Designing a bookish tour of Britain? No problem.

I can’t help myself. I love maps that tell me where the best literary events, or sites or bookstores are. I own the Atlas of Literature, which covers the world and is great for browsing, but it doesn’t keep me up to date. So I was thrilled to see that the British newspaper, The Guardian, has designed an interactive literary map of Britain. The reason it’s interactive is that you’re free to add events you know of, and, I suppose, literary sites you feel might be missing.
You can add reviews of your favorite bookshops, which I’m sure is encouraging people to visit the independent bookstores of Britain (although the chain stores are listed too, in case you need a book right away…).
The London section has reminded me of all the writers’ houses I’d like to visit: Orwell, Keats, Karl Marx (his house is now the Quo Vadis restaurant) and more. There are literary festivals, book readings, poetry evenings listed from Aberdeen in the North of Scotland, to Exeter in the Southwest of England, to Ireland and Wales.
If you’re one of my British readers you may already be using the map. For those elsewhere, it’s a great way to plan your next trip to Britain. Here it is!
By the way, it’s sponsored in part by the National Book Tokens, a terrific British way of giving someone a book but letting them choose it themselves. The tokens (we’d call them vouchers in the US) are redeemable at any bookstore, but only for books. So you know that your gift will be used for a book, and not some other piece of merchandise. You can give someone a Barnes and Noble or Amazon voucher here in the US, but you never know what the recipient will buy with it. Ah well. Enough of my pet peeves. Time to make plans for my next trip.

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