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.
Up Helly Aa — literally ‘Up Holy (Day) All’ — is a festival of fire held in Shetland, Scotland, to celebrate the end of the Yule season. The participants are called guizers. They show up in costumes, carrying flaming torches (!), making a snaky parade through town, then setting a wooden (imitation) Viking ship on fire. It’s all very dramatic. The revelry kicks off in Lerwick, the capital of Shetland, with the largest festival. Although the red-hot action takes place after dark, the festivities in Lerwick begin right after breakfast with a morning parade. The evening entertainment starts with a processional and brass band. When fireworks light up the sky, that’s the sign for the guizers to set fire to their torches and begin their march to the galley awaiting its fate. The Lerwick Up Helly Aa was held on 31 January, and the ‘country’ Up Helly Aas will happen throughout the islands during February and March. You can watch the Lerwick 2023 Up Helly Aa on YouTube — and this ‘audioletter’ with mood-setting talk about Up Helly Aa and music is just fantastic. Fiery torches ahoy!
Loved this piece by Elizabeth Held for Crime Reads: The Enduring Appeal of the Teen Detective. ‘YA books transport adult readers instantly back to their adolescence. It’s a sensation compounded by the reminiscence bump, a psychological phenomenon that makes memories from that time period stronger than other times in our lives. All those emotions that mark the teenage years — helplessness, a desire for control and even, yes, the angst — come rushing back.’
Clementine Paddleford was a ground-breaking food journalist who ‘elevated food writing from dull and mundane to a delicious art form.’ This episode of the Fierce podcast digs into her fascinating life and bold career.
Sort of related: A brief history of the beloved pasta dish fettuccine al fredo. ‘…he personally prepared some fettuccine, using a semolina dough, and mixed it with very fresh butter and parmesan cheese. Then he said a prayer to St Anne (patron saint of new mothers) and served it to [his wife], saying, if it’s not to your taste, I’ll eat it.’
I’m very taken with the wooden automata made by Stoccafisso Design:
Do you love books that weave stories within stories? CrimeReads has a roundup of thrillers and mysteries with nested stories — and here’s our collection of 14 novels with stories within stories and a strong sense of place.
From Vanity Fair: How Heywood Hill, the Most Beloved Bookshop in London, Is Surviving in the Digital Age. ‘In an age of mega-stores and Kindle and Amazon, a bookshop in the chandeliered sitting room of a town house — with no sales or discounts — looks like a suicidal business model, and all the more so when the shop doesn’t deign to stock many blockbusters… This isn’t out of snootiness — well, not just out of snootiness — but because Heywood Hill’s customers simply aren’t interested in that sort of thing….’
So relatable: A comic about the rewards and fears of flying by Amy Chu.
I could not be more excited about this adaptation of Naomi Alderman’s novel The Power.
This is amazing! National Geographic has photos of clothing salvaged from a 1600s shipwreck to ‘show how the 1 percent lived.’
From Atlas Obscura: Algerian Jewish Sign Language evolved over centuries in isolation, within a walled city of the Sahara, before turning up in Israel.
Corsage tells the story of Empress Elizabeth of Austria, aka, Sissi. Condé Nast Traveler has the behind-the-scenes on the gorgeous locations where the film was shot.
Photographer Tom Hegen’s charming overhead shots of beaches with candy-colored umbrellas and sparkling blue water are excellent counter-programming to the gray gloom of February.
Yes, I Judge Books by their Cover, a comparison of English and French book covers.
Minstrel? Bard? What’s the difference? An in-depth look at the lady composers of Medieval France called trobairitz.
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: Cold People by Tom Rob Smith and Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life by Dacher Keltner. Then Mel shares the delicious history of Berlin’s currywurst. [transcript]
Take a bite of the history of currywurst.
Make currywurst at home with this recipe.
Top image courtesy of konstantin belovtov/Shutterstock.
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