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 vibrant vaulted ceiling above is found in the Piccolomini Library in the Duomo di Siena (Siena Cathedral) in Siena, Italy. The Gothic complex was designed and built between 1215 and 1263. Today, you can tour the cathedral, crypt, museum, and library to feast your eyes on the intricate marble floor mosaics, walk the hidden corridors of the ‘Gate of Heaven’ near the Duomo’s rooftop, and get lost in the allegorical stories depicted in the colorful library frescoes. When you’re finished gazing overhead, you can explore the collection of 15th-century illuminated manuscripts and choir books that line the room. All entry tickets to the cathedral come with a free audioguide. Here’s Rick Steves’ quick overview of the cathedral and a good peek inside the library.
Have you heard about the new collection of stories inspired by Agatha Christie? Marple: Twelve New Mysteries includes short stories about Miss Marple from some amazing modern mystery authors: Lucy Foley, Naomi Alderman, Ruth Ware, Kate Mosse, Elly Griffiths, Val McDermid, and more. The book is out on 13 September; you can preorder now. But I really want you to know that the British Library is hosting an online book release celebration with readings, expert commentary, and guest appearances from ‘Marple super-fans.’ Online tickets are £5, and the shindig starts at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time/7:00 p.m. in the UK/. If you can’t join live, the online ticket gives you access to the playback for 28 hours. Get tickets here.
In the ’90s, a family friend introduced me to the terrifically unsettling mystery novels by Minette Walters. (Hello, Scold’s Bridle.) In this interview with Historia, she talks about her recent forays into historical fiction. ‘My favourite genres, growing up, were crime and historical fiction. When I discovered that Georgette Heyer went from historical into crime, I was intrigued: you can write both genres.’
Future Learn offers excellent, free online classes from top-notch universities. The course How to Read a Novel, provided by the University of Edinburgh, is now open.
Join Gastro Obscura for a romp through the unusual and often delicious dining experiences in government buildings.
Meet Dorothea Bate, a fearless fossil hunter. ‘Karolyn Shindler introduces the paleontologist Dorothea Bate, who climbed mountains, swam to remote caves, and cheated starvation to discover a series of remarkable dwarf mammals.’
This is a fun quiz: What’s your travel persona? (I got ‘immersive explorer.)
Take a deep dive into the origins of Dark Academia. These books ‘readily merge with the murder mystery because they depict a world insulated from everyday concerns and that assumes ease and leisure—instead of a country house, they represent the academic manor.’
We were delighted to find Strong Sense of Place on this list of 6 literary bloggers you’ll love. ‘I say literary bloggers instead of book bloggers because not all of them write about books; some write original poetry, and others talk about the craft of writing. All in all, they’re books- and literature-adjacent and have inspired me in my writing, reading, and blogging life.’
Books and movies and TV shows, oh my: What to Read Based on the Fall TV Shows You Love and The Best Books That Have Been Adapted Into Film and TV This Year.
This video about the New York Public Library is so great:
Are you reading Deanna Raybourn’s new thriller Killers of a Certain Age? (1) I talked about it in this week’s episode of The Library of Lost Time; see below. (2) The publisher has made a free (and delightful) book club kit you can download. The background info and questions are fun whether you enjoy the novel with a club or on your own. (3) Deanna wrote a kickass essay about her move from cozy-ish mysteries to thrillers: ‘I have to admit, planning these murders was a delight. I got to do all sorts of gruesome research and give my killers utterly bonkers, completely over-the-top assassinations. I pulled together urban myths and household items to create deaths that were fun.’
This essay To the Kid on the Cruise Ship — and the Q&A with the author — are fantastic. Treat yourself.
The latest season of Below Deck Mediterranean is set in Malta. What a beautiful place! This piece from Wanderlust magazine will make you want to visit there as soon as possible. (And yes, we are still committed watchers of the Below Deck franchise. Everyone needs a small vice, I suppose?)
Embrace the silliness:
In each mini-podcast episode, we discuss two book releases at the top of our TBR, then share a fun book- or travel-related distraction. Get all the episodes and books galore here.
This time, we get excited about two new book releases: Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn and Fairy Tale by Stephen King. Then Mel takes us around Europe with the Polish street artist Nespoon. [transcript]
Video of the mural at the Museum of Lace and Fashion in Calais, France.
German video (with a little bit of English) featuring NeSpoon’s murals, ceramics, and textile arts.
Top image courtesy of Hani Santosa/Shutterstock.
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