Beach Reads, Antique Globes, Fictional Maps, Secret Syrian Library & More: Endnotes 22 May

Beach Reads, Antique Globes, Fictional Maps, Secret Syrian Library & More: Endnotes 22 May

Friday, 22 May, 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.


That idyllic shot above is Hội An, Vietnam. Located along the Thu Bồn river, it was a trading port from the 15th through 19th centuries. Now its distinctive bright yellow buildings and riverfront promenade are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Every night, hundreds of colorful lanterns illuminate the old town. Just outside the city, you can visit the ruins of the Hindu temple at Mỹ Sơn or take a leisurely bike ride in the countryside where you might run into friendly locals, like the water buffalo above. More stuff to do in Hội An.

  • A pressing question for today: Which Dewey Decimal number are you? (I got 060.4 General rules of order (Parliamentary procedure). Apparently, I’m steadfast, thorough, and dependable.)

  • Have you ever had a memorable interaction with locals on your travels? Starting 1 June, Wanderlust magazine is hosting a 2-week writing challenge to encourage you to share your travel stories.

  • This Eater column about David Bowie and his favorite sandwiches in NYC is surprisingly touching. And the chicken-chipotle-focaccia sandwich is the stuff of dreams.

  • The British Library has an extensive collection of 3D globes online. This celestial globe made by Willem Janszoon Blaeu is my favorite. The schooner near the South Pole is stunning.

  • Daphne du Maurier’s novel Rebecca is a classic gothic manor house novel (our review). The heroine of the story remains unnamed throughout, but the ghost of Rebecca, the former lady of the house, haunts the proceedings. With this downloadable Rebecca paper doll, you can dress her up in red velvet and re-enact the story.

  • Last week, I told you about Booksellers, a documentary about antiquarian book dealers — and now you can buy a ticket to watch that benefits Use this special link to buy a virtual ticket, and 20% of the proceeds will go directly to Independent Booksellers through You can watch on your desktop, tablet, smartphone, Chromecast, or AirPlay.

  • In the 1940s, Dell Publishing released paperbacks that featured charming maps on the back covers — a scene-of-the-crime map or a blueprint of a country estate. I wish all books did this!

vintage paperback with a map of a country estate on the back cover

art deco buildings

  • Bookish podcast of the week: NPR takes us inside a secret library in Syria whose location is shared only via word-of-mouth and has become a center for culture and comfort. Author Mike Thompson talks about his book Syria’s Secret Library: Reading and Redemption in a Town Under Siege.

  • Travel podcast of the week: On Radio Prague International, photographer Amos Chapple talks about his new project: unusual and breathtaking images of statues in Prague. ‘It’s like a love letter to the city… the Czech Legions, the struggle against the Nazis in World War II, the struggle against the Soviets – every aspect of Czech history I find so inspiring.’


May your spirits be buoyed by something amazing this week.

Top image courtesy of Kiril Dobrev.

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