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.
Today is Lewis Carroll’s birthday; he was born in 1832, so if he had afternoon tea with the Mad Hatter, there would be 191 candles on his birthday cake. You probably know Carroll was the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but he also wrote 11 books on mathematics and other literary works, including the ‘nonsense’ adventure poem The Hunting of the Snark and a two-volume story about the fairies Silvia and Bruno. More fun facts: Carroll was a prolific letter writer – up to 2000 letters per year (!) — and invented a system for writing in the dark, so he could quickly capture ideas that came to him in the middle of the night. I feel a deep affection for Lewis Carroll because I memorized The Jabberwocky in tenth grade and have never forgotten it. Here’s Benedict Cumberbatch reciting it better than I ever could. (But oh! maybe I like this one from John Hurt even more.) BTW, the graffiti of the White Rabbit above adorned a wall in Lviv, Ukraine.
It’s the 50th anniversary of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz (illustrations). It’s been one of my favorite books for as long as I’ve been old enough to understand stories. This essay about it from The New Yorker reminds me why. ‘I went to sleep with gum in my mouth, the book begins, and that would be a good opening sentence on its own — Kafka with a splash of David Sedaris — but from there it careens forward, one clause tripping into the next, undisciplined by anything so polite as a comma.’
Morbid? Moving? A bit of both: A Guide to Victorian Death Rites.
Important discovery: The English Breakfast Society. ‘The English Breakfast Society (EBS) is a learned society of fellows, dedicated to the tradition and heritage of the full English breakfast.’
This is so good:
Good work whoever did this. pic.twitter.com/qTWHTWbCWF— NickdMiller ❔ (@NickdMiller) January 22, 2023
Do you love puzzles and escape rooms? You need to read this interview from the Culture Study newsletter.
‘I predict that we are on the threshold of a new aspic-forward aesthetic.’
If you enjoyed our podcast episode about secret passages, you’ll want to take a look at these magical photos of possible secret portals in nature.
The Library of Congress points out the relationship between an early twentieth-century stereograph of Rome and a 1921 travel poster.
Join the Inspector Gamache Read-a-Long.
Perhaps you’d like to sign up for the free Word Daily newsletter. Yesterday’s word was quisquous.
We need these everywhere!
The graphic novel Shubeik Lubeik — about a Cairo where ‘donkeys talk, dragons destroy villages and posh suburban homes can hide under a cloak of invisibility’ — seems like a lot of fun.
Enjoy this lovely essay about finding your own reading rituals. ‘Whatever steps feel right for you, take them. And then take them again, and again, and again, until your mind and body know that this is what you’re doing: giving yourself permission to do nothing, for a time, but read.’
These narrative paper sculptures by Layla May Arthur are absolutely stunning.
Samantha Lan Chang, the author of The Family Chao, wrote a gorgeous essay about Lunar New Year for Vogue. (Watch our event with Sam at the Newburyport Literary Festival.)
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 Mitford Affair by Marie Benedict and Creative ACT: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin. Then Dave talks about the ‘Bad High School Analogies’ meme and The Washington Post column ‘Style Invitational.’ [transcript]
Britain Magazine on the infamous Mitford sisters.
The Toast makes the argument that Nancy Mitford wrote only two good novels.
Marie Benedict’s other books Mel mentioned: The Personal Librarian, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, The Only Woman in the Room.
Rick Rubin and Malcolm Gladwell on the Broken Record podcast.
The gone but not forgotten column Style Invitational from The Washington Post.
Enjoy the Bad High School Analogies meme.
Top image courtesy of Oleksandr Berezko/Shutterstock.
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