Oh, the places you'll go ...

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My twin sister and I have been into fantasy and sci-fi ever since we stumbled upon The Hobbit in fourth grade, tucked away on a bottom shelf of the cramped, poorly-lit library at our small elementary school. It was like a religious awakening.

After that first literary euphoria, we devoted ourselves to the likes of Terry Brooks, Ursula K. LeGuinn, Tamora Pierce, Lloyd Alexander, Madeleine L'Engle and Phillip Pullman. As we grew older, we added authors like N.K. Jemisin, Brandon Sanderson, Kristin Cashore, Lev Grossman, Naomi Novik, Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Martin (of course) to the list.

We're also avid travelers, and I've always felt the two interests are interrelated. After all, books, at their core, are doors to other worlds (usually, though not always, geographically) - fantasy books so much so, they often feature maps to help you navigate those worlds as you read.

I'm fascinated by the dichotomy inherent in maps that depict fantastical places: the melding of something very much rooted in the physical with something that's purely imaginary.

This dichotomy was the inspiration for a series of fantasy map necklaces I crafted for myself and my twin sister for our birthday. I've since sold a few to friends and friends-of-friends - if you're interested, just shoot me an email at hilarysk@gmail.com.

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