Bookish Flirtation, Finland Adventures, Pandemic Haiku, the Louvre & More: Endnotes 29 May

Bookish Flirtation, Finland Adventures, Pandemic Haiku, the Louvre & More: Endnotes 29 May

Friday, 29 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 blue heaven above is Flic en Flac in Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Africa — just turn right at Madagascar. A trip there means walks on pristine white-sand beaches and leisurely swims in crystal-clear, turquoise blue water. Away from the shore, gentle hills are lush and green with ebony trees, sugar cane, and eucalyptus. You might also meet long-tailed macaque monkeys with mustaches like Hercule Poirot.

  • You probably want to learn how to flirt using a book. Who wouldn’t?!

  • This is a very promising start to an excellent adventure story in Finland that includes bears, birds, reindeer, bilberries, and mushrooms: ’ The Siberian jay whistled tunefully as though beckoning me to follow him as he flitted through the tree branches of the boreal forest. With camera clutched firmly in hand, I left the well-defined lines of the footpath and obeyed, ducking and weaving through the prickled branches of the Scot pines.’

  • Why, yes! I would like a reading nook in my closet.

  • This is a delight from CrimeReads: What Jessica Fletcher is Reading During the Quarantine.

  • Perhaps you’ve seen this story about the Bolivian orchestra that’s stuck at a haunted German castle surrounded by wolves? David was curious about the orchestra, so he found this video of them performing. Do you think their ethereal atonal music is what’s summoning the ghosts and wolves?!

  • 13 Things You Didn’t Know About the Louvre. (Painter Pablo Picasso was once accused of stealing the Mona Lisa?!?!)

  • We are thrilled to be included in this list of 12 Podcasts to Take Your Ears on a Journey Anywhere But Here. What a treat to be on the same list as some of our favorites including This American Life, Amateur Traveler, and Women Who Travel.

  • These jokes about classic literature are pretty funny.

  • Every February in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, Soviet-émigré grandmas compete in a Babushka Pageant. Contestants must be grandmothers, and they must love life. ’ The MC introduces each grandmother by reading a short bio she has provided. There is an almost willful omission of some fairly important information in these introductions. For example, in lieu of something as significant as “She survived the Holocaust,” Mara Goldshtein prefers, “Mara has two granddaughters and loves to read and dance.” They lead with their passions, not with their hardships.’ Read more and watch a thoroughly life-affirming video here.

  • Since it’s all daydreaming right now anyway… pick a few of your favorite things, and Buzzfeed will recommend where you should travel. I got Italy!

  • This is just so charming:

  • Can you guess the best-selling novel from its cover?

  • What it’s like to live on San Francisco Bay’s Angel Island. ’ There are no shops or restaurants. There isn’t even a grocery store or street lights. At night, it’s dark enough to see the stars…‘

  • One of the funniest pandemic haiku I’ve seen was simply No No No No No / No No No No No No No / No No No No No. But these haiku written by essential workers in New York City are very beautiful and so moving.

  • We loved Marie-Helene Bertino’s novel 2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas — and now you can read the first chapter of her soon-to-be-released Parakeet at Electric Lit. (Pre-order Parakeet here.)

  • Summoning all Dracula fans: The Rosenbach in Philadelphia is a library with more than 400,000 rare books, manuscripts, and objets d’art — including Bram Stoker’s handwritten notes for Dracula. Every Sunday, a different expert (authors, historians, professors) leads a free online discussion of a chapter of the book. You can participate live and/or watch video of past presentations. On 7 June, the host will be Dacre Stoker, great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker and author of Dracul.

  • The title of this Instagram account says it all, and I am INTO it: Castles of Scotland.

  • Bookish podcast of the week: Zoom is a podcast about the history behind new movie releases. This episode, is a discussion of the Jane Austen’s beloved novel Emma and the new 2020 film adaptation. Was Austen a prim spinster or a secret radical?

  • Travel podcast of the week: Omnibus (with Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings) explores ‘strange-but-true’ stories. This episode, takes a big bite of delicious Cincinnati chili. If you’ve never tried Cincinnati Chili, you can remedy that with this recipe.


May you learn something that’s a happy surprise this week.

Top image courtesy of Dan Freeman.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got online literary festivals, your best road trip, re-reading favorite books, witch trial transcripts, charming bookmobiles & more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got the Andy Warhol/Jane Eyre connection, words coined by women writers, vintage travel posters, Egyptian street food at home & more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got David Bowie's fave sandwiches in NYC, a 'Rebecca' paper doll, '60s poetry hotline, great travel movies, Japanese Kit Kat & more.

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