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.
The city of Seville, Spain, weaves time like a magic portal with twisty medieval alleys, a spiky Gothic cathedral, pretty baroque churches, and Moorish palaces — all connected by the sounds of flamenco and the sweet smell of oranges floating in the air. You might know the local fruit as Seville oranges, but they’re also called bitter oranges. More than 14,000 of these orange trees are planted throughout the city. But don’t pluck one and take a bite! This citrus lives up to its name. The best way to enjoy Seville oranges is in British orange marmalade. Once a year, oranges are collected from Seville and shipped to the UK to be turned into a spread for your toast. If you want to get creative, here are 5 ideas for how to use bitter orange juice — or you could make this meringue pie.
Have you seen the new film Emily yet? It’s a (very) fictionalized look at the author’s life. Smithsonian Magazine explains what’s real and what’s fantasy.
In the recent Spain episode of our podcast, I shared a short reading list for people who like books with non-human narrators. The Sydney Review of Books has an essay about telling stories from the perspective of objects. ‘Finding this through line between animal narrators and object narrators helped me make sense of why I’ve been drawn to these non-human narrators: that it’s not to escape the rawness and emotion of human life, but to dive even further into that messiness.’
My favorite shoes are black stompy boots but that does not mean I’m immune to the allure of a good romcom. Come on! The meet cute?! The run across town to declare your love?! Literary flirting?! Pure gold. So I’m excited to be contributing to Meet Cute Missives, a new essay collection about romcoms, what they mean to us, and why they matter. The topics range from Elinor Lipman’s early novels (that’s mine!) to fat representation in romcoms. It all starts in 14 March. Sign up here — it’s free!
An argument that we’ve fallen out of live with good writing.
On the new episode of the Shedunnit podcast: Death of the Country House. ‘Burnt to death, blown up, stripped and beaten up, knocked to the ground, dismembered or just abandoned and left to a slow undignified demise. This was Golden Age murder in a world of wealth and privilege. But the murder victims were not people; they were country houses…’
The Most Unusual Cities in Europe. ‘From a town taken over by a sea of gnomes to a grisly reminder of the plague, throw romantic notions aside…’ (Thank you for friend-of-SSoP Carmen for sharing this with us.)
Less by Andrew Sean Greer is one of my favorite books. The author had a lovely chat about his book with the California Book Club host John Freeman — and then Michael Chabon showed up.
The Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC has a gorgeous exhibit right now called Edward Hopper’s New York. There’s a lot of excellent content online — high-res images, video, audio — for people who can’t get there in person.
For centuries, defensive walls have protected cities around the world, from Colombia to France to China. Here are 9 spectacular examples.
This is a gorgeous essay about dogs and love and keeping your heart open, even when it hurts.
Sorta related: There’s a wall in Paris that says ‘I love you’ over and over and over again, in 250 languages. ‘The work of art, created by Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito has become a meeting place for lovers of Love.’
This is a fantastic explainer about the HarperCollins strike. ‘HarperCollins announced that it reached a tentative agreement with its union for a new contract. The news was a long time coming: It arrived only after the union’s nearly 250 members were on strike for 66 days.’
I just learned about the snow walls of Tateyama-Kurobe, and my mind is blown.
A sweet comic about how audio stories can connect us to other people.
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: My Father’s House by Joseph O’Connor and A Mystery of Mysteries: The Death and Life of Edgar Allan Poe by Mark Dawiziak. Then Mel talks about the fantastic Virginia Woolf exhibit at the New York Public Library. [transcript]
Author Joseph O’Connor reading from My Father’s House.
An excerpt from A Mystery of Mysteries.
Virginia Woolf: A Modern Mind at the NYPL.
Audioguide and images from Virginia Woolf: A Modern Mind.
Virginia Woolf’s essay about visiting the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth, England.
You can buy journals based on Virginia Woolf’s handmade diaries.
Top image courtesy of Ashim D'Silva/Unsplash.
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