Lisa Vegan's Reviews > You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination

You Are Here by Katharine Harmon
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Jun 29, 09

bookshelves: art, non-fiction, reviewed
Read in June, 2009

I love maps, all kinds of maps. I love street maps, wall maps, globes, and I especially love maps in books, of both real and imaginary places. (The one in the book The Phantom Tollbooth has always given me great joy.) Whenever I start a book and see included maps, I am very happy. I was very excited to find and read this book.

The premise gets a 5 from me, the art (because that’s what these maps are) and creativity I give a full range of stars but overall I can give it a 4, but overall the maps in this book were somewhat disappointing to me; they were just ok = 2 stars. The range of how I’d rate each map goes from 5 to 1, but I didn’t enjoy them as much as I’d anticipated.

The book was divided into sections of personal geography, at home in the world, and fantasy, but those lines were blurred. Some introductory text is given per section and some descriptive text is given for each map.

Most of the maps in this book are so intricate and detailed, and many have tiny print, so many are difficult to read/view. I actually used a magnifying glass to look at many of them.

Most of the maps are more works of art than maps as I had thought of them, but most are interesting and very creative, and there are also many more traditional maps that are creatively altered.

My favorite “map” was on pages 36-37: Body Map of My Life, which was all in writing and very, very funny. I was going to list several other personal favorites but there ended up being too many, and I assume each reader will have different taste as to which maps they enjoy the most.

One thing this book did was get me thinking about various kinds of maps and the possibility of using graphic means of journaling or using map making as a personal project, for myself and as projects to do with children or adults.
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Reading Progress

06/28/2009 "I want to enlarge these to see them better. Cannot so might get out my magnifying glass!"

Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I am STILL looking for a good book mapping rivers. You know like the Danube, the Amazon. Sure all atlases have the rivers but from the perspective of the countries they are in. Wouldn't it be great to have a book that showed the river and all the countries it flows through and the cities nearby. Unfortunately it doesn't seen this book has it either....... Anybody out there know of such a book?


Lisa Vegan Wow! Chrissie, That would be a really interesting book. If there isn't one, maybe a Goodreads member will get an idea to write one! This You Are Here book looks like a lot of fun. A thorough river one would be fascinating, especially if there was also a lot of informative text.


Lisa Vegan Abigail,

You might be thinking of this one Thames: The Biography which is on my to-read list. (Of course. No surprise. Aren't they all?! ;-) )


message 4: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Am I the only one that gets annoyed when atlases show rivers in pale blue and they spread over many pages and the lines are impossible to follow? I have asked at several book shops. Nobody and suggest anything. I want a book with rivers from all over the world from the Thames to the Rhine to the Danube to the Amazon to the Yangtzee and lakes too. They mustn't be forgotten. The country borders should be there and cities too so you can easily place the rivers later into an ordinary atlas. The "River Atlas" could for each river list other books that take place on that river so you could later get a more indepth feel for how this particular river influences the people living by it. Cool if someone hear at GoodReads would do that! I did read about that Thames book, but it was only about one river and it is not at all atlas. Completely different. I wonder if there is any place on GoodReads where you can list books that you cannot find anywhere, ideas for books.


Lisa Vegan Chrissie, You could start a group. I'd join. It would be kind of the opposite of the What's the Name of That Book? group where people are looking for books they know exist.

I'd love an atlas of all the world's rivers.


message 6: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Usch, not me!


Lisa Vegan I'm on overwhelm. Otherwise, I'd do it. Too bad there's not a GR group for members to suggest good ideas for groups. Members could take the suggestions and start the ones of interest to them. I'm to overwhelmed to start that group too, unfortunately.

Chrissie, I would love to read a world atlas on all the rivers!


message 8: by Chrissie (last edited May 01, 2009 01:27AM) (new)

Chrissie Me too - overwhelmed and want the book. A cop out but true.


message 9: by Kelly (new)

Kelly  Maybedog If you like maps, check out Cartographia Mapping Civilizations. It's truly a phenomenal book.


message 10: by Lisa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lisa Vegan Kelly, I love maps. I'm about to go check out that book on Goodreads. Thanks so much!


message 11: by Lisa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lisa Vegan Ah, and it's already on my to-read shelf, but I bumped it up. I'll bet my library won't have it available to borrow but I'll check. I hope so; I'm not buying many books these days.


message 12: by Kelly (new)

Kelly  Maybedog It's a huge coffee-table type book so I'm sure it's expensive. So hopefully they will have it or can get it through ILL.


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