Curaçao, Slow Reads, New Cookbooks, Overnight Trains, Bookshelf Skirt & More: Endnotes 05 July

Curaçao, Slow Reads, New Cookbooks, Overnight Trains, Bookshelf Skirt & More: Endnotes 05 July

Friday, 5 July, 2024

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 colorful signs above are found on Mambo Beach in Willemstad, the capital of the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao. Imagine an endless blue sky over turquoise-blue water lined with candy-colored houses that look like a giant dropped a handful of Lego blocks on his way to the beach. Aruba, Bermuda, and the Bahamas get a lot of attention, but Curaçao is less crowded, less expensive, and — dare we say it? — maybe even more dreamy. The Dutch island is in the Caribbean Sea, about 40 miles/64km north of Venezuela. Anytime is a good time to visit: think balmy. The high temperature is in the 80s/low 90s (30sC) throughout the year. You can hike or ride a jet ski (!) to the Blue Room Cave or relax/splash on one of the islands’ 34 soft sand beaches. When you’re hungry, you can indulge in barbecued goat, fried plantains, rice and beans, pumpkin pancakes, and fresh-from-the-sea fish — plus iguana stew for the daring; excellent food video here. Here are 7 reasons from Lonely Planet and 5 reasons from AFAR that Curaçao should be your next Caribbean vacation. Or settle in for 40 minutes with a full documentary about the island for the scoop on food, diving, kite flying, and more.

  • So many exciting food ideas in this list of upcoming cookbook releases. Korean! Greek! Gothic! Scottish! Nigerian! Balkan! Indonesian! Caribbean!

  • Really I Just Want to Stay Home and Make Art About My Dog. Can 100% relate to this interview with cartoonist Sara Varon, but for me, it’s reading and my cat.

  • This is an empowering essay about reading books you don’t entirely understand. ‘At present, I have an alarming number of tabs open… There are 15 pages of notes in my now-finished notebook that are about the same subject that led to all these tabs. A lot of these tabs concern the history of a country I don’t live in. Some are mythology. It’s a real cornucopia of delights, and it’s also very distracting. There are so many rich and fascinating rabbit holes a person might fall down. This is all because I’ve been reading a book that I don’t entirely understand, and frankly, it’s wonderful.’



New Strong Sense of Place Episode — Outer Space: We Are All Made of Stars

space shuttle blasting off the ground in a cloud of smoke against a bright blue sky
The Space Shuttle Challenger launching at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo courtesy of NASA.

As you read these words and listen to our podcast, we’re all riding on a ball about 8000 miles (13,000 km) across. Our rotating disco ball in space is dancing around the sun at about 67,000 mph (107,000 km/h).

Our sun is about 93 million miles (150 million km away), shooting us with subatomic particles. Probably not maliciously, but who knows? The sun might be a trickster. It’s also filling our solar system with light so we can see all the other planets, comets, asteroids, dwarf planets, and moons in orbit.

As humans, it’s nearly impossible to not put ourselves at the center of the world — we all have main-character energy. For millions of years, we puny humans have looked up at the sky and tried to understand just what the devil is going on and where we belong in the whole situation.

In this episode, we try to unpack many of the mind-blowing facts we know about space and our expanding universe — and we get real about the emotional impact of embracing our stardust origins. We talk about the condition called the Overview Effect and whether or not space smells funny. Then we recommend great books that took us there on the page, including a hopepunk story set on an orbiting space fleet, a thrilling novel about a lady astronaut, a sci-fi love story set on Mars, the autobiography of the Milky Way, and a gorgeous book about what aliens can reveal about our humanity. [transcript]

Visit our show notes for photos, links to fascinating stuff, videos, author info, and more.


Look up in awe.

Top image courtesy of Emiel Molenaar/Unsplash.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got a rugged Scottish island for sale, 30 things good readers do, niche museums, five Italy podcasts, Emma read-along, and more.
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