Monday, March 03, 2008

It's Like Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake, Only Better


I am well on my way to recovery, and I thank you all for your kind wishes and much-appreciated notes.

Now, after what seems like years, but is really only three months or so, of topsy-turvy upheaved schedules, with two trips, one new job, two colds, one family surgery (not serious) and, let's not forget, way back at the beginning, the holiday season, it's time to slip life back into a nice, comfortable routine (I hope). Like putting on broken-in jeans and my favorite sweater. Although, at the moment, this routine is a little new and stiff, but I'm hoping it will break in quickly.

And now onto the delicious part: not that I'll have any spare time now, but it's always good to fill your spare time with the things you love passionately. In my case, that usually means chocolate (especially when it's part of the Cheesecake Factory's Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake), books and, of course, maps. And thanks to my father, stepmother and little sister, who know that the way to my heart is through bookstore gift cards, I can kill two of those birds with one stone. Or, rather, not a stone, really, but four books about maps.


This marvelously fun book and its author/mapmaker I found through the mysterious M. Ninehouser, who sent me an Etsy conversation loosely comparing my maps to those of Eric Chase Anderson. What a wonderful compliment. I thank him again for the tip, because this book is just terrific. Everything... people... boats... rooms... it's all mapped.


***


Maps: Finding Our Place in the World is the accompanying volume to the exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago, which will next be coming to a town near me. Well, sort of near me, anyway. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, relatively speaking, and all that. In American distances, and on small-scale maps, it's practically next door, actually.

And thanks to the anonymous Dean, and Anne of Prêt à Voyager, I'll be making that three-hour-one-way drive round-trip twice very soon for a mapmaking workshop hosted by MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art). Don't let my matter-of-fact tone fool you. As I mentioned before, I'm so excited, I can hardly breathe. Every time I think about the workshop and the exhibit, I feel like I'm going to jump out of my skin. And two days just doesn't seem even close to enough.

***


Ah... yes... how could I NOT buy a book with a title like this? Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer, by Peter Turchi, so far, is brilliant (I'm about halfway through). I hate writing book reviews because they so often sound pretentious, but I'll try to explain why I like this book so much: It's great. It's about maps. And it's about writing. And it has a lot of maps in it, like this one, which makes me laugh:


"The Silver Dog With the Golden Tail: Will the Tail Wag the Dog or the Dog Wag the Tail?,"
an 1896 advertisement for the Nuckolls Packing Company.


***

And this next book? I can't even think of the words to praise this book the way it deserves. It is packed with maps from front to back, with a few essays peppered throughout. The maps are of incredible variety in topic, age, color, style, and so on. A contour map of a face. A map of the Road to Success. Many maps about Love. Maps on tapestries, maps on canvas, embroidered maps. A map of the jack-o-lanterns in Raleigh, North Carolina, neighborhood. Stone maps found on an Arizona mountain.

It's like a candy store with every candy ever made. It's like cheesecake with whipped cream and a cappuccino. It's just amazing, all the way through.



A map of the journey to Paradise from a Japanese children's board game.


The Land of Matrimony, just one of a number of entertaining maps about love and relationships, all of which are quite unique, leaving lots of room for my own map of the Realm of Love. (Incidentally, these maps include one that's very clever but not necessarily work- or children-safe, so if you do come across this book, be sure to browse all the way through it before sharing it.)

***

Treasures, all of them. I am so grateful and so glad.

And the best thing about these books is that, as sweet and rich and incredible as they are, unlike chocolate cheesecake, I can indulge as much as I want.

P.S. My apologies for the appalling photographs. Bad lighting and lack of time to make accommodations. Excuses, excuses. I have no shame.

6 comments:

Murray said...

Eric's maps are brilliant... I can definitely see a bit of a similarity there. Your work is wonderful, I love the Sea of Zest map... keep up your great work!

Oh, and Happy Belated Birthday too!

Merisi said...

These are some really interesting books! Should you ever travel to Vienna, keep in mind that there's a Globe Museum to visit here. ;-)
No need to apologize for the photos, they illustrate your post nicely!

Claire said...

o how i MISS the cheesecake factory!! we brits really don't know how to do proper cheesecake!!
i'm glad you're feeling better :o)

CaBaCuRl said...

Yes, it seems you are definitely in map-heaven there!!! With more to come...enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

Crashdummie said...

al, you had be at cheesecake *droolz*

seems like you found your treasure mate.

Ann Downer said...

Ooooooooo...I had just stumbled across the Peter Turchi book online and meant to email you to ask if you knew it and should I buy it and...and...I discover there are ALL THESE ADDITIONAL BOOKS I MUST HAVE.
Well. I am about to go back and edit my last post to include a link to this...