Truffles, Lost Lit Gems, World Sandwiches, Booker Prize & More: Endnotes 17 March

Truffles, Lost Lit Gems, World Sandwiches, Booker Prize & More: Endnotes 17 March

Friday, 17 March, 2023

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.


Two of my favorite things: a good doggo and a black truffle. Truffles are the king of umami, the elusive taste that’s the embodiment of savory. Black truffles have a flavor that’s buttery, olivey, and mushroomy all at once, without really being any of those things. White truffles are rarer and more prized than black, but I like the lower-rent facets of black truffles; salt with pungent flecks of black truffles? Yes, please. For centuries, truffles were found in the wild only in southern European countries, another reason to love Spain, Italy, and France. But now, truffles are being produced worldwide, including in the US. Smithsonian has the story.

  • The joys of the hunt for out-of-print books that deserve a second life. ‘Most of the time, my work feels more like that of a detective than an editor. Falling down endless online rabbit holes is an occupational hazard. I read old reviews in digitized newspaper archives, and trawl obituaries, looking for interesting titbits. Internet Archive—the non-profit digital library that houses millions of books—is an indispensable resource, not least because so many of the titles it holds can’t be easily found IRL. But none of this would work without access to various brick-and-mortar collections, especially the London Library. You’ll find me in the stacks, rootling out books that—as revealed by the stampings inside—no one’s read since the 1980s, or earlier.’

  • Book butlers! Library sleepovers! 10 Great UK Places to Stay for Book Lovers.

  • Women Outside the Structure: Victorian Widows and Governesses. ‘For the Victorians, both governesses and widows could be dangerous women.’

  • Tangentially related: How the Victorians Created the Modern English Novel. ‘Over 120 years since the Victorian era ended, its literature continues to have huge staying power in the collective imagination of the English-speaking world. We all have a clear idea of what Dickensian London looks like. We know what it means to be a Scrooge, or to be a bit Jekyll and Hyde. Most of us know the twist in Jane Eyre and what happens in Tess of the D’Urbervilles before we ever pick up the novels.’

  • News you can use: The 100 Best-Rated Sandwiches in the World. And now I just want to create an around-the-world itinerary based on sandwiches.

  • Despite the snow and ice, the North Pole is teeming with life that’s important to all of us. ‘Bacteria, archaea, fungi, algae, viruses. All making their way in the otherworldly environment of polar sea ice, swimming in brine pockets, gobbling up carbon, feeding the food web in the depths below.’

  • Click through to learn some fun, new vocabulary with which to annoy/delight your friends and family:

  • What is the difference between well, best, and good wishes?

  • The first installment of Meet Cute Missives is out and tackles a critical question, Is Jane Austen the actual OG of the romcom novel?

  • A Claxonomy of Mexico City’s Traffic. ‘As drivers jostle for limited space, hands at 10 and 2 and eyes firmly at 12, commuters develop an expanded sensory repertoire to keep moving. Often this involves car horns, which we might understand as a non-verbal form of communication… honks have different meanings everywhere… Julia Simon, writing of Cairo, suggests that [h]onking is a language and different horns convey different meanings — everything from You should learn to drive to I love you.’

  • This title does not exaggerate: These are ‘amazing’ photos from the Golden Age of air travel. The legroom! The gourmet food! The cocktail bars!

 black and white photo of a woman and man on an airplane with the woman lying on a fold-out seat


New Episode of The Library of Lost Time

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.

front door of the bookshop with large glass windows where books can be seen on shelves inside
Image courtesy of P&T Knitwear.

In this episode, we get excited about two books: Speak for the Dead by Amy Tector and I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai. Then Mel shares a story about the Gotham Book Prize that will warm your literature-loving heart. [transcript]


May you defy expectations and triumph spectacularly.

Top image courtesy of Sofia Royo/Shutterstock.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got cities with distinct smells, revisiting 'The Remains of the Day,' Gudrid the Far-Traveled, Iceland's baby puffins, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got a book club with Andrew Sean Greer, a HarperCollins explainer, Edward Hopper's art at NYC's Whitney, tea science, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got dreaming in a foreign language, novels that take place in one day, the Paris catacombs, travel as a time machine, and more.

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