Montserrat Abbey, Bad Book Covers, Global Lit by Women & More: Endnotes 12 March

Montserrat Abbey, Bad Book Covers, Global Lit by Women & More: Endnotes 12 March

Friday, 12 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.


The spectacular building emerging from the rocks is the Santa Maria de Montserrat (Abbey of Montserrat) in Catalonia, Spain. The Abbey and its grounds are built into the Montserrat mountain range. Its name means ‘serrated mountain,’ a nod to the fact that the reddish, rugged mountains look like a handsaw from a distance. The Abbey itself is an important pilgrimage site for the Catalan people; every Catalan is expected to walk to Montserrat on foot at least once in their lifetime. Founded in the 11th century, it’s still home to more than 70 monks, and its basilica still gleams with a golden glow. Read more about how and why to visit Monserrat.

  • These terrible book covers for classic novels are irresistible.

  • Cleanse those covers from your retinas with these gorgeous photos and fun illustrations that showcase the different ways you can decorate with books. ‘I love a house that belongs to readers and has books and bookshelves everywhere chronicling the inhabitants’ interests through the years.’

  • Sophie Baggott shares what she learned from reading books by women from every country in the world. ‘I’m sometimes asked what struck me most over these years. Without doubt, it’s the sheer resilience of women in all corners of the world. This project really brought home the fact that so many issues women face are universal.’

  • Sometimes, you just need to look at a majestic tree.

  • Retro word-nerdery: Can you match the 1980s slang term to its definition?

  • Ooooh! A pie for every US state!

  • The former home of the infamous Mrs. O’Leary — she of Chicago fire fame — is for sale. Victorian decor and creepy staircase ahoy! ‘Ironically, O’Leary’s mansion may be the only house in the city to have its own dedicated fire hydrant.’

  • Can’t wait to see this adaptation of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter directed by America Ferrera. (David recommended this excellent book in our podcast episode Mexico: Folklore and Beachy Paradise).

  • Before Penguin created a distinctive brand for classic novels with snazzy covers, there were Bonibooks. ‘In the early 1930s, a bookshop window would have displayed the pretty, pictorial dust jackets of the latest bestsellers, say Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon and Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth. A compact wooden bookshelf stuffed with colorful paperbacks might also have commanded space and attention, its slightly off-kilter sign in all caps reading: 50¢ BONIBOOKS.’

several illustrated book covers from boni books

  • Registration is open for the online Iceland Readers Retreat. Attendance at the virtual conference gives you access to all 30 thirty workshops and panels, including a talk with authors Geraldine Brooks and Sarah Moss, plus a panel of Icelandic authors.

  • How an audiobook narrator plays all the parts. ‘Sometimes I will make notes on the side, especially if it’s a long scene, so I know who’s saying what when, and I put a little Post-it by my iPad so I can remind myself if they’re all talking to each other.’

  • Everyone knows that women spies have blunt bangs and strong (and, perhaps, villainous) women sport a blunt bob.

 three women with bob haircuts in film

  • This is pretty cool: Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey is going to be used as a COVID vaccination center.

  • Noodletastic! A Japanese musuem devoted to instant noodles.

  • The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford launched a podcast today called Objects Out Loud. ‘From a magician who inspired Shakespeare, and poems woven into Japanese prints, to manuscripts illuminated with the ancient love story of Layla and Majnun, this new podcast series will delve into the poetry and literature hidden in the collections at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.’

  • The Buqshan Khaila Hotel in Hadramaut, Yemen is so colorful and cheerful.


Hope your world is in full technicolor this week.

Top image courtesy of Sebastian Pichler/Unsplash.

Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!

keep reading

Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got a quiz on 'hello' around the world, muralist Bunnie Reiss, the reader-character relationship, Amor Towles' new novel, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got a Jane Eyre reading, famous lit passages, a haunted bookstore, Petrarch's plague letters, a Richard Kadrey story, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got a punk rock graphic novel from Blondie, the antipodes map, the world's oldest book of English lit, thatched cottages, and more.

sharing is caring!

Can you help us? If you like this article, share it your friends!

our mission

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.

our patreon

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.

get our newsletter

Join our Substack to get our FREE newsletter with podcast updates and behind-the-scenes info join in fun chats about books and travel.

no spoilers. ever.

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.

super-cool reading fun
reading atlas

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.

get our newsletter
Sign up for our free Substack!
follow us

Content on this site is ©2024 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.