Sydney's RRR, Bookish Museums, Fall Cookbooks, Levar Burton & More: Endnotes 17 November

Sydney's RRR, Bookish Museums, Fall Cookbooks, Levar Burton & More: Endnotes 17 November

Friday, 17 November, 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.


We at Strong Sense of Place HQ are firmly on #TeamTrain and fell in love with the shot above. It’s the RRR (Railway Refreshment Room), the all-night counter on the Central Assembly Platforms in Sydney, Australia. If you want to visit, you’ll need to build a time machine first: This photo was snapped in 1958. If you’re not a physicist or Dr. Who, you can plan a lovely train journey in our timeline instead. Perhaps a trip to the rainforests and rice fields of Asia, an epic journey across the British countryside, a luxe, retro ride in Italy, a trek across the vast United States, or a vintage train holiday in Australia. Or go everywhere with this 80-day train journey around the world.

  • This essay about Ithaca is imbued with a powerful sense of place and a love of language. ‘Our world wasn’t birds, mushrooms, wasps, algae, moths, and stars. It was black-throated green warblers, weeping milk caps, ichneumons, spirogyra, sphingids, and Cygnus. The technical words and Latin names were the prizes, the identifications that came at the end of long sessions with the books. We had manuals for everything we collected, and each kind of plant or animal had its own vocabulary.’

  • This is so cool! A graphic novel about the first (fictional) woman to walk on the moon. First Woman: Expanding Our Universe is free online as a PDF and audio — and in both English and Spanish. The audio description of the book is really beautiful and made my eyes swim with a few tears. In addition to the graphic novel, the website includes bios of the real women who inspired the fictional Callie, info about NASA, and more to inspire future astronauts.

  • The Getty answers the burning question: What is a codex?

  • 10 Museums for Book Lovers to Visit Across the Globe. Author homes, museums devoted to individual writers, and the Museum of Writing Instruments!

  • Pop quiz: How well do you know TV show filming locations?. I got 8/14.

  • As I cannot resist a manor house mystery with rich people being terrible (and maybe getting offed along the way), I thoroughly enjoyed Killing the Rich: Why Privilege Has Always Been at the Heart of the Whodunnit. ‘[W]ith very few exceptions, the butler never did it. The rich were always responsible for their own demise. And that is a major part of the appeal of these upper-class mysteries – the idea that there is often corruption lurking beneath the privileged facade.’

  • Somewhat related: Saltburn and the Bizarre Life of Britain’s Stately Homes. ‘Like those many works before it, Saltburn plays with the idea that these enormous bastions of privilege and power are unique breeding grounds for strangeness – and, crucially, magnets for it too. Cut off both physically and financially, eccentricity and emotional indifference can flourish behind the gates.’ (This is my must-see movie of the fall.)

  • News you can use: The 9 Best Fall Cookbooks. (I love Snacking Cakes by Yossi Arefi — try this Powdered Donut Cake — so her new one Snacking Bakes is going on my holiday wish list!)

  • Every year, the Edward Gorey House — a museum devoted to the artist’s work and life — invites artists of all ages to draw their best Gorey-inspired art on envelopes. Here are this year’s winners.

  • What reader doesn’t love Levar Burton?! In this Esquire interview, he talks about book banning, hosting the National Book Awards, social media, and reproductive freedom.

  • You probably need to make a pilgrimage to San Francisco’s Silver Crest Donut Shop. ‘The owners of San Francisco’s 24-hour Silver Crest Donut Shop got the keys to the place more than 50 years ago. They still haven’t used them.’


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.

illustration of a brown beaver sitting on a grassy river bank
McGill Library/Unsplash.

In this episode, we get excited about two books: The Three Dahlias by Katy Watson and World Within a Song by Jeff Tweedy. Then Carrie from The Perks of Being a Book Lover celebrates the return of beavers to the Thames. [transcript]


We’re delighted to have Amy, co-host of The Perks of Being a Book Lover podcast, as our guest to share her ‘Distraction of the Week.

headshot of amy and carrie from the perks of being a book lover


We read to know we are not alone. — C.S. Lewis

Top image courtesy of Museums of History New South Wales/Unsplash.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got Emily Dickinson's fave things, a spooky choose-your-own-adventure story, the best of Shirley Jackson, Paddington Bear, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got an ode to meta-narrators, book discovery site, Gladstone's Library in Wales, (hot) librarian fashion, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got how to fall down a rabbit hole, David Tennant's Macbeth, magical winter getaways, the story of a haunted bookshop, and more.

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