Take Ten: Unusual Map Books

The summer is a time for road trips – but you don’t even have to get gas if you decide on some armchair travel. Plus, who needs the hassle of all of those fold-up maps when you can use one of the following books of beautiful and unusual maps. Instead of dealing with traffic and noisy backseat drivers, escape to other worlds (and times)…



Atlas Obscura – Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, Ella Morton*

  • Wonder meets wanderlust in an extraordinary new travel book: Atlas Obscura is the bucket-list guide to over 700 of the most unusual, curious, bizarre, and mysterious places on earth.

Atlas of Cursed Places: A Travel Guide to Dangerous and Frightful Destinations – Olivier Le Carrer*

  • Profiles forty locations across the globe that have come to be known for the horrific deeds done there, their mysterious inhabitants, and the paranormal activities witnessed there, including Aokigahara, Strait of Messina, and Poveglia.

Atlas of Lost Cities: A Travel Guide to Abandoned and Forsaken Destinations – Aude de Tocqueville

  • A look at places at the rise and fall of notable cities and lesser-known places that no longer exist. Beautiful, original artwork shows the location of the lost cities and depicts how they looked when they thrived.

Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot on and Never Will – Judith Schalansky

  • Visually stunning and uniquely designed, this wondrous book captures fifty islands that are far away in every sense-from the mainland, from people, from airports, and from holiday brochures.

Great City Maps

  • A beautifully illustrated history of the world’s most celebrated historical city maps, from the hubs of ancient civilization to sprawling modern mega-cities, created in association with the Smithsonian Institution.

Our Dumb World: The Onion’s Atlas of the Planet Earth

  • Features incorrect statistics on all of the Earth’s 168, 182, or 196 independent nations. It also features maps, including a fold-out world map at actual size.

Picturing America: The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps – Stephen J. Hornsby

  • Hornsby has unearthed the most fascinating and visually striking maps the United States has to offer: Disney cartoon maps, college campus maps, kooky state tourism ads, World War II promotional posters, and many more.

Plotted: A Literary Atlas -Andrew DeGraff

  • A wide-ranging collection of maps—all inspired such literary classics as The Odyssey, Hamlet, Pride and Prejudice, Invisible Man, Lord of the Flies, A Wrinkle in Time, Watership Down, The Handmaid’s Tale and more—offers readers a new way of looking at their favorite fictional worlds.

Vargic’s Miscellany of Curious Maps: Mapping the Modern World – Martin Vargic

  • This wonderful and strange atlas is a treasure trove of interesting, unexpected and bizarre facts – a glorious celebration of our big beautiful diverse world.

The Works: Anatomy of a City – Kate Ascher

  • Offers a cross section of the hidden infrastructure of cities around the world, using beautiful, innovative graphic images combined with short, clear text explanations to answer all the questions about the way things work in a modern city.


Annotations with * are courtesy of NoveList Plus; all others are courtesy of the publisher. Log in to NoveList Plus with your Library card to access book reviews, suggestions, and series and author information.



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