Last weekend I read The Tattooed Map by Barbara Hodgson. It has an interesting premise, but what really made me take it home from the bookstore was the format. It's written as a travel diary, but it's not just written. It also has numerous photos, maps, handwritten notes, torn-out pages from other books, and more on every page, all of which just make it a visual delight. There are a few pages up on Amazon -- take a look. All the extra material just beautifully enriches the text.
Not only does it make for an enjoyable book, though, it's also something that I'd like to incorporate into my own journals. It's similar to what I wrote back when I read Off the Road by Elisha Cooper. And I did do a bit of that kind of thing in Costa Rica. My journal from those 10 days has a number of tickets and stamps and whatnot, and even a few drawings. It's fun to look back and see actual things from the trip, in addition to what I wrote. To me, little journal extras like this are more interesting as a souvenirs than buying random tourist knickknacks.
As long as I'm here, I might as well say something about The Tattooed Map's story, too. It involves travelers in North Africa, and a map that appears mysteriously as a tattoo on a woman's arm. I thought it was an excellent mix of realism and magic, just the way I like it. The ending was also not what I expected. I feel kind of like it left me hanging a bit -- there were too many questions left unanswered -- but I enjoyed it enough that I can forgive that.
I enjoyed The Tattooed Map so much and I am curious why Barbara Hodgson has not written a follow up novel. I too feel like the story left the reader hanging.
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