Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mapbacks

Bernadette over at Reactions to Reading has consistently praised Chris Grabenstein's Sea Haven mysteries involving Iraq veteran John Ceepak, so I thought I'd give them a go. I'm half way through Tilt A Whirl and it's living up to expectation. On his site, Grabenstein helpfully provides a map (warning this is a big file - click right for a larger lower res image) of his fictional resort of Sea Haven, reviving the old tradition of supplying maps to help readers place the story. This used to be a lot more common, for example, the Dell Mapbacks, where a map was provided on the inside cover. These ran from #5 to #550 in the series (1943-1951 before petering out). Perhaps its tradition that might be worth reviving? What do you think - would mapbacks be of use to you as a reader?

3 comments:

Bernadette in Australia said...

I would definitely like to see a revival of this trend Rob. I love it when there is a map of the town or location included in the books I read - the last Elly Griffiths novel I read had one too and it was very helpful. The alternative is the book I'm reading at the moment (a Boris Akunin novel) which has a pages-long description of the location with the river bending this way by that tree and then going between cliffs and I've still only got a vague idea what the location actually looks like - a map would have saved pages and been more accurate.

glad you are enjoying the Chris Grabenstein - I was surprised to begin with how much I liked the books - on one level they're a bit 'hokey' in a way that only American books can be and which die-hard cynics like myself should sneer dispariginly at but I liked the characters and the stories in spite of myself.

Margot Kinberg said...

Rob - I agree completely about maps. I would most definitely like to see them more often. I've seen them in a lot of Philip R. Craig's Martha's Vineyard novels, and they're in Donna Leon's novels, too, and I do find them useful.

Dorte H said...

It really depends. In the Golden Age mysteries I rarely used them, but in my current non-fiction book about a Victorian murder, I found the map and the house plan very helpful.