Midsummer, Librarian Advice, Bosch Parade, Classic Mysteries, Firebrand & More: Endnotes 21 June

Midsummer, Librarian Advice, Bosch Parade, Classic Mysteries, Firebrand & More: Endnotes 21 June

Friday, 21 June, 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.


Last night was the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, and if you think it came very quickly this year, you’re right. This was the earliest summer solstice in 228 years. That means the last time the solstice occurred this early, George Washington was president, and the French Revolution raged in Paris. Because of the Gregorian calendar and leap years, the summer solstice will get progressively earlier every four years until 2096, when the solstice will flip backward. You can read all the science right here and here. No matter the timing, it’s cause for celebration. Here are nine ways countries celebrate the solstice. There are bonfires in Barcelona, dancing around a maypole in Sweden, ancient monuments in Malta, and more. In Scandinavia, Midsummer (or Midsommar) is an ancient pagan festival that marks the midpoint of summer and the longest day of the year. This year, it falls on Monday, 24 June. Some Swedes argue that the village of Dalarna is the best place to celebrate, but Finland would also like a word. Can’t get to Scandinavia right now? You could watch the 2019 folk horror film Midsommar, if you dare. It tells the (very unsettling) story of an American couple who run afoul of a Midsommar celebration in Sweden. The Ringer explores how the movie turned tradition and folklore into nightmare fuel, and this explainer delves into symbolism, themes, and Easter eggs. May all your flower crowns be benevolent.


New Strong Sense of Place Episode — India: The Continent Masquerading as a Country

India seems committed to being over-the-top in the best way possible. It’s colorful, noisy, crowded, vast, deeply historic, spiritual, vibrantly modern, multi-lingual, and stunningly beautiful.

Want to get loud? India is the place for you! Sure, its population of 1.4 billion people might overwhelm you with the sheer crush of humanity, but its cities have an undeniable energy once you’re acclimated. Delhi, the capital, has everything that makes travel great: ancient forts, mosques and temples, leafy parks and botanical gardens, sprawling bazaars, and bustling lanes of street food. And Mumbai (formerly Bombay) is the home of Bollywood movie magic.

Feeling like a quiet retreat? India is the birthplace of yoga and meditation. You could visit Rishikesh, on the bank of the Ganges, to practice asanas in the birthplace of yoga. Or visit the ruins of the Maharishi’s ashram to feel the past vibrations of The Beatles.

India is also a fantastic place to shop for jewelry in a market, eat the best curries in the world, browse epic English-language bookstores, wander through centuries-old forts, and, of course, marvel at the Taj Mahal.

In this episode, we celebrate the poet Kabir Das, talk about dolphin rights, dig into Salvador Dali’s quirks, and explore India’s Golden Triangle. Then we recommend five great books that took us to India on the page, including immersive historical fiction, a travelogue and memoir of life in Delhi, a most unusual cookbook, a coming-of-age story (with dragons!), and a snappy crime novel with an unforgettable heroine. transcript]

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

The highest in us bows to the highest in you… namaste.

Top image courtesy of Joshua Hanson/Unsplash.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got vintage Gothic book covers, the best beaches around the world, reading's carbon footprint, Amor Towles' home library, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got fandom throughout time, great magical realism reads, the story of the Ferris Wheel, Kafkaesque, walking in Florence, and more.
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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