Map Addict: A Tale of Obsession, Fudge and the Ordnance SurveyPaperback
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- Publisher: Collins
- Format: Paperback | 336 pages
- Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 26mm | 340g
- Publication date: 1 June 2010
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0007351577
- ISBN 13: 9780007351572
- Edition statement: Reprint
- Illustrations note: 1 col plates (8pp)
- Sales rank: 28,693
'My name is Mike and I am a map addict. There, it's said...' Mike Parker, presenter of Radio 4's On the Map, celebrates the richness of all things maps in this fantastic, critically-acclaimed read. Have you ever got through an entire day without referring to some kind of navigational aide, be it checking the A-Z, touring the globe on Google Earth, planning a walk or navigating a shopping centre? Maps are everywhere and they are, according to self proclaimed map-addict Mike Parker, the unsung heroes of life. Here he sings their song, celebrating everything cartographic. With a mix of wry observation and hard fact, the offbeat and the completely pedantic, Parker wages a one-man war against the moronic blandishments of the Sat Nav age. He combines cartographic history and trivia with memoir and oblique observation to create a highly readable expose of the world of maps. Only here can you find out which area has officially been named by the OS as the most boring square kilometre in the land and whether Milton Keynes was really built to pagan alignment. Confessing that his own impressive map collection was founded on a virulent teenage shoplifting habit Parker ponders how a good leftie can be so gung-ho about British cartographic imperialism and establishes himself as defender and saviour of British cartography in the internet age.
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Mike Parker has had a varied career, which at one point saw him working as a stand-up comedian. He has been widely published and also presents various travel programmes for radio and television. His books to date include the Rough Guide to Wales as well as several other guide books. He writes freelance travel pieces for most of the UK papers, including the Independent, the Independent on Sunday, the Guardian, the Sunday Times and the Mirror.
By Andrew Finden 04 Mar 2011
I was lent this book by colleague, and although I forget the discussion that prompted it, she could obviously tell that I had some aspect of map addict about me. While I don't collect maps, I did have a thing for buying random, cheap, guide-books from those book liquidation shops, and I can't pass a map without looking at it to see where everything is in relation to eachother. I too love that map on the back of airplane seats. This was a book for me.
It's a very witty book (Parker has dabbled in stand-up comedy), and rather self-depreciating. It's quite British, with a heavy focus on the Ordinance Survey maps and their history, which was never-the-less interesting to a non-Brit such as myself (although I did live in London for a couple of years so am perhaps somewhat familiar with British geography). Though he looks at European mapping and geography too.
He looks at the history of the Greenwich meridian, and the way in which map technology has almost always come from a military genesis. There's a chapters on the evolution of street names and their common erotic origins, the famous London tube map and the A-Z. He ends by looking at the pros and cons of digital map technology.
The book is highly autobiographical, as Parker traces his childhood (a slight quibble is the way in which he feels the need to keep reminding us that he was a naughty boy and used to steal maps) and life experiences with various maps and journeys, which keeps it all from being dry and academic, while at the same time feeling like he's taking us for a meander rather than a striclty plotted course.
That I finished this book much quicker than most is either testiment to the enjoyable nature of the book, or my own if somewhat contained) map addiction. I did come away wanting to get hold of several atlases which he waxes lyrical about.
If you like looking at maps (a few more illustrations woud not have gone astray), I highly reccomend this enjoyable read.
'Mike Parker offers an exhilarating celebration of the humble map.' Mail on Sunday 'Excellent book,' Daily Telegraph 'This eclectic, funny and warm book should be on the shelves of everyone who has spent hours staring at a map.' The Great Outdoors 'a witty entreaty to leave the satnav in the car, and to head for the hills with the Ordnance Survey.' BBC Country File magazine 'a highly engaging and thoughtful, haphazard and personal, meander around maps and map-related arcane.' Daily Mail 'Parker makes his view of cartography both interesting and funny.' Choice magazine 'a funny, observant and genuinely interesting book.' Adventure Travel 'As you'd expect, given Mike's legendary wit, this is a book that's well worth a read.' Midland Zone 'In fact, it is a sense of mischievousness that makes this book quite charming.' South Wales Argus 'Nerdy it might seem, but the author's humour and historical knowledge of mad map makers, visionary breakthroughs and a deep love of exploration make this little book a treat.' Royston Crow 'Parker uses his own experience to add warmth and humour to a topic that may not, at first glance, appear enticing to the average reader. Accessible and entertaining.' Country & Border Life 'Parker proves a witty and engaging guide' Guardian