Sometimes, despite all pressures toward normalcy, people are compelled to construct their own worlds. The old lady who over the years arranges broken bottles into a house, or the man down the road covering his barn with tiny quotes from a channeling spirit–each glues raw symbols into a whole that makes sense for them. This happens all over the world. I’ve collected an entire stack of books about self-made worlds, and this one is the best for sheer exuberance, geographic inclusion, and variety. Science fiction author William Gibson says these worlds remind him of elaborate personal Web sites–and vice versa, Web sites are really self-made worlds; to me they are distant lands, with their own cultures.