Tuesday Thoughts – Mapheads by Ken Jennings

Mapheads by Ken Jennings

The required US legal disclaimer: All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique The required US legal disclaimer: All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique

I think those of us who love books come with an affinity to maps too. It’s a joy of printed information. The joy of sitting alone with information that is communicating only with you that moment and you make discoveries about yourself and the world. Maps and books do that for me. Which is why this book caught my eye.

I was the one as a younger child who got the map of the amusement park or museum and led my parents through the place. I loved that and enjoyed passing it on to Aaron. Now I am not a Maphead like Ken Jennings. However I got his love of them, I understood how they touched his imagination. I understood the joy of finding others who share your passion for a particular thing. For me it can be beads, writing, reading, comics, and so on. For Ken one thing like that is maps.

He covers a wide swath of different loves of maps. He has a chapter on map collections. I found myself looking up images of old maps and marveling at their accuracy. He had a chapter on geocaching. I found myself looking up caches near me. His chapter on maps in fiction inspired me to break a wall I’d had on a project. Relief maps always struck a nerve for me, he talks about how they came to be. I remember running my fingers over the relief globe in Ms. Morrell’s room comparing sea trench depths to mountain heights. Some how it made the world more real to me.

You don’t have to be a map lover or aficionado to enjoy this book. You only have to love learning, be curious about the world around you, and have something that inspires you. In the end I came away a bit more fond of maps, appreciating how they are made, how they tell us information, and ways they can be used. If you enjoy reading or have ever looked at a map and wondered this book is for you. Take a journey without leaving your comfy seat at home.

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