Road Trip!

Photo by Sylwia Bartyzel

Photo by Sylwia Bartyzel

Summer is always a great time to take a road trip, and there are so many fantastic literary references to road trips that it’s about time someone put together a map to document each route.

I came across this fabulous post called “The Obsessively Detailed Map of American Literature’s Most Epic Road Trips” by Richard Kreitner. His parameters for including the trip on the map were exacting, and had to have a narrative arc that matched the geographical arc in order to be included. The results are amazing.

You can click on the routes (which intersect), pick a starting point, or find out the literary reference to a certain spot simply by clicking on the dot. He’s even organized the routes so that you can choose to see only one literary route at a time, which is fantastic. This map chronicals everything from WILD by Cheryl Strayed, to TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY by John Steinbeck.

If you’ve always wondered what a particular road trip must have looked like, take a few minutes to work through this detailed map. You won’t regret it, and I bet you’ll share this with friends.

Happy Road-Tripping!



Last summer, our adult readers had a lot of fun with our “Goodies for Grown Ups” adult summer reading tickets. After joining the program and reading books, they were given special scratch-off tickets to win prizes that were donated by several local businesses. It was a big hit!

scratchoffmap2So, when I came across this Scratch-Off World Map, it reminded me of our program. The “I Was Here” map is a unique item designed by the Art. Lebedev Studio Shop to help travelers keep track of places they’ve been. It begins as a large, grey world map, but once you visit a place, you scratch off the country and the colour is revealed underneath. How is that for incentive to get visiting the world?

This gives me ideas for our upcoming summer program…..

Carmel vs. Caramel

I’m not going to say we have this conversation at work often because we eat a lot of candy, but is it pronounced “car-mel” or “caramel”?  The debate is on, and it turns out, it depends on where you live!

This is a great website that strives to show how word pronunciation differs, even just across the US. This is just the carmel/caramel example. Have fun looking through the maps.


Need an envelope?

If you’re looking for a crafty way to send your next letter, why not pop it into a special envelope, complete with a Google Map of your location (or a location with special meaning). Map Envelope is a great new site which allows you to choose a location, customize the note that goes along with it and print it from your computer.

Here’s what the library one looked like:

It printed pretty small, so you may want to adjust the size before you print so that you get a full-sized envelope.  But it’s easy and lots of fun!

Where do they speak that language?

Europe has always been a place where many languages are spoken.  Throughout the years, various dialects have disappeared from region to region, and the continent remains one of the most diverse spots on the planet when it comes to language.  I came across an interesting map that shows just who speaks what and where.


You can click on the picture above to enlarge it.  Many thanks to the interesting people at Dark Roasted Blend for this fascinating map.

Is that really true?

We have plenty of atlases in the library, and we often have people come in to look at them.  An atlas is very useful when you are trying to find a certain place in the world (I just used a globe today, actually to see how far Greenland was from Iceland), but other than topographical information, it doesn’t tell you a lot about our world and the people in it.

There is an interesting website called Worldmapper that aims to show us exactly what all of us are doing in each part of the world, and they have just come out with a book called The Atlas of the Real World which uses cartograms and world images to show us interesting data, like how many internet users there were in the world at various points in time. You can view some of the interesting maps at the Creative Review Blog here:

Wealth in the year 1900

The effects of the industrial revolution have become apparent here – the United Kingdom has the highest estimated GDP per person.

Projected wealth in the year 2015

China seems set to come full circle from 2,000 years ago. If estimates are correct, by 2015 China will be producing 27 per cent of the world’s wealth, up from just five per cent in 1960.

Its hard to say how accurate the maps are, but they are interesting to look at.  They make you think about how we are living.