Louvre Ghost, Niche Bookshops, Creepy Castles, Upbeat Vocab & More: Endnotes 15 October

Louvre Ghost, Niche Bookshops, Creepy Castles, Upbeat Vocab & More: Endnotes 15 October

Friday, 15 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.


Before the Louvre in Paris was the world’s most iconic museum, it was a palace, home to kings, emperors, ministers, and courtiers. This is the dining table from the apartments of Napoleon III, circa 1861. To learn the story of the ghost that haunts the Louvre, we must travel back to 16th-century Italy to meet Catherine de’ Medici. She was an Italian noblewoman who became the queen consort of France (1547 until 1559) and lived at the palace in Paris. She’s a controversial figure. Known as the ‘serpent queen,’ she wielded much power but was also blamed for the atrocities committed during her sons’ reigns. Her own crime? The murder of Jean l’Ecorcheur, a.k.a., Jack the Skinner. According to scuttlebutt, Jean (a butcher by trade) was the queen’s most trusted assassin, hired to kill her political foes. But she feared Jean knew too many secrets about the royal family and ordered his murder. After his untimely death, he returned to haunt the royal family and was dubbed the Red Man of the Tuileries. It’s said he can still be seen, dressed in red, striding through the museum and nearby gardens. Napoleon III claimed to have seen the ghost in 1815, perhaps in this very dining room. Read more terrifying tales from the world’s most haunted museums.

  • If you enjoyed our recent podcast episode about the Arctic, you’ll definitely want to see this photo essay from Smithsonian Magazine that is an ode to the majestic orca.

  • I loved this piece on bringing back the positive versions of everyday words like inept, disheveled and discombobulated. ‘While you brush your unkempt hair and tidy your disheveled clothes, have you ever thought how pleasant it would be to wake up ‘sheveled’ and ‘kempt’ for a change?… I’m campaigning for the revival of the positive words that have been lost from our language. And none more so than the counterparts to what linguists call orphaned negatives, or words that have lost their better half.’

  • While discussing the stunning book The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn with an SSoP follower this week, I was reminded of author Lee Child’s excellent installment of By the Book.

  • Have you seen the web tool that gets rid of everything but the punctuation in a writing sample, so you can see your writing style in stark black and white? Read about it on LitHub, then try the tool yourself, if you dare. Here’s mine, and yes! I do enjoy an m-dash.

There are so many pretty places in Scotland on film: Harry Potter, James Bond, Hamlet, and more.

  • The 99% Invisible podcast delves into the history and meaning of presidential libraries. ‘Among other things, presidential libraries are tributes to greatness… But they’re also a “weird mix of a historical repository of records and things that have a lot of meaning.”’

  • How deep is the ocean? Very. (For books set on the sea and our podcast episode The Sea: Tales of Poets and Pirates, visit our Sea Destination Page.)


Hope you learn something that happily surprises you this week.

Top image courtesy of Amy-Leigh Barnard/Unsplash.

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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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