|MIKE PARKER||Books: Map Addict|
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Books by Mike Parker
As this book had sat quietly gestating in my head for years, it was a joy finally to let Map Addict out into the big wide world. I had a feeling there were others who would appreciate my nerdish obsessions, skewed take on the world and inability to go to the shops without consulting the Ordnance Survey first. And oh joy, there proved to be a lot of my fellow sufferers out there.
The response was phenomenal. I've received hundreds of emails, most telling their own tales of map adoration and how it has guided their lives and careers. Many said that they felt I'd told their story too, which was great to hear. Some shouted at me too about the things they felt I should have included, but didn't. A surprising amount of the responses came from abroad (it's a very British book) and slightly over half of them from women. Whilst I'd dedicated a whole chapter of the book to demolishing the myth that maps are merely "boys' toys", I have to admit that that still took me by surprise.
Sexuality and swearing
Possibly the greatest joy in writing about maps is that you can take it pretty much anywhere. To research Map Addict, I visited the most boring OS grid square in the land (near Goole, unsurprisingly), went to the town split into thirty different parcels between two countries, followed OS founder William Roy's eighteenth century base line across west London, explored England's feudal nugget, Rutland, and spent the summer solstice in Milton Keynes, in order to test the theory that it is built to a pagan alignment.
Maps underpin so much of our lives: our history, identity, culture, landscape, travels, sense of self, beliefs, even - and this wasn't popular with some folk - our sexuality. They are everywhere, the unsung heroes of life, and it was an absolute honour to sing their song. Last word, of course, to my mum: "Why did you have to swear in a book about maps?"
Buy the book
Map Addict by Mike Parker, published by Collins, £8.99
From the reviews:
"Mike Parker brings a welcome tincture of outlaw glamour to his subject... Map Addict is a highly engaging and thoughtful, haphazard and personal, meander around maps and map-related arcana"- Sam Leith, Daily Mail
"Quite the funniest - and surprisingly funniest - travel book I've read this year" - Tony Wheeler, founder of Lonely Planet
"This excellent book on the pleasures of maps and navigation... is also a withering attack on the infantilisation of the satnav age" - Daily Telegraph
"It is a sense of mischievousness that makes this book quite charming" - South Wales Argus
"Succeeds [in] showing that the centuries-old art of map-making is not just for the confines of dusty library shelves, but is a contemporary and vibrant part of everyday life" - stanfords.co.uk