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Written Words Wednesday: Books

Map Making B.S.

Background stuff (next week it will be characters, plot, and what not)

In 1978 the official road map for the state of Michigan had two towns on it that are very hard to find, even if you were to drive there. Goblu and Beatosu, Michigan, are quaint and picturesque. Antique stores? By gone era America feel? Good schools, and town squares with a clock on the front of city hall? Nope. They don’t exist. Goblu and Beatosu are copyright traps.

Go Blue and Beat OSU, nods to the University of Michigan. Fictional towns, nonexistent places, and put on paper intentionally. Why? To catch people who plagiarize maps. That was a thing back then. They call them “Paper Towns”, made up places inserted on a map by the publishing company. It’s done to catch those who would illegally copy and publish one companies maps as their own. Like I said, that was a thing.

In Paper Towns, by John Green, the title is a reference to the characters. From the outset we see some of these people are fakes. They put up a front, and a boy and girl set out to expose/punish/torment them. He does use the name of a “paper town” in the novel. Agloe, New York, which ultimately became a place (one general store in the middle of nowhere). No, it’s a real place, Agloe, that used to be a fake place on a map, and now Green has it as a location in his novel, which is fictional.

About John

From the South, kind of, and a graduate of Kenyon College (English and Religious Studies). Planned on  seminary in Chicago and worked as a hospital chaplain at a children’s hospital where he counseled dying children and teens (which is where Fault In Our Stars came from). Gave up on the whole “preacher thang” and went to work for a publishing company. He wrote some books, they became popular with the kids, and yada yada yada.

John (can I call him John? Yeah, I can, because I took a look at him, and I can bench press him for reps) does a better job of explaining himself than I could (explaining himself, not me explaining myself, him I mean). So give his website a cursory glance.

This Book I’m Reading

Paper Towns is a teen book. As such, you might not want to read it. Not that teen (or YA, or New Adult, or any other particular label) books are not for adults, it’s that they involve characters at that stage of their lives. The plot revolves around people about to graduate high school and how they are coping with issues related to that. These things may not interest adults who prefer to contemplate mortality, morality, or morbidity. Cormac, Updike, and King are for them. However, if you want to find out what intrigues your kid (if they are adolescent in nature), you should read this one.



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