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 adorable Hobbit house above is located in Suffolk, England. According to scuttlebutt, it’s the only habitable hobbit hole in the world, and it was ‘built in consultation with Tolkien experts.’ Is that a tall tale? Maybe. But what’s totally true is that you could own this charming living space — along with a 19th-century manor house, 4.5 acres of woodsy land, and six other charming cabins. One of the rooms includes a sign that reads, ‘Let us drink like dwarves, smoke like wizards, and party like hobbits.’ The property is currently for sale, and I’m thinking: If we pool our resources, we might be able to come up with the £2 million asking price. Then we drink tea, eat elevensies, and wait for Gandalf to show up with fireworks and the beginnings of a grand adventure. See more photos of the estate.
How did words like frustrating, spring-clean, and outsider become part of our everyday usage? Awesome women writers.
This is a fascinating and opinionated exploration (illustrated with many travel photos) of why the modern world is so ugly. ‘Modernity became ugly because it forgot how to articulate that beauty is, in the end, as much of a necessity for a building as a functioning roof.’
Vox explores why it’s so hard to read a book right now. ‘Why are people having difficulty concentrating?… They’re trying to resolve an uncertainty that is unresolvable.’
A new biography of Andy Warhol — Warhol by Blake Gopnik — was recently published and, among other things, it reveals that in the late ’60s, Warhol worked on an adaptation of Jane Eyre called Jane Heir.
The Morgan Library is offering real-time virtual events and at-your-leisure exhibits online. A Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen’s Life and Legacy includes an excellent 15-minute documentary about her enduring influence on literature and culture. (Read our write-up of the Library.)
This Eater piece about the Egyptian street food called koshari made me hungry. All the different kinds of carbs in one bowl with spicy sauce and lots of garlic? Yes, please. (If you need a recipe, maybe try this one.)
These vintage travel posters from the 1930s make me feel all dreamy.
Erika Swyler is the author of The Book of Speculation, a novel we recommended this week in the circus episode of our podcast. Her latest book is Light From Other Stars, and this is so much fun: She shared a music playlist to go along with her novel, a book she describes as a ‘small town time-stopping space opera period piece.’
Hecktic Travels is one of our favorite travel websites. They recently shared online jigsaw puzzles of some of their best travel photos — really pretty and pretty fun.
Here’s what happened when a group of boys was marooned on an island in 1965. Spoiler: It was not like Lord of the Flies. (And here’s a really neat Twitter thread about how the author did his research.)
The Booksellers is a documentary about antiquarian booksellers who are part scholar, part detective, and part businessperson. Variety called it a ‘documentary for anyone who can still look at a book and see a dream.’ So… I feel like we all need to watch it. And now it’s available online.
Why, yes! It is essential to know how to place a curse on your books. (Thank you for the link, Jen.)
What do Ernest Hemingway, a bowl of spaghetti, and cookbooks have in common? Read this to find out.
Cats are so silly. And awesome. But mostly silly.
These stray cats were spotted occupying the circle marks intended for the implementation of social distancing protocols in front of a store in Brgy. Holy Spirit, Quezon City on Sunday amid enhanced community quarantine. pic.twitter.com/EqOORqCJMa— The Philippine Star (@PhilippineStar) May 13, 2020
Bookish podcast of the week: This week, I learned about the Magnus Archives podcast: a fiction podcast examining what lurks in the archives of the Magnus Institute, an organization dedicated to researching the esoteric and the weird. The first episode is more eerie than scary with lots of atmosphere and a very strong sense of Edinburgh.
Travel podcast of the week: I love the idea of exploring inside our homes. In this episode of 99% Invisible, host Roman Mars describes the things he encounters on a journey through his home.
Our podcast The Circus: Found Family and Daring Feats was released on Monday. We recommended so many great books and talked about the cool stuff that makes the circus so compelling. As always, the show notes page is a treasure trove of entertainment. Here are a few more diverting links about the circus:
A visit to the Ringling Brothers Circus Museum in Sarasota, Florida
There’s a lot of flimflam and bamboozlers out there! Merriam-Webster clowns around with nine words for hucksters.
Peru, Indiana, hosts a week-long celebration of the circus every July. ‘The circus doesn’t need to come to this town. It’s here every day, in the form of ongoing shows, historical remnants, and the blood of its residents.’
Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!
Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.
If you like the work we do, you can help support us through our Patreon! That'll unlock additional content, too — like Mel's recipe for Banh Mi Bowls, and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.
This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.
We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.
This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.
Content on this site is © 2021 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.