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 stunner up there is the Dayr-e Gachin Caravansarai located in Kavir National Park, Iran. When weary travelers in Asia, North Africa, and Southeast Europe needed rest for themselves and their animals, they’d stop at a caravanserai, the ancient equivalent of a roadside inn. These ‘caravan palaces’ were common along the Silk Road and on the Royal Road that stretched from the Aegean Sea to Iran. The Greek historian Herodotus wrote, ‘Now the true account of the road in question is the following: Royal stations exist along its whole length, and excellent caravanserais; and throughout, it traverses an inhabited tract, and is free from danger.’ Here are 35 more beautiful places in Iran.
I’m currently comfort-reading a Dick Francis mystery novel; I often turn to cozy-ish crime stories when I need literary TLC. This is a great piece at CrimeReads about how modern mysteries differ from their golden age forebears and why they’re comforting: ‘The mystery novel has become, above all, a literature of resistance. At its core is a champion who will not let matters lie, who will defy propriety, circumstance and fate itself to achieve a greater end…’
Author Rebecca Makkai is sharing a writing prompt on Twitter every day this year with the hashtag #366prompts, and her prompts are a hoot! For example: ‘Who is the richest person you know in real life? You wind up alone in this person’s bathroom, and no one will miss you for ten minutes. What do you do?’ or ‘There’s one typewriter repairman left in the state of Maryland.’
You can watch Rick Steves’ show ‘Iran: Yesterday and Today’ free online. Now seems like a good time to do that.
These stunning photos of abandoned places around the world are haunting and eerily beautiful.
Do you ever browse the real estate listings, looking for the perfect Hobbit house? Or is that just me?
Ann Patchett on the books that made her.
This is fun! Find the bestseller from the year you were born. (Mine was Airport by Alex Hailey, and David’s was The Source by James A. Michener. Share yours in comments!)
The wildfires in Australia are heartbreaking, and experts say the fires could burn for months. Sadly, more than a billion animals have died. The New York Times has compiled a list of organizations that are accepting donations, and here’s a list specifically for animal-related charities. Please donate if you can.
Did you see our photo on Instagram of the STAR CHAMBER in the Austrian National Library?!
FYI: We always wear bottoms on the metro. But in Prague on 12 January, others will be pantsless!
Would you (could you, should you) travel with no luggage at all?
Bookish podcast of the week: For pure escapist fun, you might try the Every Lady Needs a Hobby podcast. In each edition, the hosts give a blow-by-blow account of an episode of the TV show Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, which is very closely based on the books by Kerry Greenwood. The best part? At the end, they rate the murder method and the outfits. Delightful!
Travel podcast of the week: The Omnibus podcast is hosted by Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings and musician John Roderick. They’re smart, funny, and super-nerdy — basically, everything you want in a podcast host. In episode 222, they share the inside scoop on Fort Knox in Kentucky.
Top image courtesy of Mohamad Babayan.
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