You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Maps of the Imagination - Katharine Harmon

I came across this book in "Wired" magazine, which had a few examples of the maps contained in the book. You Are Here really ought to be a coffee table book—it's not so much lavishly illustrated as sparingly annotated. Loosely organized into three categories, "Personal Geography," "At Home In the World," and "Realms of Fantasy," the book is a collection of maps, some real but mostly imagined, with a few essays on maps and map-making sprinkled in. There are maps of the roads to Heaven and Hell, maps of the body, maps of completely made-up but highly detailed lands. There are painted maps, printed maps, textual maps, and three-dimensional maps.

One essay, titled "Two Maps of Boylan Heights," was particularly interesting to me: as an assignment for a design class, students created several types of maps of the neighborhood, including a jack-o'-lantern map of the neighborhood, and a map showing which addresses had gotten the most mentions in the neighborhood newsletter.

It's a beautiful book. If you're interested in maps, this book is bound to delight you. If you're not, it might just do the trick.

Fed to jonathan's brain | March 13, 2004