One of my many obscure interests is maps. I used to have boxes of them under my bed as a kid. Maps of anything, really. Maps fascinate me, and I think they can make knowledge interesting and beautiful in unique ways. (And the ones that come in GPS thingamabobs also have such nice, soothing voices when I'm about to strangle someone in traffic...) For example, I was gushing at a rather cute girl who is moving back to the Midwest about Chicago neighborhoods the other day, and one of the maps I showed her is this rather nicely designed one by Ork Posters!, which I think I should get for my entrance/coffee maker room:
(They also have maps of the heart and the brain.)
So you can awkwardly flirt with maps.
I also like to have maps that go with reading. When I'm sitting in something that moves -- trains, cars, airplanes -- I like to listen to the free classics available as audiobooks at Librivox. I'm not entirely current on the details of Victorian London, for example, so it's always nice to have maps to go with those, like this one, garnered from Stanford's Map of Central London 1897 (here the section that includes Sherlock Holmes' home, 221B Baker Street):
(If, like me, you're also a statistics nerd on top of a map nerd, you can look up Victorian London crime statistics here as well.)
And who wouldn't want a map that sorts out all those Latin American authors and locations we literary folk are supposed to be Very Knowledgeable about (The Literary Map of Latin America, 1988, by Molly Maguire and Mike Cressy)?
But wait, it gets better!
This morning, I came across a Map of Humanity, as imagined by James Turner. The map contains some very interesting observations about the humanities, the human condition, and cartography. (Who knew all those things could be combined?) Anyway. Follow the link. Traverse the islands of Atlantis/Utopia, climb the Shakespearean Mountains, visit Pandemonium, and explore stay away from the Land of the White Death.
When you're done, you can move on to James Turner's follow-up Cartography of Love and Relationships map.