Thursday, 29 December 2016

REVIEW - Atlas Obscura by Foer, Thuras and Morton


Title: Atlas Obscura

Author: Foer, Thuras and Morton

Publisher: Workman Publishing

Release Date: 20th September 2016

Source: Own Copy / NetGalley

Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust, Atlas Obscura celebrates over 600 of the strangest and most curious places in the world.

Here are natural wonders—the dazzling glowworm caves in New Zealand, or a baobob tree in South Africa that’s so large it has a pub inside where 15 people can drink comfortably. Architectural marvels, including the M.C. Escher-like stepwells in India. Mind-boggling events, like the Baby Jumping Festival in Spain, where men dressed as devils literally vault over rows of squirming infants. Not to mention the Great Stalacpipe Organ in Virginia, Turkmenistan’s 45-year hole of fire called the Door of Hell, coffins hanging off a side of a cliff in the Philippines, eccentric bone museums in Italy, or a weather-forecasting invention that was powered by leeches, still on display in Devon, England.

Atlas Obscura revels in the weird, the unexpected, the overlooked, the hidden, and the mysterious. Every page expands our sense of how strange and marvelous the world really is. And with its compelling descriptions, hundreds of photographs, surprising charts, maps for every region of the world, it is a book you can open anywhere. But with caution: It’s almost impossible not to turn to the next entry, and the next, and the next.

Let your curiosity be your compass.
I am a curious cat, maybe nosey would be a better word for me but I like to know things, I especially like to know things about bits of the world that remain under the radar.

Earlier this year I started visiting the website Atlas Obscura which is a rich wonder of strange and wonderful places from across the globe, places that are abandoned, overlooked or just plane dangerous.  This book brings together some of the best.

Split in to the different areas of the world, this beautiful book (quick note here I did get approved for a NetGalley copy but it looked so nice I treated myself to a physical hardback which is lovely to look at) takes us on tour through some of the most dangerous countries in the world (North Korea, Syria Iraq) via Europe and the US and everywhere in between, it takes us across grass bridges in Peru, to voodoo museums in New Orleans, abandoned islands in Japan and closer to my own home a bridge in Scotland that has the highest rate of dog suicides.

This is an exquisite book that shows the more interesting part of the world that those mainstream guidebooks don't go near, which is a shame as some of these places deserve a visit.





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MOVIE REVIEW - Rogue One: A Star Wars Story


I was looking forward to seeing Rogue One, I'd heard great things from friends who had already seen it and as a huge fan of the Star Wars 'Verse the thought of seeing how they actually built the Death Star was kinda cool.

Well I finally saw the film yesterday and to be honest I'm undecided on how I feel about it, I mean don't get me wrong it was a great film, visually it looks stunning but I think it is maybe a tad long and Felicity Jones as Jyn is lovely to look at but I found her a bit flat but then maybe that was part of the whole tortured childhood thing.

Anyway good things, well as I say it looks amazing, from those gargantuan Imperial ships to the barren planet of Jeddah to the final battle on Scarif which was so beautifully tropical then blown to bits.  You can see money has been thrown at the visual and special effects - also I don't know if imagined it but at the end I am sure when one of the fighters blew up it left behind a smoky hidden mickey, a nod to the Disney paymasters perhaps!

As for characters, well I really liked the evil megalomaniac Director Krennic, he had an ego the size of the Death Star and boy he could really throw his toys of out his space station.  I also enjoyed Chirrut Îmwe the bad ass blind force believing warrior and his best bud Baze Malbus, they were great fun to watch.  Of course there are plenty of cameos too from such Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa and our two favourite robots briefly pop up too, plus there is a lingering shot on a glass of blue milk at the beginning of the film too.

The film I think to me warrants 3.5 stars which I'm gutted at saying, maybe on a second watch I'll grow to love it more.  They could have used Forest Whitaker more, a little bit more of how he raised Jyn and a little less blowing up of things at the end.  

The end though, well I'm not going to spoil it as it is generally known this film leads the way to Episode IV but they way it does it is fantastic, goosebumps moment and in the light of the recent loss of spectacular Carrie Fisher, it nearly had me in tears.



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