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Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of…
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Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks

by Ken Jennings

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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
I found Ken Jennings to be a very likeable contestant on Jeopardy and he continues to be very likable in this book. His enthusiasm for geography and the world around him is contagious. While reading this book, I realized how little I know about geography. In one chapter, Jennings is at the National Geography Bee. I couldn’t believe how hard the questions were. I don’t think I could even make an educated guess for most of the questions.

This book also made me appreciate technology more. I always thought that the whole GPS geocaching thing seemed boring, but it sounds so exciting in the book, especially when it leads you to interesting places that you wouldn’t go otherwise. The way Jennings describes in it in the book, it becomes a way to open your eyes to the world around you.

This book is a quick read full of interesting little anecdotes and trivia tidbits. It isn’t a life changing book, but it is a fun read for anyone who likes geography even just a little bit.
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  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
Maps old and new hold a strange fascination. In this book, Ken Jennings explores the world of "mapheads" -- people who collect antique maps, people who see the world via checklists (visiting all the countries of the world, all the World Heritage Sites, the highest points in each of the 50 United States, etc.), people who go geocaching, and people who compete in geography bees where the questions are mind-blowingly difficult. This book is filled with interesting facts about maps, geography, history and more, as you would expect when a book about maps is written by a 74-time Jeopardy! champion. If you liked his other book, Brainiac, you will probably like this one too. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jul 25, 2015 |
I originally begrudged Jennings' ability to make me laugh because I couldn't imagine a great sense humor could exist in the mind of such a "Brainiac." Boy was I wrong, the book is downright hilarious and filled to suitcase-bursting proportions with glorious geeky minutiae. This book reawakened a dormant appreciation for all things mappy. Long live the Geek God. ( )
  MartinBodek | Jun 11, 2015 |
Loved this book! If you read moonwalking with Einstein, this is an even better written, quirky deep dive into the world of mapnerds. Awesomely fun. ( )
  lincolnpan | Dec 31, 2014 |
To read and enjoy such a great book only to realize that one fully qualifies as a "Maphead" oneself is a bit of a shock. Do you mean that - just because like the author - one kept an Atlas by the childhood bedside, just because one could read a compass before actual reading, one's hippocampus node is extended? What a shock! Whatever can we do?

Did you know that a London "cabbie' who has passed that strenuous test of 'The Knowledge' so he can vocally drive the examiner from any destination to another without a single mistake ("Ah no Lad, sorry. That street became one-way last month. Come back in three months and try again')not only has a larger hippocampus but that it continues to grow as long as he keeps to his trade?

Did you know that a lady, unable to navigate her husband from a Rand McNally road atlas without 'turning it up the right way' when heading south (or north) invented and published a two-page (Noth left, South right) atlas series for fellow suffers? (see http://www.librarything.com/work/88210).

Well yes, I did and I have 30 or so books about maps, charts, latitude and other 'spatial skills' that I reread. I can still (thanks to my Royal Naval Dad) plot a "cocked hat" navigation fix, based on DED reckoning from charts (maps). I can read a map, find countries around the world (been there ...) But I little realized how much of a map-nerd that made me until I read this splendid, witty, book.

Do read it.
  John_Vaughan | Dec 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Eighteenth century English essayist Charles Lamb insightfully proclaimed, “Nothing is more important than space and time—yet nothing is less important, because I never think of them.” While geography, the social science discipline most aligned with considerations of spatial relationships over time, was of supreme importance to society in earlier centuries, in recent decades its stature has declined markedly.

Though individuals today enjoy unprecedented choices about their place choices—in which they might live and work, eat and meet and connect, learn and play, shop and travel, exercise, heal and rest, worship and prosper—and contemporary culture, society, and commerce are ever more influenced by what happens in other places, yet people’s knowledge about places is less rather than more.
 
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Epigraph
My wound is geography. - Pat Conroy
Dedication
For my parents. And for the kid with the map.
First words
They say you're not really grown up until you've moved the last box of your stuff out of storage at your parents'. If that's true, I believe I will stay young forever, ageless and carefree as Dorian Gray, while the cardboard at my parents' house molders and fades.
Quotations
Why did maps mean - why do they still mean, I guess - so much to me? Maps are just a way of organizing information, after all - not normally the kind of thing that spawns obsessive fandom. I've never heard anyone profess any particular love for the Dewey Decimal System. p.11
Falling in love with places is just like falling in love with people: it can happen more than once, but never quite like your first time. p. 15
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
Geography geeks,
Map nerds and the maps they love
Wittily profiled
(jbd1)
True map geeks unite!

Secret meeting spot hidden

in endnotes. (Joking.)

(legallypuzzled)

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It comes as no surprise that, as a kid, Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings slept with a bulky Hammond world atlas by his pillow every night. Maphead recounts his lifelong love affair with geography and explores why maps have always been so fascinating to him and to fellow enthusiasts everywhere. Jennings takes readers on a world tour of geogeeks, from the London Map Fair to the computer programmers at Google Earth. Each chapter delves into a different aspect of map culture: highpointing, geocaching, road atlas rallying, even the "unreal estate" charted on the maps of fiction and fantasy. He also considers the ways in which cartography has shaped our history, suggesting that the impulse to make and read maps is as relevant today as it has ever been.--From publisher description.… (more)

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