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.
This stunning field of lupins in full blossom was captured near Lake Tekapo on New Zealand’s South Island. According to legend, the lake was created by the Maori explorer Rākaihautū with his Polynesian digging stick, which he called Tūwhakaroria. Rākaihautū led a group of his people down the middle of the island, dragging Tūwhakaroria to form Lake Tekapo and two other nearby freshwater lakes. Now it’s a popular area for water sports, fishing, and the colorful lupins that bloom from November to February.
How many of the 100 most famous passages from literature can you identify? This is tough but good! (I got 27/100, I’ve got some reading work to do.)
Like a real-life epistolary novel, archivists have reconstructed hundreds of letters salvaged from the SS Gairsoppa, a ship that was sunk by a U-boat off the Irish coast in 1941. ‘Look after yourself my darling, not only for your own sake… for mine also,’ wrote the unknown serviceman stationed in the Waziristan region, now part of Pakistan. ‘Imagine that I have my lips tight against yours with my arms around you tight… let us hope that this bloody war will soon be over.’ The process of reconstruction is fascinating, and the snippets from the letters are quite poignant.
I was beyond delighted to participate in author Rowan Coleman’s read-aloud of Jane Eyre on Instagram. I read from chapter 27, which is during the very dramatic (and tragic) aftermath of Jane and Rochester’s failed nuptials. Rowan is the author of the Brontë mystery series, and her latest is The Diabolical Bones, which I absolutely loved. Read my review of the novel, follow Rowan on Instagram, and keep up with charming banter on Twitter here and here.
Why, yes! I would like to visit a maybe-haunted bookstore in Pennsylvania.
Do you know about the Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize? It’s an annual award of $1000 to recognize an outstanding book collection conceived and built by a woman in the US, aged 30 or younger. That’s brilliant, as is this: ‘Honey & Wax uses “women” in its most expansive definition, one fully inclusive of non-binary, trans and gender-non-conforming individuals.’ Empathy and books for the win.
Weekend activity: Enjoy these photos of the 14 most beautiful train stations in the US and lose yourself in one of the books recommended in our podcast episode Trains: Better Than Planes and Cars. Fight Me.
Huzzah! An exhilarating supercut of typewriters from film:
We’ve been sharing photos of rainbow-colored cities on our Instagram account this week. Chefchaouen, Morocco, a.k.a., the Blue Pearl, would fit right in. Here are 42 photos of the beautiful blue buildings (and doorways and alleys and gates), along with travel tips to get the best of the blue. (Cheers, Ronda G!)
The Italian poet Francesco Petrarch lived through the Black Death of the 14th century. This essay in The Public Domain Review explores how he recorded his experiences in his writings and what we might learn from him today. ‘The act of writing, which had initially been impossibly painful, began to elevate his spirits. Life had become cruel and death unrelenting, but he compensated by taking pen in hand — the only useful weapon he had besides prayer and the one he preferred.’
Can pretty much guarantee your day will be improved by looking at 20 vintage black-and-white photos of cats in Paris.
Take a stab at the Merriam-Webster Words of the Day quiz. I got 9/12.
Read the short story Across the Dark Water by Richard Kadrey at Tor.com. ‘An uncontrollable plague has left the city in ruins and trapped in perpetual quarantine. A thief hires a guide to lead him safely through the city’s many dangers to the one person who can give him the travel papers he needs to escape.’
Artist Su Blackwell creates masterpieces from the pages of books. This installation for the Nicole Farhi flagship store in London is so much elegant fun.
Top image courtesy of Peter Hammer/Unsplash.
Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!
Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.
Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.
This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.
We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.
This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.
Content on this site is © 2021 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.