The Librarian-Spy, Chocolate Sorcery, Miami Beach Colors & More: Endnotes 14 February

The Librarian-Spy, Chocolate Sorcery, Miami Beach Colors & More: Endnotes 14 February

Friday, 14 February, 2020

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.

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Happy Valentine’s Day, dear readers! The photo of the Brooklyn flower shop above is our valentine to you – hope you like your (virtual) flowers. Valentine’s Day is the number one holiday for florists, and growers produce more than 250 million roses for 14 February. The first Valentine’s Day celebrations were in the 6th century B.C. when the Romans got down with the spring festival Lupercalia — and people in the Middle Ages believed that the first unmarried person who crossed your path on 14 February would be your spouse. (Hope you were careful walking around this morning!) {more Valentine’s Day history}

Illustration by Auguste Juliet.
  • This is fascinating: the behind-the-scenes details on hosting world leaders at one hotel.

  • When ‘Roll Out the Barrel’ was scandalous — the rebellious origins of polka. (My dad once made 12-year-old me polka with him at a community block party RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY BIGGEST CRUSH. I’m pretty sure I died of humiliation that day and am currently typing this as a ghost.)

  • Admire these candy-colored lifeguard towers and give yourself a 2-minute getaway to Miami.

  • In our Mexico podcast, we talked quite a bit about chocolate (mmmm, chocolate). But I didn’t know this: Hot chocolate was considered a witch’s brew in colonial South America.

  • Did you see the photo of the fighting mice in the London Tube station that made the rounds online this week? (a) The picture is amazing, and (b) the story behind the photo is a whopper. (I need someone to write a novel about these mice… a noir thriller about the rough-and-tumble life in the tunnels under London.)

  • Bookish podcast of the week: Overdue is a podcast about ‘the books you’ve been meaning to read,’ and it’s one of my favorites. In episode 393, the hosts discuss The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, a fantasy novel that retells the story of King Arthur through the eyes of the women in the story. (I read this book when it came out in 1987, and I was into it.)

  • Travel podcast of the week: Chronicles Abroad wants to inspire you to travel and spur your personal growth. In episode 145, you’ll meet Florence, the American woman who fell in love with Sweden — and ended up writing the Scandi-noir thriller The Grand Man.

Happy weekend! Wishing you the fortitude to chase what matters to you most.

Top image courtesy of Alex Simpson.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got sweet Wes Anderson-inspired cafés, Armenian food in LA, the eerie boat-house from 'Rebecca,' easy travel journaling, and more.
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