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.
This pretty town is Tbilisi, the capital of the country of Georgia. It’s tucked between the Black and Caspian Seas, separating Russia in the north from Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan in the south. It was a stop along the Silk Road, a series of ancient trade routes stretching from China to Africa. When you’ve got visitors, traders, and/or marauders crossing through your homeland, you need protection — hence the Narikala Fortress on the hilltop in the left of the photo. It dates back to the 4th century (!) and was used to rebuff invaders, including the Persians and the Ottomans. Treat yourself to this video tour of the fortress.
We are honored to be returning (virtually) to the Newburyport Literary Festival this weekend. We’ll be doing a Zoom version of our Strong Sense of Place show on Sunday, 30 April at 9:00 am Eastern. Our session is called Murder and Mayhem in the Canadian Archive: Amy Tector Returns to Ottawa. In our 1-hour discussion, we’ll go behind the scenes of historical archives and be joined by author Amy Tector to discuss her new novel Speak for the Dead. It’s a murder mystery set in Canada’s Dominion Archives that delves into military secrets, indigenous protests, and the heroine detective’s battles with grief and her desire to drink it away. We’ll also play a round of Two Truths and a Lie and recommend more stories set in archives. Learn more and register for the FREE festival right here.
Yes! Let’s nerd out about punctuation. ‘Creating a sentence by adding one word after another while ensuring that the message is clear and unambiguous is a bit like tightening the string of a bow: it is easy at first, but becomes more demanding with each passing moment.’
I cried my face off when Dame Hilary Mantel died last year. Her Wolf Hall trilogy has meant so much to me. And now, we learn that she was working on a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice told from the perspective of Mary. So now I weep again for the novel that might have been. Here’s an excerpt.
This is art:
Who knew?! The history of passport photos, from Atlas Obscura. ‘Deep into the 1930s, married American women were footnotes in their husband’s passports, listed simply as, Mr. John Doe and wife. Single women were entitled to their own passports, which they could use to travel alone, while married women could not use the document without a husband present. This practice continued, despite the efforts of women’s rights advocates, until 1937….’
We use them daily, but how much do you know about the history of keyboards?
These are some very beautiful and reasonably priced (about $100/night) Airbnbs — in Vienna, Rio de Janeiro, Budapest, Portland, Oregon, and more.
This is some very fancy hummus:
Your Brain on Books: You Are What You Read. This is a fantastic piece from 2007 (!) about how reading changes us intellectually and biologically.
Workers of the World, Take PTO! In the Soviet Union, where, when, and with whom you went on holiday was regulated by the Communist Party.
Do you want to see tens of thousands of fireflies flashing at once? Enter the lottery for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. It opens today!
Why We All Need Dinner Parties in Our Lives. ‘Being an adult can be sort of a drag a lot of the time, and gathering around food is the greatest antidote.’
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: Never Sleep by Fred Van Lente and The Wager: A Talk of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann. Then Mel shares tips for getting great poetry into your life. [transcript]
How Kate Warne, America’s First Woman Detective, Foiled a Plot to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln.
Ridiculous History Podcast: Kate Warne, the Pinkerton Detective Who Saved Abe Lincoln.
The Atlantic: Reading a Poem: 20 Strategies.
Poets.org: How to Read a Poem.
The Writing Center: How to Read a Poem.
Library of Congress: How to Read a Poem Out Loud.
Instagram: Poetry is Not a Luxury.
Instagram: Seeing the Poem.
The Guardian: Poem of the Week.
Poetry Foundation: Poem of the Day.
Poets.org: Poem of the Day.
The Slowdown: This podcast from former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith features a daily reading of a poem and a brief reflection on its meaning and significance.
Poetry Foundation: Mary Oliver.
Top image courtesy of MehmetO/Shutterstock.
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