Prada Marfa, Reading Aloud, Pop Culture Cookbooks, Krakow Milk Bars & More: Endnotes 10 May

Prada Marfa, Reading Aloud, Pop Culture Cookbooks, Krakow Milk Bars & More: Endnotes 10 May

Friday, 10 May, 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.


Nope, that’s not actually a Prada boutique in the photo above. It’s a permanent art installation on US Highway 90 in the West Texas desert, near Marfa. Created by artists Elmgreen & Dragset, it’s meant to eventually dissolve back in to the earth. For now, it’s a cheeky statement on consumerism that’s become a popular tourist attraction. It was inaugurated on October 1, 2005 and displayed pieces from Prada’s fall/winter collection selected by Miuccia Prada herself. That night, vandals spray-painted the words ‘Dumb’ and ‘Dum Dum’ on the building’s side walls and helped themselves to its luxury contents: six handbags and 14 right-footed shoes. It was cleaned up by the arts organization Ballroom Marfa and restored to its minimalist-luxe glory. The Guardian has an interesting piece on how a faux boutique became a beloved landmark. And according to this piece on Atlas Obscura, some conspiracy theorists believe Prada Marfa is an elaborate trap set by aliens to attract potential abductees.

  • Esquire has a fun piece on the cookbooks that take you on a culinary trip to fantasy destinations like Westeros, Tatooine, the USS Enterprise, the Shire, and more. ‘It’s just a whole other way to cosplay,’ says Elena Craig, a recipe developer who’s written cookbooks for the worlds of Harry Potter, Deadpool, and Hocus Pocus. They allow readers to bring their favorite fictional world to life, she thinks, and enlarge it to the point at which they can partake in it themselves.’

  • I want to declare these author t-shirts my summer uniform. On Wednesdays we wear Charlotte Brontë.

  • While we’re talking retail, how about these cute bookmarks?! (Thanks to friend-of-SSoP Alicia M for bringing these to my attention.)

  • Jane Austen’s House museum recently acquired her brother’s handwritten memoir, filled with ‘spidery crawl.’ A new exhibition Travels with Frank Austen is showing now. It features 73 previously unseen artworks from Frank’s 79 years with the Royal Navy along with his memoir. More details about the exhibit here — and info about a free online virtual of the museum on 17 May.

  • Culture Critic sends a great free weekly newsletter about art, culture, and history; such fun! Here’s a sneak peek at the kind of stuff to expect:

  • These quiet paintings by Spanish artist Isabel Quintanilla have a very strong sense of place. ‘The Telephone’ might be my favorite. The short stories that image inspires!

  • How do you feel about organizing books by emotion? ‘I discovered the full brilliance of my system: brainy books up here, snow-day books down there, revered books — Remains of the Day, Franny and Zooey, Anything Is Possible — at eye level, a daily gut check from writers far better than I. Doom-and-gloom books make me queasy (climate/elections/Supreme Court/Big Pharma), and what do you know, I’d placed them in my periphery, in a neat, disposable stack on an unused dresser in a useless alcove.’

  • Love this! Why reading out loud is a joy for adults as well as kids.

  • Krakow, Poland’s milk bars (bar mleczny in Polish) are cafeterias that serve traditional Polish favorites like sausages, pierogies, and goulash. Saveur has opinions about how to take a milk bar crawl through Krakow. ‘These no-fuss canteens serve affordable yet filling meals that taste like Babcia’s house — big, honking dessert and all — and they hold a deep, nostalgic place in Poland’s national psyche. ‘

  • The Accidentally Wes Anderson exhibit — a collection of 200 whimsical photos from around the world — is now open at the Santa Monica Art Museum in California. Details here. It looks so cute!

  • Must-click headline: Eight of the Greatest Campus Novels Ever Written. (It’s a solid list and/but I would add If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio).

The 2024 ‘Ask Us Anything’ Episode: In Which We Answer Audience Questions

We recently invited our audience to ask us anything, and we got excellent questions in return. The queries ran the gamut from ‘What literary theme park would you design?’ to ‘How do you hope people relate to your show?’ and ‘Are you still thinking about developing tours of bookshops in Europe?’

In this mini-episode, we answer those questions and more — including what we do if we find a great book after a show has aired, what the inside of our podcast recording booth looks like, and whether or not Dave is really 6’5”. And, due to popular demand, we deliver an update on our cat Smudge. [transcript]

Here’s hoping curiosity leads you somewhere fun today.

Top image courtesy of Mick Haupt/Unsplash.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got 7 places like the Grand Budapest Hotel, the number of bubbles in champagne, a Palestinian poem, a new Brontë play, and more.
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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got epic Hollywood reads, a new comic from the author of Gender Queer, crime novels with a strong sense of place, idioms, and more.

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