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 inviting bridge above is found in Vang Vieng, a small town in Laos on the Nam Song River. If you enjoy outdoor adventures — tubing, motorbiking, caving, hiking, kayaking, ziplining — this is the place for you. But it also delivers delights for history buffs (gorgeous Buddhist temples) and food lovers (street food that rivals Thailand and Vietnam). You can also float over the mountains in a hot air balloon, walk on a bamboo bridge through green-as-they-can-be rice fields, splash in a waterfall, and float in a turquoise blue lagoon. Here’s more on 13 epic things you can do in Vang Vieng — and a nicely-shot video tour.
Here in the final days of August, perhaps you need one more great summer read. Here are 9 gothic reads for summer, books for history lovers, 29 books to read on a beach vacation, and 5 sci-fi novels about going on vacation.
If you’re a fan of The Great Gatsby, treat yourself to Ex-Wife by Ursula Parrott, a novel from the same period that deserves more attention. ‘Ex-Wife is not all martinis and music. Parrott uses it to address, in unsparing directness, the challenges that women faced and the limited paths available to them. This alone sets it apart from the male protagonists of The Great Gatsby and the novel’s scant attention to the experiences of its female characters.’
Well, this is awesome.
holy shit i am crying pic.twitter.com/lolrN0bq5Y— anthony christian ocampo 🇵🇭🏳️🌈 (@anthonyocampo) August 16, 2023
Historic, Weird, and Totally Fascinating Places to Stop on a Road Trip Across the US. Ghost towns! Saloons! And something called the Integratron.
A love letter to hotel lobbies. ‘The hotel lobby is a transitory place. A useful place. It’s a place where you’re more likely to meet a stranger than a friend.’
Author Farah Karim-Cooper argues that the Bard has a race problem — but that doesn’t mean we have to love him less. (WaPo gift link)
If you like books in translation and K-pop, you’ll want to read this interview with the translator of the BTS book Beyond the Story: 10 Years with BTS. ‘It was the biggest translation project of my translator life, and I had to keep it under wraps.’
News you can use: The best sandwich in every US state.
I can still make myself cry thinking about the loss of Hilary Mantel. In this essay, author Miranda Miller talks about her friendship with the author of Wolf Hall and Mantel’s immense gift for understanding people.
Just added this to my must-see list for the next time we’re in Scotland:
These family photos of excursions to US national parks are absolutely fantastic). (WaPo gift link
The Torggler in Newport News, Virginia, has a beautiful exhibit called The Possibilities of Paper.
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 Continental Affair by Christine Mangan and The Quickening: Creation and Community at the Ends of the Earth by Elizabeth Rush. Then Dave explains why you should put the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on your must-visit list. [transcript]
Top image courtesy of Nakornthai/Shutterstock.
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