Batu Caves, Collective Nouns, Famous Last Lines, Paris Hotels & More: Endnotes 12 May

Batu Caves, Collective Nouns, Famous Last Lines, Paris Hotels & More: Endnotes 12 May

Friday, 12 May, 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.


The fantastical rock formations and colorful statues above are found in Batu Caves, a complex of limestone grottos in Malaysia, an easy day trip from the city of Kuala Lumpur. The series of caves is a Hindu shrine decorated with natural stalactites and stalagmites and manmade dioramas of mythology. Some chambers open to the sky, allowing dramatic light to stream into the dark. After being greeted by a statue of Lord Murugan, the Hindu god of war, visitors climb 272 colorful stairs to the Temple Cave in the company of fruit bats, mischievous long-tailed macaques, sightseers, and Hindu pilgrims. This short video tour takes you for a walk inside the caves and offers a glimpse of the Thaipusam Festival, a tribute to Lord Murugan’s triumph over three evil demons. During the one-day celebration, throngs of devotees walk in a semi-trance from Kuala Lumpur to the caves. Here are 7 things to know before visiting Batu Caves.

  • The Conversation asks, What is that voice in your head when you read? ‘Hearing an inner voice while reading is relatively common… one study found that 4 in 5 people say they often or always hear an inner voice when they read silently to themselves.’

  • Delve into Anne Brontë’s ‘The North Wind’ with the poem of the week from The Guardian. Anne wrote the poem as part of her ‘Gondal poems,’ romantic adventures that told tales of the imaginary world she created with her siblings.

  • I had fun daydreaming about visiting all of these affordable hotels in Paris. Cute decor, a tour of different arrondissements… bon voyage.

  • The 11 Most Beautiful Post Offices Around the World. It’s an excellent list, and/but it’s missing the main post office in Prague with soaring ceilings and beautiful art nouveau murals.

  • If you’re of a certain age, you probably grew up silently singing School House Rock songs to yourself in English class. This video of ‘Conjunction Junction’ is amazing:

  • A devoted reader shares his very detailed lifelong reading plan. ‘When I was in high school, I got up at 5:30 AM so I could read a long time before going to my first class. Over the course of my life, my daily schedule starts with reading and ends with reading—and there are blocks of reading during the day.’

  • Gibraltar: Crime on the Rock. ‘In this tiny outpost, visitors find a unique culture—and a great many novels.’

  • Ruth Wilson is my favorite on-screen Jane Eyre — she’s so good in this adaptation from 2006. She talks about her breakout role and self-worth in this candid interview.

  • How much is a smidgen? ‘Smidgen likely comes from the Scottish word smitch, which also means a very small amount… it is interesting that many words for small quantities start with sm — including the word small itself; for example, smithereen, smattering, smudge.’

  • More word nerdery: Collective nouns! A destruction of wildcats! A melody of harpists! A skulk of thieves! A true-love of turtledoves. Why did medieval people invent so many collective nouns?

  • This is so charming! Scarlet Deer Inn is an exploration adventure game inspired by Slavic folklore. All of the art is created from physical embroidery that’s been animated, and the music is made by using traditional instruments. A husband and wife team here in the Czech Republic does it all — painting, animation, storytelling, programming, music, and publishing. You can follow along on Instagram.


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.

Photo courtesy of Onur Binay/Unsplash.

In this episode, we get excited about two books: The Lioness of Boston by Emily Franklin and The Partisan by Patrick Worrall. Then guest Jeremy Anderberg shares a fun website to find great new-to-you titles. [transcript]


May you find the perfect-for-you book this week.

Top image courtesy of brianjyl/Shutterstock.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got 10 books set in Berlin, bright Catalan art, the return of Dracula Daily, California's superbloom, destination pizza, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got Hilary Mantel's unfinished last novel, beautiful/affordable Airbnbs, firefly spectacle, why we need dinner parties, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got library cafés and wine bars, Sri Lankan mobile bakeries, English Breakfast Society, spite houses, fun reading lists, and more.

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