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.
Yosemite National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains is probably best known for its glorious sequoia trees, like the ones above. But, there’s also the majestic granite cliffs of Half Dome and El Capitan, waterfalls, black bears (but not grizzlies), a gallery featuring Ansel Adams iconic black-and-white landscape photos, and so much more. A stroll on the path above is a good start, and here’s a first-timers’ guide to the park.
Mental Floss is delivering on our readerly needs lately. For your edification: 15 mysterious facts about Agatha Christie and 10 frightening facts about Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
David and I have watched Season 1 of Ted Lasso three times and just devoured Season 2 in anticipation of the finale tonight. If you feel like Keeley and Roy and Ted and Beard and Rebecca are your BFFs, too, you might like this roundup of the cast members sharing the real-life people who taught them to believe.
There is no improving upon this title: Artist Takes Museum’s $84,000, Returns With Blank Canvases Titled Take the Money and Run.
Timely! The 43 most haunted places in the world. (They also happen to be hauntingly beautiful.)
Theodora Goss is the author of the Athena Club series (love it!), and she occasionally shares personal writing on her blog. This post about a spider in her garden is gorgeous. Spoiler: It’s not really about the spider.
Do you need to watch otters or sharks on live cams?! Of course, you do. The Oregon Coast Aquarium has got you covered. (Thank you, Marsha!)
The Worthington by Emily Carroll is a brief and very cute online comic about what happens behind the closed doors of a posh apartment building.
This essay makes a case for why adult books should include illustrations. Strong agree. ‘Virginia Woolf once wrote about paintings: “A story-telling picture is as pathetic and ludicrous as a trick played by a dog.” But it is possible to imagine a more complex dialogue between art and narrative. Writers can use images to question the truth instead of simply underlining it.’
This Atlas Obscura online event with the New York Public Library sounds like so much fun! On 22 October, you can feast your eyes on some of the culinary items in the collections of the NYPL. ‘With the guidance of an expert NYPL staff member, we’ll explore a selection of mouth-watering menus, curious cookbooks, and rare food and drink recipes.’ The event will stream live from the Rose Reading Room (!). Info and registration here.
Other awesome NYPL news:
👋 Goodbye, late fines! NYPL has eliminated all late fines, past and future! https://t.co/F3sEWdgXHB#GoodbyeFines pic.twitter.com/d7JQwEXLJD— NY Public Library (@nypl) October 5, 2021
Do you know the name Georgette Heyer? I didn’t. She was an author of Regency romances from the mid-1930s until the 1970s. Stephen Fry wrote in his introduction to a new edition of her novel Venetia, ‘We, the reader, do not bring our thinking to her stories; she brings Regency thinking to us. We can mock, disparage and howl with outrage as much as we like at what we see as unchecked racism, sexism, snobbery and suppression, but this is how the world was, truly was, and if we enter it we had better leave our 21st-century sensibilities behind. For, beneath the rules, taboos and demands of that alien society, human hearts beat, pulses quicken and chests heave with all the passion that they do today. Indeed, the tighter the bodice and the stricter the conventions, the more intensely those passions seem to burn.’
This piece by Addie Broyles about how food can embody a sense of place is beautifully written and super smart. ‘If a diner knows the story behind the taco or the gumbo or the fried chicken, she is far more likely to see a part of herself in the chef. That bond creates a feeling of belonging or familiarity—or, as it’s known in postmodern terms, a sense of place.’
Meet James Brown. He discovered the mystery of the ‘same sky’ postcards.
Sometimes you just need a walk: 15 of the world’s epic walking trails and 20 urban strolls inspired by books, music, and horrible histories.
Who wouldn’t want to keep a 4-carat diamond they found ON THE GROUND?!
Harvard literary scholar Tara Menon conducts deep research on the quoted words of fictional characters, and it’s pretty cool stuff. In this fascinating Q&A, she name-drops some of the most beloved classic novels and discusses why they have resonance for us, centuries later. ‘I also write about speech because it is inextricably linked to fictional character. There’s always a sad moment in the life of an undergraduate when you learn that you’re not supposed to talk about characters as though they’re real. Instead of dismissing this impulse, I believe we should teach people how to better understand the formal techniques in the novel that are the reason so many of us think and talk about characters as if they are real people. My work argues that speech is a fundamental reason people believe in fictional characters. When we read direct speech, we feel like we are getting direct access to characters. Speech and conversation play a huge role in why it is that when someone picks up Pride and Prejudice they often say things like, “I love Elizabeth Bennett” or “I hate Mr. Collins.”’
Get your tiki on at the new cocktail lounge Tiki Tatsu-ya in Austin, Texas.
A TV translator takes us into this very particular job. ‘I hope you enjoy my subtitles and dubs — then forget I exist.’ (I will never grow tired of reading about the ins and outs of translating.)
Halloween is T-minus 23 days. So you probably need this LitHub collection of witchy reads and this Q&A with authors of new horror novels in which they talk about their favorite horror frightening titles.
Related and awesome: the BBC on why we are living in Gothic times. ‘The world seems to have grown only more uncertain in the years since, and it’s certainly tough to rival the age of Covid for gothic motifs made manifest. Claustrophobia? Try successive lockdowns spent working, learning, and socializing from home. Isolation? Ditto. Fear of a past that can’t be exorcised? Sounds a lot like “long Covid.”’
Can relate, Maureen Johnson. Can relate.
Top image courtesy of Andrew Ridley/Unsplash.
Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!
Can you help us? If you like this article, share it your friends!
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.
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.
This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.
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.
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.
Content on this site is ©2023 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.