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.
According to the Chinese zodiac, today marks the beginning of the Year of the Ox. As the story goes, the Jade Emporer celebrated his birthday with a race among the animals to choose his royal guard and determine the order of the Chinese zodiac. The clever rat hitched a ride on the back of the ox, then jumped off at the finish line to claim first place. The hardworking, reliable ox came in second in the race and is the second animal in the zodiac cycle. Here are 5 things you should know about the Year of the Ox.
These delicate shoes and dresses made from paper are so lovely.
Can you guess these cities just from their descriptions? (I got 10/14.)
We need a novel about what happens beyond this beautiful door in Iran.
Wow. Tea Time magazine is the obsessive and borderline-twee publication that tea party dreams are made of. May I direct you to The Making of a Balanced Afternoon Tea, Rosy Valentine’s Day Tea, and Treasured Teapot: Fancy This. Don’t miss the step-by-step instruction for making a rosette napkin.
Food & Wine reminds us that we can learn a lot about how to cook and live from monasteries, temples, and mosques around the world.
The upcoming Dungeons & Dragons movie could really be good!
Here’s your guide to the best doughnuts in every US state.
Huzzah! The British Library is offering a 90-minute beginner’s course on Old English. Word nerdery at its finest.
The Literature Live Around the World conference is happening live today, and recordings will be available online until 22 February. It’s a free 12-hour extravaganza of 12 literary festivals around the globe: ‘You’ll visit each place for an hour, starting in snowy Norway and ending at sunset on Treasure Beach in Jamaica.’
Rivers Cuomo from the band Weezer wrote a song about his deep love for audiobooks. ‘One night a few years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night, and I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to listen to an audiobook… I stayed up for a couple hours, just listening and listening to_The Grapes of Wrath_. I did not get good sleep, but it was a pretty magical experience.’
Bleak fun: 9 books about the dark side of girlhood.
We fell in love with the illustrations by artist Tom Booth on Instagram. Now he’s turning his beautiful images into an interactive story/game. We just backed it on Kickstarter and can’t wait to explore the world of the woodworker.
Bookish podcast of the week: On the Smart Podcast, Trashy Books show, Sarah Wendell interviews authors, readers, reviewers, bloggers, publishing professionals, editors, and librarians about romance novels. In this episode, she talks to author Rose Lerner about her book The Wife in the Attic and the appeal of Gothic romance.
Travel podcast of the week: The Plum Forest podcast shares modernized versions of classical Chinese fables and short stories. In this special Chinese New Year episode, you’ll learn all about the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.
Top image courtesy of Ana Cernivec/Unsplash.
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