Ferris Wheels, a Powerful Poem, Tacos, Big Fall Books, Mud Murals & More: Endnotes 27 August

Ferris Wheels, a Powerful Poem, Tacos, Big Fall Books, Mud Murals & More: Endnotes 27 August

Friday, 27 August, 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 original Ferris Wheel was designed and built by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It was meant to be the American answer to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Now, the Ferris Wheel — equal parts romance and thrill — is the most common amusement ride at state fairs across the United States. But Mister Ferris wasn’t the first to strap people to a wheel and give ‘em a spin. In 17th-century Bulgaria, passengers rode on ‘pleasure wheels’ in chairs suspended from large wooden rings; the wheels were turned by strong men. (This illustration makes it look more like a torture device than a pleasure wheel, but to each their own.)

  • Let’s kick this off with a fantastic poem, excellently delivered.
  • Don’t you want to learn about the Phantasmagoria of the Enlightenment? ‘[Belgian entertainer] Robertson hired the ruined vaults of a medieval convent in the heart of Paris. Audiences were welcomed in an environment filled with skulls, bones, and magical symbols; they were served some drugged punch and left in the dark, before the magic lantern started projecting slides… Images included mythological monsters, but also scenes from Gothic novels — the most typical was the ‘Bleeding Nun’ from MG Lewis’s The Monk — or references to contemporary politics: Jean-Paul Marat [a French politician killed in his bathtub in 1793], or the guillotined head of French Revolutionary leader Georges Jacques Danton. At some point, the show was forcibly closed by the police, when rumor was spread that Robertson could bring the king Louis Capet [Louis XVI] back to life.’

  • Not to brag (too much), but I got ‘Bookworm baddie’ on this book-related quiz.

  • Virtually explore an English village that’s been frozen in time. (More from The Mirror.)

  • The Bookstour: A Documentary is about an author who visited 50 indie bookstores in 50 days to promote his novel. He talked to so many booksellers and had an epiphany along the way. You can watch the 20-minute documentary online — watch the trailer here.

  • Look at the gorgeous ceiling frescoes and murals painted with mud (!) by Japanese artist Yusuke Asai.

  • The English language is so weird — and this post is funny. ‘English mugs other languages in dark alleys and rifles through their pockets for spare vocabulary.’

  • This Edinburgh bookshop crawl looks like so much fun! (Click through to see all the shops.)

  • The paintings by Scottish artist Caroline Walker feature ordinary/extraordinary women in candid scenes: working in a bakery, styling hair in a salon, cleaning a hotel suite, reclining on a couch. They’re tender snapshots of everyday life.

  • As the photos below prove, Romania isn’t all vampire fangs and black bats. Just look at the stunning nature, cobblestone streets, and fairy-tale cottages! (Use the arrows to flip through the slideshow.)


May you wander into something magical this week.

Top image courtesy of Hannah Morgan/Unsplash.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got an ode to in-flight magazines, fiction from Erik Larson, Prague architecture, being a good hotel guest, blackhouses, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got iconic poems, weird English spelling, UNESCO World Heritage sites, fictional magical schools, reading at the beach, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got how fiction improves vocab, Ruth Ozeki's new novel, beautiful abandoned places, the onus of good book translations, and more.

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