Bergen Norway, Reading Beowulf, Krampus, Gingerbread & More: Endnotes 11 December

Bergen Norway, Reading Beowulf, Krampus, Gingerbread & More: Endnotes 11 December

Friday, 11 December, 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.


Those festive buildings above are located in Bergen, Norway. The Bryggen — the old wharf — is a collection of 62 buildings founded by the Hanseatic League in the 14th to 16th centuries. (The Hanseatic League was a confederation of merchant guilds and market towns that came together for trade and defense.) Although many fires have damaged the wooden houses over the centuries, they’ve always been rebuilt following old patterns and building methods to preserve their unique charm. Bryggen has been a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site since 1979. It’s now filled with shops, museums, restaurants, and pubs — perfect for a mid-winter hot toddy. {more}

  • From the Paris Review: Cooking with James Baldwin. ‘To speak of our holiday tables: that we all ought to sit down together and eat — that we can do better — was something Baldwin believed, though fitfully and with difficulty. I can only hope he’ll be right about that, too, as he has been about so many things.’ (If you like this sort of thing, be sure to browse our Food+Fiction section where we pair books we love with delicious recipes.)

  • When I was in third grade, I genuinely thought the Bermuda Triangle was going to play a much larger part in my adult life. Travel+Leisure gets real about the legend.

  • Enter this sweepstakes to win five historical romances, including Deanna Raybourn’s An Unexpected Peril (coming March 2021) and the recent installment in Sherry Thomas’ Lady Sherlock series: Murder on Cold Street.

  • The literary world (and people like me) have fallen in love with the new, modern translation of Beowulf by Maria Dahavana Headley. Throughout December, notable ‘bards’ — authors, actors, and other fine people, including Neil Gaiman, Alan Cumming, Felicia Day, Robin Sloan, Emily Watson, and more — are reading segments of the book out loud, culminating in Maria herself wrapping it up. This is the perfect way to consume this book. After all, from its beginning, Beowulf was meant to be recited, not read. Get the schedule and videos here.

  • Click through to read the blurbs. It’s fantastic.

  • If you like to play with language, you might be into this article on ‘Euro English’.

  • You’ve probably already seen this, but I do not want you to miss the 2020 NPR Book Concierge.

  • I love everything about this article that takes a deep dive into the ways Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s interest in architecture inspired how he wrote about the manor houses in his stories. The illustrations of the houses described in his works are a treat!

illustration of baskerville hall
Baskerville Hall. ©Matthew Rice for the Country Life Picture Library.
  • This is my reminder that you should treat yourself and subscribe to the free Book Club newsletter from The Washington Post. Ron Charles is an excellent writer and has great taste in books.

  • Millie Margretta is our hero!

Christmas Goodies

I have so many Christmas-related links to share, I’m wrapping them together, like a gift set of cologne, scented soap, and one of those bathtub puffs that no one is ever really sure what to do with.

  • Bookish podcast of the week: The Endless Knot podcast explores etymological and cultural connections using language, literature, and history to explore the web of connections in the world around us. In this episode, the hosts dig into the origins of the gifts in ‘The 12 Days of Christmas,’ talk about Christmas as the season for games, and read a little Latin poetry. You might also like this episode that explains how Santa’s reindeer got their names, the Reindeer Rule in US law, and NORAD’s Santa Tracker.

  • Travel podcast of the week: Each week, The Dorky Geeky Nerdy Podcast features 30 questions about a variety of pop culture stuff. In this episode, you can test your knowledge of Christmas traditions from around the world.


Sending you so much good cheer.

Top image courtesy of Michael Fousert/Unsplash.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got a touching graphic novel, Peruvian soul food, classic cocktails, Irish libraries, posh locations from 'The Crown,' and more.
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