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:
Non-native English Speakers, what's a word from your language that you think is perfect that doesn't have an English equivalent?— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) February 28, 2023
Take us to church.
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!
Awards ahoy! The Carol Shields Prize for Fiction longlist and The International Booker Prize 2023 longlist — plus, 13 things you need to know about this year’s Booker books. ‘Three original languages represented for the first time; a wife and husband author-translator duo; a writer who had once declared himself ‘dead;’ poets, screenwriters, and former security guards. Here are the key details and surprising facts about this year’s longlist.’
A bookish vibe with which we can all relate:
My 6yo is devastated - horrified - to have lost a library book. I told him that if we really couldn't find it, we could replace it, and he looked at me with horror - "I can't make another one, Mom! It was too beautiful!"— Audrey Burges (@Audrey_Burges) March 15, 2023
I’m an avid re-reader (and re-re-re-re-reader), so I enjoyed this episode of the What Should I Read Next? podcast about books so nice, you want to read them twice.
Get a sneak peek of Tegan and Sara’s graphic novel Junior High, drawn by the inimitable Tille Walden.
Travel tips for New York City from a guidebook from the early 1900s: ‘Remember that carriage-horses have been replaced by taxi drivers. If you can’t agree on a price at the end of your ride, just ask him to drive you to the nearest cop, who will gladly settle the argument for you.’
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: 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]
Treat yourself to Amy Tector’s excellent Substack Méli-Mélo: a snackable mix of links capturing my attention and here’s her website.
Amy on the Book Cougars podcast, talking about Speak for the Dead.
Notes from Three Pines Substack.
Get a $25 gift card when you buy all the finalists from the awesome indie bookshop P&T Knitwear.
Top image courtesy of Sofia Royo/Shutterstock.
Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!
Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.
Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.
This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.
We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.
This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.
Content on this site is ©2024 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.