Endnotes: Strawberry Season, Sicily, Sci-Fi Romance, Bridgerton Sets (2024)

We're just one week away from the launch of Season 6 of ourStrong Sense of Place podcast (YAY!) — and we have lots of news to share today.

Endnotes: Strawberry Season, Sicily, Sci-Fi Romance, Bridgerton Sets (1)

New mini-episode today: Our Top 10 Books of the First Five Seasons
Before we get into our new season, we thought we'd take a look back at the books that have really stayed with us from our first five seasons. In a podcast that dropped today, we shared the rules for how we chose and revealed our top reads. May I just say that putting my picks in countdown order was an odious task? I love all my favorites equally!Listen on our blogor your favorite podcast app.

1 million downloads
Since we launched this project in 2020, we've produced 56 episodes ofStrong Sense of Placeand101 episodes ofThe Library of Lost Time. That means we'veintroduced you to somewhere between 500 and 700 books we love. Thank you for sharing our enthusiasm for books and travel — we're so grateful to have you join us.

Endnotes: Strawberry Season, Sicily, Sci-Fi Romance, Bridgerton Sets (2)

It's strawberry season here in Prague — all the fruit stands and markets smell like strawberries. A few months ago, I made a vow to Dave after we watchedthis video about sandwiches from around the world: I promised that we could make a Japanese-style strawberry-and-whipped-cream sandwich. Itshouldbe on Japanese milk bread, but I couldn't find it, so we used your basic, squishy, slightly sweet sandwich bread — and I was too lazy to make homemade whipped cream, so we used the kind from the can. You know what? It was still delicious. It was sort of a low-rent, low-effort strawberry shortcake.Here's a good blog post with a recipeif you want to try it.

Did you know that strawberries have more Vitamin C than citrus fruit? Madame Tallien did! According to legend, back in the 18th century, the glamorousThérésa Cabarrus — a.k.a, Madame Tallien, a.k.a. Princess of Chimay, a.k.a, the It Girl of the French Revolution— took leisurely soaks in a bath filled with strawberry juice because of the fruit's healing powers. It took 22 pounds (10 kg) of fruit to fill her basin.

I have questions. Do you think she ate strawberry shortcake whilst soaking in strawberry juice? Or was ever tempted to bring a bottle of rum and some ice into the tub to make a spontaneousstrawberry daiquiri? (Spontaneous Strawberry Daquiri, the name of my new pop-punk band.)

Definitely treat yourself to this roundup of factoids about the 'It Girl' of the French Revolution. She led a life of intrigue, scandal, and adventure. And, apparently, strawberries.

  • If you’re trying to learn a foreign language, here are helpful tips forbecoming an amateur polyglot.

  • Thesesculptures based on doodlesare a delight to see — and their story is quite poignant. ‘When visiting his hometown of Runik, Kosovo, back in 2010, Petrit Halilaj realized that his elementary school was being demolished. He went to the site—which had miraculously survived the Yugoslav wars that spurred his family to flee to an Albanian refugee camp in 1998—and found a pile of desks, many with doodles and notes scratched into their surfaces. These etchings have now found their way to New York, where they’re perched atop The Met’s rooftop garden…’ Here’s avideo interview with the artist.

  • Treat yourself tothis gallery of finalistsfor the Wanderlust Travel Photo of the Year.

  • I’m a superfan of Natasha Pulley’s novels (The Bedlam Stacks,The Kingdoms,The Half Life of Valery K), so I’m inclined to trust her recommendations forthe 5 best sci-fi romance novels.

  • Thismarriage of classic novels and rich paint colorsis pretty cool.

  • I keep crossing paths with articles about the novelThe Ministry of Timeby Kaliane Bradley. It sounds great!Esquireweighs in onwhy we love time-travel fiction— and here’s the author explaining why writing her book wasso much fun.

  • The Städel Museum in Frankfurt, Germany, recently showed an exhibit calledHolbein and the Renaissance of the North. There’s anexcellent interactive piece onlineexploring paintings and other objects from 16th-century Europe.

  • Tangentially related:Last week, I mentioned t-shirts emblazoned with women authors’ names. I noticed that Hilary Mantel was missing from the store, so I wrote them and asked them to consider adding her. It worked! You can now get at-shirtorsweatshirtto shout-out Dame Hilary.


Since we launched Strong Sense of Place in 2020, we’ve produced five seasons — 56 episodes — of the show. We’ve also shared our love for books through 101 episodes ofThe Library of Lost Timepodcast — and we’ve introduced to 500 books we love.

Thanks to you, we’ve had over one million downloads (!) and, the best part of all, we feel like we’re part of a massive book club filled with the best people. Thank you for that!

In this mini-episode, we each looked back through our book recommendations to find our top 10 titles from the first five seasons of the show. Maybe you’ll findyournew favorites, too!

listen | transcript

Stuff We Mentioned

Dave’s Top 10
10:The Tsar of Love and Technoby Anthony Marra(episode:Russia)
9:An American Childhoodby Annie Dillard(episode:Pennsylvania)
8:The Ladies in Waitingby Santiago Garcia and Javier Olivares(episode:Spain)
7:Turkey and the Wolfby Mason Hereford and J.J. Goode(episode:New Orleans)
6:Elephant Complexby John Gimlette(episode:Sri Lanka)
5:The Stranger in the Woodsby Michael Finkel(episode:Maine)
4:Why Buddhism is Trueby Robert Wright(episode:Thailand)
3:The Boat Who Wouldn’t Floatby Farley Mowat(episode:Atlantic Canada)
2:Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhereby Jan Morris(episode:Italy)
1:A Gentleman in Moscowby Amor Towles(episode:Russia)

Mel’s Top 10
10:The Pagesby Hugo Hamilton(Patreon Zoom book chat)
9:The Last Watchman of Old Cairoby Michael David Lukas(episode:Egypt)
8:This is Paradiseby Kristiana Kahakauwila(episode:Hawaii)
7:The Last Cruiseby Kate Christensen(episode:The Sea)
6:Circeby Madeline Miller(episode:Greece)
5:2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamasby Marie-Helene Bertino(episode:Pennsylvania)
4:Metropolitan Storiesby Christine Coulson(episode:Museums)
3:The Last Warner Womanby Kei Miller(episode:Jamaica)
3:The Seven Moons of Maali Almeidaby Shehan Karunatilaka(episode:Sri Lanka)
2:Spoonbendersby Daryl Gregory(episode:Chicago)
1:Still Lifeby Sarah Winman(episode:Italy)

May you find a new favorite book asap.

Thank you for reading! This post is public so feel free to share it — sharing is caring.


Endnotes: Strawberry Season, Sicily, Sci-Fi Romance, Bridgerton Sets (2024)
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