A Picture Is Worth 45390582 Words

I was scrolling through some old photos on my phone the other day and came across this shot from one year ago—the 37 books I had left to read for The List as of April 2015:


The image was pretty jarring, inasmuch as my list has since dwindled down to just 11:


(And yes, the page count of In Search of Lost Time is obviously an inside joke. With myself. In a spreadsheet. Of classic literature. Sigh.)

Anyway, it all got me thinking about the power of images. It’s a topic I spend little time contemplating, seeing as I’m usually preoccupied with the power of words. But visual representations of information—as every professional nerd knows—can often lead to newer and more exciting, or more compelling, or more heartrending, interpretations.

Consider that an equal number of people live in the blue and red areas of this world map (created by Max Roser of “Our World in Data”). Consider the emotion a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph, or an old Polaroid in a family photo album, can carry across time and space. Consider how often we choose our next read based on incredible book covers like these. Consider the profundity of my sorrow and regret upon realizing, halfway through Modern Romance on audiobook, that I was missing out on all of Aziz Ansari’s thought-provoking graphs and charts.

With this in mind, here are all of the coolest classics-related visuals I could find in a half-hour Google hunt (must-views are starred*):



Comics and Infographics


See what I mean? See? A fresh perspective on age-old information can be as powerful as it is entertaining.

Now, go forth and spread sheet!

Oh, and happy reading!