50 Great Bookish Articles From ATLAS OBSCURA

Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

One of my favorite sites on ye old web is Atlas Obscura. For readers unfamiliar, it’s a site that bills itself as “the definitive guide to the world’s wondrous and curious places.” I like to think of it as the website where I get cure some of my wanderlust, visiting some of the coolest and weirdest places from the comfort of my own home.

Beyond travel, though, Atlas Obscura has published numerous pieces about books, about reading, and about historical bookish life that have always been among some of my favorite reads. The site is a treasure trove for book nerds.

Here’s a round-up of 50 of the site’s most interesting, engaging, evocative, and downright weird features perfect for book lovers. I’ve not included everything Atlas Obscura has included in their destinations, so spending a little time poking around their map of cool places is well worth your time.



The Strange Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe’s Hair

8 Places From Shakespeare That You Can Actually Visit


Book History & Book Nerdia

The Banned 1910s Magazine That Started A Feminist Movement In Japan

Bibliomania, The Dark Desire For Books That Infected Europe In The 1800s

Book Towns: Where Reading Is The Reason To Live

Every Book Is A Journey But These Posters Make Reading Seem Like A Trip

How Nigerian Romance Novelists Sneak Feminism Into Their Plots

Letter Writing Manuals Were The Self-Help Books Of The 18th Century

Libriophiliac Love Letter

The Past and Future of Magnetic Poetry, The Populist Product That Began With A Sneeze

The Russian Poetry Scandal That Ended In A Duel

The Saga of a Long-Lost 15th Century Illuminated Prayer Book

See a 400-Year-Old Book Made Entirely From Feathers

See The Most Luxurious Medieval Manuscripts in Existence

Why Fake Diaries Can Be As Powerful As The Real Thing

Why The London of British Literature Barely Changed For 200 Years



This Adorable Alabama Bookstore Only Sells Signed Copies

A Jordan Bookseller’s 24-Hour “Emergency Room For The Mind”


Children’s Literature

The Forgotten Government-Funded Kids Books Of the Great Depression

A Guide To The Real-Life Homes Of The Heroes of Children’s Literature

The Secret Jokes Hidden in Alice in Wonderland

These Hand-Drawn Maps Helped Create ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Books

Why People Have Such Strong Feelings About The Spelling Of “The Berenstain Bears”


The Fierce, Forgotten Library Wars of the Ancient World

Get Lost In The Stacks of These 10 Beautiful University Libraries

Growing Up In A Library Is Exactly As Magical As You’d Imagine

The Hushed Interiors of 19th Century Libraries

Inside The Most Amazing Map Library You’ve Never Heard Of

Inside The New York Public Library’s Last Secret Apartments

Inspiring Libraries In The Most Unexpected Places

Library Hand, The Fastidiously Neat Penmanship Style Made For Card Catalogs

Libraries On The Beach

The Oldest Treasures From 12 Great Libraries

Reading In Restraint: The Last Chained Libraries

Secret Libraries of Chicago

Secret Libraries of London

Secret Libraries of New York City

Secret Libraries of Paris

Secret Libraries of Rome

The Strange Affliction of “Library Anxiety” And What Librarians Do To Help

The US-Canada Border Runs Through This Tiny Library

Vintage Photos of Traveling Libraries

The Women Who Rode Miles On Horseback To Deliver Library Books




How Books Designed For Soldier’s Pockets Changed Publishing Forever

How Novels Came To Be Written in the Voice of Coins, Stuffed Animals, and Other Random Objects

Lovely Hidden Paintings Adorned The Edges of Historic Books

The Strange History of Microfilm, Which Will Continue To Be With Us For Centuries

The True Practice of Binding Books in Human Skin

The Unsung Delight Of a Well-Designed Endpaper

Watch A Book Being Made The Old Fashioned Way