Big Ben, Book Cover Trends, Fat Bear Week, Domestic Gothic & More: Endnotes 01 October

Big Ben, Book Cover Trends, Fat Bear Week, Domestic Gothic & More: Endnotes 01 October

Friday, 1 October, 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.


You probably looked at that moody photo of London above and thought, ‘Ooooh, Big Ben.’ You’re only half right. The tower itself is actually Elizabeth Tower, named for Queen Elizabeth II on her jubilee in 2012. (Prior to that, it was known as checks notes Clock Tower. Very creative!) It’s the 13-ton bell inside that’s called Big Ben. (And, to be completist, the faces of the clocks are called The Big Clock. Never let your imagination get in the way of clarity, I guess?). Here are 19 more fun facts about Big Ben.

  • PrintMag digs into the latest book cover trend, a.k.a., the blob. ‘Perhaps the idea of a cover as the element of book marketing meant to intrigue and beget double-takes in the bookstore is overly romantic. But I’m a sucker for that breathless feeling of seeing a cover on the shelf that looks like nothing I’ve seen before…’ (Thanks, Gretchen!)

  • Which country has the best yogurt? (Trick question! They’re all great.)

  • People Synchronize Heart Rates While Listening Attentively to Stories. (ht clevermanka)

  • I, too, have an undying love for Green Apple Books in San Francisco. ‘…like many aspiring writers, I was often totally broke, living on top ramen and peanut butter and the occasional slice of pizza, and any time I let myself walk the aisles at Green Apple Books, I couldn’t help blowing food money on, say, a lesser William Burroughs title that had previously escaped me, or maybe a novel by Didion or Vonnegut.’

  • Love everything about this:

  • Sara Nović is the author of Girl at War, which I wholeheartedly recommend. It’s set in Croatia and is a mashup of a war novel and coming-of-age story. I’m super excited that her new book True Biz is available for pre-order: ‘A transporting novel that follows a year of seismic romantic, political, and familial shifts for a teacher and her students at a boarding school for the deaf… This is a story of sign language and lip-reading, cochlear implants and civil rights, isolation and injustice, first love and loss, and, above all, great persistence, daring, and joy.’ The novel is already being adapted for TV!

  • In 1984, a group of Japanese high school students released messages in bottles to the sea. The bottles were part of a science experiment to study the ocean’s currents. This month, 37 years later, one of the bottles landed in Hawaii. Nine-year-old Abbie Graham found it on the beach at Paradise Park, then mailed the contact form she found inside back to Choshi High, along with a drawing of herself and her sister eating sushi. This story is awesome.

  • Neat thing alert! Letters From Afar is a service that sends you a beautifully illustrated letter in the mail from far-flung destinations. The letters are written by Isabelle, a fictional 19th-century female traveler based on the real explorer Isabella Bird.

  • Our long-time friends Marcos Sorenson and Isabel Samaras — both fantastic artists (and awesome humans) — teamed up on this image for Time magazine that addresses the urgency of climate change.

  • Who could possibly resist tiny books?! (Thanks to @nuokan!)

  • As a leopard-print devotee, I am very interested in this history of animal prints. ‘Pinup star Bettie Page made it sultry, posing in printed bikinis with live cheetahs. While Christian Dior made it elegant, showing leopard print on the runway in his iconic New Look collection of 1947. Jacqueline Kennedy put her indelible spin on the trend in 1962, wearing a leopard fur coat designed by Oleg Cassini.’ (Be sure to click on the links in that article; so many good images!)

  • Are ebooks or print books better for the environment?

  • You know that troubling book shortage we keep hearing things about? This Q&A provides helpful info about what to expect and how we got here.

  • Confessions of a Michelin Inspector. Luxeat talked to ex-Michelin Guide inspector Chris Watson about the complexity of the rating system, the burden of allocating stars, and what it takes to get a 3-star rating.

  • As you know by now, we love all kinds of books here at Strong Sense of Place HQ, but I have a soft spot in my heart for books in translation. (Here are 27 excellent books in translation.) Yesterday was International Translation Day, a day set aside to recognize the vital role of translation in understanding the world. It’s held on 30 September because that’s the feast of St. Jerome, the Bible translator who is considered the patron saint of translators. If you love and respect the work of book translators as much as we do, please consider signing this petition from the Society of Authors to get translators’ names included on the covers of books. (Why isn’t that standard practice already?!)


May your voice be heard this week (and always).

Top image courtesy of william santos/Unsplash.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got stunning paper sculptures, 1000 fried rice ideas, Booker Prize winners, awesome travel tips, pie-eating contests, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got cafés around the globe, Met Gala gowns and books, crossing the Atlantic on the QE2, book shortages(?), food writing, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got the beach in winter, vampire and Gothic novels, chocolate bars inspired by classic lit, Goodreads vs. Storygraph, and more.

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