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.
Happy New Year, bookish friends! We’re going to steal a toast from the inimitable Patricia Highsmith. ‘My New Year’s Eve Toast: to all the devils, lusts, passions, greeds, envies, loves, hates, strange desires, enemies ghostly and real, the army of memories, with which I do battle — may they never give me peace.’ Cheers!
Throw bread at the door (!) and 10 more Victorian New Year’s traditions.
Sorta related: 15 New Year’s Traditions From Around the World.
Do you remember the biggest literary news of 2022? Test your knowledge with this quiz from the New York Public Library.
This is such a cool project. In 2011, a British woman in New York decided to read every book on a bookshelf in the New York Society Library. ‘What followed was sometimes hard work and sometimes great fun. It was exasperating but also invigorating; deeply boring and yet surprisingly exciting.’
The Library of Congress has been working on restoring a diary written by Irving W. Greenwald, a young man sent to fight on the Western Front during WWI. Here’s part 1 and part 2 of this remarkable story — and how the Library acquired the diary.
I could just put all of these on my TBR and call it good:
TBH, this one, too: The Best Gothic Fiction of the Year 2022.
So glam! 25 Interesting Photos of New Year’s Eve Parties in the 1920s.
Andrew Sean Greer, author of the lovely novel Less, contributed to a newsletter for the LA Review of Books. His statement on what reading means to him is excellent. ‘I have used reading as wild adventure, as philosophical inquiry, as schoolwork drudgery, and as preparation for cocktail party conversation. But I found again my favorite kind of reading…’
I only got one correct (!) on this quiz about foods named for famous people in history — and/but I the little stories that accompany each question are great.
You might like this new podcast! It’s called The Personhood Project. It’s a poetry exchange that connects incarcerated writers to the poetry community. ‘Writings in the project culminate in this monthly podcast which explores poetry’s ability to help process trauma, spur personal growth, and reduce recidivism in the carceral system.’
Brilliant. Click in to read the letter.
A 10 year old girl in LA wanted a unicorn license.— Danny Deraney (@DannyDeraney) December 10, 2022
She wrote Animal Care, and they replied brilliantly. 🥰🥰 pic.twitter.com/StQWSn0FCA
Our Tote Bags, Ourselves: How a humble bag became a humble brag. ‘The literary tote is the perfect signifier for this moment in time because of its inherent contradictions: its lofty, high-minded ideals are represented by an item that’s earthy and utilitarian. It communicates rarefied taste, but it’s too functional to be pretentious.’
Sure, you could make a butter board or arrange charcuterie in beautiful patterns, but why not snack on a Lebanese Maza Platter instead?
I’m usually anti-camping, but this? I would consider this. It’s so cute!
An image of a 1950’s British holiday pic.twitter.com/8YkNepof06— History Defined (@historydefined) December 16, 2022
The 16 Best Food Movies, Ranked. (Many of them also have a very strong sense of place.)
Hands down, the best New Year’s Eve scene ever:
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 books: The Snow Ball by Brigid Brophy and Nine Liars by Maureen Johnson. Then Mel and Dave share poems to usher in the new year. [transcript]
The Snow Ball by Brigid Brophy
Watch a panel discussion of Brigid Brophy’s work presented by London Review Bookshop
Mozart the Dramatist: The Value of His Operas to Him, His Age, and to Us by Brigid Brophy
Nine Liars by Maureen Johnson
Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village by Maureen Johnson & Jay Cooper
The Box in The Woods by Maureen Johnson
Tell Me by Kim Addonizio
Swearing Smoking Drinking & Kissing by Kim Addonizio
Kim Addonizio’s website and her work on Poetry Foundation.
You Could Make This Place Beautiful by Maggie Smith
these are the words by Nikita Gill
Top image courtesy of Everett Collection/Shutterstock.
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