Tonight is New Year’s Eve. After a day at the beach, I’m heading to a family gathering for food and plenty of fireworks to usher in 2013. I have high hopes for the new year. I want to make it one full of adventure, learning, and good health. The last 212-word review for 2012 discusses a book that reminded me of all the opportunities that hover on my horizon. I wish you and yours a spectacular close to 2012, and a sweet new year!
Maphead, Ken Jennings
I want to be friends with Ken Jennings. I read most of Maphead airborne, while journeying from East Coast to West Coast and back. Jennings’ voice is down-to-earth and very friendly. He cracks jokes that he realizes are geeky, but he also realizes are kinda funny. But it’s still obvious just how much dang stuff he knows. I spent my plane rides enveloped in the nerdish glee of the sheer multitudes of people who care deeply about facts that I didn’t even know were out there to begin with!
This book isn’t just about maps, but about the people who love maps, and the diverse lengths they go to in order to scratch their cartographic itches. And what places do maps hold in our cultural lexicon? Maphead makes one of the most articulate cases for the return of geography to the American curriculum that I’ve ever read. He dabbles in those who use maps to explore, who see maps as art, child prodigies who find community in fellow map-devourers, treasure-seeking geocachers, obsessive documentarians, historians who interpret maps as artifacts, and those who use maps to dream of places that once were, or could be. If you want to feel like the whole world is full of thrilling discoveries, I recommend this highly.