Two clever new atlases are keeping us amused here at the bottom of the world – there is probably a German word for the pleasure the geographically isolated take in reading of others who are more so.
The Atlas of Cursed Places: A Travel Guide to Dangerous and Frightful Destinations by Olivier Le Carrer is an informative list of places you don’t want to visit before you die – if you try to, you’re likely to die along the way.
Really beautifully illustrated with detailed maps, this is a bizarre mix of scary, benighted locuses of paranormal activity, lawless badlands, places that have either had far too much political attention paid them – or far too little, and nasty environmental disaster zones. Interesting, thought-provoking and perfect for your local mapophile.
As is Nick Middleton’s An Atlas of Countries That Don’t Exist: A Compendium of Fifty Unrecognized and Largely Unnoticed States which is oddly sad and a little strange. This is full of places that you may have been to, that you know people from, that you might trade with but which just don’t actually exist in the sense of being recognised diplomatically or by the UN or being regarded as a country – a slippery designation one discovers – by anyone outside of them. Once again there are maps and, cleverly, the shape of the territory under discussion is laser cut out of the page. Once again, another beautiful book.