
Jul 30, 11:22am Top

I share the frustration with lack of maps in books of all kinds. Military history books should definitely have maps, and good quality maps, but many of them don't. I even like maps in the fantasy books that I read.

Since I am a librarian I brought this subject up with publishers. The answer to the lack of maps in books is simple. Money. It costs money to have good maps drawn. It costs money to license maps if you are using pictures or maps that are already printed. If you opt for the later in your book, then the publisher or the author has to pay the licensing fees to use them. All of that adds to the cost of the book and what publishers find is that the public is not willing to pay the extra costs. Or at least a sufficient number of the reading public is not willing to pay.

In addition maps requiring editing just as words do. That means that they have to be fact checked. Nowadays, most fact checking is done by the author and they often don't have the resources to do the fact checking.

That said, in my opinion there is far too much passing off of the costs of publishing a book being done. The major bearers of this passing off of costs is the authors, and that is not right. Why do publishers push the publishing costs down to the authors rather than up to the readers? That is simple. Most of the publishers are owned by big conglomerate firms. For them the bottom line is profits. They don't care what the book looks like or how good it is, as long as it produces a profit. Each book that is profitable makes the publisher profitable and when the publisher is profitable the conglomerate is happy. The reader doesn't figure in this formula.

The solution to the problem is for the readers to complain. Every review that is written for Amazon, or even here on LT should include either a thumbs up or a thumbs down regarding maps. The more the added feature of maps comes up, then the more likely it is that the publishers will listen to the readers and start doing something about the quality of the maps that are included in the books.

24benitastrnad
Edited: Jul 30, 11:36am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

25MarthaJeanne
Jul 30, 12:26pm Top

I totally upset a publisher one time. A small publisher who was manning his own stand at a fair. I picked up a vegetable cookbook, went to the back of the book first to find some interesting vegetable in the index. No index. I put the book down and started to move on.

"It's a good cookbook! Lots of great recipes!"

" Without an index I'll never use it. Not interested."

26njcur
Jul 30, 2:18pm Top

I rely on my Times Atlas of the World. I often have it all spread out next to my chair as I read. I really love it. After reading some of these posts I may need to invest in an Historical Atlas. Any recommendations for best ones? Thanks!

27PossMan
Edited: Jul 30, 2:31pm Top

>25 MarthaJeanne:: As a former free-lance indexer I really get that. And sometimes when there is an index but it's really not much cop it's because the indexer is following the publisher's instructions — or more likely the author's passed on via the publisher. Perhaps more readers should complain as >23 benitastrnad:: suggests in her final para about maps.

28MarthaJeanne
Jul 30, 2:56pm Top

>27 PossMan: I was made more consciously aware of this through friendship with a free-lance indexer, but even before that couldn't understand how you are supposed to cook with a book that doesn't index the recipes.

Publishers who skimp on maps, indexes, sometimes illustrations (If a picture is worth spending a page or two of description on, it ought to be worth putting a copy of the picture in the book.) are shortchanging the reader.

I've noticed lately more and more books that skimp on these important items, but put in a pesky ribbon bookmark, although I have heard that these are also expensive. If the book is mine, I cut them off.

29nate48281
Jul 30, 5:11pm Top

I believe the Oxford Atlas of the World is the only atlas still published on an annual basis. I use it as a coffee table book, a reference book, and sometimes I read it all by itself as it shows all sorts of data in all sorts of ways.

Even if a book includes a map it's normally too small and difficult to use, so I use the atlas. That being said, even if they aren't particularly useful, I'd rather have a bad map in a book than no map.

30MarthaJeanne
Jul 30, 5:24pm Top

I'm currently reading Wien : Abseits der Pfade? Each chapter is a long hike through parts of the city, and is preceeded by a map. The maps are very small scale, but it is clear what part of the city is being depicted, and several points of interest are clearly marked. They are certainly not clear enough to use to follow, but they are good enough to orient myself with. Given that the print is also smaller than I care for, these are probably a good compromise.

I would guess that they wanted a small enough book that you could carry it along following the routes described. At 392 pages it's pushing that limit.

31Helenoel
Edited: Jul 30, 11:03pm Top

>11 macsbrains: I share your frustration, but almost all of the USGS maps are available digitally- and cataloguing and storing them is expensive.

32Helenoel
Jul 30, 11:01pm Top

>17 nhlsecord: Absaroka County is fictitious- Many of the mountains referred to are real, but having maps for the stories would require a lot of new work for the eauthor- and be confusing.

33LAWonder10
Jul 31, 3:04am Top

I think a simple map is great, but if it contains a lot of detail, it loses it's momentum.

34bishopjoey
Jul 31, 3:58am Top

The maps in the first paperback editions of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant were great and very helpful. At some point (early 90s maybe) the original maps were replaced with maps that had wider lines and text that was difficult to read. It was a sad backward step.

35pami_81
Jul 31, 5:20am Top

They frustrate me. I keep jumping back to look at the maps even if it's not important, just because they are there. Same with character lists.

36Joe73
Jul 31, 6:51am Top

I am a massive, obsessive Conan the Barbarian fan. I own nearly every publication from Howard on up. That being said I love maps in books. I used the larger maps of Hyboria to put all of the Conan stories in chronological order.(No small feat. Had lots of help from lots of people) By putting them in order I was able to trace this amazing character's footsteps from the time he left his village as a young boy until to his death many, many years later. The life of an individual through a dystopic, chaotic and violent world. Conan is way more than Arnold. Conan is a flawed, brooding and somber character who lives by putting one foot in front of the other. The maps of Hyboria contained in the stories are an amazing visual point for understanding his personality and how it was shaped through his years of travel. I love maps. Maps in a book or an old atlas is a treat.

37JNest1914
Jul 31, 7:00am Top

“The Mark of Goody Cole” by Cheryl Lassiter which portrays the circumstances surrounding the town of Hampton NH and resident Goody Cole who was accused of being a witch from about 1630-1670. I truly appreciated the map fragments and illustrations that helped me navigate a simpler but very different world from today. I did find myself trying to locate how it would lay out today.

In contrast an 1873 copy of The Isles of Shoals An Historical Sjetch by John Scribner Jenness featured a beautiful 1604 (?) map of the NorthEast coast by John Smith as well as a few other smaller maps, it is rare now to see a book engendered and bound to carry such treasures. It is exciting to carefully unfold these maps, something akin to retrieving the prize in the jack in the Box. The first copy of that book I saw had been pilfered of its beautiful map. Obviously someone else liked it more than the great history in the book itself. For me the reader it was a heartbreaking disappointment and I had to search out another copy to see it. The print and detail were such that pulling out the magnifying glass is part of the experience.
Needless to say I am appreciative of authors who are thoughtful about the quality and placement of maps within a text.

38bluepiano
Jul 31, 7:04am Top

>26 njcur: Don't know if it's what you're looking for but many a time I've had the Times Atlas of World History (Barraclough) spread out beside me whilst reading.

>28 MarthaJeanne: On skimping--I bought Bad Faith in town & when I got home looked at it more closely.--What? no footnotes in a book of that sort? In fact there were superscript numbers in the text but there were no footnotes anywhere in the book. Rang the bookshop, clerk searched without success, rang me back shortly after he'd found, in tiny lettering in an inconspicuous place, a mention that the footnotes were online. Maddening.

39MarthaJeanne
Edited: Jul 31, 8:08am Top

>38 bluepiano: I think that would set me to writing reviews about how not printing the footnotes was really bad faith. If you want the notes to only be online, only publish an ebook.

40cindydavid4
Jul 31, 9:23am Top

I frequently read historical or travel narratives that either don't have a good easy to follow map, or if they do its so tiny you can't make out whats what. Maps give me a visual and literally a sense of direction where they are in the world. I need them! Used to sit with the atlas near by, now I sometimes read by my lap top so I can google a map but I shouln't need to do that.

41trishrobertsmiller
Edited: Jul 31, 9:57am Top

I get frustrated with how often really good books about military history--like C.J. Dick or Paul Davis (especially his wonderful 100 Decisive Battles)-- don't have maps showing the regions with the names and borders of that time. Current maps don't really help, and it's hard to find maps on line that are historical.

42BU_ATL
Edited: Jul 31, 11:06am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

43Craig_Clarkson
Edited: Jul 31, 11:08am Top

{Sorry posted #42 under the wrong ID.}

I teach ancient texts - Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Virgil. Especially in Homer and Virgil, the maps at the front of the book are essential for my students.

On a related note, I had a professor in a seminar who uttered an apothegm I have adopted. "You cannot do theology without maps." Well, of course you CAN do theology without maps, but is it truly done well if one does not take account of place?

44Karen74Leigh
Jul 31, 11:43am Top

I like maps in books where the writer is world building. I loved Toikien's middle earth, Conan's world by Robert E. Howard, Pern by McCaffrey.

45benitastrnad
Jul 31, 1:29pm Top

>32 Helenoel:
Maps of fictitious places get made all the time. Why not Absaroka county? Louis L'Amour books are fictitious and you can still find the place that the novel took place on a map. Same with the Tony Hillerman books. I think that maps give us a sense of place and that would certainly be true for Walt Longmire as well.

46benitastrnad
Jul 31, 1:34pm Top

>37 JNest1914:
Razor bladeing maps out of books has been a long standing problem for libraries all over the world. The maps can be framed and hang on people's walls as decoration. Those people don't care about the text. They just want the pretty pictures. The library where I work was a victim of a colleague who razor bladed many a map as well as all the Life, Look, Time, etc. pictures of Marilyn Monroe, John Kennedy, and other famous people. This librarian sold them on e-bay as an income supplement. Yes, they did prison time as the value of the destroyed property was over $150,000. There are lots of books written about people who steal maps of all kinds from libraries.

47PossMan
Jul 31, 2:31pm Top

>38 bluepiano:: ".....in tiny lettering in an inconspicuous place, a mention that the footnotes were online."

Yes I get the impression that many books have extra resources on-line which is perhaps not a bad thing. But important notes should be in the printed book.

48mamanyt1953
Jul 31, 4:29pm Top

Depends on the book, depends on the map. I love the maps in Tolkien and a few other works of fiction. The maps in Anne McCaffrey's "Pern" series come to mind, as well as the little "sketchy" map of Midnight, Texas in the Charlaine Harris series by the same name. THAT one had me choosing which house I wanted occupy in Midnight.

However, in non-fiction books, so often the quality is so very, very poor.

49cindydavid4
Jul 31, 7:22pm Top

.>46 benitastrnad: Someone, perhaps Simon Winchester, wrote about this thievery in a book a while back, focusing on the Library of Congress (gorgeous place!) So frustrating, for aside from taking the map, the value of the book is destroyed as well

50john257hopper
Aug 1, 5:08am Top

I agree with others about the importance of maps in a wide variety of books, and also that in practice their usefulness is often reduced by their size, or in some cases, their not being near the relevant place in the text (I mean in a different part of the text, not in a separate section at the front or back).

I also feel strongly in similar terms about family trees, especially in history books/biographies, but sometimes also in fictional sagas.

51PossMan
Aug 1, 7:58am Top

>50 john257hopper:: Your comment about family trees reminds me how annoying it can be when an author refers to someone as "Duke of XXX...." in a book where the title could refer to several different people at different times and different pages. Not helped in some Scottish lines by successive holders having the same names.

52MarthaJeanne
Aug 1, 9:21am Top

Or the other extreme. I recall getting about halfway into a major Russian novel, trying to keep the characters straight, when I suddenly realized that Alexander, Sascha, and Ivanovich were all the same person. I don't think I've attempted a long Russian novel again.

53Helenoel
Aug 1, 10:10pm Top

>45 benitastrnad: . indeed maps of fictitious places can be made, but for a series of books it would require a lot of work, and would also require that continuity of places be developed early to maintain connectivity through the series. Cartography is a whole profession- and hard enough to effectively display the real world. To combine fictitious Absaroka County into real Wyoming, How would you do it? Enough of the places in the books are real- but relationships and relative distances suggest northwest Wyo- but you can't just overprint a fictitious place on a real state. Too many people are familiar with the real locations for it to work.

Hillerman books are set in real geography- Maybe not down to every dirt road, but the towns and major highways and landmarks are real. That is important to the stories as relationships between characters depends on it. I don't read L'Amour, but lots of fiction is set in real geography. Lots more is set in a general area- and evokes a sense of place without being strictly accurate. "The Cat Who" mysteries used to frustrate me because they are set in northern Minnesota or Michigan but I can never pinpoint exactly where- They are still a fun read and convey the sense of place they need.

I am annoyed at many history books that do not include maps - and if a novel is set in a real, but unfamiliar place, I like a map or two- but expecting a map of an imaginary place seems over the top- If the author chooses- - then great - but only if it is done well and the story follows it.

54JNest1914
Edited: Aug 1, 10:25pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

55JNest1914
Aug 1, 10:24pm Top

Yes exactly, it is very disappointing to expect a volume to speak through its maps or wood cut art and prints only to find that someone has come before and vandalize the work through razor blading. Something historical meaningful and beautiful is simply pilfered away. I have run into many destroyed works like this. Unfortunately there are enough remnants out there that it is possible to find these cannibalized books and still find enough in them to piece it back together. I ran across two identical but badly scavenged Emory Reports "Notes Of A Military Reconnaissance, From Fort Leavenworth, In Missouri.."1848. They were both nice shape but damaged from someone taking out the maps and lithographs. it was sad but there happened to be enough between the both of them to combine them into one complete work. The large accompanying map was found from another source. The leftover copy of course carries the scar from both works. I think this is a commonly scavenged source and it is truly sad. I also here of ancient atlases which are scavenged and sold piece by piece, it would make an interesting topic as well, is there a time when its time to abandon rehabilitation, is there a second life on the wall of a restaurant? personally I think it makes more sense to take a picture.

Not to stray too far from the actual topic, but more recent publications have the technology to produce exquisite detail and clarity in maps. When they are included by some attentive writer I am always grateful. I imagine placement is something of a challenge if it is a map that needs to be referred to multiple times where do you place it or do you keep reproducing portions of it as you continue through the related narratives? Maybe in some situations the appendix approach is the most logical solution. Other narratives may just need the one reference point to illustrate and bring the reader to clarity and then move on. Then again, I guess everybody runs into the bad placement where for some reason the illustration/map is stuck in a mystery spot and somewhere later in the reading you come across a possible tidbit that may have given birth to it. I think that kind of placement must be either laziness, poor planning or maybe just hide and seek.

56cindydavid4
Edited: Aug 1, 11:55pm Top

re family trees, I usually appreciate them, except when they try to include every offspring and every marriage.....

My favorite was in Wolf Hall - the author includes a lists each person who lives in a specfic residence, or or of a specific occupation.

What I did not like (and its a fav book that I love to reread) is how often she will use the persons actual name, then later use his lordship name (so and so Lord of.....) and can get very confusing. Esp when you have a Duke of Norfolk and a Duke of Suffolk

57JFDausman
Aug 5, 10:34am Top

The latest map in a book that I have come across has delightfully hit the mark in usefulness. The map is on page 117 of the first book by James Thurber, entitled Is Sex Necessary or Why You Feel the Way You do, coauthored by E. B. White. It is a poorly drawn weather map of the North Atlantic with the following caption:

"Fig. 7. It is customary to illustrate sexology chapters with a cross section of the human body. The authors have chosen to substitute in its place a chart of the North Atlantic, showing airplane routes. The authors realize that this will be of no help to the sex novice, but neither is a cross section of the human body."

58cindydavid4
Aug 5, 12:01pm Top

Ha! I have that book, and completely forgot about that!

59Peeky
Aug 8, 1:36pm Top

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60benitastrnad
Aug 8, 5:32pm Top

I just finished reading Ardennes 1944 and was happy to find that this book had many helpful maps. I noticed that the person who drew the maps got a credit on the verso of the title page. I can say that without the maps I would have had no idea where this battle was taking place or what direction the pieces on the chess board were moving. these maps were worth whatever the author paid to have them done.

61MarthaJeanne
Aug 8, 5:51pm Top

I'm currently reading Die Kunst zu fliehen. The author mixes the biography of a Swedish artist best known for his Grand Canyon paintings with his own travels researching the biography. The book has no illustrations. No maps of the artist's travels, no maps of the authors travels, no copies of the artist's pictures. Nothing, nichts, nada, ingenting. Thank goodness for Google.

62nhlsecord
Aug 10, 10:26pm Top

With regard to maps - I have used maps in fiction to get a sense of the place, and now with Google Earth, I can get a good sense of the land. In many books, the land is an important character. I don't have to pinpoint places, but I like to see what the area looks like. In Absaroka county, the land formations are a huge part of things so I will look on Google Earth especially to get an idea of what that part of the state is like.

I love maps. My husband got me 2 books - Vargic's Miscellany of Curious Maps (sorry, no square brackets on this tablet) in which the first thing I saw was Cormorant Shit Island! Being a huge fan of Patrick O'Brian and his sailing stories, well, I'm still talking about that book and it's maps of what there is in a place rather than just where it is. The other book is similarly odd but just as interesting:. Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities in which there could be maps of where certain foods are eaten in a particular country, used to show a part of the history of the place.

As for Louis L'Amour, I have found that if he described a small river in a certain valley on a particular mountain, you can likely find it on a good map and set up your imaginary camp there.

64nhlsecord
Aug 11, 11:53am Top

Thank you!

65bluepiano
Aug 11, 1:53pm Top

Which reminds me that a book won the (German) Most Beautiful Book prize in 2009 because of its maps: Atlas of Remote Islands.

66KristelAcosta
Aug 15, 8:22pm Top

I think maps in books are great! When I'm reading fantasy novels (ie. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik), it helps to envision the world that the author created with a map. I agree that the book should be able to stand on its own, but a map has never deterred my reading experience. Usually, it enhances it instead. It makes sense to me to put maps in nonfiction books discussing geography or politics, and if the author created a world with multiple settings adding a map of this universe wouldn't hurt. The map however should be scaled well and of good quality (well drawn out and labeled) in order to be included. The map isn't necessary, but it has definitely enhanced my reading experiences in the past. In short, if the map is of good quality, it should be included, if not, it is better left out.

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