Cartagena, Code Poetry, Sleeper Trains, Period Dramas & More: Endnotes 01 September

Cartagena, Code Poetry, Sleeper Trains, Period Dramas & More: Endnotes 01 September

Friday, 1 September, 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.


That balcony above is found on a historic colonial-style building in Cartagena, a port city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. My frame of reference for Cartagena is the 1984 film Romancing the Stone. I loved it because the heroine, played by Kathleen Turner, was essentially a female Indiana Jones (if old Jonesy was a novelist instead of a professor). The movie combined adventure, romance, and comedy to make 16-year-old me feel a certain kind of way. For us adults who are not searching for an enormous emerald while being chased by a criminal gang, there are many real-life reasons to visit Cartagena: delicious food, shabby-chic architecture, soft-sand beaches, and fascinating history. Here are 12 best things to do in Cartagena and tips for visiting. If you’re now feeling nostalgic about Romancing the Stone, here’s the movie trailer and the dreamy Joan-looks-so-pretty romantic dancing scene.

  • Heck, yeah, women writers in translation! Aina Marti-Balcells and Bibiana Mas, the founders of the new publishing houses Héloïse Books and 3TimesRebel Press, talk about publishing only women writers.

  • !!! A secret room was found in a castle in County Wexford, Ireland. (Have you listened to our podcast episode Secret Passages: Down the Rabbit Hole?)

  • This story about traditional bread in Jordan is fantastic. ‘Made with just three ingredients — water, flour, salt — arboud is common in this mountainous part of Jordan where herds of goats and sheep scale ravines and peaks. It doesn’t need much fuss: ten minutes spent baked in the ash on each side, and it’s ready to be consumed, just like it was done 14,500 years ago.’

  • 10 Golden Age Mystery Books That Still Impress. One hundred percent yes to The Tiger in the Smoke.

  • Related: The Great, Reluctant Detectives of Crime Fiction. ‘I’m here for the reluctant detectives, the unlucky souls dragged toward clues kicking and screaming. They have better things to do with their time than chasing wayward criminals, but are given no other choice.’

  • This book is amazing:

  • This Atlas Obscura class looks like nerdy fun. Think Like A Museum: Curate Your Personal Collection. ‘Join Alexis Hyde, former curator and Director of the Museum of Broken Relationships in Los Angeles, to explore what museums and collections really are, how they take shape, and how to responsibly curate one of your own. Alexis will guide you through the process of creating a mini-museum or collection of your own, which you’ll have the chance to share at the end of class.’

  • The movie The Last Voyage of the Demeter — all about the ship in the novel Dracula — is in theaters now. Here’s the true story of the shipwreck that inspired Bram Stoker.

  • Whoa! Do you know about code poetry?

  • Reading books is the best. Managing them? Not so much. Slate makes the case for getting rid of (extra) books — and WaPo provides tips for moving books. (gift link)

  • In praise of train sleeper cars. ‘It’s both a very efficient and also affordable way of traveling… But actually more important is the feeling of adventure, the romance of it: getting on the train, late at night, seeing the lights of your hometown disappear, peeking out of the window in the middle of the night, and then, in the morning, you’re in a different city and a different landscape.’

  • Gimme all the corsets and meaningful glances. Collider ranks the 10 best period dramas of the 2010s.


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.

a red and white sign that explains how to order a cheesesteak
Photo courtesy of Alan Budman/Shutterstock.

In this episode, we get excited about two books: Where There Was Fire by John Manuel Arias and The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride. Then Mel serves up the delicious story of the Philadelphia cheesesteak. [transcript]


Hope life surprises you this week in a delicious way.

Top image courtesy of Jess Kraft/Shutterstock.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got Edward Hopper's Nighthawks sketches, Tom Cruise running, mysteries set in mansions, summer books, epic room service, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got weird/dark/funny children's books, a challenging word quiz, tips for minimizing stress after travel, aquatic horror, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got an ode to hotel lobbies, podcasts for poetry lovers, a new look at Shakespeare, quirky roadside stops, Gothic reads, and more.

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