Mapping It Out


Alan reveals a love of specialist reading

I love reading. I also love history and old maps, two of my favourite reading genres being historical and fantasy. That to me constitutes an enjoyable read, where I am transported back in time to distant lands brought to life through words and, often, accompanying imagery by way of maps.

El Dorado

As a teenager, I remember poring over lost treasure maps in the school library. One which particularly grabbed my attention was the mythical city of El Dorado, which highlighted South America and the supposed location(s) of the lost city of gold.

Expeditions by the Spanish conquistadors and Sir Walter Raleigh failed to locate El Dorado, and it wasn’t till the early 19th century that it was deemed no such place ever existed.

Teenage imagination

But that didn’t stop my teenage imagination from running amok, and at the time I mused over what I would do if I led an expedition (when you are thirteen, you feel you can conqueror the world) to the Amazon rainforest and managed to find the treasure.

To this day, I remember thinking to myself, would I keep the gold for myself, or give it to a museum? I blame the film “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” for inciting my imagination, as it was released around the same time.

For me, reading is as visual a medium as watching a film. Great storytellers can transport you to times and places through their words alone, and a map of a story world, whether fact or fiction, can only enhance the reading experience.

So whether I am reading about warring families or hazardous quests to distant cities, I can see the characters’ lands and routes before me.

To the fiction creators of maps, to the George R.R. Martin’s and J.R.R. Tolkien’s of the world, I raise my glass and doff my hat.

My story reading journey is all the richer for it.

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Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.

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