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Sunday, December 9, 2012 - Page updated at 06:30 p.m.

Map lovers, here’s your winter reading

For people who are mad about maps, what better way to while away Seattle’s monsoon season than to cozy up with a good atlas — especially if you can compare full-color satellite photos of London and Rome on adjoining pages? (Look, there’s a teensy Buckingham Palace, and good grief, did you ever realize how many bends there are in the Tiber River?)

Just in time for gift giving, the new hardcover 19th edition of the Oxford Atlas of the World is in bookstores. For a brief while on our ever-changing planet, mapaholics can be confident of knowing the up-to-date names and borders of every nation in Africa, or what the flag of Kyrgyzstan looks like.

There are myriad maps in the 448-page behemoth of a book, and so much more — such as those aerial photos, some of which take in whole continents on facing 11-by-14-inch pages (all of Asia, at a glance), and an updated A-to-Z Gazetteer of Nations.

For $89.95, it’s a world of entertainment.

— Brian J. Cantwell,

Seattle Times travel writer