Quebec Library, Tricky Translation, Paris Lit, Trendy 'Hoods & More: Endnotes 14 January

Quebec Library, Tricky Translation, Paris Lit, Trendy 'Hoods & More: Endnotes 14 January

Friday, 14 January, 2022

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.


That stunning cathedral of books above is the Maison de la littérature (House of Literature) in the historic neighborhood of Old Québec. The soaring space is a UNESCO World Heritage site, combining a public library and a literary center with plenty of tables to read and write. It’s built inside the former Wesley Temple, a neo-Gothic church constructed in 1848. The inside of the church was revamped to include a concert/lecture hall, resident writer’s apartment, classroom, creative studios, exhibition space, and a café. Here are tips for planning your visit and the inside scoop on how the architects approached the project.

  • This is very, very good: The New Yorker examines the first line of The Stranger and the trickiness of translation. ‘For the modern American reader, few lines in French literature are as famous as the opening of Albert Camus’s L’Étranger: Aujourd’hui, maman est morte. Nitty-gritty tense issues aside, the first sentence of The Stranger is so elementary that even a schoolboy with a base knowledge of French could adequately translate it. So why do the pros keep getting it wrong?’

  • On the lighter side, here are 8 names for groups of animals. A zeal of zebras!

  • Kinda related: The latest issue of Words Without Borders (online, free) collects international stories that feature animals.

  • From rock formations to rivers, put your knowledge of world geography to the test. (I got 10/16. Meh.)

  • A new book from Taschen showcases the world’s most beautiful libraries. Massimo Listri. The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries measures 11x15.5 inches (29x39.5 cm), weighs 15.5 pounds (7kg), and retails for about $200. If you’re not ready to make that kind of commitment, you can take a peek inside here and here.

  • Writer and photographer Chris Arnade took a long walk through Bucharest and documented his experiences with the people, architecture, and general vibe of the Romanian capital.

  • Catherynne M. Valente is the author of Deathless, a brilliant retelling of Russian folklore (my write-up). She’s also, apparently, a great mom and a wildly creative crafter. Take a look at this rocket she built for her kiddo. (Click through to see all the photos and captions.)

  • If only we could teleport to each of these cool neighborhoods across Europe! A whirlwind day of food and coffee and cocktails and books and conversation — wouldn’t that be lovely?

  • Crossing Delancey is one of my all-time favorite ’80s rom-coms. Our heroine works in a book store! And organizes author events! And flirts with a famous author! I was so happy to see LitHub singing its praises.


Say yes to what life throws at you this week.

Top image courtesy of Tu Tram Pham/Unsplash.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got a bunch of adorable penguins, the true story of 'The Lottery,' Q&A with 7 literary translators, famous architecture, and more.
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