Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Putting the Book on the Map

There have been many attempts over the years to map novels based on the primary locations where they are set. Lovereading is the latest.

Search for a location on Lovereading and you can find novels that have been set in that location or nearby. Click on the markers on the map and you can view the name of the text, the author and a brief description of the importance of the location to the text.

For some reason these book location maps never seem to survive very long. On the surface these maps seem like a great idea. When I travel I do like to read novels that are set in the location I'm visiting.

There is also some value to be had in using a map to explore the locations that are mentioned in novels. For that purpose Google Lit Trips might be a better option. For many years now Google Lit Trips has been plotting the character journeys undertaken in famous works of literature.

The site plots the journeys of characters and locations mentioned in a large number of literary texts. The journeys can then be downloaded in the form of a KMZ file and viewed in Google Earth. Google Lit Trips is designed with school students in mind. Each location plotted in an individual text includes information windows containing a variety of resources, including media, thought provoking discussion starters and links to supplementary information about the locations featured.

LibrAdventures is another Google Maps based literary atlas which allows you to explore locations across the globe in terms of their association with famous authors and works of literature.

The scope of LibrAdventures is a little wider than Lovereading. LibrAdventures not only plots locations from novels but also maps the places where their authors lived, the journeys of their heroes and the history and locations of historic libraries and bookstores.

LibrAdventures also has far more search options than Lovereading. Using the map you can not only explore by location but by individual author and literary genre. Individual entries on the map provide detailed textual context and the option to view the location in Google Maps Street View.

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