Admont Abbey Library, Locked Room Mysteries, World Cuisine & More: Endnotes 05 March

Admont Abbey Library, Locked Room Mysteries, World Cuisine & More: Endnotes 05 March

Friday, 5 March, 2021

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 white-and-gold Baroque confection above is the Admont Abbey Library in Austria. The largest monastery library in the world, it was completed by Austrian master builder Josef Hueber in 1776. Hueber was inspired by the ideals of the Enlightenment (‘Like our understanding, spaces too should be filled with light.’) and adorned the hall with 48 windows. The ceiling is decorated with seven frescoes — painted by the then 80-year-old Bartolomeo Altomonte — that show the stages of human knowledge. Learn more and take a 3D tour on the Abbey’s website.

  • This playlist from the New York Public Library really sells itself: 10 songs about libraries and librarians.

  • Did you see the news about Against the Odds, the upcoming graphic novel about the band Blondie?! The book will tell the story of Blondie’s genesis in the punk and art world of 1970s Manhattan. Co-writer Amanda Conner: ‘When I was a growing up (and still pretty much, to this day), a few of the things I loved were music, comic book heroes, ultra-cool style, and a wicked, wild, and weird sense of humor. Blondie embodies all those things, and when I listen to their music, I can’t not dance.’ Pre-orders are open now!

  • Whoa! The Scottish crime drama Shetland is hiring trainee crew members to join the production that shoots in and around Glasgow and on Shetland.

  • I just want to parade down the street with the Balkan Paradise Orchestra. Is that so much to ask?! (Get more videos from the band on their YouTube channel.)

  • Where would you end up if you tunneled down through the center of the Earth? This antipodes map can tell you!

  • This CrimeReads essay demystifies the different types of locked room mysteries and shares a solid list of where to start with some classics. My personal catnip? Closed circle, which is described thusly: ‘The mystery involves a limited number of suspects, such as strangers brought together onto a secluded island with no way for anyone to leave or be rescued.’

  • Deanna Raybourn’s new Veronics Speedwell mystery An Unexpected Peril is out now! You can read an excerpt here. (I started it this morning, and Veronica is in fine form.)

  • How well do you know the world’s cuisine? (I got 12/16. Guess I’d better get out there and eat some more new-to-me foods!)

  • Edward Carey, author of our recommended book Little (set in Paris) and his new novel The Swallowed Man, gave an interview at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas. He discussed the inspiration he’s found in the Center’s archives, creativity, and more.

  • This is very, very cool: An international team of researchers figured out how to read a 17th-century letter without unsealing the envelope or unfolding the letter. ‘Sometimes the past resists scrutiny. We could simply have cut these letters open, but instead, we took the time to study them for their hidden, secret, and inaccessible qualities. We’ve learned that letters can be a lot more revealing when they are left unopened. Using virtual unfolding to read an intimate story that has never seen the light of day — and never even reached its recipient – is truly extraordinary.’

  • Catherynne M. Valente is the author of the grown-up fairy tale Deathless (recommended in our Russia podcast episode). In this episode of the Uncanny Magazine Podcast, you can hear a reading of her new short story ‘The Sin of America’ and listen to her interview with the magazine’s editor Lynne M. Thomas.

  • Maybe you’re in the market for a thatched cottage in the country. I don’t know your life!

Barton Gates, in Dorset, dates back to the 17th century. You could call it home!
  • Intelligent people talking about their intelligent projects never gets old. Alena Smith, the creator of the TV series Dickinson, explains how and why she put the show together as she did. ‘My show is gothic and about the gothic experience of being a woman, both now and in 1850. Whenever I’m asked to summarize Dickinson’s aesthetic, I think of a phrase someone said in my Season 2 writers’ room: bleak but chill.’

  • Oh, hey! Atlas Obscura is launching a podcast!

  • Musician Sarah Dew has combined Emily Brontë’s words, field recordings, and music to create an audio poem called The Sisters’ Walk. The poem is narrated by Emily Brontë and is a daydreamy imagining of her writing Wuthering Heights and her relationship with her sister Anne. ‘The Sisters Walk is about the act of writing and the necessity of writing for these two sisters. It’s about creative influences and collaboration and solitude. It’s about the fierce clarity of vision that each of these writers had…’

  • Surely you want to read about the oldest book of English literature in the world.

  • These photos of Paris in 1980 are the Paris of my teenage years in Pennsylvania, i.e., how Paris will always look in my imagination.

a waiter carries a serving tray down a street in paris


May your imagination take you somewhere awesome today.

Top image courtesy of Valdemaras D./Unsplash.

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