Tati Dengo's Reviews > On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks

On the Map by Simon Garfield
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Oct 29, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: best-of-read-in-2013, non-fiction
Read from December 12, 2012 to January 08, 2013

I'm very glad to have won this book as an ARC through Goodreads' Giveaways. Thank you, Gotham Books and Goodreads.

On the Map originally caught my eye since I’ve always been drawn to maps for their aesthetic appeal. I started reading this book not knowing what I would learn, but I was pleasantly surprised in the end.

Simon Garfield's writing is informative yet very approachable to any layman. The range of topics he’s included definitely make this book “Mind-Expanding”, since he addresses maps as an intrinsic part of human history and behavior, down to the way our brains work.

I was especially (and pleasantly) surprised to find pop culture references, including: books (Treasure Island), movies (Casablanca and Harry Potter), and games (Skyrim).

He does all this with brief but welcome spurts of an ironic sense of humor, which makes this book more like an informative conversation and less like a textbook.

So I would recommend On the Map to anyone with the slightest inkling of interest in maps, even if only to read select chapters. (To book lovers everywhere, the Treasure Island chapter is a treat.)

The pictures are the only area where I was left wanting. His descriptions of the maps are very vivid and compelling, but the pictures included don’t always satisfy the desire to see the beauty of what he’s describing, since they are either lacking in color (though I don’t know if that’s only the case in the ARC), or they are so small that it’s hard to appreciate all the detail. Regardless, this gives me an excuse to visit some of the websites he mentioned and find more maps to explore on my own by using what I learned from this book.

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Reading Progress

12/22/2012 page 102
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