By Ken Jennings

In a world where geography only makes the headlines when college students are (endlessly) discovered to be bad at it, these hardy souls somehow thrive. Some crisscross the map working an endless geographic checklist: visiting all 3,143 U.S. counties, for example, or all 936 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Some pore over million-dollar collections of the rarest maps of the past; others embrace the future by hunting real-world cartographic treasures like geocaches or degree confluences with GPS device in hand. Some even draw thousands of their own imaginary maps, lovingly detailing worlds that never were.

Ken Jennings was a map nerd from a young age, even sleeping with a bulky Hammond atlas at the side of his pillow. As he travels the nation meeting others of his tribe—map librarians, publishers, “roadgeeks,” pint-sized National Geographic Bee prodigies, the computer geniuses behind Google Maps—he comes to admire these geographic obsessives. Mapheads are the ones who always know exactly where they are—and where everything else is as well.

About the Author

Ken Jennings grew up in Seoul, South Korea, where he became a daily devotee of the quiz show Jeopardy! In 2004, he successfully auditioned for a spot on the show and went on an unprecedented 74 game victory streak worth $2.52 million. Jenning’s book Brainiac, about his Jeopardy! adventures, was a critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller, as were his follow-up books Maphead and Because I Said So! Jennings lives outside Seattle with his wife, Mindy; his son, Dylan; his daughter, Caitlin; and a small, excitable dog named Chance.

Related Events

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Vintage Views Along Scenic M-22 including Sleeping Bear Dunes

Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 7:00 pm
Main Library – 111 Library St NE

Join us for the book launch for local authors M. Christine Byron and Thomas R. Wilson’s fifth title: Vintage Views Along Scenic M-22 including Sleeping Bear Dunes. The book follows a trail of vacationers and travelers along one of Michigan’s most scenic roads, from Manistee County to the Leelanau Peninsula. Vintage postcards, photographs, maps and advertisements illustrate a time when M-22 first beckoned motorists to come north to the land of beautiful beaches and sand dunes, lakes and rivers, forests and woodlands, farms and orchards. You’ll stop at lighthouses and life saving stations, take a trip in a dunesmobile, fish for Mackinaw trout, and shop for souvenirs. You’ll visit state parks and learn how Sleeping Bear Dunes became a National Lakeshore. A book signing will follow the presentation.

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Local History Trivia Night

Tuesday, July 21, 2015, 7:00 pm
Graydon’s Crossing – 1223 Plainfield NE

How well do you know Michigan? You may know the state bird is the robin, but did you know that Pinconning is the Cheese Capitol of Michigan? Come test your knowledge at our Grand Rapids and Michigan-themed trivia night. Local History librarian extraordinaire, Tim Gleisner, will host and stump you with topics from the bygone days of our fair city. New to GR? Don’t worry! We’ll have Local History celebrities to help out your team. Bring your friends and be prepared to eat, drink and think!