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 charming village above is Castelmezzano in southern Italy. It’s part of an organization called — no joke — The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy. Tucked into the sandstone hills, it was home to various interlopers starting around the 6th and 5th centuries BCE: Greeks, Saracens, Lombards, Normans — and in the 19th century, it was overrun by brigands (!) who took advantage of the many hiding places among its rocks and lush vegetation. Now it’s an ideal spot for a leisurely holiday. You can climb the ruins of Pietrapertosa Castle, hike in a chestnut forest, go ziplining, explore atmospheric churches, and more. Here are 13 Things To Do in Castelmezzano.
Leigh Stein on Reading Anne Frank During Quarantine. ‘I hesitate to make analogies between genocide or incarceration and the homebound isolation of the pandemic, but now I better understand why Anne’s diary is one of the most frequently read texts in American prisons. Nelson Mandela also took inspiration from the diary during the 18 years he spent in the Robben Island prison in South Africa. Reading Anne’s diary again, I found her descriptions of restrictions familiar; by documenting her corner of history, she made the best of a girlhood that was both constricted and dramatized by circumstance.’
Sort of related: 6 Literary Role Models to Help Us Endure Quarantine With Grace and Humor.
This is one of the best things I read all week: A Matter of Emphasis: Not and its many permutations. ‘Every language has negatives, and every writer needs them. They need them for formal logic, for quantum leaps, for the existential gloom of Being and Nothingness… Yet the literary effects of these negatives are hard to pin down, even mysterious: What happens really when someone says not? The mystery may be because the very idea of negation is hard in itself, or perhaps because we have not yet got the right emphasis.’
Say yes to first sleep. ‘For millennia, people slept in two shifts — once in the evening, and once in the morning. But why? And how did the habit disappear?’
Two animal stories — one from England, one from Russia — to warm your heart. Meet Millie, the dog saved from drowning by a sausage, and enjoy these polar bears who’ve taken over a village in the Arctic. (The polar bear photos are STUNNING.)
This video of bread-making in Uzbekistan is mesmerizing.
How well do you know Europe’s cities? I got 16/18.
Some of the most fun we’ve had traveling has been when things went a little bit wrong. This essay explores the hidden gift of a travel disaster. ‘This is a night I will never forget and never want to repeat,’ my friend Ellie says as we walk through ancient streets, and I slip my arm through hers. ‘What a rare thing.’
Rob Hart is the author of books we love, includingTake-Out, The Warehouse, and The Woman From Prague. His latest The Paradox Hotel is out on 22 February, and when you pre-order, you get a Paradox Hotel keycard. Neat!
Here’s the fascinating backstory of a very popular internet photo that captures the home library of our dreams.
I really ate up (sorry) this piece about ‘food grammar,’ the unspoken rules of cuisine around the world. ‘Yes, much like language, cuisine obeys grammatical rules that vary from country to country… They dictate whether food is eaten sitting or standing; on the floor or at a table; with a fork or chopsticks or with fingers. Like sentence structure… a cuisine’s grammar can be reflected in the order in which it is served, and a grammar can dictate which foods can (or cannot) be paired, like cheese on fish, or barbecue sauce on ice cream.’
This is a good listen from The Guardian: Behemoth, bully, thief: how the English language is taking over the planet.
The TSA’s Top 10 Catches of 2021. Two words: meth burrito.
The Norwegian street style of the 1890s. So many fancy hats!
Such majestic beasts! (Click to see large versions of the photos.)
Bears, whales, bighorn sheep, moose and much more are waiting to meet you in British Columbia, Canada…— Wanderlust magazine (@wanderlustmag) January 19, 2022
Discover the best that this wildlife-filled province has to offer > https://t.co/tgDsQ6ylLV#ad #wlbc @HelloBC pic.twitter.com/3o4vXSuCJY
Top image courtesy of Paolo Santarsiero/Unsplash.
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