Saturday, June 16, 2007

Let's Reach Into The Past For A Bit

This week I keep harping about a new book (mine), so I thought it would be a good time to mention an old one someone loaned me a couple of months ago. I can't find a great deal on-line about The First Book of Maps and Globes by Sam and Beryl Epstein. It does seem to still seem to be in some library collections, in spite of having been published back in 1959. The illustrations by Laszlo Roth definitely have that '50s feeling.

Here is what struck me about the book--Kids back in the '60s must have had a much greater tolerance for dull nonfiction than I do now. We're talking many full pages of text here, and when they're broken up with illustrations, the illustrations are often of maps. I was slogging through it and thinking, My God, is this a graduate school text or something?

I kept wondering if I ever ran across this book in my youth. I don't think it's something I would have willingly picked up because Gauthiers aren't noted for knowing where they're going. They don't ask for instructions, and I know my father also didn't believe in turning around. To my knowledge I am the only member of my family who can even read a road map and that's only because I dated an engineering student when I was in college. (Yeah, I know. What were we doing reading maps?)

As a result of reading The First Book of Maps and Globes I now know abundantly more about parallels and meridians, but I'm not sure that's going to enhance my life in any way.

I did find something interesting about the authors, though. Sam Epstein, writing as Bruce Campbell, wrote a series called The Ken Holt Mysteries. I've never heard of these books. To me, they're sort of a "lost" series. I'm thinking the kind of vintage characters we might find inThe Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen.

3 comments:

Michele said...

This book sounds interesting but then I'm a map Nerd - I love maps. I love looking at them and drawing them as well. I've got enlarged hand-drawn copies of both Tolkien's map of Middle-Earth and Juliet E McKenna's fantasyland, Einarinn...

david elzey said...

As a kid in the 60's I did not have any sort of tolerance for dull non-fiction, which is why I didn't really get into it until I was in my 30's.

I, too, am a map nerd, to the extent that one of my pending summer projects is to draw a map of my neighborhood with all of our friends and neighborhood shops and places of interest marked out on it.

gail said...

That's interesting. I didn't even get into reading essays until after I was out of college, and sitting down with any other kind of nonfiction didn't come until later.