Posts Tagged ‘Geography’

Book Review: Unruly Places by Alastair Bonnett

Author: Alastair Bonnett
Title: Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies
Narrator: Derek Perkins
Publication Info: Tantor Media, 2014
ISBN: 1494505827
Summary/Review:

Dr. Bonnet collects a compendium of curiosities in geography, places in the world at the borders, no-mans lands, enclaves, dead cities, floating islands, and ephemeral places.

Destinations include:

  • Sandy Island, marked on maps in the Indian Ocean for over a century despite the fact that it never existed.
  • The historic Old Mecca, destroyed to make way for amenities for pilgrims.
  • Alan Sonfist’s artistic creation of pre-colonial plantings in New York called Time Landscape.
  • The lost Aral Sea, now the Aralqum Desert.
  • Kijong-dong , the North Korean “Peace Village” along the DMZ with South Korea.
  • Pripyat, the city abandoned due to the Cherynobyl disaster.
  • The intriguingly named Archaeological Park of Sicilian Incompletion  in Giarre.
  • The interlocking Dutch and Belgian enclaves of  Baarle-Nassau and Baarle-Hertog .
  • The micronation of Sealand.
  • Spray ice islands used for petroleum exploration in the Arctic
  • The RV park in the LAX parking lot which serves as the permanent home for many air carrier personnel.
  • Nowhere, the Burning Man-style art event in northeast Spain

Derek Perkins voice lends a curmudgeonly world explorer gruffness to the narration.  A fun book and informative.

Recommended booksMicronations: The Lonely Planet Guide to Self-Proclaimed Nations by John Ryan, Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places by John R. Stilgoe, and Lights Out for the Territory: 9 Excursions in the Secret History of London by Iain Sinclair
Rating: ***1/2

Book Review: Maphead by Ken Jennings

Author:  Ken Jennings
Title: 
Maphead : charting the wide, weird world of geography
Publication Info: 
New York : Scribner, c2011.
ISBN:
9781439167175
Summary/Review:
Ken Jennings is a person I like merely because he became a celebrity by being intelligent.  Now I know he shares a common passion for maps.  As a child I used to lay out maps and atlases and study them for hours and have never lost the love of looking at maps, learning from them, or appreciating their decorative aspects.  Jennings connects with people like myself who love maps and to a greater extent geography through a series of essays that cover topics including geocaching, highpointing, travelers clubs,  road atlas rallying, map collecting and antique sales, programming Google Earth, GPS, the National Geographic Bee, as well as maps in fiction and metaphorical maps.  Jennings’ observations are illuminating and entertaining and the entire book is a delight to read.

Recommended books:
  Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places by John R. Stilgoe, Sightseeking: Clues to the Landscape History of New England by Christopher J. Lenney, How the States Got Their Shapes Too: The People Behind the Borderlines by Mark Stein, and Transit Maps of the World by Mark Ovenden
Rating:
****
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