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The Writer's Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands

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It’s one of the first things we discover as children, reading and Maps have a unique power to transport us to distant lands on wondrous travels. Put a map at the start of a book, and we know an adventure is going to follow. Displaying this truth with beautiful full-color illustrations, The Writer’s Map is an atlas of the journeys that our most creative storytellers have made throughout their lives. This magnificent collection encompasses not only the maps that appear in their books but also the many maps that have inspired them, the sketches that they used while writing, and others that simply sparked their curiosity.
Philip Pullman recounts the experience of drawing a map as he set out on one of his early novels, The Tin Princess . Miraphora Mina recalls the creative challenge of drawing up ”The Marauder’s Map” for the Harry Potter films. David Mitchell leads us to the Mappa Mundi by way of Cloud Atlas and his own sketch maps. Robert Macfarlane reflects on the cartophilia that has informed his evocative nature writing, which was set off by Robert Louis Stevenson and his map of Treasure Island . Joanne Harris tells of her fascination with Norse maps of the universe. Reif Larsen writes about our dependence on GPS and the impulse to map our experience. Daniel Reeve describes drawing maps and charts for The Hobbit film trilogy. This exquisitely crafted and illustrated atlas explores these and so many more of the maps writers create and are inspired by—some real, some imagined—in both words and images.
Amid a cornucopia of 167 full-color images, we find here maps of the world as envisaged in medieval times, as well as maps of adventure, sci-fi and fantasy, nursery rhymes, literary classics, and collectible comics. An enchanting visual and verbal journey, The Writer’s Map will be irresistible for lovers of maps, literature, and memories—and anyone prone to flights of the imagination.

256 pages, Hardcover

First published October 11, 2018

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About the author

Huw Lewis-Jones

31 books30 followers
Se doctoró en la Univer­sidad de Cambridge y es historiador del me­dio ambiente y guía de expediciones. Pasa gran parte de su tiempo libre trabajando en regiones naturales, incluida la Antártida, y es un islomaníaco empedernido. Ha publi­cado dieciséis libros, incluyendo Imagining the Artic, Ocean Portraits, Explorers’ Sket­chbooks, The Sea Journal, The Conquest of Everest (con el que ganó el Premio de His­toria en el Banff Festival) y más reciente­mente The Writer’s Map, un atlas de tierras imaginarias. En la actualidad, es profesor titular en la Universidad de Falmouth.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 196 reviews
Profile Image for Trish.
1,944 reviews3,404 followers
January 29, 2023
I bought this some years ago because I can NEVER resist a good map. It's one of the things I love about Tolkien who drew his own maps and included them in his books. Nowadays, many authors do it (or publishers have maps drawn up by artists).

This book not only shows the wonderful places authors have imagined and brought to life through their words, it also has authors tell us of what inspired them. We thus get to pick their brains about the real-life inspirations behind their own creations and I was surprised to read that some maps even kickstarted certain literary careers!

Especially interesting was to see medieval and even ancient maps alongside ones used in scifi stories. The book nicely combines classic versions of maps while also talking about modern forms such as GPS, revealing how people always needed and still need to track their ways through life. Maybe that's why a good map draws in even more readers.

A wonderful treasure trove that showed me familiar and totally new (to me) places in wonderful details. I'll be sure to visit this again and again in the future to cross-reference or get a deeper look at worlds I read about.
Profile Image for Marc.
3,068 reviews1,092 followers
March 29, 2019
This first and foremost seems a coffee table book to look at and marvel: it’s full of imagined maps, old and new, mostly made to accompany stories ranging from Gulliver's Travels or Robinson Crusoe to Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and Harry Potter. Various writers and illustrators testify to their fascination for maps and how they portray the real reality, or the reality of a story. Because that is a recurring theme: reality and imagination are only separated by a vague dividing line, and in many cases they run together.

Editor Huw Lewis-Jones aptly puts it this way: “Maps are invitations. We can read them, read with them, draw and redraw them, use them, share them, add and alter them, enter into them. As representations, they are always partial, always incomplete, and yet they always offer us more than what is held there on paper alone. Maps begin a story. They send us off on new journeys, set our feet moving and our minds racing. Maps inform us and they encourage wonder. Maps give us guidance and direction, and show us the range of a territory, but they can only ever suggest a greater whole. The rest is up to you”. I think that says it all. So in the end, this isn't just a coffee table book, is it?
Profile Image for Vintage.
2,394 reviews444 followers
November 23, 2018
This book is enchanting! I love it!

I bought it for my son as he loves maps, geography, fantasy, history, imagination and the list goes on.

For avid readers of children's literature particularly fantasy and magic (Harry Potter, Narnia, LOTR, etc) the book has detailed black and white and color copies of all the popular maps plus more. I've already found one map The Land of Make Believe map which is so charming and would make a great addition to a child's room.

There are chapters from either the point of view of the author and how maps from other books impacted their imagination and writing as well as one from the illustrator that created the letters and Marauder's Map for the Harry Potter movies. The details of what was needed to create a magical letters map that was beyond the norm was fascinating.

This is one of those books that I want to give to each and every long-time fantasy reader and friend as it has so many old literary favorites as well as new ones you will want to explore.
Profile Image for Kris.
1,301 reviews174 followers
December 30, 2019
If for nothing else, I must give this five stars simply for the design. This is a fantastically well-made book—from the dust jacket, through the typesetting, to the end notes, to the end papers. Even the paper quality itself is nice stock.

As with any anthology, the writing itself varies. Most of it is musings on how inspiring maps are. The best pieces are thoughts from Miraphora Mina on Harry Potter and Daniel Reeve on Lord of the Rings, who did cartography, calligraphy, and other artwork for the films. The value in this book is in the physicality of it, more than the content of the writing. Give this to any lover of fantasy.
Profile Image for Matthew Richey.
415 reviews6 followers
April 22, 2019
I became a map-lover at age 7 or 8. I had this old green atlas from the 1970s that I would fall asleep with every night looking at the maps of places I'd never been and wanted to visit and memorizing the countries and their capitals. I also loved road maps. When we moved from Washington to Colorado when I was 10, I loved following our route halfway across the country as we traveled. I would beg my father to drive out of our way so that we could go through states to which I had not yet been; I remember he obliged me once (but only once). When I was 8 or 9 I began drawing my own maps of made up worlds. The primary reason for doing so was to counteract the sadness I felt because there were no new places on earth to find. I drew and redrew these maps through my teenage years and still have one of them.

Reading this book was like returning to my childhood. It's written by a variety of authors, many of them illustrators who draw maps for imaginary worlds or the authors who invent them. The best part of the book however are the maps themselves. Some are imaginary maps of our world drawn in the Middle Ages or the maps of Narnia, Middle Earth, Neverland, Treasure Island and a host of places that I inhabited as a young person and am still transported to as I share these stories with my children. I loved the experience of reading this book and studying the maps. It made me want to return to the maps I drew in my youth. Maybe I will.
Profile Image for Peter Tillman.
3,634 reviews329 followers
March 13, 2020
A beautiful book, but scattershot. I liked it, and it was (mostly) fun to browse. The illustrations are well-reproduced, and their interesting-factor (for me) was all over the map (heh). The essays, well. Some were interesting, others I skimmed. I did a lot of skimming, actually. It's a good book for browsing -- and skimming.

I love maps. In my days as a field geologist, I worked on topographic maps, geologic maps, air photos, satellite imagery, remote-sensing false-color stuff. A colleague once said he would read a detailed map like a book -- a good observation, true for me too. Still is. So the fantasy stuff, I get a little impatient with (unless I don't). I've gotten impatient with reproductions of historic maps, especially the seriously old stuff -- which are very hard to make out (for me anyway) in the photo-reductions here and elsewhere. The few real historic maps I've seen are more interesting -- but aren't made available to handle, for obvious reasons.

My background is much different than most people, and (as you can see) most people seem happy with the book. So, if it sounds interesting, see if your library has a copy and try it, is my advice.

My favorite art in the book wasn't a map at all, but an illustration from Mervyn Peake's first book, "Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor" (1939). I couldn't find that one online, but here are some samples: https://gatheringbooks.org/2016/12/05... (scroll down). I wonder if Dr. Seuss came across this book when he he was young? Seems likely.
Profile Image for Literary Redhead.
1,624 reviews494 followers
July 16, 2019
I have read a ton in my life but never a book like The Writer's Map, which is a wonder! So captivating to look at and read, this gorgeous book contains the world — literally — within its 167 full-color images. Included are medieval maps and others related to the classics, sci-fi and fantasy, adventure, collectible comics, and nursery rhymes. For readers who fancy maps, literature and high adventure. 5/5

Thanks to the author, the University of Chicago Press and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine.

#TheWriter'sMap #NetGalley
Profile Image for Nathan Albright.
4,422 reviews101 followers
June 24, 2019
Cartography is a somewhat underappreciated aspect of fantasy literature, and this book does a good job at putting fantasy literature with a sense of place that helps both the writer and the reader better understand the worldbuilding that is going on.  Sometimes as storytellers we can better understand the works we are reading or writing once we put pen to paper and sketch out the world we are dealing with?  What is the nature of the city we are dealing with?  Is it one of Calvino's shifting geographies, or is it somewhere that is heavily rural?  What kind of rivers or mountains or forests or deserts are there in the world?  Is there one empire or scattered city-states or a few rival nations and peoples?  Knowing these answers can hep shape the sort of experience that is being written about, and can help the writer and reader zero in on the particular places that are most important.  Maybe there is an area that is contested between different nations, or a remote area where no one would expect a hero to come from or something like that.  That would make an obvious place to focus on.

This particular book is made up of four parts with several other pieces of miscellaneous material written by various authors.  The book begins with a prologue by Philip Pullman, best known for the His Dark Materials trilogy.  After that comes two essays in the first part of the book on make believe, looking at literary geographies and the mapping of memories.  After that comes several essays on the writing of maps, which examine first steps, going off the grid, looking at the Viking worldview as well as other examples of imaginary cartography, and looking at imagination and what is wild.  The third part of the book looks at the creation of maps, ranging from Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings to other faerie stories and even Robinson Crusoe.  The fourth part of the book then discusses the reading of maps in such areas as Dungeons & Dragons as well as the landscapes of the mind and the discovery of the unknown.  There is also a postscript of sorts where someone discusses the beauty of books and also ends with some notes about the contributors, acknowledgments, suggestions for further reading, sources of quotations, sources of illustrations, and an index, for a total of about 250 pages or so.

For the most part, this is a very excellent book and it was enjoyable to read.  There is definitely some evidence, though, that many of the contributors of this book did not read what others had written, because a lot of the individual essays here cover the same small set of material over and over again, especially when it comes to maps of Middle Earth and Narnia, which are mentioned repeatedly by many of the contributors.  This book could have been even better if the editor had made sure that the authors didn't continually circle around to the same few fantasy worlds and their maps over and over again but explored a broader range of fantasy worlds, or better yet had more original worlds that were not familiar to the reader.  At any rate, this book does succeed at expressing an appreciation for the maps of fantasy worlds and also in encouraging future fantasy writers to pay attention to the mapping of their own or other fantasy worlds.  Whether or not the reader views cartography as important in fantasy worlds, the fact that one is reading this book indicates that the subject is at least of some interest.
Profile Image for Pop Bop.
2,475 reviews101 followers
July 13, 2018
A Very Mixed Bag of "Story-Maps"

Read this book blurb carefully - "The Writer’s Map is an atlas of the journeys that our most creative storytellers have made throughout their lives.". It tells you more about this book than perhaps the publisher intended. A great deal of the text, (and there is a lot of text), is by writers and illustrators who share their personal histories with maps - as children, as readers, as "book lovers", as professional writers, and as artists. The book is illustrated with examples - some familiar, some unique, some prosaic, and some odd and lovely - but for the greater part this is a collection of personal essays, mixed up with a rather disordered and idiosyncratic survey of maps in literature and also maps generally through the ages.

There are some hits, (the story behind the Harry Potter Marauder's Map or the challenges of creating the various maps used as props in the "Lord of the Rings" movies), and some juvenilia and ephemera that may be of interest mostly to devoted fans of the Brontes, Thoreau, "Pilgrim's Progress", Arthur Ransome, "Treasure Island", Moominland, and so on. Interspersed through this, (the book has chapter and section headings, but they are more poetic flights of fancy than an actual table of contents), are first person testimonials by a wide and varied cast of writers. These bits range considerably in appeal and interest. (I did think it was especially interesting to compare the maps that were doodled by authors with the final maps that were prepared for publication by professional illustrators based on those doodles.)

The maps themselves are first rate, and range from the familiar to the odd, with lots of stops inbetween. The appeal of the text varies, and sometimes the contributors lay it on a bit thick. But there is something for everyone, since the list of contributors is rather impressive. You'll find lengthy essays from Chris Ridell, Cressida Crowell, Robert Macfarlane, Francis Hardinge, Joanne Harris, David Mitchell, Kiran Hargrave, Lev Grossman, Brian Selznick, and a host of other contemporary writers with whom you may or may not be familiar. The upshot for me was that this ended up being a quite satisfying, if somewhat haphazard, browsable book.

(Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-x-days Adobe Digital copy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
Profile Image for Buchdoktor.
1,814 reviews124 followers
July 11, 2019
Am Anfang war die Karte. Ursula LeGuin zeichnete zuerst den Archipel Erdsee und Chris Riddell Am Anfang war die Karte. Ursula LeGuin zeichnete zuerst den Archipel Erdsee und Chris Riddell zeichnete zuerst die Klippe, auf der die Klippenland-Chroniken spielen sollten. Huw Lewis-Jones befasst sich in seinem üppigen Atlas zum großen Teil mit Landkarten fantastischer Welten und ihren Schöpfern, den Autoren und Kartografen. Am Beginn jedes Abenteuerromans und jedes fantastischen Romans steht der Schauplatz, egal, ob es sich „nur“ um einen Garten, eine Stadt, Burganlage oder einen ganzen Erdteil handelt.

Im Prolog berichtet der Herausgeber, wie seine Faszination für Karten bereits in der Grundschule geweckt wurde, als seine Klasse den Schulhof abschreiten und eine Karte davon zeichnen sollte. Huw Lewis-Jones befindet sich mit dieser Anregung in früher Kindheit in guter Gesellschaft; denn nahezu alle Autoren und Kartografen, die hier zu Wort kommen, hatten frühe Förderer, die ihre Liebe zu Abenteuern weckten. Herausragend waren für mich Abi Elphinstones Kindheit in Schottland, in der sie und ihre Geschwister schon einmal versehentlich in eiskalte Flüsse tappen konnten. Ihre Kindheit war geprägt von einer realen blauen Tür, hinter der ihre Eltern sie direkt hinter dem Haus zu wahren Abenteuern führten, wie der Suche nach einem Adlerhorst. Als jugendliche Leserin brauchte sie selbst Karten, um der Handlung mit dem Finger auf der Karte folgen zu können. Beim Schreiben fügte Elphinstone ihre fantastischen Welten in reale Messtischblätter ein; denn als Legasthenikerin benötigt sie unbedingt das Visuelle zu ihren Geschichten. Der Übergang zwischen der realen und der fantastischen Welt wird nahezu in jedem Kapitel thematisiert.

Bemerkenswert auch Helen Moss, die als Kind von Abenteuern in China, Tibet und in Wüsten las und natürlich von der Bezeichnung „Leeres Viertel“ für eine gewaltige Wüste fasziniert war. Auch Moss berichtet von der frühen Förderung durch ihren Vater. Cressida Cowell verbrachte ihre Ferien regelmäßig mit der Familie auf einer unbewohnten Insel. Wen wundert es, dass eine Frau, die sich als Kind vorstellte, wie am Ufer Wikinger-Horden landen würden, später Illustratorin wurde. Schließlich hat mich die Begegnung mit Reif Larsen erfreut, der Karten und Skizzen nutzt, um die Denkweise seines höchst sonderbaren Helden T.S. Spivet zu kartieren. Es sind erschreckend wenige Karten, die ich spontan wiedererkannt habe, so dass ich mich beunruhigt fragen muss, wann ich all diese tollen Bücher lesen soll, zu denen der Herausgeber und seine Autoren mich hier erfolgreich geködert haben.

Huw Lewis-Jones Prachtband liest sich wie das Who's Who der Abenteuer- und phantastischen Literatur. Warum Autoren Karten brauchen, selbst wenn diese Karten später nicht im Buch erscheinen, kann man darin erfahren, wie Autoren von ihrer Kindheit und eigenen Leseerfahrungen geprägt wurden, und schließlich, welche künstlerischen Talente sich hinter Karten fantastischer Welten verbergen.

Der Originaltitel „The Writer's Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands” gefällt mir um Welten besser als der übersetzte Titel - und für einen Prachtband wie diesen würde ich mir ein Lesebändchen wünschen.

Wer Abenteuerliteratur und Fantastik liest und sich dafür interessiert, was erfolgreiche Autoren früher einmal für Kinder waren, der/die kann mit dem Buch ein paar zufriedene Ferientage verbringen.
Profile Image for M.andthebooks.
459 reviews
March 17, 2021
Rezension: (kann Spoiler enthalten)

Ein Buch über Karten? Klingt doch an sich relativ unspannend. Eine Art Atlas eben.
Aber als ich in der Buchhandlung vor vielen Monaten einmal "Verrückt nach Karten" gesehen hatte, wusste ich sofort, dass es kein einfacher Atlas ist. Dieses Buch erzählt die Geschichte der Karten in jeglichen Variationen und dieses Buch hat es geschafft, mich zu inspirieren.
Ich habe vorher Karten nie eine große Bedeutung zugesprochen, doch umso mehr Menschen in diesem Buch erklärten, woher ihre Liebe zu Karten kam, und umso mehr Karten ich in diesem Buch sah, desto sicherer war ich mir, dass Karten doch etwas Besonderes sind.
Jetzt will ich unbedingt ein Buch schreiben, in dem es mal um Karten geht und um einen Kartenmacher.
Das Buch hat so viel erzählt, wie Karten entstanden, wie viele Autoren sie nutzen, um daraus ihre Geschichten zu machen, was Karten uns alles schenken können,... Es gab so viel, weshalb mir mittlerweile sehr bewusst ist, warum das Buch so groß und schwer war und ich gefühlte Ewigkeiten brauchte, mir alles durchzulesen und anzusehen.
Ich will hier nicht ewig drumherum erzählen, denn viel kann ich zu diesem Buch eigentlich nicht erzählen, wie ich es sonst tue, es ist schließlich ein Sachbuch, doch es hat mir wirklich gut gefallen, weil die Liebe zu Karten, die die beteiligten Personen hegten, wirklich greifbar war und es mir so viel zu Karten verriet, das ich vorher nicht wusste.
Mich hat das Buch inspiriert, daher ist es definitiv ein Highlight und ich kann es nur empfehlen!

5 Sterne
Profile Image for Annie.
657 reviews17 followers
April 22, 2019
As a big reader of fantasy fiction, I found this atlas of imaginary lands so fascinating. At the best of times, I get very excited when I find maps in the books I’m reading so to have a collection of the most noted ones in a book is pretty cool. Such incredible and detailed artwork of the maps we found in stories we know and love from Narnia to Lord of the Rings to Moby Dick to Harry Potter and much more. The book gives insight as to how these maps came to be and how in some cases, the map actually wrote the story which is now a treasured favourite! Definitely a collectable for those who like me, adore ‘bookish maps’.
54 reviews1 follower
June 7, 2019
Ever since I was a child and my babysitter drew careful treasure maps for me to follow through the house, I have loved maps. I’m not even sure what came first - my love for fantasy fiction or my love for maps. This incredibly gorgeous book with its collection of essays and reminisces of writers and artists about stories and maps is one that you happily fall into and rediscover the wonder, the magic of fantasy worlds. I spent hours lost in tracing the colour illustrations, making my own pathways through The Hundred Acre Wood, Treasure Island, Narnia. This is a book to treasure, and will inspire you to explore both the page and the world.
Profile Image for raffaela.
203 reviews34 followers
July 5, 2019
The Writer's Map is a collection of short essays by various authors and illustrators about map-making and story-telling, interspersed, of course, by plenty of gorgeous maps. As a writer, I gained insight in how to use maps to help me in my writing, and the maps were interesting and inspiring. The essays themselves are a mixed bag, inevitably, but they're so short that it's easy to skim over the meh ones and linger longer over the better ones. In short, it's a good resource for creative types and a feel-good book for anyone who loves books and maps.
Profile Image for Dina.
582 reviews321 followers
March 19, 2021
Una genialidad. No hay una isla que tenga desperdicio y la de los libros, mi favorita ^_^
Profile Image for Rachel.
56 reviews2 followers
May 17, 2021
Wowie. Incredible illustrations.
Profile Image for Anna_banana20.
41 reviews7 followers
August 10, 2019
Die Verehrung von Karten und Fantasie

Dieses Buch ist wunderschön! Ich habe mich sehr gefreut, als dieses große und farbenfrohe Werk bei mir ankam. Es enthält die Gedanken vieler unterschiedlicher Autoren, Zitate berühmter Schriftsteller, detailreiche Karten der Vergangenheit von Orten auf der Erde und von Orten der Fantasie. Und es lädt ein, tiefer in den Entstehungsprozess von Romanen, Filmen und weiteren Geschichtsträgern einzusteigen.

Wie gehen einige Autoren vor, um ihre Geschichten plausibel zu gestalten? Hilft eine Verortung der Handlung, um die Geschichte erlebbarer zu machen? Ist es als Schriftsteller einfacher sich dem Schaffensprozess hinzugeben, wenn zuerst eine Karte des Handlungsortes existiert? Welche Gefühlswelten erschaffen authentisch anmutende Karten? Diese und viele weitere Fragen klären der Herausgeber Huw Lewis-Jones (promovierter Historiker und preisgekrönter Autor) und Autoren wie Philipp Pullmann (u. a. „Der goldene Kompass“), David Mitchell (u. a. „Der Wolkenatlas“), Helen Moss (u. a. „Adventure Island“), Cressida Cowell (u. a. „Drachenzähmen leicht gemacht“), Miraphora Mina (u. a. Grafikdesignerin für die „Harry Potter“-Filme), Daniel Reeve (u. a. Kartograf für die Karte von „Mittelerde“ aus „Der Herr der Ringe“ oder „Der Hobbit“) und viele weitere spannenden Persönlichkeiten.

Der Inhalt von „Verrückt nach Karten“ setzt sich auf 256 Seiten voller Anekdoten der Autoren und vielen grundverschiedenen Karten aus einem Prolog, vier Teilen („Täuschend echt“, „Literarische Karten“, „Karten erstellen“ und „Karten lesen“) und einem Epilog zusammen. Dabei erhält jeder Autor sozusagen eine persönliches Kapitel, in dem er ein Hauptthema wählt (natürlich immer in Bezug auf Karten, Fantasie, Fantasiewelten, etc.), das erklärt, wie er oder sie zu Karten steht, wie die Faszination diesbezüglich ausbrach und welche Bedeutung bestimmte Karten in ihrem oder seinem Leben für den eigenen Werdegang hatten.

Oft genannte und ebenfalls gezeigte Beispiele sind „Mittelerde“, „Die Schatzinsel“, „Narnia“, „Der Hundert-Morgen-Wald“ oder auch die Welt von „Game of Thrones“. Aber auch Expeditionskarten, historische Karten der damaligen Weltanschauung und religiöse Veranschaulichungen von Karten (z. B. die Pergamentkarte von Botticelli, auf der er die neun Kreise der Hölle nach Dantes „Göttlicher Komödie“ darstellte) sind großflächig in diesem wunderbaren Werk abgebildet. Dies ist nur eine genannte Auswahl.

Ich bin sehr glücklich ein Exemplar dieser Ideen- und Kartensammlung in meinem Regal zu wissen. Ist es für mich doch eine Quelle der Inspiration und eine Hommage an die Karten dieser und erdachter Welten, die schon in meiner Kindheit meine junge Fantasie beflügelten und mich an Orte brachten, die mir Spannung, Spaß und Abenteuer versprachen.
Profile Image for Nostalgia Reader.
792 reviews63 followers
December 5, 2018
3.5 stars.

A love letter to literary maps, written by 24 writers and illustrators. Each brief essay gives the reader a glimpse into the author’s childhood, creative process, what maps they’ve found to be most influential on their careers as illustrators of maps or authors of books with maps (and oftentimes, both). The essays are complemented by many photos of a variety of maps, ranging from historical atlases to drafts of worlds (including original drafts of Narnia and Mordor) to the final elaborate endpaper maps.

Each essay focuses on the author’s personal experience with maps and adventure, and how they morphed that into their creative employment of today. Some focus more on their present works, detailing their processes of how they start mapping before they write (or sometimes the other way round), while others detail their journey through maps of childhood, whether mapping their childhood explorations or losing themselves in the endpaper maps of a kids book.

Even if some of the essayist’s names don’t immediately sound familiar, after reading their essays (or their bios), you’ll realize you’ve likely been familiar with their work for quite some time. Although many of their journeys and observations are similar, they each have their own path that brought them to their love of maps today–much like a map itself.

While I was hoping for a bit more of a historical bent to the book, rather than personal essays, I still enjoyed the journey through multitudes of worlds and maps, and was introduced to a few new books and maps along the way (most influential find: “An ancient mappe of Fairyland” from Bernard Sleigh).

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy to review!

(Cross posted on my blog.)
Profile Image for Kelsey.
544 reviews11 followers
March 18, 2019
Hovering between 3.5 and 4. Absolutely gorgeous book. Some of the essays are repetitive, and quite a few are dismissive of technology. Really loved looking at the maps though.
183 reviews
December 31, 2019
This is such a gorgeous book, it's worth it for the pictures alone. Almost every fictional map I can think of is represented here, with many I've never seen before, and many non-fictional maps too. There are images of gorgeous historical maps I've never heard of and types of navigational charts that are new to me.

The text is hit and miss. Each chapter is written by a different person. Some of them are enjoyable explorations of a writer's process, or a recollection of how they became fascinated with maps. Some are tantalising hints of their favourite maps. mentioned only in a brief sentence, making me want to go and seek them out. These chapters are lovely and a pleasure to read. Quite a few are simply ramblings about why maps are important and why they trigger our imagination. The first one or two were interesting but by the time I was at the end of the book they just seemed like meaningless, self-indulgent twaddle filled with metaphors that don't make sense, which the editor should have cut.

The creator of the famous film version of the Marauder's Map, for instance, could have given us a really interesting bit of insight into how she came up with it. Instead it reads like some kind of marketing copy talking in a sterile fashion about how she got involved and how long it took to make the films. Not really what you're here for in this book. Conversely, the guy who did the maps of Middle-earth for the Lord of the Rings trilogy wrote a fascinating chapter about how he got involved, what he used to create the maps, things that went wrong while doing it, and what other maps he went on to make, talking about his thought process for them.

The lacklustre chapters are a bit disappointing, but it's only enough to knock off one star on this rating, because otherwise this was a great read and something I'll enjoy picking up to have a gander at the pictures for many years to come.
Profile Image for Vera.
Author 0 books15 followers
March 13, 2022
This is a beautiful homage to maps and stories: of the stories that lie hidden in "real" world maps like those of Piri Reis, Abraham Ortelius or Olaus Magnus, and of the maps of fantastic stories like those of Middle-Earth, the Hundred Acre Wood or Westeros. The book consists of short essays - or, rather, love letters to maps - by artists, designers and authors.

It is beautifully designed with high quality prints of all kind of maps, fictional and historicsl, to lose yourself in. A great book that I will certainly treasure.
Profile Image for Mayu Vargas.
325 reviews1 follower
January 29, 2022
Hay libros lindos y este!,🖤 "Mapas Literarios" de Huw Lewis-Jones, es una recopilación de mapas, ilustraciones e impresiones de escritores e ilustradores sobre mapas de los mundos imaginarios en la literatura, mapas de Narnia, Tierra Media, el bosque de Pooh, el recorrido del barco de Moby Dick, entre otros, una joya!!!!
Profile Image for Saskia.
394 reviews34 followers
July 23, 2019
3.5 Sterne | Karten sind cool, keine Frage. Das wird in dem Buch mehr als einmal in der ein oder anderen Form erwähnt. Literarische Karten sind beinahe noch cooler, weil sie die magischen Welten noch realer machen.
Die Aufmachung ist ein Traum. Die Karten sind in einer tollen Qualität gedruckt und vor allem groß genug, dass man sich in den Details verlieren kann. Die Farben sind wunderschön und allein mit dem betrachten der Karten kann man Stunden verbringen. Inhaltlich ist es leider eher enttäuschend. Es wird nur wenig auf die Abbildungen eingegangen und die vier großen Kapitel machen sich in meinen Augen kaum bemerkbar.
Jeder Autor schreibt erst einmal wie sehr er die Karten liebt und welche er zuerst entdeckt hat (idR sind das Der Herr der Ringe / Der Hobbit, Der Goldene Kompass oder Robinson Crusoe). Anschließend wird ein wenig über die eigenen Bücher mit Karten gesprochen und dann, wenn es gerade interessant wird, endet das Kapitel.
Vor allem das finde ich sehr schade, denn ich weiß immer noch nicht wie die Karten entstehen. Worauf muss ich am besten achten, wenn ich diese entwerfe? Denn die meisten Autoren haben meine eigenen Erfahrungen bestätigt: es ist nicht leicht eine eigene Karte zu entwerfen. Denn irgendwie sehen sie immer unnatürlich ist. Nur was lässt eine Karte natürlich wirken?
Trotzdem gab es die ein oder andere nette Anekdote. Zum Beispiel hat die Designerin der Penguin English Library Classic Bücher etwas über ihre Gedanken zu der Wahl der Motive geschildert. Von solchen Anekdoten hätte ich gerne viel mehr gehabt und weniger von der ewigen Leier wie sehr jeder Karten liebt. Denn wer einen Beitrag zu so einem Buch beiträgt, von dem erwarte ich, dass er diese mag.
Den Inhalt werde ich wohl schon bald vergessen haben, denn dieser macht keinen bleibenden Eindruck. Erneut lesen werde ich es vielleicht nur in Abschnitten. Darin Blättern werde ich aber noch ewig.
Profile Image for JuliesBookhismus.
624 reviews
September 7, 2021
Dieses Buch hat mich schon ein wenig umgehauen. Nicht nur, dass sich der Herausgeber entschuldigt, dass eben nicht ALLE Karten darin sind, sondern vor allem wegen der Karten, die Abgedruckt wurden! Ob reale Karten oder Fantasiekarten, wie Narnia, Mittelerde oder Asgard, um nur ein paar meiner Lieblinge zu nennen.

Die Grafiken sind einfach der Wahnsinn! So viele Details, so viele Kleinigkeiten, so viele Sprachen und so viel Leidenschaft, die in jeder einzelnen Karte steckt. Man sieht es nicht nur, man spürt es förmlich.

Dennoch ist es ein Sachbuch. Man hat gemerkt, dass es versucht wurde, einfach zu schreiben, dass auch wir Laien es verstehen, trotzdem sind natürlich Stellen darin, die man als Karten-Anfänger nicht wirklich versteht oder sich im Nachhinein weiter informieren muss. Finde ich soweit gar nicht mal schlimm, denn durch dieses Buch KANN eine Leidenschaft geweckt werden. Man erfährt viel über die verschiedenen "Kartographen" (heißen die so?) und auch über die Autoren. Jeder hat eine andere Faszination für sich selbst entdeckt und warum er Karten zeichnet oder sammelt. Einfach beeindruckend. Man fühlt sich ihnen ein Stückchen näher, auch wenn man sie nie kennen lernen wird.

Ich selbst bin zwar Kartenliebhaber, aber ich verstehe nichts davon. Mit Karte und Kompass kann man mich jagen, deswegen hab ich ja GPS im Handy xD Und trotzdem schaffe ich es, mich zu verirren. Wäre jedenfalls nicht das erste Mal... Dafür liebe ich Karten in Büchern umso mehr! Ich will immer genau wissen, wer sich wo gerade befindet.

Dies Buch ist absolut beeindruckend! Den einen Stern ziehe ich ab, weil es teilweise doch sehr fachspezifisch geschrieben ist und es sich dann sehr zieht, da man doch öfter nachschlagen muss oder mehrfach das Gleiche liest.
Profile Image for Mia.
138 reviews7 followers
May 5, 2020
Good selection of essays by other map obsessives. Most of them got hooked discovering books-with-maps while growing up, eg Tolkien, Pooh, Pullman, so many more (lots I had never encountered). Plenty of references and leads to follow up. The plates are not as crisp as one would hope for, but a fantastic array of maps.
6,156 reviews69 followers
July 10, 2018
No really what I was expecting. I would have taken more maps and less writing. This is an interesting concept and the maps are beautiful. Just not necessarily the way I would have done it or wanted it. Good idea but the execution could have been better!
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