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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


Book 39/100: Plotted - A Literary Atlas by Andrew DeGraff

Plotted: A Literary Atlas - Andrew DeGraff, Daniel E. Harmon

I just can't resist picking up books of visual depictions from books that I have read, especially when multiple books are compiled in a single volume. In this book, DeGraff creates "maps" or "diagrams" from various classic pieces of literature, including Moby Dick, Watership Down, Hamlet, The Lottery, etc. Rather than taking a straightforward approach of simply situating a book in geographical locale, DeGraff's maps double as story outlines, tracking which characters go where, and when. (This can make you dizzy if you don't remember the original well, and it's all but impossible to wrap your head around if you haven't read the work at all.)

Each map is accompanied by a short essay by DeGraff to give his interpretation some context. However, if you haven't read the book being described, the essays/maps don't do a ton to engender interest. This is really a book best enjoyed by readers who are familiar with at least some of the mapped stories, as it's always a treat to peak inside the mind of someone who has "visited" the same place as you have in your own mind and compare and contrast. My favorite map was the one for Watership Down, which seemed to strike just the right balance of beauty, complexity, and geographic/story usefulness. I wish I'd had it when I listened to the audiobook last year!