Finnish Reindeer, US-vs-UK Covers, a New Phryne Fisher & More: Endnotes 18 December

Finnish Reindeer, US-vs-UK Covers, a New Phryne Fisher & More: Endnotes 18 December

Friday, 18 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.


The majestic reindeer above were photographed in Lapland, the northernmost region in Finland. It’s sparsely populated and snuggles up next to Sweden, Norway, Russia, and the Baltic Sea. It’s also a most magical place to visit for skiing, the Northern Lights, and to meet Santa’s most famous helpers. {more}

  • Who wore it better? US book covers vs. their UK counterparts.

  • The Rocky Mountaineer train line has announced a new luxurious and sustainable Colorado-to-Utah route for 2021. The photos and video are stunning.

  • This is fun news! The Ashmolean Museum at Oxford is launching a podcast called Museum Secrets. ‘Our curators have been recording bite-sized tales of the wonderful, and sometimes unexpected, life of a museum. Join us every weekday from 28 December onwards for a daily dose of cheer. Look out for Museum Secrets on Spotify, iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts.’

  • In case you crave more escapism in your ears: Lonely Planet recommends 10 travel podcasts

  • Jane Austen proves that she has always been the reigning queen of snark. Fabulous.

  • There are so many great books on this list! The sexiest moments in literature that aren’t sex scenes.

  • A few subway cars in Beijing have been transformed into mobile libraries where you fire up the free audiobooks with a QR code.

  • This could be a great last-minute present for the reader in your life. The excellent magazine World Literature Today is offering 20% off subscriptions (through 31 December) when you use the code GREATREADING at checkout. All print subscriptions include free, unlimited access to the full digital archive online. And ‘With each and every subscription, you help us sustain funding to pay writers, translators, artists, and other contributors.’

  • Pssst… the entire episode of Agatha Christie’s Poirot Christmas episode is available online. It’s so much fun. David Suchet forever!

  • This story about women living off-the-grid in the high Arctic is fascinating. ‘The first priority in the morning is to warm up the hut, and that takes hours! Bamsebu was built in 1930 and is not isolated. The temperature dropped to -3 C (27 F) inside the hut. It’s cold enough to make you want to stay under the covers for a long time.’

  • This is so right. How have we never noticed this before?

  • While renovating a house in San Francisco, a couple discovered a diary, hidden away for more than a century. It held a love story and a mystery. Read all about it.

  • An Orient Express pop-up exhibit has pulled into Singapore! The exhibition features two original 1930 train carriages and a 158-year-old locomotive, all shipped from France. Visitors can eat onboard and enjoy 300 artifacts, including uniforms, a sleeping car, menus, Louis Vuitton luggage, and more. (For more on the Orient Express and why train travel is the best travel, listen to our podcast episode all about trains.)

  • I gasped with happiness when I saw this news. Kerry Greenwood has written a new Phryne Fisher mystery! It’s out now in Australia and will be released in the US on 1 June 2021. It’s called Death in Daylesford and is available for pre-order now. ‘When a mysterious invitation for a spa holiday arrives for Miss Phryne Fisher from an unknown retired Captain Herbert Spencer, Phryne’s curiosity is piqued. Spencer runs a retreat in Victoria’s rural spa country for shell-shocked veterans of World War I. It’s a cause after Phryne’s own heart, but what can Spencer want from her?’

  • What a treat! Harper’s shared the story The Souvenir Museum by Elizabeth McCracken in anticipation of her upcoming book of the same name (out 13 April 2021). (We loved her novel The Giant’s House.)

  • Willow & Thatch ranks five film adaptations of Jane Eyre. This list is solid.

  • YES! The dramatic story of how a small Japanese lacquer box of a super-cute dog has survived over centuries.


Christmas Goodies

  • Bookish podcast of the week: The What’s Her Name podcast is hosted and produced by academic sisters Dr. Katie Nelson and Olivia Meikle. They’re goal is to introduce us to fascinating women you’ve never heard of (but should have). In this episode, they tell us all about Tasha Tudor, an illustrator whose work is synonymous with Christmas. She lived until 2008 but lived with conscious intention as if it were 1830 (!).

  • Travel podcast of the week: In this episode of the Weird Christmas podcast, guest Tom Jerman, author of Santa Claus Worldwide, takes us down the rabbit hole of Santa history.


Sending you so much good cheer.

Top image courtesy of Norman Tsui/Unsplash.

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