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 sun-burnished building above is the Broadway Tower in Broadway, England. Built in the 18th century, it’s a folly — a building constructed solely for decoration, an ornament to pretty-up the grounds of an estate. I like to think of a slightly mad noble giggling and rubbing their hands together with glee while demanding that a mock Egyptian pyramid, miniature abbey, or faux Chinese temple be built in the garden. Some are designed to look like ruins and here’s a permanent reconstruction of a Turkish tent in Surrey, UK. (Find more on this giant list of follies, or these 8 ‘best’ follies, or these 10 ‘romantic’ follies you can visit. The Broadway Tower was conceived by an 18th-century landscape designer called Capability Brown and built by architect James Wyatt, who added turrets, balconies, battlements, and gargoyles. Climb to the top of the 65-foot-tall (20m) tower, and you’ll be able to see 16 counties spread out below. The estate grounds include an underground Cold War-era bunker, nature walks (with sightings of majestic red deer), and a café serving afternoon tea. Learn more about the tower history and planning a visit.
I love novels with a story-within-the-story (here’s my list of 14 favorites), so I was excited to see this list of eight best novels-within-novels from the Booker Library.
Author Neil Gaiman is eloquent and inspiring. Enjoy his discussion with writer Roz Kaveney about why we need fantasy
Fresh titles for your TBR: 10 noteworthy books for January from The Washington Post. (gift link)
Would happily drink a cappuccino in any of the 29 beautifully designed coffee shops.
Fancy a trip to Spain? CNTraveler has some good ideas! Here are the most beautiful small towns and a night tour at the Mandarin Oriental Ritz in Madrid.
This is a thrilling story about the Rosenbach in Philadelphia, mysterious book pages, Peru, theater, and the value of dogged research.
I can’t wait to read this new novel about Anne Frank. ‘When We Flew Away: A Novel of Anne Frank Before the Diary by Alice Hoffman tells Frank’s story from the moment the Nazis invaded the Netherlands in May 1940 to when her family went into hiding in the annex of her father’s office building in Amsterdam in July 1942. The novel includes archival material provided by the Anne Frank House.’
This is all delightfully snarky:
My copy of Pride & Prejudice ends with a selection of literary notables who hate Pride & Prejudice pic.twitter.com/vd42RhQQaP— My name is Grant (@Gen_Ironicus) January 5, 2024
YES to these nature walks: 11 most beautiful elevated walkways through nature. California, South Africa, Colorado, Germany, Singapore, and more.
TASTY! Top 100 breads in the world. (The photos are fantastic.)
That time a brown bear became an army corporal during WWII. ‘[The Bear’s] antics provided much-needed entertainment, but he was more than just a pet. The bear proved his worth on the battlefield when his company was reassigned to Italy. Eyewitness reports from May 1944, during the Battle of Monte Cassino, purport that Wojtek bravely carried artillery shells and ammo crates across the battlefield.’
These small books from StorybookND are so beautiful. The series of slim hardcover fiction ‘aims to deliver the pleasure one felt as a child reading a marvelous book from cover to cover in an afternoon.’
In Japan, it’s tradition for grandparents to buy a $450 handmade book bag for children starting elementary school. ‘Choosing a randoseru is no simple decision. It is a serious, time-consuming affair, involving three generations of the family.’
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 Djinn Waits a Hundred Years by Shubnum Khan and Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree. Then Mel shares the podcasts that have captured her imagination. [transcript]
This episode is brought to you by BetterHelp. Give online therapy a try at betterhelp.com/StrongSense and get on your way to being your best self.
Distraction of the Week: Mel’s Podcast Recommendations
Top image courtesy of Colin Watts/Unsplash.
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