Europe's Great Libraries, Galapagos Photos, Secret Books & More: Endnotes 17 July

Europe's Great Libraries, Galapagos Photos, Secret Books & More: Endnotes 17 July

Friday, 17 July, 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 serene creature gliding up there is a Green Turtle enjoying the waters around Bonaire, an island in the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. (Need to get oriented? It’s about 50 miles/80km off the coast of Venezuela.) The Bonaire National Marine Parks is the oldest marine reserve in the world. It’s home to brilliantly colored tropical fish, whale sharks, squid, 60 different species of coral, and our pal, the Green Turtle — named for the green color of the body fat that results from its diet of seagrasses and algae. Let’s all take a moment to pretend we’re also splashing in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea.

  • If you only follow one link from Endnotes this week, do yourself a favor and make it this one: Reading Every Unread Book on My Bookshelf During the Pandemic. It so beautifully expresses the anguish of uncertainty and the way our books can ground us during tough times.

  • This piece about Holiday magazine — a periodical published from after WWII until the 1970s — made me nostalgic for a magazine I’ve never read. ‘Holiday was composed of almost all long-form travel essays—it was not, like many modern travel magazines, list after list of where to eat, shop, and sleep. (There would be little point or pleasure in reading a 1957 Holiday if it were just about where to get the best goulash.) A handful of the pieces are dated, but, like the greatest travel writing, many are timeless.’

  • These facial reconstructions of long-gone people are oddly touching. We saw similar reconstructions at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, and it’s amazing how they erase the centuries between the past and now so we can connect to history. It drives home that these are real people who lived their lives, just as we do.

  • Just added to my travel dream list: the Shipwreck Lodge on the coast of Namibia. The eco-friendly, luxury resort on the beach features individual cabins designed to pay homage to the shipwrecks offshore.

  • Somewhat related: This hotel in South Africa where guests sleep in renovated train cars perched along the length of a railroad bridge is also intriguing.

  • Rick Steves weighs in in Europe’s great libraries.

  • Listen to the soothing sounds of the forest.

  • Wildlife photographer Tui De Roy has a new book coming out on 21 July. It’s called A Lifetime in Galapagos, and it features her breathtaking photos, as well as her personal observations from her years living on these unique islands. Here are 10 photos from the book.

 iguana in the water in galapagos

  • We All Want Ma’s Oven Pan When She Dies by Rachel Heng is a sharply observed and poignant short story about family squabbles/family love. Treat yourself; it’s about three minutes very well spent.

  • My personal reading catnip is a somewhat sinister story set in a country house — perhaps with poison in the sugarbowl at tea time. In real life, I don’t love all the things the British Empire has stood for, so I read this article about the ‘long con of Britishness’ with relish. ‘Every nation-state is ninety percent fictional; there’s always a gap between the imaginary countries united by cultural coherence and collective destinies where most of us believe we live, and the actual countries where we’re born and eat breakfast and file taxes and die. The U.K. is unique among modern states in that we not only buy our own hype, we also sell it overseas at a markup.’

  • Oooooh! Contronyms. (Hello, cleave, oversight, and peruse!)

  • Artist Amber Share takes one-star reviews of national parks and turns them into snarky (and lovely) travel posters. Her instagram is a treasure trove of images like the ones below.

  • This article is a few years old, but it’s still so delightful: a collection of objects that look like books, but are not: a cookie jar, a spice rack, an alarm clock, a cigarette dispenser.

  • The Tshiuetin line in Canada is the first railway in North America owned and operated by First Nations people. This essay and accompanying photos from The New York Times is a solidly awesome piece of work.

  • Bookish podcast of the week: The History of Literature podcast is hosted by Jacke Wilson, an amateur scholar with a lifelong passion for literature. In this episode, he talks with author Amanda Stern about the impact Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke had on her life.

  • Travel podcast of the week: The Wind of Change podcast is an 8-part investigation of the rumor that the song ‘Wind of Change’ — released in 1990 by the heavy metal band the Scorpions — was actually written by the CIA. Hit pop song as propaganda? Listen in and see. This is the first episode, and it’s a doozy.


May you find a book that speaks to you in just the way you need right now.

Top image courtesy of Kris Mikael Krister/Unsplash.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got Queen Vic Market in Melbourne, remembering Carlos Ruiz Zafón, handmade maps of coronavirus lockdown, Jane Austen fest online & more.
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