Adult Fiction, Book Reviews

Book Review: Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Ella Morton, Dylan Thuras


★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Atlas Obscura was founded in 2009 and began as a website that brought you a guide to the world’s wondrous and weird places. It is a collaborative project with founders Joshua Foer and Dylan Thuras, along with their community of explorers who help discover hidden spots to share with the world. They wanted to celebrate a different way of looking at the world, so whether you are looking miniature cities, books bound in human skin, or bone churches, Atlas Obsura is where to find them.

Now you can travel across the globe, discovering hidden gems right from your comfy spot on the couch with their best-selling book, Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders. Authors Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton set out to create a catalog of all the places, people, and things that inspire wonder. It celebrates more than 600 of the strangest and most curious places in the world. Included are hundreds of photographs, charts, and maps for every region of the world, and compelling descriptions of each place. If weird travel destinations intrigue you, this book is a must to pick up.

You’ll be occupied for hours, discovering Fingal’s Cave in Scotland, a sea cave with walls perfectly hexagonal columns, or the Tree Cathedral in Italy, a piece of living architecture that continues to grow. There are also morbid findings, like did you know that the  Overtoun Bridge, located in Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, is known as the dog suicide bridge? Since the 1960s, around 50 dogs have perished after leaping to their deaths from the same spot on the bridge.

This book is so rich with information, research, and photographs. It brings new locations, objects, and monuments to light in a unique way with showcasing the strange and outstanding corners of the world that will bring out numerous emotions from disbelief to wonder. It is an entertaining travel book that makes me want to reach out of my comfort zone and begin exploring the world, but it is also filled with history on places and people that I would have not otherwise learned, which makes it all the more captivating.

It opened my eyes to parts of the world I had never seen and quite honestly did not know existed. I spent hours engrossed in the pages, reading the facts and viewing the charts and maps that were included throughout. It brought on discussions on just how fascinating the world is, and how people should take the time to appreciate the natural wonders. I adore this book, and I can only hope that the authors publish a second book with new findings in the future.


Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust, Atlas Obscura celebrates over 600 of the strangest and most curious places in the world.

Here are natural wonders—the dazzling glowworm caves in New Zealand, or a baobob tree in South Africa that’s so large it has a pub inside where 15 people can drink comfortably. Architectural marvels, including the M.C. Escher-like stepwells in India. Mind-boggling events, like the Baby Jumping Festival in Spain, where men dressed as devils literally vault over rows of squirming infants. Not to mention the Great Stalacpipe Organ in Virginia, Turkmenistan’s 45-year hole of fire called the Door of Hell, coffins hanging off a side of a cliff in the Philippines, eccentric bone museums in Italy, or a weather-forecasting invention that was powered by leeches, still on display in Devon, England.
Atlas Obscura revels in the weird, the unexpected, the overlooked, the hidden, and the mysterious. Every page expands our sense of how strange and marvelous the world really is. And with its compelling descriptions, hundreds of photographs, surprising charts, maps for every region of the world, it is a book you can open anywhere.

Hardcover, 470 pages
Published September 20th 2016 by Workman Publishing Company

Purchase on Amazon

I received a copy in exchange for an unbiased review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.


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