Halloween Treats, Old English Insults, Hans Holbein & More: Endnotes 29 October

Halloween Treats, Old English Insults, Hans Holbein & More: Endnotes 29 October

Friday, 29 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.


From our house to yours: BOO! and Happy Halloween! If you haven’t listened to our podcast episode Costumed Revelry, Voices From Beyond, and YAY, Candy!, now would be a great time to do that. Don’t be afraid! It’s not too late to squeeze in one more Halloween read! You could also dance to our Halloween playlist, listen to a spooky audiobook, get shivers from this haunted house poem, roast a batch of Pumpkin-Spiced Pumpkin Seeds, simmer a pot of Vampire-Fighting Pork Stew, cast aspersions on Dr. Frankenstein and sympathize with his ‘monster’ over breakfast, treat yourself to a Pumpkin Cake Roll, or get lost for a little while in spooky short stories. We’ll be over here reading Gothic poems from the new collection Where Decay Sleeps by Anna Cheung and eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

two portraits by hand holbein
Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling (1526) and Thomas Cromwell (1532).
  • Remember when Dave made his case for reading Moby Dick in our podcast episode about the sea? Well, you can have luminaries like Tilda Swinton, Stephen Fry, Neil Tennant, and Witi Ihimaera read it to you instead! It’s all part of the Moby Dick Big Read. Each chapter is read by a different famous name and accompanied by original art by various artists.

  • British author Tom Cox (Help the Witch) has a rambling soul. In his nonfiction books and essays, he shares his passion for the outdoors, walks that take unexpected turns, the wisdom of trees, and the hilarity (and tragedy) of family. His first novel Villager is available for pre-order, and I personally cannot wait to get this book in my hands.

  • Yep. Wholeheartedly agree with the #1 pick on this ranking of Wes Anderson films.

  • This is a charming peek into Czech life and history. This website has collected the unique chimes and musical snippets played when trains arrive and depart stations throughout the Czech Republic.

  • Sorta related: Soviet Modernist architecture. Click through to see lots more.

  • Psychoanalyst and author Josh Cohen shows us how to use literary characters to better understand ourselves. In this excerpt from his book, he explores the usefulness of Jane Eyre’s narcissism. ‘The opening of Jane Eyre’s autobiographical narrative plunges us into an atmosphere of unrelieved lovelessness and hostility… We might imagine that a child who endures an early life of this kind would internalize the hatred she’s received and so become morose and passive in the face of her oppressors. But, in Jane’s case, nothing could be further from the truth. She repeatedly risks further punishment with defiant blows and words of her own. Where does she find these resources of inner strength and conviction?’

  • Neat! You can read the 1901 book Zanzibar Tales: Told by Natives of the East Coast of Africa, translated from the original Swahili, online at Public Domain Review.


  • Three things that seem scary at Jane Austen’s house, and one that really is.

  • This story-poem The Mysterious Miss Tickle by Theodora Goss (author of the Athena Club novels) is one of the most delightful things I’ve read. Ever. It begins, ‘Miss Tickle owns a bookshop on the square called Antique Books and Oddments, where she sells old maps, and postcards sent from strange hotels, and photographs of people you don’t know in black and white, rain-spattered travel guides to places like Ceylon and Samarkand, one called Constantinople on Five Pounds a Day, a Sanskrit-English dictionary, and all the Nancy Drews, including ones I’ve never seen in the public library, like Death by Henbane, where Nancy, George, and Bess become witches, form a coven, and solve a murder. I think it’s one of my favorites.’ And it goes on from them in glorious fashion. If you don’t click over to read the whole thing, you are denying yourself a great pleasure.

  • Jasmin Darznik is the author of two historical novels (with a very strong sense of place) that we love: Song of a Captive Bird and The Bohemians. In this gorgeous 2007 essay for the Washington Post, she tells the story of her beloved grandmother, her Halloween tricks, and the things we treasure.

  • 11 horror film sets where you can revisit your greatest fears. ‘From a gas station (this one made famous by a certain chainsaw-wielding maniac) to a graveyard used in a Stephen King adaptation, here are 11 horror film sets that will still give you goosebumps.’

  • Spirit photography captured love, loss, and longing. ‘Photography has always had a relationship to haunting as it shows not what is, but what once was.’ (If you’re interested in spirit photography, I recommend the novel The Spirit Photographer by Jon Michale Varese.)

  • Illustrator Edward Gorey’s characters are glamorously dressed and often find themselves in unusual — if not deadly — situations. He was the author of more than 100 books that celebrated things both gleefully macabre and decidedly elegantly, all rendered in delicate, detailed black-and-white ink drawings. Read more about Gorey, then take a virtual tour of his New England home:

  • I mean, sure… I guess a cemetery is really just a park. Where you could have a picnic. ‘In Dayton, Ohio, for instance, Victorian-era women wielded parasols as they promenaded through mass assemblages at Woodland Cemetery, en route to luncheon on their family lots. Meanwhile, New Yorkers strolled through Saint Paul’s Churchyard in Lower Manhattan, bearing baskets filled with fruits, ginger snaps, and beef sandwiches.’

  • These modern witches in the photography book Major Arcana look gorgeous and powerful — not a broomstick or pointy hat in sight. The book is ‘an exploration of contemporary witchery told through striking photographs and short, thought-provoking essays in the subjects’ own words.’


Wishing you all the treats and only the tricks you think are fun.

Top image courtesy of DOSRPHOTOGRAPHY/Shutterstock.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got food artifacts in the NYPL collection, scary Shirley Jackson facts, live otter cam, postcard collecting mysteries, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got Scotland on film, 11 romantic suspense novels, Wes Anderson's train car, presidential libraries, an ode to orcas, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got authors leaving Goodreads, flight attendant advice, realistic PIs in fiction, the beauty of Albania, Austen objects, and more.

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