Paris Stairs, Canadian Writers, Beach Pajamas, Literary Tarot & More: Endnotes 02 July

Paris Stairs, Canadian Writers, Beach Pajamas, Literary Tarot & More: Endnotes 02 July

Friday, 2 July, 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.


Along the banks of the Seine in Paris, you’ll find these inviting limestone stairs, the perfect place to catch up on journal writing, read a book, or eat a falafel or crepe from a street cart while watching the fashion parade stroll past. As it turns out, stairs played an integral role in Paris architecture. Read all about it.

  • This is both important and sadly timely: 48 Books by Indigenous Writers to Read to Understand Residential Schools. ‘It can no longer be disputed that the residential school system was genocide, and the question now is: What are you going to do about it? Because outrage, thoughts and prayers, retweets and likes, are not enough. I think the answer starts with stories. Stories have been, and always will be, the best way to educate ourselves about the truth.’

  • Food journalist (and tremendously awesome human) Addie Broyles was at the Austin American-Statesman newspaper for 13 years. She’s just embarked on new adventures, and I’m loving what she’s laying down. She’s a beautiful writer and has a gift for connecting her personal experience to the larger world: social issues, current news, history. Her newsletter The Feminist Kitchen has become a must-read for me every week. I urge you to give it a try. (Don’t miss her recent writing about her trip to Costa Rica! So many great stories and photos.)

  • Read an excerpt from Gallant, the upcoming novel by Victoria Schwab. It will be released next March and is available for pre-order now. (YES! I pre-ordered already.)

  • These dresses made from paper maps and newspapers are 100% yes.

  • Top crime writers selected the crime novels everyone should read. So many good picks!

  • Sorta related: 47 Murder Mystery Movies That Will Satisfy Your Inner Detective.

  • This first-hand account of walking the 45-mile Twin Valley Ley Line Trail Herefordshire’s ‘wild landscapes’ is a delight. ‘We return to the oak and pick up a trail that leads, eventually, to our first spiritual waypoint: the 11th-century church of Llancillo, emerging mysteriously from behind the cloud and a stand of redwood trees. We are drenched, but the church is dry, and catacomb-quiet. These lost and silent chapels will adorn our walk like dots on God’s eyelash, as one poetic church warden tells us.’

  • I’m a big fan of the Shedunnit podcast from Caroline Crampton. In each episode, she takes a deep dive into an aspect of Golden Age crime fiction; the writing is clever, the delivery is pitch-perfect, and the information is fascinating. So I’m pretty excited about her upcoming book Agatha Christie’s England. It’s a guide to the real-life places that inspired Dame Agatha’s stories. You might also enjoy this episode of the Shedunnit pod that’s a preview of the book: ‘…the more you read her work, the more you realize that her characters’ lives are superimposed upon her own, and that the geographic trends in her canon match up with her biography.’

  • Two words: Beach. Pajamas.

  • As you know from the circus episode of our podcast (The Circus: Found Family and Daring Feats), books set in the circus are very popular in our house. This list from The Guardian includes some of our favorites and a few that are new to us.

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll was famously illustrated by John Tenniel, whose images influenced how we envision Alice and the other characters today. But did you know Carroll himself did the original illustrations for his manuscript? Or that it was originally called Alice’s Adventures Under Ground_? Public Domain Review shares more of the history and 42 of the drawings.

drawing of animals by lewis carroll for alice in wonderland
Illustration by Lewis Carroll.
  • Such a bittersweet story: Donations Flood in to Restore Gaza Bookshop Destroyed by Israeli Airstrikes. ‘Founded 21 years ago by Palestinian Mansour, the shop was a much-loved part of the local community and contained tens of thousands of books in various languages covering everything from philosophy and art history to fiction and children’s books. It was reduced to rubble on 18 May, during the 11-day conflict that killed more than 250 people in Gaza and 13 in Israel.’

  • Two fun projects to pre-order/support: The Literary Tarot, a tarot deck based on characters from literature (‘we reached out to some of the greatest authors and cartoonists of our time and asked them to pair a tarot card with a seminal book that embodies the meaning of the arcana’), and A Gothic Cookbook, an illustrated cookbook inspired by classic and contemporary Gothic texts.

  • Which of these unusual and gorgeous seating arrangements would you most like to try?

  • David and I consider ourselves very fortunate, indeed, because the Strong Sense of Place followers are such well-read, kind, intelligent, lovely people. Example: The SoNovelicious newsletter by Gayla Gray. Her enthusiasm for books and what stories mean to us shines through.

  • Quiz: How much do you know about city squares around the world? I only got 6/14, but the results said it was a ‘respectable’ score. Hmmph.

  • Typewriter Rodeo is a group of creative people in Austin, Texas, who write poems on the spot, on whatever topics people give them. And to add to the fun, they do their writing on really cool, vintage typewriters. (Fun fact: When I left Austin, I gave my pink typewriter to one of my Typewriter Rodeo pals.) Enjoy this love poem to summer:


Wishing you happy adventures for travel IRL and in your imagination.

Top image courtesy of Viktor Kiryanov/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 the potato chip capital of the world, Prague's literary cafés, Atlantis Books in Greece, history of the seashore, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got flying Concorde, a fab South Korean library, a new fave summer drink, Tangier crime novels, castles in period films, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got Edwardian dinner etiquette, abandoned German ballroom, dancing on a giant typewriter, American accents, fiction pods, 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
We'll never share your email with anyone else. Promise.

This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.

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
We'll never share your email with anyone else. Promise.
follow us

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