Infographic Guide to Literature

51lbROx2LZL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Infographic Guide to Literature by Octopus Books
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Infographics come to hardbacks in bold, beautiful ways.

In an increasingly rare example of a book better appreciated on paper instead of digital format, Infographic Guide to Literature, by Octopus Books, sports eighty unique and intricately-designed infographics for the literature buff.

Octopus’s guide is printed on high quality paper stock and uses intense color swatches. Although the book draws more on information from the Western literary world, a few smatterings of Indian and Chinese novelists offer a little diversity in amongst the graphs depicting the various deaths of Shakespeare’s characters, noir detectives, and crazy, fictional family trees. The amalgamated information is not limited to the literature itself; there are quite a few interesting graphs that depict the environmental impact of the book industry (645 million trees each year), guessing authors based purely on their facial hair, the most frequently stolen books from libraries and book stores (spoiler alert: one of them is titled Steal This Book), and the many odd ways in which authors have died.

There are even a few infographics for the writer himself: The Shapes of Stories According to Kurt Vonnegut, how to design your book cover based on genre, How an Idea Becomes a Book (tongue-in-cheek), A Brief History of the Big Five Publishing Companies, and a sampling of authors who have written under pen names of the opposite sex (though, according to this chart, Poppy Z. Brite died in 1876, even though he is still alive and well today….)

Overall, the Infographic Guide to Literature is a fun, playful book that can be perused in about a day – however, some of the graphs are hard to read, with odd points of reference for their x and y axises, or color combos that might be painful (or impossible) to read for the colorblind. (For example, in the infographic Austen VS. Bronte, small light green/red/yellow x’s are placed over a dotted gray background.) While I can’t say the book is exhaustive in its research, the unique way in which it presents that information is a delight, and easily recalled when needed.

6 thoughts on “Infographic Guide to Literature

  1. I adore books like these – in that they’re so removed from my normal reading lists and they remind me of how, as a student, I was always drawn to graphs and charts to thoroughly make info stick.
    This is a book I’m going to get for a bunch of my author friends this year.
    Great review. (I’m so excited!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a lot of fun with it! It was a great little purchase with the gift card I got from NJ’s brother at Christmas. 😉


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