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 red squirrel above lives in Tallinn, Estonia. You can find these cute critters all over the British Isles and Eurasia. They have sharp, curved claws for climbing trunks and branches, and strong hind legs for leaping between trees — and they can swim! FWIW, they also look like they’re excellent listeners. I like the idea of this squirrel inviting us to unload our mental burdens on him, without feeling like we need to lift his spirits in the process. You’re invited to have a chat right now with the therapy squirrel.
If you haven’t yet, please read our statement of support for protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement. There are more links at the bottom of this post to continue learning and protesting during this tumultuous time.
Wanderlust asks: How well do you know the world’s cuisines? My score was 13/16 — I didn’t know St. Helena’s most famous dish, the number of potato varieties in Peru, or what’s inside Pastizzi in Malta.
Somewhat related: The NYTimes gets nostalgic about eating in restaurants and serves up recipes for 12 restaurants’ favorite dishes, including pepperoni rolls, takeout-style sesame noodles, and carne asada cheese fries.
David and I devoured the series Dickinson, and — because there’s a big Emily-Dickinson-sized hole in my literary education, I’m reading These Fevered Days: Ten Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson. This story about The Letter That Changed Emily Dickinson’s Life is a doozy. ‘Emily Dickinson didn’t ask if her verse was ‘publishable’ or ‘good.’ She knew all along, didn’t she? She understood poetry had to transport, had to be visceral, and had to find its way into our bodies.’
The Read Like a Writer series from Electric Literature is cool. Each post explores a literary technique and recommends short stories that illustrate it. The latest is first-person plural; the analysis is enlightening, and the stories are great. The first-person plural is a very effective POV, unsettling and intimate at the same time.
Is this beautiful statue the inspiration for the Evil Queen in Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves?!
I love with everything about this — who hasn’t wished to go through a magical portal in their yard?! It’s genius to build it oneself. (You can click those pics to see them larger.)
Uncle: What are you doing during the lockdown?— Kimberly Adams (@KAreports) May 26, 2020
Me: I’m learning to play piano! You?
Uncle: I built “Gateway to the Imagination” in my backyard.
Me: 🤩😅 pic.twitter.com/HRpxE4oJok
Here’s a soothing escape: Sounds of the Lapland, including water streaming between two fells, reindeer grazing in a field, footsteps walking through snow, and more.
This is like something from a fantasy story: a Medieval village in Italy — that’s been submerged in a lake — might be about to resurface
Bookish podcast of the week: The podcast Reading Women celebrates Caribbean Heritage Month with book recommendations. I picked up a copy of the recommended book Frying Plantain, and I can’t wait to dig into these interconnected short stories.
Travel podcast of the week: Sidedoor is a podcast produced by the Smithsonian Institute, and each episode digs into one fascinating story in American history. This week seems like a good time to get to know young Harriet Tubman and this story about a tiny cabin in South Carolina that became the cornerpiece of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Twitter user Ashley Fairbanks photographed the colorful, moving street art that are appearing around Minneapolis in remembrance of George Floyd.
The Smithsonian has collected articles, videos, podcasts, and websites that ‘chronicle the history of anti-black violence and inequality in the United States.’
Fulton Street Books & Coffee in Tulsa, OK, is now selling an Ally Box, a 3-month limited book subscription for allies (and those who seek to be allies). Each box includes two books, curated resources, and suggested action steps; the subscription also includes access to an online learning collaborative. The first box ships on 1 July, and you can preorder now.
This mini-comic by our friend Rebecca Roher tells the story of Canadian civil rights activist Viola Desmond. You can click through the pages with the arrows in the Instagram frame. Part 1 is below; here’s part 2.
Top image courtesy of Toimetaja tõlkebüroo/Unsplash.
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.
Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews 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 ©2023 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.