Atlas Obscura's Guide to Literary Road Trips

Richard Kreitner (writer), Steven Melendez (map): The above map is the result of a painstaking and admittedly quixotic effort to catalog the country as it has been described in the American road-tripping literature. It includes every place-name reference in 12 books about cross-country travel, from Mark Twain’s Roughing It (1872) to Cheryl Strayed’s Wild (2012), and maps the authors’ routes on top of one another. You can track an individual writer’s descriptions of the landscape as they traveled across it, or you can zoom in to see how different authors have written about the same place at different times.

See also: Other posts tagged maps (via)

Craft and creativity

Atlas Obscura’s Guide to Literary Road Trips

“A painstaking and admittedly quixotic effort to catalog the country as it has been described in the American road-tripping literature.” — Atlas Obscura

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Some of the best book cover designs of 2015…

The Casual Optimist: Notable Book Covers for 2015

The Casual Optimist: 52 YA Covers for 2015

Buzzfeed: 34 Of The Most Beautiful Book Covers Of 2015

(via kottke.org)

See also: Covers – A series of 55 animated vintage book graphics

Craft and creativity

Best book cover designs of 2015

“When considering the book as a whole, I prefer that the interiors contain answers and the covers ask questions.” — Matt Dorfman, NYT

Gallery

Tolkien’s annotated map of Middle-earth discovered

The Guardian: A recently discovered map of Middle-earth annotated by JRR Tolkien reveals The Lord of the Rings author’s observation that Hobbiton is on the same latitude as Oxford, and implies that the Italian city of Ravenna could be the inspiration behind the fictional city of Minas Tirith.

CityLab: The map could have easily been lost forever, having slipped out of an old edition of The Lord of the Rings belonging to the late famed illustrator Pauline Baynes. Baynes had been using the map to work on her own full-color poster edition of Middle-earth for Tolkien, who in turn, gave her precise and copious notes on the same document.

Also: See the Sketches J.R.R. Tolkien Used to Build Middle-Earth in the new The Art of The Lord of the Rings book.

Craft and creativity

Tolkien’s annotated map of Middle-earth discovered

The novelist also uses Belgrade, Cyprus, and Jerusalem as other reference points, and according to Blackwell’s suggests that “the city of Ravenna is the inspiration behind Minas Tirith – a key location in the third book of the Lord of The Rings trilogy”. — The Guardian

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George R.R. Martin
Use your words

George R.R. Martin on Tolkien

Mikal Gilmore has a great interview with George R.R. Martin for Rolling Stone. This answer sums up one of the reasons why I’m a fan of the Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire series:

Ruling is hard. This was maybe my answer to Tolkien, whom, as much as I admire him, I do quibble with. Lord of the Rings had a very medieval philosophy: that if the king was a good man, the land would prosper. We look at real history and it’s not that simple.

Tolkien can say that Aragorn became king and reigned for a hundred years, and he was wise and good. But Tolkien doesn’t ask the question: What was Aragorn’s tax policy? Did he maintain a standing army? What did he do in times of flood and famine? And what about all these orcs? By the end of the war, Sauron is gone but all of the orcs aren’t gone – they’re in the mountains. Did Aragorn pursue a policy of systematic genocide and kill them? Even the little baby orcs, in their little orc cradles?

In real life, real-life kings had real-life problems to deal with. Just being a good guy was not the answer. You had to make hard, hard decisions. Sometimes what seemed to be a good decision turned around and bit you in the ass; it was the law of unintended consequences. I’ve tried to get at some of these in my books.

My people who are trying to rule don’t have an easy time of it. Just having good intentions doesn’t make you a wise king.
George R.R. Martin: The Rolling Stone Interview

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The Foundation Trilogy
Use your words

The Foundation Trilogy

I love my Kindle, but this edition of The Foundation Trilogy from The Folio Society is tempting me.

Alex Wells is a young British illustrator. In this, his first commission for The Folio Society, he has skilfully evoked both the futuristic feel of the series as well as the period in which it was written.

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Ryan North
Use your words

To Be Or Not To Be: That Is The Adventure

Slate’s Alison Hallett writes about and reviews Ryan North’s Kiskstarted “chooseable-path adventure” version of Hamlet, brilliantly titled To Be Or Not To Be: That Is The Adventure:

Thanks to media attention and a viral spread it became the most funded publishing project in Kickstarter history, surpassing its initial $20,000 goal by more than half a million dollars.

North’s campaign was very close to perfect, one that should serve as inspiration to anyone who wants to crowdfund a creative project: The concept was innovative; the reward tiers were thoughtfully designed; North communicated clearly and enthusiastically with backers at every step of the process; and the project not only delivered what was promised but improved upon the initial concept. As the book arrives in backers’ mailboxes this month, it’s worth asking: Is it a good book? Is it $580,905 good?
Outrageous Fortune – slate.com

Personally, as a backer I only care that it is $35 good.

To Be Or Not To Be: That Is The Adventure Kickstarter may not have any rules about how excess funds are used, but I imagine in most cases (like this one) that the scale of production grows larger by the same proportion and the funds are consumed that way. It’s not like North suddenly has half a million dollars burning a hole in his pocket.

Fun fact: North signed 13,200 paperback books. In one sitting he signed 4,340 books, thrashing the Guinness World Record figure of 1,951. That has to be worth something alone!

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