Verona, Pay Phones, Analyzing Macbeth, Gothic Lit, Gen-X Vocab & More: Endnotes 03 September

Verona, Pay Phones, Analyzing Macbeth, Gothic Lit, Gen-X Vocab & More: Endnotes 03 September

Friday, 3 September, 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 pretty balcony above was photographed in Verona, Italy. You probably know it best from our old friend Will Shakespeare: ‘Two households, both alike in dignity / In fair Verona, where we lay our scene / From ancient grudge break to new mutiny / Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.’ This 2000-year old city is the romantic ideal of turrets and terraces, piazzas, twisty lanes, and ancient gates. Tucked into the loop of the Adige River, it’s a sweet spot to enjoy Italian wine and food (risotto, polenta, gnocchi… oh, my), gaze upon Roman ruins, and get lost in great art, both on the wall and on the stage. (This list from Along Dusty Roads has a fantastic intro that will transport you to romantic Verona, and their recommendations for 13 Wonderful Things to Do in Verona are very persuasive.)

  • Yes, please, I would like to go to all of these luxury hotels frequented by writers during the golden age of crime fiction. ‘Hotels—especially bad ones—are melting pots of humanity and as a result, perfect backdrops for mischief and murder.’

  • Who knew the word ‘the’ could be so sinister?! ‘… fans of Macbeth often say its freaky qualities are deeper than just the plot devices and characters. For centuries, people have been unsettled by the very language of the play.’ Researchers figured out why! (h/t to Clever Manka)

  • The Hotel Landa in Burgos, Spain, is a Gothic dreamscape IRL. Just look at these photos!

 swimming pool under gothic arches at hotel landa in burgos, spain

 velvet couch in hotel lobby at hotel landa in burgos, spain

  • This article is an excellent examination of history, poverty, technology, and compassion: Photographer Eric Kunsman is photographing every surviving pay phone in and around the city of Rochester in upstate New York. The results are quite poignant and a documentation of disappearing Americana. ‘… once a widely used public amenity, pay phones had become markers of poverty and neglect, enduring only because property owners or telecommunications operators couldn’t be troubled to remove them. Still, even in an age of near-universal cellphone access, people used them….’

  • This is both very sad and a bit of closure: Lois Duncan is the author of beloved YA novels, including my personal favorite Down a Dark Hall. In 1989, her daughter was murdered, and she stopped writing thrillers. In 2014, Buzzfeed did an in-depth piece on the unsolved murder. This week, a suspect confessed to Albuquerque police.

  • Do you know the collective nouns for these 16 animals? Take this quiz to find out. I scored only 10/19, but it was SO DELIGHTFUL, I don’t even care. A circus of puffins… are you kidding me?!

  • I feel this very strongly on the regular:

  • From The Guardian: Top 10 magical short stories. ‘From Oscar Wilde to Dorothy Parker and Sherman Alexie, these stories capture enchantments that are often camouflaged in ordinary life.’

  • How could normal-sized animals walking about in a miniature model village be anything but adorable?

  • I’m attending this free online event; maybe you want to join me! On 29 September, the Bristol Gothic Reading Group is hosting Monstrous Teapots & Tart Tangerines. Ella Buchan and Alessandra Pino, the authors of the forthcoming A Gothic Cookbook, will be chatting about food and the Gothic in Daphne du Maurier’s novel Rebecca.

  • Sorta related: Gothic Fiction and the Fear of Change. ‘Rebecca herself is more of a figurative ghost than a literal one—brought to life by the anxieties of the novel’s narrator—but there is something stain-like about her persistent presence, as though she does not wish for her widower to move on and forget her.’

  • For you, Wes Anderson fans: On the Pretty, Pent-Up Crime Films of Wes Anderson. Cannot wait to see The French Dispatch!

  • Pets in costumes are usually not my thing. But Horatio, the cat at the Centre County Library in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, seems both patient and quite put out by the book-inspired costumes he’s wearing. It’s very, very cute.

  • Dude, take a chill pill and say thanks to Gen-X for these hella gnarly terms that are part of our American vernacular.

  • Finally, these murals in Brazil will make your heart soar:


May you see an ‘everyday’ thing in a whole new way this week.

Top image courtesy of Simone Baldo/Unsplash.

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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.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got the lost library of Russian tsars, Joséphine Baker, Phantasmagoria of the Enlightenment, a village frozen in time, and more.

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