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.
If you’re thinking the candlelit space above would be perfect for a Gothic encounter, you’re right. It’s the grand staircase in the Palais Garnier — known colloquially as the Paris opera house — and it’s the setting for Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera (and subsequent swoony musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber). Designed by French architect Charles Garnier, the Palais has been described as both ‘unquestionably a masterpiece of the first rank’ and ‘a décor of the grave.’ Perhaps that last one isn’t such a bad thing? Gothic opulence tinged with melancholy is pretty much perfect for this time of year. Should you find yourself in Paris with 90 minutes of free time, you can enjoy a self-guided tour of the Palais or take the Mysteries of the Palais Garnier tour with a guide after the building is officially closed for the day. (Bonjour M. Fantôme!) Can’t get there in person? Here are more photos, a video walk-through, a fun recap of its history, and a very over-the-top wedding on the grand staircase.
Ooooh! You probably want to read about John Payne Collier, a fine scholar and first-class fraud. ‘Aside from including deliberate fictions and falsehoods in printed records of archival material, he also introduced forgeries into the archives themselves, faking official documents, adding information to letters and diaries, falsifying registers and inventories and more.’ (If this whets your appetite, you might also like the movie Can You Ever Forgive Me.)
Let’s make that TBR topple-over tall: Scary, Spooky, and Sleuth-Y: A List of Crime Books Set on or Around Halloween and Five Magical Realist Novels With Murder Mysteries at Their Center.
This new podcast sounds like eerie fun: The Witch Farm investigates the true story of the most haunted house in Britain with a mix of drama and documentary, starring Joseph Fiennes and Alexandra Roach.
How to Explore Sleepy Hollow, the Real-Life Halloween Legend. ‘On a misty morning when the fog rolls in from the Hudson River, it still seems just as Irving wrote [about it] two hundred years ago…’ (Pssst… the audiobook version of the story is great!)
If you like this cartoon, get your hands on Tom Gauld’s new book Revenge of the Librarians out on 18 October:
This is a lovely essay about the value of book clubs. ‘Book clubs are about acknowledging humanity, both on the page and in real life.’
Read this National Geographic piece about Europe’s family circuses ‘in which trained humans, not trained animals, are the stars of the show’ — such great photos! — and then listen to our podcast episode The Circus: Found Family and Daring Feats for circus stories and excellent book recommendations.
For your Spooky Season travel needs: These Haunted Forests Are As Eerie As It Gets and 8 Haunted Bay Area Restaurants and the Ghost Stories Behind Them.
Native American chef Sean Sherman gave a TED talk about Native American culinary traditions — then Chelsea Saunders made a comic about it.
This is a very poignant story. Two podcasters set out to read every Agatha Christie book. It became much more than that.
Take a deep dive into the career of famous poet Rod McKuen. It’s a ride! As a teenager, I had a copy of the book Listen to the Warm. That I got from a boy. In chorus.
A long-lost purse gives us a peek inside the life of a 1950s teenager. ‘While ripping up the floorboards of the League City School building to create a new community center, contractors uncovered a purse filled with memories and mementos dating back to 1959… The contents of the purse were childhood photos, notes, and memories that could piece together the lives of the girl and her family.’
In each mini-podcast episode, we discuss two books at the top of our TBR, then share a fun book- or travel-related distraction. Get all the episodes and books galore here.
In this episode, we get excited about two new books: The Sleeping Car Porter by Suzette Mary and Such Sharp Teeth by Rachel Harrison. Then Dave explains why we should all book a trip asap to Prince Edward Island to explore The Island Walk.
Here’s the website for The Island Walk.
A review of the walk from Travel + Leisure.
Listen to our podcast episode Atlantic Canada: For There Blow Some Cold Nor’westers on the Banks of Newfoundland.
Top image courtesy of Alessia Cocconi/Unsplash.
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