Norwegian Xmas, Mythical Creatures, Snowball Art, Reindeer & More: Endnotes 10 December

Norwegian Xmas, Mythical Creatures, Snowball Art, Reindeer & More: Endnotes 10 December

Friday, 10 December, 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.


Those houses on the bank of a fjord in Norway look like a magical Christmas village, no? It’s not hard to imagine reindeer trotting through the afternoon mist or elves dancing in the streets at night. From tasty things to eat (lutefisk! småkaker!) to outdoor activities (cross-country skiing! snow hikes!) to cozy traditions (candles! Christmas table!), it’s not Christmas in Norway until these things happen. (Need a little Norwegian Christmas in your life? We loved the series Home for Christmas.)

  • Whenever David and I are cooling our heels in a line for something, I practice reciting the phonetic alphabet. Is it time to rethink the whole shlemiel? ‘The options for certain letters—Q and X, we’re looking at you—are not great, but come on. Q as in Québec is a truly awful choice, with multiple pronunciations (‘keh-beck,’ ‘kweh-beck,’ and I even heard a Brit in a radio interview say ‘kyoo-beck’).’ You can read the alphabet used by NATO and the FAA here.

  • 100-percent yes to this fancy bookshelf.

  • For the love of all that is good: Yes! The name of the translator belongs on the cover of the book. So why is it such a big deal for publishers to make that happen?! ‘For decades, translators in the U.S. have been underpaid and largely ignored, working in the back rooms of literature even as they play a central role in enriching Anglophone letters. Part of that may be starting to shift — translators are beating the drum for their own visibility.’

  • Here are Christmas movie locations you can visit in real life, including spots from The Holiday, Home Alone, Love Actually, Elf, and so many more.

  • In 1960, Hallmark invited the artist Salvador Dali to make some Christmas cards. It went about as weirdly as you expect.

  • Just in time for a New Year’s resolution to write more letters by hand, here’s a green guide for stationery lovers. Pens! Pencils! Writing papers!

  • Of course you want to read about a map of Mythical Creatures in Europe. Sleipnirs and zaratans and bukavac… oh, my!

  • Two fantastic things made even more fantastic together: Tilda Swinton and libraries. Click through to enjoy them all.

 painting of a snowball fight from the library of congress
' Whose Afraid,' a print from Springfield, Massachusetts, 1904
  • This online interactive museum of a turn-of-the-century New York tenement building is very, very cool.

  • We’re huge fans of the book store Word in Brooklyn. Not only is it an adorable shop stuffed full of carefully curated books, but the people who work there are also incredibly helpful. The last time I visited, a book caught my eye. My suitcase was already overweight, so I couldn’t buy it then. And I neglected to write down the title, thinking I’d remember it. Reader, I did not. So I sent Word an email with a vague description of the book and where I’d seen it in the store. They replied in just a few hours with the title and author — and that book was The Waiter which ended up being featured in our podcast episode about restaurants. Which is a long way to say: Word is a fantastic independent bookshop, and you can give a book subscription from Word to your favorite reader!

  • This reindeer fills us with holiday cheer. Hope it does the same for you!


May you be so overcome with joie de vivre, you must prance.

Top image courtesy of In Green/Shutterstock.

Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!

keep reading

Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got Goodreads Best Books voting, the history of small talk, Christmas murder mysteries, behind-the-scenes at a museum, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got an anti-ableist glossary, Maurice Sendak's identity, holiday Hershey candy, the Library of Congress Cooking Club, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got a Q&A with Louise Erdrich, whimsical surrealist illustrations, the Wordle game, Jane Austen lectures from Cambridge, and more.

sharing is caring!

Can you help us? If you like this article, share it your friends!

our mission

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.

our patreon

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.

get our newsletter

Join our Substack to get our FREE newsletter with podcast updates and behind-the-scenes info join in fun chats about books and travel.

no spoilers. ever.

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.

super-cool reading fun
reading atlas

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.

get our newsletter
Sign up for our free Substack!
follow us

Content on this site is ©2024 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.