Maps and Books

There is an academic study of maps in fantasy novels coming out in January 2013. So. Cool. I LOVE maps in books. If a book has a good map in the front, it might be a reason I buy it. Maps were part of what hooked me on Narnia back in the day. Maps are important, not just in fantasy novels, but also in mystery novels. Sometimes the map can be the plan of a house, or of a building where the murder took place. I do get very irritated if the text of the book and the map don’t match up. Someone messed up something. This happened once in a mystery book I read. I think it put me off the author.

To be fair, I also like maps not in books. I prefer paper maps to digital maps, though the maps online are pretty cool and I do use them a lot. But paper maps have a bigger scope. You can spread them out and get an overview by standing back, then not loose that sense of the whole when you look at details. That is what I don’t like about online maps, though I’m getting used to them.

I’ve started combining online maps and reading. I’m just beginning to e-Read, as I’ve mentioned before. I borrowed an e-Book from the public library and there was a map in it! Yay, a map. BUT, I couldn’t zoom in on the map. I could see that the map existed, but the scale in the EPUB format was just too small to read. Irritating. But with a sweep of the fingers, I was in my map program and Pouf! a map of the area of London, the setting for the murder mystery was before me. I went back and forth between the book and the map program a lot. This worked because this particular author used a real neighbourhood in London as her setting. It doesn’t work if the (unreadable) map at the beginning of an epub is not of a real-world place. I hope that this non-zoom thing doesn’t become an issue in future e-reads.

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