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 Roman amphitheater above is the Pula Arena in Pula, Croatia. The city (known as Pola in Italian) is on the Istrian peninsula, spitting distance from Rovinj (another pretty Croatian city), Trieste (an Italian city with Austro-Hungarian influence), and Venice (just a 3-hour catamaran ride away). The Arena is one of the largest and best-preserved ancient amphitheaters in Europe — despite the Italian fascists’ attempts during WWII to dismantle it and relocate it to mainland Italy. Now you can roam the ruins during the day and take in concerts or films at night. Duran Duran is playing there on 30 July; Dave and I will be in the audience, sitting on the ancient stone seats. We’re also planning a walking food tour, maybe a sunset boat ride to look for dolphins, and definitely a swim in the turquoise water. We’ll also take a stroll through the triumphal Arch of the Sergii, built in 29-27 BCE to honor three members of the Sergii family (one of the posh ruling families in ancient Rome). More relevant to our interests: It’s next to the Ulysses bar, the former Berlitz language school where Irish author James Joyce once taught English. Sadly, the author of Ulysses, Dubliners, Finnegans Wake, and more didn’t enjoy his stay in Croatia. He grumpily remarked, ‘Istria is a long boring place wedged into the Adriatic peopled by ignorant Slavs who wear little red caps and colossal breeches.’ Grump.
Must-click headline: Inside Ewan McGregor’s Enchanting Take on A Gentleman in Moscow. Cannot wait! Fingers crossed they don’t mess it up! (Listen to Dave talk about the book in our podcast episode Russia: Revolution, Hope, and Vodka.)
I learned two important things from this excellent Esquire piece about the 2023 Hugo Awards. First, there was a controversy (!) around the voting, and second, the 2024 WorldCon will be in Glasgow, Scotland.
This is neat: The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress is building an audio archive of American experiences with Covid-19 — and you’re invited to share your story. ‘If you would like to share your COVID-19 story, we invite you to choose someone you care about and record together.’ You record right on their website, and there are plenty of helpful details to get you started.
Potentially relevant to the upcoming holiday: Aphrodisiacs From Around the World.
Funny and informative: Is the phrase The Tortured Poets Department grammatically correct?
Well, this is very cheery! From Morocco to Vietnam, the most colorful places in the world.
When we book hotel rooms, we usually go for comfortable and clean, rather than luxe and indulgent. But it is fun to see how the other half lives. Take a peek inside the 5 most expensive hotel rooms in Europe.
A fun weekend project, perhaps?
The Tocabe restaurant and its online Indigenous Marketplace make Indigenous meals available to Native American communities — and their heat-and-eat meals can be delivered in the 48 contiguous states. Saveur has the whole (inspiring) story. ‘This is food that’s nourishing, but also spiritually supportive… we’re providing something that’s meaningful and comes from other Native hands.’
‘As I grow older — I’m now in my early 60s — the books of my childhood seem more and more vivid… Not only can I remember, half a century later, my first readings of Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe, but I can sense quite clearly my feelings at the time — all the wide-eyed excitement of a seven-year-old, and that curious vulnerability, the fear that my imagination might be overwhelmed by the richness of these invented worlds. Even now, simply thinking about Long John Silver or the waves on Crusoe’s island stirs me far more than reading the original text. I suspect that these childhood tales have long since left their pages and taken on a second life inside my head.’ Read more of J.G. Ballard’s gorgeous words about beloved books.
7 UNESCO Cities of Literature Every Bookworm Should Visit. (The criteria for a City of Literature include the number of libraries, bookstores, and cultural centers, the media’s involvement in promoting literature, literary events and festivals, and the role that literature, poetry, and drama play in city life.)
Ooh, this quiz was tricksy! Each question has four options, three of which can be used to finish a common expression. You’ve got to find the odd word. I got 14/17.
From Collector’s Weekly: The history of Barbie and why she’s more popular than ever.
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: Everyone on This Train is a Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson and Fall Through by Nate Powell. Then Dave shares a lovely poem by Matthew Olzmann. [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.
Top image courtesy of https://www.pulainfo.hr/.
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