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.
That pastel-colored seascape above is Stone Town in Zanzibar, a small island in the Indian Ocean, just off the coast of Tanzania. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an ‘outstanding example of a Swahili trading town,’ with colorful buildings that illustrate the fusion of Swahili, Indian, Arab, and European influence: wide verandahs, carved wooden doors, arched windows, narrow alleys, and sun-dappled courtyards. Zanzibar is well known as the Spice Island, and the aroma of locally-harvested cloves, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper floats on the air in the Darajani Market. No matter where you go in town, you’re never too far from the soft sand beaches and turquoise blue water that wraps around the coast. Here’s a fun video diary of a trip to Stone Town’s beaches, markets, and historical landmarks.
This shouldn’t cause any arguments at all! 13 Adaptations Better Than the Books They’re Based On.
Ooo, fun! A new, ‘lavish’ graphic novel adaptation of The Great Gatsby is coming.
The guide you didn’t know you needed until now, here’s a primer on Czech pastries and desserts. Větrník is our favorite.
A New Generation of Romance Writers are Putting Fat Characters on the Page. ‘[N]ot only are there stories about fat people, there are stories about fat people that don’t involve them changing, losing a ton of weight, or going through a major transformation to find love, be a hero, be the main character in their own stories. These are people who happen to be fat — but their shape isn’t their defining characteristic, just one part of who they are.’
This is eerie and beautiful:
The Wonderful, Terrible Power of Food in Roald Dahl. ‘Roald Dahl wrote swirling sugar fantasias, palaces of chocolate, and a floating, dripping den of peach flesh. He wrote frothing chocolate waterfalls and gravity-negating fizzy drinks… Dahl’s feasts are his imaginative aristeias. At the same time, Dahl’s most whimsical confections are always paired with torments for those who can’t resist them. ‘
Just in case:
‘Many of these writers have found their work to be a powerful means for navigating identities along the intimate boundary between a childhood of one tongue and an adulthood of another.’ Inside the Bilingual Writer.
I’m always happy to see more research to support the idea that reading novels enhances empathy. This article from Lateral Magazine is a good one.
Susanna Hoffs of Bangles fame has written a romcom novel called This Bird Has Flown, set in Oxford, England. She talked to Publishers Weekly and Entertainment Weekly about it. This quote is pretty endearing, ‘I longed my whole life to write a novel. It was a secret idea.’
The best travel books of 2023 (so far), according to Wanderlust.
What was the deal with the painter Manet and mandarin oranges?
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 Girl with Twenty Fingers by Kate Mueser and White Cat, Black Dog: Stories by Kelly Link. Then Mel introduces everyone to the man teaching modern foodies how to cook like Jane Austen. [transcript]
The Prague Sonata by Bradford Morrow
Magic for Beginners: Stories by Kelly Link.
Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link.
Stranger Things Happen: Stories by Kelly Link.
Top image courtesy of Nick Johanson/Shutterstock.
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