Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks is Ken's followup to his 2005 best-seller Brainiac. Much as his previous book Braniac followed the competitive world of game shows. Jennings offered that same behind the scenes look into the world of geography buffs and map geeks alike. In a world where geography only makes the headlines or points of coffee house discussion if a new study is released about how terrible students are at it, however, amazingly there ARE still students and people alike that simply love it and are thriving in their point of interest. Some stare at maps endlessly searching for things that most people would never even care to look at such as what makes this state similar with this state or why is the population more or less here. Some long to find and view the rarest maps available; others embrace the future by participating in an activity known as geocaching. Geocaching is when the participant visits special areas with “treasures” hidden using their GPS devices and smartphones. Some people even draw thousands of their own imaginary maps, highlighting details in worlds and countries they long to visit.
Ken Jennings was a map nerd from a young age himself, you will not be surprised to learn, even sleeping with an old creased atlas at the side of his pillow, most kids his age were cuddling with a trusted blanket- Jennings was not. As he travels the world meeting people of kindred spirits--map librarians, publishers, geocachers, and the engineers behind google maps. Now that technology and geographic unknowing is increasingly insulting us from the space and land around us, we are going to be needing these people more than ever. Mapheads are the ones who always know exactly where they are and quite frankly everything else as well.
Jennings, mostly known to people as “KenJen” was made famous by a popular TV show known as Jeopardy. Jennings takes on this thrilling book about maps, and, well, more maps, but he was also able to encompass travel in this book entitled Maphead. He begins his book by saying you’re not really grown until you move the last box out of your parents’ home, which leads us into the journey that is Maphead. Jennings takes a book that would normally be a boring read for the majority of us, unless you’re a “map geek” as he defines in the book and turns it into something more, something much more.
In chapter 1 the first map he discusses is the old one, the trusty rusty, the map you almost fell asleep looking at in high school world geography. The paper multi-fold map. Jennings explains that he could stare at those maps for hours upon hours. For him it was like being on a never ending vacation. The places he would visit by imagination and the names of those places absolutely drew him in and held him in an utter fascination. He felt as if he could sit on the highest point in Arkansas all from his dimly lit room seated in a recliner. The world was endless; he could go anywhere he wanted...