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 inviting chrome diner above is the Empire Diner in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, USA. The streamlined Art Moderne style makes it a favorite for films and TV shows that want to embody the mythos of Americana. The diner was built in 1946 by the Fodero Dining Car Company and went through several iterations (and a few closures) before being re-opened in 2010 by super chef and TV personality Amanda Freitag. The updated interior is sleek and airy; the menu is classic diner fare with modern twists. Truly, there isn’t much better than a blue-cheese drenched wedge salad. If you’re hungry for more, here’s the Smithsonian on the history of America’s delicious greasy spoons.
Sure, you know when you read Jane Austen, there will be handwritten letters of significance and glances with hidden meaning whilst dancing at a ball. But don’t forget the food! LitHub digs into how Austen used food as a character in her stories.
Sort of related: I didn’t know this collection of Gothic novels inspired by Northanger Abbey exists and now I kind of need it. (If the $700 price tag is too steep for you, too, you can get paperback versions of the ‘horrid novels’ from Valancourt.)
Manatees! Kākāpōs! Aardwolves! Gimme all the weird and wonderful animals from around the world.
We are honored to be returning (virtually) to the Newburyport Literary Festival. We’ll be doing a Zoom version of our Strong Sense of Place show on 30 April at 11:00 am Eastern. Our session is called Dumplings and Dysfunction: In the Kitchen with the novel The Family Chao. In our 1-hour discussion, we’ll go behind the scenes of restaurant life and be joined by author Lan Samantha Chang to discuss her new novel The Family Chao. It’s a delicious exploration of identity, family ties, and a little bit of murder. We’ll also play a round of Two Truths and a Lie and recommend more stories set in steamy kitchens. Learn more and register for the FREE festival right here.
News you can use: The new novel from Deanna Raybourn is now available for pre-order. Killers of a Certain Age is a stand-alone story about four women friends who ‘spent their lives as the deadliest assassins in a clandestine international organization.’ Now they’re 60 years old, but they can’t just retire, and soon it’s kill or be killed. I’m a devoted fan of the author’s Veronica Speedwell series, and I can’t wait to see what she does with a group of lady assassins.
This romp through the history of objections during wedding ceremonies is a ride. (Ooops and yikes.)
In January 1960, this model was photographed in front of the Guggenheim Museum in New York while wearing a hat that resembles the museum. I would welcome the return of hats inspired by architecture. Eiffel Tower chapeau, anyone?
This is my favorite link of the week: In 2013, Scottish author and poet James Robertson wrote a 365-word short story every day for a year. Then Scottish musician Aidan O’Rourke was inspired to write 365 melodies that paired with each of Robertson’s stories. This short video combines the author’s voice reading his story ‘Imagination’ — about an elderly man lost in memories of war — with gorgeously haunting music on violin and harmonium.
From the 1960s until the 1980s, librarians at the Milwaukee Public Library clipped hundreds of recipes from the Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Sentinel. Now those charming clippings are digitized and available online, so you can bake a retro Tell Your Neighbor Cake or try Balkan Table Cheese.
This website allows you to write private email notes that self-destruct after reading! Someone please write a thriller with this as a plot device.
One of my favorite paintings to ‘visit’ here in Prague is Haymaking by Pieter Bruegel. Looking at it online might make you shrug; it’s pretty in its digital form but maybe not wholly enticing. But in person, it’s fairly large — 46 X 63 inches (117 X 161cm) — and filled with life and vibrancy. I haven’t seen the painting in person for a while, so I did the only reasonable thing I could do; I stalked Bruegel online and found the video below. It’s so good.
It’s always good to hear from novelist Emily St. John Mandel. ‘Mandel declined the first round of media requests to opine about covid-19. “It felt like exploiting a pandemic to sell copies of Station Eleven, which is so gross.” She eventually offered comment to a few outlets, but hearing her work praised for its clairvoyance was disturbing.”
The Center for Book Arts offers workshops for making books and other paper arts. This taco-themed pop-up card class (in person) looks fun, and this online class on how to make a one-page book seems very cool.
This is delightfully eerie: Edgar Allan Poe and a Dark Grim Prediction at Sea.
I Love Libraries had a conversation with Jeopardy! champion Amy Schneider. It’s as great as you think it will be. ‘[W]hen I was a little kid, my parents instituted a rule that I could only borrow from the library as many books as I could carry home by myself. It was definitely a thing as a family. We were always going to the library. We didn’t have much money at all, especially when I was very young, so buying books wasn’t really an option for us. But library trips were always there.’
We’re thrilled to announce that we launched a new project today! Step into The Library of Lost Time, a weekly video and podcast that makes procrastination a virtue. In each mini-episode — 5 minutes or less! — we share two new book releases that are at the top of our TBR. Then we delve into a book- or travel-related curiosity that’s worth your time. Here’s our first episode!
You can subscribe to our YouTube channel here, so you never miss an episode.
Or subscribe to Strong Sense of Place in your favorite podcast app to get The Library of Lost Time show delivered to your podcast stream.
Or both! Definitely do both.
Top image courtesy of Peter Bond/Unsplash.
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