Monday, September 19, 2016

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders Review: Open Any Page and Go, "What?"

Open any page of the Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders and you'll be instantly baffled, dismayed, filled with wonderment and have a nice conversation piece the next time you're at the gym or the opposite of the gym, eating a big lunch. Though some of the articles might hinder your appetite?

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
Out Sept 20th
$35 retail, $21.34 online when this review came out

Such as the Meguro Parasitlogical Museum in Tokyo, Japan. This lovely...maybe not so lovely, though young Japanese couples like going there, museum is home of parasites and I don't mean lawyers. It's got a worm infested dolphin heart on display with other gross-out organs and animals fitted with creatures that stole their life force and eyes in one case.

Nicely shown, is the parasite worm-infested dolphin heart, but other places all bare a photo and aren't as disgusting. Every location is also given coordinates, though some are harder to reach than others and the book does take you all over the planet. The book divides the obscure and random places by continent and country for an easy look of what's out there that you may have missed. Each area gets a nicely, sometime-short or long info burst.

Popping open the section on California, we see a lot of local oddities around the LA area like the Museum of Jurassic Technology and Museum of Death. We recommend those if you're in the mood for either. For those wanting a drive, you can drive to California City, an attempt that failed trying to create a future LA that has roads and nothing else.

Opening a random page reveals the lovely named Questionable Medical Device Collection of Minnesota. Below it, in the book, also in Minnesota is the World's Quietest Room, it does really hold the Guinness World Record. I've heard of it before, a friend told me many people freak out if the lights are shut off and you're left alone. Your body is making sounds all the time, breathing, your heart, even your stomach and just getting lost with nothing  else to hear, it's just unnatural.

Flip another page and you're in Antarctica where a statue of Lenin was left behind in 1958. A few pages down you can read about stories about surgeries performed on people by themselves in one of Earth's coldest and harshest environments.

Now, not everything is grim, there's ... no...wait, that's a statue of a man eating children....

Okay, a lot of the book isn't the nicest, oh, here we go we have a beautiful looking library in Prague to visit.

All the sights to behold come in a weighty big book, perfect for gracing anyone's library or coffee table. The cover makes it look like a genuine older book you would find in a mansion.

Atlas Obscura has me. I'm afraid it's enthralled my attention as a well deserved title I will flip through and randomly read. There's so many obscure things out there that I want to find out about. With the fun of finding a new weird place and chats with friends about them it's hard to let it go. A friend has already asked to borrow it, to which I said, "No." Atlas Obscura is mine and I will look at the Hanging Coffins of Sagada all I want!

If you do get the book and like it, like I did, meet one of the authors this October here in LA.

Oct 4, 2016  7:00 p.m.
The Last Bookstore
453 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA