Top Five Saturday is a meme hosted by Devouring Books to discover and share books that all have a common theme. Previously, the focus has included witches, werewolves, thrillers, faeries, fairy tale re-tellings, high fantasy and many more.
This week’s theme is books with maps in them and there is one obvious and iconic mapped book which I am going to try my utmost to ignore for this. I mean, the map of Middle Earth in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings is iconic! It is probably more widely recognised that the maps of many real countries!
And obviously the books that contain maps will often be fantasy: George R. R. Martin, Stephen Erikson, Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, Brandon Sanderson, Samantha Shannon and their ilk either provide maps of their own worlds or readers build their own. And often they end up on Pinterest! And they are generally gorgeous! And fascinating. And I remember doing it myself! Reading those Choose Your Own Adventure books and creating my own maps – often in the back of school books – so that I could track and re-trace steps. And trying to make my own maps a I – in an adolescent juvenile flash – tried writing my own horribly cliched and derivative stories.
Books with Maps
The Salt Path, Raynor Winn
A non-fiction book covering the South West Coast Path, as trekked, rambled and trudged by the Wynns, recently homeless and unemployed and suffering from degenerative illness. Inspirational? Deluded? I wasn’t sure!
In a Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson
Travelogues in general are as populated with maps as fantasy, so heading off in that direction, we need to nod in the direction of Bryson, humane, witty, respectful and often hilarious.
The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
One of my favourite detective novels of all time!
The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton
Heading off-piste a little – a little!? – the Booker winning The Luminaries opens each part with a starmap of which three are above. This was a book I loved with a passion, as I did The Rehearsal which was a vastly different novel, but felt that a huge amount went over my head in the erudition and astrology that directs the novel. Fascinating. Wonderful prose. Probably did not understand a lot of it
Winnie the Pooh, A A Milne
It is almost as – perhaps more – familiar that Middle Earth perhaps, but the 100 Acre Wood is so replete with charm and childhood that you cannot ignore Pooh’s map, complete with spelling errors, “drawn by me and Mr Shepard helpd”. Wonderful and evocative and priceless.