Online Bolano Reading Group Adds Interactive Map

The Internet really does change everything, doesn’t it. eBookNewser has been following the online Roberto Bolano reading group that began making its way through 2666 last week. Earlier, Matt Bucher, the founder of the reading group, told eBookNewser about the various ways readers were communicating about the book.

He also said, “We really are interested in the quality rather than quantity,” in terms of readers. Well, the Website that’s the group’s hub is of a very high quality indeed. It’s just added a cool new feature: an interactive Google map that charts the locations mentioned in the novel.

Here’s what Bucher told eBookNewser about other Internet features he hopes to add to the blog in the future:

We do have more ideas about how to gather together all of this in stuff more ways. For example, we will likely turn the running list of characters into a wiki that anyone can add to or edit. Also, for the later sections of the novel, I’ve invited a couple of my friends who are history PhDs to write longer, more academic pieces about the Mexican border and Sonoran murders. I had thought that when we got to the end of the project, we’d have have a nice reader’s guide already written and we might pitch that to publishers. However, I feel that with a print edition the blog comments would be lost, the forum postings wouldn’t fit in, and all the interactivity would be gone. So I kind of feel like, purely from a reader’s perspective, that the online materials make for a richer experience than the static book. And you will not meet a bigger book lover than me.

Part of the fun of this is also just adding things as we go, so I can’t say for certain what else we will add. I’m open to suggestions!

As you can see on the map above, there’s a cluster of little blue flags in the European countries where much of the novel takes place, and one in South America. One commentator on the blog asks a good question: how will the Google map represent the fictional Ciudad Juarez around which the novel centers?

Perhaps Google needs to start indexing imaginary places and creating a hybrid between Google Maps and Google Books?