On Our Bookshelves:
Plotted, A Literary Atlas


BOOK: Plotted: A Literary Atlas

AUTHOR: Andrew DeGraff



If you are seeking a gift for your book-loving friend or family member this holiday season, look no further. Plotted: A Literary Atlas is absolutely perfect for the bibliophile in your life.


Andrew DeGraff has created 19 literary maps, making some of the world’s written masterpieces into absolutely exquisite visuals. Ranging from classics like Homer’s Odyssey and Shakespeare’s Hamlet, to meaty 19th century American novels (such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Moby Dick), to 20th century fantasy (A Wrinkle in Time and a short story by Ursula LeGuin, “The Ones who Walk Away from Omelas”), there’s really something for everyone.


I was particularly taken with Pride and Prejudice’s tangled relationships depicted on a roller-coaster like structure connecting the various homes (with the Bennett family’s estate standing on a very un-firm foundation) and the journey illustrated for the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, showing us the east coast of the U.S.A. and some of its most painful history, not all that long ago. But everyone will have their own favorite, and it’s a real treat to look at these familiar narratives in new and inventive ways.

And if by chance you haven’t read some of the works depicted here, it’s as good an introduction as you are likely to get to them. Each map is accompanied by an engrossing short essay by Daniel Harmon, and each is clearly a labor of love. Or possibly obsession. (Well, there’s a fine line between love and obsession when it comes to much adored books…)


For lovers of maps (a group that often overlaps with lovers of books) there is a nice list of additional suggested reading…and the creators of this volume have good enough taste that I’d feel quite confident relying on their further literary judgment.

RATING (one to five whistles, with five being the best): 4 Whistles





A Patchwork Planet, Anne Tyler

A Room With a View, E.M. Forster

An Infamous Army, Georgette Heyer

Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Bleak House, Charles Dickens

Blue Highways, William Least Heat-Moon

Bonjour Tristesse, Francoise Sagan

Bunker Hill, Nathan Philbrick

Burmese Days, George Orwell

Cannery Row, John Steinbeck

Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White

Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell

Cockpit Confidential, Patrick Smith

Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons

Envious Casca, Georgette Heyer

Foreign Affairs, Alison Lurie

Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers

Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee

Heads in Beds, Jacob Tomsky

I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou

Longbourn, Jo Baker

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Helen Simonson

Mother Night, Kurt Vonnegut

Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro

One Summer: America 1927, Bill Bryson

Possession, A.S. Byatt

Ringworld, Larry Niven

Rose Madder, Stephen King

The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Ed., Lewis Carroll & Martin Gardner (with original illustrations by John Tenniel)

The Cuckoo’s Calling, Robert Galbraith

The Dancer of Izu, Kawabata Yasunari

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., Adelle Waldman

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat, Oliver Sacks

The Martian, Andy Weir

The Monogram Murders, Sophie Hannah

The Mother & Child Project, Hope Through Healing Hands (ed.)

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark

The Tender Bar, J.R. Moehringer

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce

The Unrest-Cure and Other Stories, Saki

The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin

What If?, Randall Munroe

Up At the Villa, W. Somerset Maugham


Laura LaVelle is an attorney and writer who lives in Connecticut, in a not quite 100-year-old house, along with her husband, two daughters, and a cockatiel.

Laura can be contacted at laura@newswhistle.com


Plotted Image Courtesy of Zest Books