Swing Dancing in Istanbul, Airport Secrets, Krampus & More: Endnotes 13 December

Swing Dancing in Istanbul, Airport Secrets, Krampus & More: Endnotes 13 December

Friday, 13 December, 2019

Every Friday, we celebrate the weekend — and all the reading and relaxing and daydreaming time ahead — with Melissa's favorite book- and travel-related links of the week. Why work when you can read fun stuff?!

This post is part of our Endnotes series.


That snowy wonderland up there is Toronto, the capital of Ontario, Canada. If you like cold weather, this is the city for you! You could play in the 50 inches of snow Toronto gets every year (more than Chicago and Boston), or spin and leap and spin on one of the 52 outdoor ice skating rinks. But bundle up! The coldest temperature ever recorded there was -24.3°F (-31.3°C) on 4 January 1981. The wind chill that day was -48.5°F (-44.7°C). But it’s not all icy: Toronto also enjoys about 301 days of sunshine per year.

  • About 45% of Americans will be traveling this holiday season. If you’re one of them, you might like these 6 tips for better sleep when you travel.

  • I recommended two books to fill you with cheer in Weekend Getaway: a collection of Krampus stories (see below) and a charming coming-of-age tale set in snowy Philadelphia on Christmas Eve Eve. Need more? Modern Mrs. Darcy has a list of 86 reader recommendations for festive holiday fiction.

  • This news might be the best gift of all: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon is finally being adapted for TV. And Chabon is writing and producing!

  • Kelly Clarkson is an amazing singer and, not for nothing, seems like she’d be a hoot over wine or tea. But her travel habits make me nervous: ‘We’re literally showing up [at the airport] right before we have to. We’re never the people that are there early.’

  • Suddenly I need a juicy novel that goes behind the scenes at an airport: Nine Secrets I Never Knew About Airports Until I Worked at LAX. This is the kind of article you want to read out loud to someone — it’s just that good.

  • Confession: I have Krampus fever! Last weekend, David and I watched the movie Krampus and went to a Krampus parade here in Prague. There were tall horns and hairy feet and jangling bells and red smoke and fireballs! It made all my Krampus dreams come true. In case you, too, want to flirt with this Christmas-y half-demon, there’s our Weekend Getaway recommendation, as well as cute-and-naughty vintage postcards with female Krampuses, the history of Krampus at Smithsonian Magazine, and this Quartz Daily Obsession newsletter is all about Krampus.

krampus parade at night in Germany
Traditional krampuslauf in Bad Toelz, Germany. Photo courtesy of FooTToo/Shutterstock.com
  • It’s no surprise that Julie Andrews has good taste in books.

  • These houses in Gdánsk, Poland.

  • As the new year approaches, perhaps it’s time for a new journal? New York Mag does the hard work to report on the 100 Best Notebooks.

  • This video of Ann Margret dancing while reading a book in The Swinger is… really something. (Down the rabbit hole of the plot: Her character — a ‘goody-goody girl journalist’ — poses as a swinger to impress the ‘horny stud’ editor of Girl-lure, a men’s magazine. Hilarity and groovy ’60s dancing ensue.)

  • Artist John Atkinson brilliantly summarizes classic literature in his funny and astute comics.

  • Yes, let’s go swing dancing in Istanbul!

  • Bookish podcast of the week: Clarkesworld — a print sci-fi and fantasy magazine — also shares excellent short stories in their free podcast. This story England Under the White Witch, is by Theodora Goss, the author of the Athena Club series, which we love. (Here’s our review of the first book in the series The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter. (Note: The landing page for that podcast is a little confusing. Click on the AUDIO MP3 button to listen.)

  • Travel podcast of the week: The fantastic podcast Stuff You Missed in History Class, did a 4-part series (!) on holiday characters from various cultures around the world. Yes, they will talk about Krampus, but also Italy’s La Befana epiphany witch, the Netherlands’ Sinterklaas, Pennsylvania Dutch Belsnickel, Iceland’s Gryla, and so much more. Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

Have a holly jolly weekend! It’s the best time of the year.

Top image courtesy of Matthew Henry.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite reading- and travel-related links. This week, we've got the best books of 2019, a photo album of Uzbekistan, secrets of audiobook narrators, the gifts of learning a new language & more.
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