Windows Around the World, Bird Library, Pride Reads, Mexican Gothic & More: Endnotes 19 June

Windows Around the World, Bird Library, Pride Reads, Mexican Gothic & More: Endnotes 19 June

Friday, 19 June, 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 enchanted sand castle above is Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey. It’s found on a tidal island of the same name in the Normandy region of France. The island sits at the mouth of the Couesnon River, about a half-mile (1km) from the mainland, and is reached by a footbridge. Although, circa the 15th century, low tide made it easy for pilgrims to walk to the abbey across the sand, while high tide was a passive weapon, stranding and drowning foreign invaders. Today, it’s a fairy-tale-like spot to explore history, climb the 350-step staircase, walk the ramparts, and indulge in the island’s famous butter cookies. {tips for visiting}

  • It’s vital that we educate ourselves with the anti-racist book lists that are making the rounds right now. But it’s equally important to read great books about and by BIPOC falling in love, having adventures, starting new jobs, hanging with friends, living their lives. This list of 25 Black bookstagrammers is a great place to start for recommendations. And dig into this list of 20 travel-themed books by Black authors that will fuel your desire to see the world. Sorry about your TBR! (Not really.)

  • Related: Today is Juneteenth! Here’s what you need to know about this 155-year-old American holiday.

  • And let’s not forget it’s Pride Month! I love both the title and the content of this: 18 very gay and very good books you should read this Pride Month. Less, Lumberjanes, and Fun Home are some of our favorites, so I feel confident that the rest of the recommendations are legit.

  • This is so simple and so lovely: take a peek through windows around the world. WindowSwap is collecting images that allow us to look out other peoples’ windows. Elegant and irresistible.

  • Yes to this bird library where ‘the need to feed meets the need to read.’

  • Kazuo Ishiguro, author of The Remains of the Day, has a new novel coming out! ‘…a thrilling book that offers a look at our changing world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator, and one that explores the fundamental question: what does it mean to love?’

  • Saturday is the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere — a.k.a., Midsummer. Or if you’re in Sweden: Midsommar. There are a bunch of fun ways you can take part in the festivities online this year. (And don’t miss our recommendation to read Black River this weekend; it’s set in rural Sweden during Midsommar and hijinks are afoot!)

  • This NYTimes piece about sheep farming in Acadia National Park, on an island off the coast of Maine, is just what travel writing should be. Spoiler alert: There are a lot of photos of ridiculously adorable lambs and stunning scenery.

  • Armchair travel via the kitchen with these food-centric books that will whisk you around the world.

  • This list is filled with eye candy and daydreamy inspiration: 9 exciting trips through undiscovered Europe

The famous bridge in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo courtesy of Yu Siang Teo/Unsplash
  • Richard Kadrey is the author of the fantasy-thriller Sandman Slim series, set in an alternative LA where a demon is the hero of the story. These face masks inspired by the books are pretty cool.

  • I’m super-excited that Mexican Gothic by Silvia-Moreno Garcia is out on 30 June. Here’s her interview with Goodreads about why she set her Gothic novel in Mexico, the town that inspired it, and her favorite Gothic tales. (While you’re waiting, perhaps pick up a copy of Gods of Jade and Shadow; our review.)

  • Did you know there’s a new alternative to Goodreads?! It’s called StoryGraph, and it’s great. I’ve been using it this week, and I’m into it.

  • Hey! Our neighborhood in Prague is included in this list of the 50 coolest neighborhoods in the world.

  • YouTube recommended this video to David and me this week, and it is gripping and beautiful and tense and magical and amazing. It definitely delivers a strong sense of being under the sea. Be sure to read this National Geographic interview with the husband-and-wife team that made the film. They’re both freedivers: she’s behind the camera, and he’s performing the water ballet. The details about their interactions with sleeping whales are the stuff of dreams.

  • We were happy to find ourselves on this list of recommended podcasts from blogger LouLouReads. Her other picks sound really fun!

  • Bookish podcast of the week: This isn’t new, but it’s great: Maurice Sendak’s conversation with NPR’s Terry Gross. They discuss ‘life, death, and children’s lit’ in the context of his book Bumble-ardy. (Do you know the backstory of _Where the Wild Things Are?)

  • Travel podcast of the week: Watling Street is a 4-part podcast that examines Britain’s history and culture via a prehistoric road — literally, one of the first lines drawn on a map. The show is recorded on location and includes conversation, poetry, music performances, and so much atmosphere. In this episode, the hosts explore the themes of pilgrimage and discuss A Canterbury Tale, among other things.


Wishing you the peace of being present and the distraction of a great story.

Top image courtesy of Aldo Loya/Unsplash.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got reading nooks, what Jessica Fletcher is reading, California's Angel Island, Castles of Scotland, mustachioed monkeys & more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got a letter from Emily Dickinson, a magic portal, Scottish crime novels, the sounds of the Lapland, George Floyd street art & more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got sci-fi/fantasy books by Black authors, an Uzbek wedding, food memoirs, a protest poem that will gut you in a good way & more.

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