Drive-In Book Fest, 1920s Cairo, Pandemic Comics, Carmilla Movie & More: Endnotes 24 July

Drive-In Book Fest, 1920s Cairo, Pandemic Comics, Carmilla Movie & More: Endnotes 24 July

Friday, 24 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 striking island+temple configuration up there is Pura Tanah Lot, a Hindu temple off the coast of Bali in Indonesia. The name ‘Tanah Lot’ means ‘land in the sea’ in the Balinese language, and this hunk of rock has been shaped and reshaped by crashing waves for centuries. This temple is one of seven constructed along the southwestern coast of Bali, each within eyesight of the last, so they form a chain. According to lore, the base of the island is guarded by venomous sea snakes that protect the temple from evil spirits and unwelcome intruders. {take a short video trip to the island}

  • This is a much-needed feel-good story. Until a few weeks ago, the state of Minnesota was home to 50 independent bookstores, but none of them was Black-owned. Now, Black Garnet Books — which will carry YA and adult novels written exclusively by authors of color — is a reality, thanks to the efforts of its founder Dione Sims.

  • What do artists do when the coronavirus pandemic has got them down? They make a comics anthology and donate the money to charity! Pandemix features new, personal work from 19 artists and writers, and each comic addresses an aspect of living during the global pandemic. All proceeds are being donated to The Hero Initiative, a not-for-profit organization that helps comics creators with emergency medical aid and/or essential financial support. Buy a copy and support the cause for just $5. (I just downloaded my copy, and it’s great: funny, sad, smart, moving; it effectively captures this strange moment in time.)

the cover and a comic from the pandemix anthology
The Pandemix comics anthology
  • A few weeks ago, we featured a week’s worth of beautiful lighthouses on our Instagram, and y’all loved them. So you might be interested in this: Meet the United States’ Only Female Lighthouse Keeper.

  • The Appledore Book Festival gets an A+ for creativity. This year’s celebration in Devon, UK, will be the first-ever drive-in literary festival.

  • I devoured the new Gabriel Allon thriller The Order by Daniel Silva in approximately 36.27 hours. Travel back in time to 2016 when the author shared his reading habits in By The Book.

  • The eerily atmospheric novel Mexican Gothic by Silvia-Moreno Garcia deserves all of the praise it’s been getting recently; I loved it. The author has a deep knowledge of Mexican folklore, the Gothic tradition in literature, and — it turns out — Mexican horror comics: ‘Another oddity is a 1960s comic book series following the adventures of a rather ugly, old witch, who with her potions and magic, helps people solve their problems… Its off-color jokes made it incredibly popular, and it spawned a movie adaptation. Other humorous comics sometimes included supernatural elements. La Familia Burrón, which followed the adventures of a low-class family living in Mexico City, had a huge cast of side characters, including a vampire, Conde Satán Carroña, his wife Cadaverina de Carroña, El Diablo Lamberto, and others.

  • I’ll just leave this right here: 15-Year-Old Uncovers Lost Mayan City Using Google Maps.

  • Would you be bold enough to tackle these stairs?! (My palms got sweaty just looking at the photos and video, so I fear it would be a no for me.)

  • When people ask me how my Czech lessons are going, I’m just going to refer them to this article about why the Czech language is so (so so so so very very very) difficult to learn. (Love the opening salvo: ‘It is a truth widely acknowledged that the Czech language is a bit tricky to learn.’)

  • Why, yes! Let’s all time-travel to the roaring twenties in Cairo!

  • I am totally here for mystery novel characters of a certain age.

  • The novella Carmilla is the story of a teenage lady-vampire who bedevils an innocent young thing in the Austrian mountains of Styria. It’s a sexy, eerie romp through proto-vampire territory. And now it’s a movie!

  • Related: This vintage vampire-fighting kit that is going up for auction soon is the perfect gift for the Dracula and Carmilla fan in your life (even if it is a fake).

  • A pack of wolves is prowling a piazza in Florence. Chinese artist Liu Ruowang’s installation of 100 wolf statues is stunning and making a strong statement about humans’ relationship with nature: ‘This is the metaphor of the human-nature relationship. By the presence of Liu Ruowang’s wolves in our piazzas—elegant wolves with chiseled manes like ancient Chinese bronzes—we will have several months to think about respecting the planet’s equilibrium.

  • Bookish podcast of the week: If you listened to the Chicago episode of our podcast, you know I recommended Hardball, the page-turning, socially relevant mystery novel by Sara Paretsky. In this episode of the Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast, she and novelist Christopher Buckley talk about pushing against the boundaries of genre writing.

  • Travel podcast of the week: The Pindrop podcast (from TED) takes a deep dive into the things that shape particular destinations. In this episode, host Saleem Reshamwala takes us to a tiny town in Germany that made a bargain with God in 1633: spare its people from the Black Plague, and we’ll put on a play in your honor forever. This is a fascinating report on its history and what’s happening now, nearly four centuries years later. (If you’ve read the new Daniel Silva novel The Order, this podcast very relevant to that story.)

  • Finally, the new video from The Rock Bottom Remainders, a band that includes Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Mitch Albom, Mary Karr, Stephen King, Scott Turow, and other best-selling writers. It’s bonkers in a very good way, and it’s for a good cause.

May you find delightful connections among the things you love.

Top image courtesy of Harry Kessell/Unsplash.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got the best-dressed characters in fiction, a Babylonian dinner, breathtaking pics of water lilies, Cincinnati's Book Bus & more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got new cartoons from Gary Larson, beautiful small towns in Europe, a library trivia quiz, free online literary festivals, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got a shipwreck hotel in Africa, 'Holiday' magazine, an essay about how books ground us, an examination of Britishness, and more.

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