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.
According to the Victoria Museum, the arresting photo above was taken by Margaret Kirk, circa 1936, in the Australian town of Katherine. The gentleman is the WWI veteran and ‘mug baker’ Bill Carter. I’m not sure what qualifies a pie as weird or a pastie as strange, but I would love to time-travel and find out. Love buns for all! Should you need to know more about Katherine, a.k.a., the town where ‘the outback meets the tropics,’ here’s a deep dive into its history with plenty of photos and anecdotes.
Here are the most checked-out books of 2021 at the New York Public Library.
I think we all get excited about upcoming book releases, but this is taking it too far. ‘An elusive thief stole hundreds of book manuscripts in an online scam. The culprit is an industry insider…’
A Lesson in Decaying Victorian Architecture From Scooby-Doo. ‘Looking at the scene backdrops with the characters removed… you’ll see that they could function as an encyclopedia of the American uncanny. Typically drawn in surprisingly elegant shades of moody, Hopper-esque blue, they return time and again to that classic signifier of sinister decay: Victorian architecture.’ (There’s a related Instagram account!)
I try to keep Endnotes a (mostly) COVID-free zone, but this essay about quarantine protocols in Hong Kong is fascinating and very well written. (Related, for our readers with a dark sense of humor: Covid Standard Time.)
Do you remember when Dave told us about Moon Trees in our podcast episode devoted to the forest? Here’s more on that delightful story; click through to read the thread.
In 1971, @NASA astronaut Stuart Roosa conducted an experiment on the Apollo 14 moon mission. He took tree seeds into #space to see if they would still germinate on Earth when he returned.— Kat Long (@kat_long) December 31, 2021
A short 🧵 on my recent search for a couple of the Moon Trees. 1/10 pic.twitter.com/W8qxeAJKNQ
I was a guest on episode 86 of the wonderful podcast The Perks of Being a Book Lover and was thrilled to contribute to the most recent episode of the show — 2021 Year in Review and What’s New in 2022 — with my favorite read of 2021.
Here’s an easy way to get a foreign language in front of your eyeballs. Toucan translates the web page you’re reading into another language and helps you muddle your way through it. No Czech option (no surprise), but I’ve been brushing up on my French.
Here are the winning entries in the TripFiction 2021 ‘Sense of Place’ Creative Writing Competition.
Ooooh, The Guardian reviews the new documentary Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror. ‘At three-and-a-bit hours long, this is worth every geeky minute if you’re into the genre of the title… With its really smart deep dives into cultural criticism, this is a seasonal stocking overflowing with spooky fun.’
Jasmin Darznik has now written two novels I loved: The Bohemians and Song of a Captive Bird. So I’m excited to know her new work takes place in old Hollywood. As she uncovers fun tidbits in her research, she shares them on her blog and Instagram. This essay about Fredi Washington, ‘a lady brimming with movie and style,’ is so good. (If you want a little Tinseltown now, give our Hollywood podcast a listen.)
Friend-of-SSoP Gretchen Anderson painted this lovely image after listening to our Greece podcast episode. It gave us all the heart-eye emojis.
Un rêve pour toi de la Grece pic.twitter.com/szFxhPQUQk— gretchen anderson (@gretared) December 24, 2021
Whether you care about fashion or not, Heather and Jessica at Go Fug Yourself share sharp, funny writing every day (with plenty of literary references). This recap of Olympic ice skating fashion through the decades is filled with tasty tidbits of gossip, Olympic lore, scandal, and more.
Here are some excellent tips for rejuvenating your curiosity.
Feast your eyes on the best travel photos of 2021 from National Geographic.
In 1941, Salvador Dali and his wife Gala hosted a dinner party at a hotel in Monterey, California. It was called A Surrealistic Night in a Surrealist Forest and involved costumes inspired by dreams, live animals, thousands of fir trees, and a first course served in high-heeled shoes. You can read all about it in the tiny (not well-written but still VERY entertaining) book A Surrealistic Night in an Enchanted Forest by Barbara Briggs-Anderson and Julian P. Graham. This gives you an idea of what to expect:
Top image courtesy of Museums Victoria/Unsplash.
Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!
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 © 2022 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.