Christmas flew past in a blur, didn't it? Now we're facing the end of a year and the birth of a new one. It's the time of year that has me thinking back on the good things that have happened. It's so easy to get bogged down in the negative. As someone who fought crippling depression for many years, I know what it's like to look out at the world through a black cloud. 2019 will be the third year that I utilize my Blessings Jar. Every week, I write down on a slip of paper something good that happened, and I put the slip in a Mason jar. On New Year's Eve, I empty the jar and read all the slips. It never fails to put a smile on my face. Granted, there's been a week or two where the good things were a bit scarce. The slip for that week may say nothing more than "watched two yellow butterflies chase each other around the backyard." But guess what? That slip makes me smile, too, because this whole Blessings Jar idea has helped me focus on ALL blessings. Not just the huge ones like being able to see distances without glasses, but the little ones as well. It's those little ones that can sustain us the most.
So if there's any one thing that I wish for all of you-- and the world for that matter-- it's freedom.
Freedom from want. Freedom from ill health. Freedom from loneliness. And how about freedom from ignorance, hatred, and bigotry? There are so many dark clouds trying to obscure our beautiful planet. Each one of us needs to do our bit to bring freedom to one and all.
And on that note, may you all have the best of all possible years to come. Enjoy the links!
►Books & Other Interesting Tidbits◄
- Small bookstores are booming after nearly being wiped out.
- Science has chosen the absolute worst year in history to have been alive.
- What authors should do when their publisher closes.
- Crime Festival Journal: Iceland Noir 2018.
- Writer Linda Fairstein's past as a prosecutor overseeing the Central Park Five causes an award controversy. (The Mystery Writers of America subsequently changed their minds about giving the award to her.)
- Why are fewer people majoring in history?
- Cooking Sherlock Holmes' favorite foods.
- Relive medieval London's bloody murders with this new interactive death map.
►Channeling My Inner Indiana Jones◄
- For $7.7 million, you could own a Rembrandt, complete with fingerprints.
- The Leaning Tower of Pisa has gotten a little straighter.
- A man found $7.5 million in a storage unit he bought for just $500 from Storage Wars star Dan Dotson.
- Egypt unveils an ancient tomb and sarcophagi in Luxor.
- An erotic fresco has been uncovered in Pompeii.
- An ambitious VR experience restores 7,000 Roman buildings and monuments to their former glory.
- For Sale: A tricky cipher machine from World War II.
- Archaeologists are looking for Dead Sea Scrolls inside two newfound Qumran caves.
►Channeling My Inner Elly Mae Clampett◄
- Ants take sick days, too.
- Whales change their tune every few years.
- Dozens of sea turtles have been found frozen to death at Cape Cod.
- A peacock in Vermont has been on the run with wild turkeys.
- Early mammals were thought to be small and unseen in the Age of Dinosaurs. An elephant-sized fossil complicates that story.
- A man discovers a family of mice living in his garden, so he builds them a miniature village.
- It only takes six hours for billions of plastic nanoparticles to accumulate in sea scallops.
- Fruit flies first began feeding on our fresh produce about 10,000 years ago.
►The Happy Wanderer◄
- Why the Great Lakes make for the perfect mystery setting.
- Is Mumbai the 21st century Capital of Noir?
- The Parco degli Acquedotti is a beautiful park on the outskirts of Rome that protects the ruins of two colossal ancient aqueducts.
- The murals on Saint Laurent Boulevard in Montreal are something to see.
- Mundal, Norway has more books than people.
- Dorothy Porter, the Howard University librarian who decolonized the way books were catalogued.
- Bletchley Park codebreaker and colorful peer Baroness Trumpington has died at the age of 96.
- Joan Curran, the woman whose invention helped win a war-- and still baffles weathermen.
- Critically explore 17th-century noblewoman Hester Pulter's little-known poems online.
►I ♥ Lists◄
- Five crime novels from Scandinavia that show the breadth of the genre, as recommended by a Swede.
- Five outstanding feminist Western characters.
- Eleven "problems" inspired by animal names.
- The coziest bookstore mysteries around.
- Six historical crime novels set during the Gilded Age.
- NPR's Book Concierge, a guide to 2018's great reads.
- The best mystery novels of 2018.
- The year's best cover art for crime and mystery.
That's all for this week! Don't forget to stop by next Friday when I'll be sharing a freshly selected batch of links for your surfing pleasure.
Have a great weekend, and read something fabulous!