Underground Scene: Tube Maps

You can’t be surprised by my love of underground maps. Now look at this beauty:

Circular Tube Map © Maxwell J Roberts, 28/01/2003, all rights reserved © Maxwell J Roberts, 28/01/2003, all rights reserved (Click here for full size version)

Max Roberts, expert on underground maps, has designed this new way to look at the London tube map. The commonly used map of the London Underground is becoming even more cluttered, hence this new circular approach. But besides this intruiging map there is even more: Roberts wrote a terrific book about metro/underground/tube (whatever you like to call it) maps: ‘Underground Maps Unravelled’ and is doing a lecture on February 19th in the Design Museum! I quote from their website about the talk by Roberts: “Since 1999, Dr Maxwell Roberts has been working on an ongoing research project to understand transport schematics, their effective design and how to evaluate them using objective methodology. In this lecture he presents his comprehensive catalogue of visual experiments and discusses his findings.” Go, go, go!

cover Underground Maps Unravelled Maxwell J Roberts

Furthermore: the book is very detailed and the book design is incredibly fresh and suitable for the subject: various tube lines running over the corners of the pages. It’s on my wish list!

On the Map

To me On the Map by Simon Garfield is a great addition to the world of map books. ‘Why the world looks the way it does’ suggests this book will entertain the reader. And it does.

The book wanders through history in a relaxed way, and Garfield really takes the reader along on the discovery journey he takes. You can almost hear him speak out loud about every map. Whether it is about the Vinland map -and the discussion about it in the cartography field- or about Google Maps, Garfield gives you the feeling that each map story is a very special one. Of course I was happy to see a chapter included on stereotype mapping in the nineteenth century (my own thesis subject).

The part about women’s inability to read maps was also fun to read. Usually I get in defense mode the minute someone starts that discussion, but that proved not to be needed with Garfield. He does have a point though when he says women usually rely on landmarks to find their way, and men are slightly better in using spatial clues to find their way. Fair enough.

This book is a perfect gift for anyone intrigued by maps. I can’t say I read a lot of map topics that were new for me, but I like the broad variety of maps that are included. The fact Garfield even included the recent Apple Maps developments makes this book very up to date. That completeness of the book (plus the over 60 illustrations in it) makes it your perfect partner for a cold winter day on the couch.

On the Map by Simon Garfield

‘A pub quizzer’s dream . . . Rather than over-romanticise the experience of map-reading, Garfield allows his varied, expertly researched stories to speak for themselves, and in so doing helps us see that there are fewer things in life more useful, rewarding and beautiful than a map that does what it’s supposed to. Perhaps if Apple had read the book a few months ago, today’s iPhone users would have a much better idea of where they’re going.’, David Clack, Daily Telegraph

On the Map
Simon Garfield
Profile Books
ISBN 978-1846685095

(In Dutch: Op de kaart will be published in June by Podium, ISBN: 978-9057595714)

A Millennium of Amsterdam

If you are interested in urban development, social history, transportation, maps or the city of Amsterdam (or maybe all of the above, like me), you will love A Millennium of Amsterdam. This beautiful book by publisher Thoth was high on my wish list and I have to say it did not dissapoint me one bit. The book covers the spatial history of this beautiful city in forty stories. The graphic design is beautiful (by Jos Stoopman/stoopmanvos) and the book is full of incredible photos and a lot of maps. The author Fred Feddes takes you on a city trip on every page, focussing on the landscape, the relation between land and water, landmarks in the city, cultural development and much more. How did the landscape now known as Amsterdam look before there was an Amsterdam? Why is the Jordaan so different from the ring canals? Is Central Station in the right place? Why did Amsterdam’s impressive planning machine grind to a halt around 1970, and what happened after that? Who owns Amsterdam, and, for that matter, how great is Amsterdam? The book takes you through time from the year 1000 to the present day. If you know Amsterdam this book is a great way to increase your knowledge on the city history, and if you haven’t visited Amsterdam yet, this book will make you plan a city trip immediately.

ISBN 978 90 6868 595 4
Price € 29,90

Dick Bruna Book Cover

On his 85th birthday, this post is dedicated to Dick Bruna: the Dutch illustrator and writer of children’s books about Miffy (or nijntje in Dutch). Besides creating Miffy, the most famous rabbit in the world, Bruna also designed many amazing book covers. He also designed the covers of the Black Bear pocket books by Havank. You probably understand why this is one of my all time favourites!


Map Cover Up

We all know the cover plays an important role for book sales. Well… you can guess why I would grab this one immediately (love the design by studio Dog and Pony from Amsterdam)! The book Naar de Stad is an anthology by Annelies Verbeke and Sanneke van Hassel. The subject also makes this book very suitable for Maps and the City, because all contemporary and international stories in it are about personal lives, adventures, encounters and/or dramas in the city. For all Dutchies: you can find it here.



Where’s Your Map Head At?

Maphead, Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings. As you can imagine, I can’t wait to read this book about what is so fascinating about maps. I love the design of this cover also, especially the map legend. Another post will follow later about my findings, I will buy the book this weekend, so stay tuned. Oh, and the author even turns out to do geocaching. Now we’re talking!

(Book)mark that shop

‘Could you show me that book on the topshelf?’ ‘Are there any new arrivals?’ ‘I prefer the one on the left, that cover is much more expressive’. In the latest bookshop in New York, these comments won’t be heard. Today, the New York Times published about a brand new bookshop by Andrew Kessler. The bookshop is stashed with copies of one book. One book. Actually a book by mister Kessler himself. The book on NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander Mission in 2008 needs to be sold, obviously, but there is more to it: “This makes books feel like an art installation, we should care about them”, says Kessler in the New York Times interview. The shop is even equiped with all regular bookshop things such as signs like Best Sellers or Sale, just brilliant. Going to New York anytime soon? Visit the Ed’s Martian Book at Hudson Street, also described as a Monobookist (gotta love that word)! And all others, you can read the interview by Elissa Gootman here.

photo by Guy Calaf for the New York Times

credits for these cool photos:
Rachel Kramer Bussel on lustylady.blogspot.com

Paris Paris

Every now and then, I go through one of my favourite books, which was a gift by Parisian friends at my graduation party. Parisiennes is a book full of amazing photography, as a hommage à Paris women. The book is published by Flammarion, and as they say ‘la mythique Parisienne existe bel et bien!’ I still feel homesick for Paris once in a while, so today it is the perfect book to flick through. I just decided it is hightime to book a spring trip to my biggest crush.