203 - Favourite Strange Map Book Covers 2007
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
The Mighty Barrister alerted me to a post on the blog of the Book Design Review by Joseph Sullivan of Chicago, listing his favourite book covers of 2007. Two of ‘em are map-based (and sufficiently strange to be included here):
Words Without Borders (cover design by Helen Yentus): contains 28 works of literature never before published in English. The international flair of the book is heightened by the map-like cover, with in the legend the names of some of the multinational array of writers, including Ariel Dorfman (Chile), Jonathan Safran Foer (US), Günter Grass (Germany), Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt) and Wole Soyinka (Nigeria).\n
The Cigarette Century (cover design by Rodrigo Corral): the book by Allan M. Brandt relates ‘the rise, fall, and deadly persistence of the product that defined America’ and illustrates this nation-defining characteristic by showing the eastern half of the United States made up out of the pernicious little smoke-sticks. It’s probably taking things too far to try to count how many cigarettes constitute each state. Two are quite easily countable, however: Florida, as far as I can see, equals about 12 cigarettes, Michigan (including the Upper Peninsula’s 4 ciggies) equals 10 smokes.\n
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