Bonnett, Alastair "Off the Map" - 2014
Cartophilia is the love of maps. I certainly have that. It combines well with topophilia, the love of place. I think I suffer from both of them and this is a great book for those of us who are addicted to cards.
Alastair Bonnett, a professor of Social Geography from Newcastle, lists a lot of interesting, weird, forgotten, lost, invisible places in this book and describes them very accurately. There are places we don't want to visit (like Pripyat near Chernobyl), places we can't visit (like Mount Athos, well, at least not the female part of this world), places that don't exist anymore (or have been renamed), places that would be fun just to visit because of their weird identity (Baarle-Nassau in the Netherlands is an interesting example and definitely on our list) and lots of curious, weird, quirky places that it's just fun to read about.
So, if like me, you love geography and/or maps, this is the book for you. Get your atlas out and read it.
From the back cover:
"In a world of Google Earth, it is easy to believe that every discovery has been made and every adventure had, Off the Map is a stunning testament to how mysterious our planet still is. It takes us into unchartered territory, to places found on few maps and sometimes on none.
From forgotten enclaves to floating islands, from hidden villages to New York gutter spaces, Off the Map charts the hidden corners of our planet. And while these are not necessarily places you would choose to visit on holiday - Hobyo, the pirate capital of Somalia, or Zheleznogorsk, a secret military town in Russia - they each carry a story about the strangeness of place and our need for a geography that understands our hunger for the fantastic and the unexpected. But it also shows us that topophilia, the love of place, is a fundamental part of what it is to be human. Whether you are an urban explorer or an armchair traveller, Off the Map will inspire and enchant. You'll never look at a map in quite the same way again."