• 256 pages
Maps can transport us, they are filled with wonder, the possibility of real adventure and travels of the mind. This is an atlas of the journeys that writers make, encompassing not only the maps that actually appear in their books, but also the many maps that have inspired them and the sketches that they use in writing.
For some, making a map is absolutely central to the craft of shaping and telling their tale. A writer's map might mean also the geographies they describe, the worlds inside books that rise from the page, mapped or unmapped, and the realms that authors inhabit as they write. Philip Pullman recounts a map he drew for an early novel; Robert Macfarlane reflects on his cartophilia, set off by Robert Louis Stevenson and his map of Treasure Island; Joanne Harris tells of her fascination with Norse maps of the universe; Reif Larsen writes about our dependence on GPS and the impulse to map our experience; Daniel Reeve describes drawing maps and charts for The Hobbit trilogy of films; Miraphora Mina recalls creating 'The Marauder's Map' for the Harry Potter films; David Mitchell leads us to the Mappa Mundi by way of Cloud Atlas and his own sketch maps. And there's much more besides.
Amidst a cornucopia of images, there are maps of the world as envisaged in medieval times, as well as maps of adventure, sci-fi and fantasy, maps from nursery stories, literary classics, collectible comics - a vast range of genres.
• 960 pages
Fourteen years in the making and fifth in the series that has over 4.4 million copies in print, 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die is an eclectic and extraordinary book about books, as compulsively readable, entertaining, surprising, and enlightening as the 1,000-plus volumes it recommends.
The author, James Mustich, has been a bookseller for decades, including two running the acclaimed independent book catalog A Common Reader, and 1,000 Books is like his personal store, where every book is excellent. Mustich’s incomparable writing – lively, informed, erudite yet with an undisguised enthusiasm – not only reveals why the particular title you’re reading about is vital but also gives you the urgent feeling that you need to drop everything, right now, and read that book.
The expected pillars are here – Dante, Proust, Shakespeare, Faulkner, Woolf, Joyce, Kafka – but made completely fresh in these animated essays. And in between, the unexpected titles – from Harold and the Purple Crayon to Fun Home, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? to Tell Me a Riddle – are made completely essential. Aeschylus is here, and so is Nancy Drew, Herman Melville, and Edwidge Danticat.
The alphabetical listing by last name results in the joy of juxtaposition – Grimm next to Grisham, Clarice Lispector followed by Hugh Lofting – prompting a rich appreciation for the gorgeous mosaic that is our literary heritage, whether poetry, science fiction, memoir, travel writing, biography, children’s literature, the novel. Because ultimately what this book is not is a canon. It is, rather, an uncommon celebration of the best that authors have put into words – and, as one of the entrants, the critic David Denby, put it, that “special character of solitude and rapture” that is the act of reading.