Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Maps to Anywhere” as Want to Read:
Maps to Anywhere
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Maps to Anywhere

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  185 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
The essays in Maps to Anywhere plot terrain that is at once familiar and subtly strange. Writing on subjects ranging from his family to the origin of the barbershop pole, Bernard Cooper digs into the glimmering surface of the southern California landscape, observing the collision of the American Dream with the realities of everyday life. From the fragments, he discovers la ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by University of Georgia Press (first published June 1st 1990)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Maps to Anywhere, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Maps to Anywhere

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jen Hirt
Dec 21, 2014 Jen Hirt rated it it was amazing
I had this book in my pile of Important Creative Nonfiction Which I Am Remiss For Not Reading Sooner. Cooper's brief lyrical passages certainly set the stage of sub-genres such as flash nonfiction, prose poemy-nonfiction, and even the existence of Brevity (the online magazine which often cites Cooper). I knew all that as I started to read this book from 1990. But what I didn't know was how surprisingly confident and risky Cooper is, and what a pleasure it is to read brief nonfiction written that ...more
Linda Michel-Cassidy
Sep 18, 2012 Linda Michel-Cassidy rated it it was amazing
This book, comprised of vignettes or episodes was an absolute pleasure to read. I imagine I will revisit it again, particularly for the precision of language. I particularly enjoyed the sections where the author braided his thoughts about art and architecture through his impressions of childhood.
Jan 29, 2010 Sarah rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
I can't stand this book.
Jan 13, 2017 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
SWOON. This is the kind of writing I want to do!
Lucas Miller
Feb 13, 2016 Lucas Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book treats essays differently than I am used to thinking of them. I tend to associate essays primarily with criticism. While, I am well aware that the genre stretches far beyond reviewing books, or movies, or art, or literature, or food, in the end I come back to the idea of the essay taking some object and connecting it to your life and assigning some sort of value judgement to one or the other. These essays are much more personal. Some of them are poetic and a single paragraph. Like flas ...more
Sep 09, 2015 Susanna rated it really liked it
I actually believe I read this book (much of it? most of it?) years ago, but obviously it didn't sink in until now. I picked it up again on a recommendation, interested in the structure and approach. I found the beginning of the book charming, interesting, some great observations, but "The House of the Future" is breathtaking, making the whole book worth reading (at least twice). This essay about Cooper's coming of age around his brother's death from cancer, and at the same time his turning towa ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
Jun 06, 2010 Charles Dee Mitchell rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays-memoir
I read about this book in David Shields' Reality Hunger. I was intrigued that a portion of it had been included as an essay in a "best of" series, and that same year the book itself had won the Pen/Faulkner award for fiction. The fiction category may be a stretch, but why not. It is not straight memoir. There are sections with clear narratives and others that read like prose poems, a genre I have never quite believed in. It is elegant and beautiful, and I look forward to reading more.
Mar 04, 2010 Kevin rated it liked it
Shelves: essays, queer-essays
An interesting collection of essays and observations. You can't read it expecting a point, or realizations. There are these, but they're not trumpeted the way they are in most popular non fiction. There's almost no point to these, which made them challenging to read at times only because we're so trained to expect a certain kind of pacing and payoffs. The real strength is in the voice. Cooper's sentences are gorgeous, and his descriptions are their own reward.
Frances Sawaya
May 06, 2016 Frances Sawaya rated it it was amazing
I have been reading this memoir sporadically for several decades, often returning to it for Cooper's style and outlooks on SoCal; the author was my teacher in several workshops at AULA. An outstanding teacher and an authentic memorist, unlike current books put out by politicians and ghost writers (I have in mind the pandering garbage that was Reagan's bio in the 80s). While i entered today's date in the "finished" category, I am sure I will never truly fnish it.
Colleen S.
Jul 10, 2012 Colleen S. rated it liked it
Recommends it for: autobiography fans, memoir fans, CNF writers, CNF readers
A bit more disjointed than "The Bill from my Father" which builds upon and revises some of these pieces, but useful. In particular, a great collection for demonstrating how the power of an essay is not dictated by length - some very brief pieces in here beside longer ones, a good collection to have on the shelf for any CNF aficionado.
Dec 26, 2013 J.A. rated it really liked it
The sentimental / memoirist quality of the book is overlaid with a fiction writer's and/or essayist's impetus and design, making for a lovingly disjointed and wonderfully honest narrative. A good, meaningful read.
Jul 11, 2008 Shoshanna rated it really liked it
Great book of creative non-fiction short stories. I read it for a class on autobiography, and Bernard Cooper accomplishes exactly what I would hope that I could accomplish in my own writing. If that makes sense.
Aug 01, 2010 Florian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
Yet another book I would never have read without David Shields' Reality Hunger. Stunning, heartbreaking language, one to reread every year.
Aug 19, 2009 Terry rated it it was amazing
Bernard is currently my favorite writer. I would call him the poet of creative nonfiction. A master wordsmith.
Mar 26, 2013 Jenny rated it it was ok
Was not very interested in the book, just my opinion. I acknowledge though that it is good, for other people, or for a class (which is why I read it).
Anthony Scarzafava
Jun 26, 2011 Anthony Scarzafava rated it liked it
Nice conversational essays, nothing earth shattering but a shared humanity. I ordered his latest to contrast.
Nicholae rated it liked it
Mar 01, 2011
Taylor Sutton
Taylor Sutton rated it really liked it
Oct 07, 2013
Elliott rated it it was amazing
May 30, 2013
Christina rated it really liked it
Oct 27, 2013
Brad rated it it was amazing
Jan 11, 2015
Brooke Champagne
Jul 15, 2009 Brooke Champagne rated it it was amazing
One of the most beautiful collection of short lyric essays I've ever read.
Rachel Starnes
Rachel Starnes rated it really liked it
Jan 31, 2008
Alice rated it it was amazing
Sep 29, 2011
Keith rated it liked it
May 02, 2007
Jenny Ohrstrom
Jenny Ohrstrom rated it really liked it
Mar 28, 2013
Jayne rated it really liked it
Oct 25, 2012
Kristen rated it it was amazing
Sep 15, 2008
Erin rated it it was amazing
Mar 25, 2012
Elissa Washuta
Elissa Washuta rated it really liked it
Oct 21, 2009
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Male Gaze: The Universe in Moments 9 16 Jan 28, 2013 08:31PM  
The Male Gaze: Moments In Time 9 13 Jan 28, 2013 01:59PM  
  • The Delicacy and Strength of Lace: Letters Between Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright
  • The Next American Essay
  • Household Words
  • Pack My Bag: A Self-Portrait
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Apt. 3W: Fiction
  • A Gentleman's Guide to Graceful Living
  • Dreams of Sleep
  • The Magic of Blood
  • The Same River Twice: A Memoir
  • On Looking: Essays
  • Travels with Lizbeth: Three Years on the Road and on the Streets
  • Still Life with Oysters and Lemon: On Objects and Intimacy
  • The Selected Levis
  • Moths of the Limberlost
  • The Art of Time in Memoir: Then, Again
  • A Romantic Education
  • Vanishing Point: Not a Memoir
  • A Way of Life, Like Any Other
Bernard Cooper has won numerous awards and prizes, among them the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Award, an O. Henry Prize, and literature fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and The National Endowment of the Arts.

He has published two memoirs, Maps to Anywhere and Truth Serum, as well as a novel, A Year of Rhymes, and a collection of short stories, Guess Again.

His work has appeared in Harper's Magazi
More about Bernard Cooper...

Share This Book