Critical Linking: July 19, 2015

Whether we’re catching a London train to the magic wizarding world, experiencing the running of the bulls in Pamplona, or dining across from an enchanting vampire in Washington, our literary adventures feel very real. Books have the uncanny ability to transport us to the places we’ve never been, introducing us to exotic characters we’d never otherwise encounter.

Travel literally accomplishes the same, so this summer, why not merge these two great escapes? For those who love their leisure time to involve a little (or a lot of) literature, we partnered with Kindle Paperwhite to round up the places featured in your favorite novels that you can actually visit IRL.

I’m a sucker for these “places from books you can really visit,” especially if I’ve read the books. Some of the ones on this list are fun and others are…IKEA.


In a 2012 study, two scientists invented a fake language (“Vimmi”) for 20 people to learn. They split the material into halves: Some words were taught with the help of gestures, and some without. The words they taught using gestures stuck with the students more—notably, even abstract words like theory, and adverbs. As the scientists put it, “Gestures can reinforce the sensorimotor representation of a word or a phrase, making it resistant to decay.” Or, as we put it, thumbs up.

Three tips for learning a new language.



For her entry into the biannual Sculpture by the Sea in Aarhus, Denmark, Swedish artist Susanna Hesselberg installed this ominous library that plumments into the ground like a mining shaft. While visually arresting, the piece has a somewhat somber intention.

What I want to know is how much is real and how much is a visual illusion.


“I say they should enjoy it while they can. You’ll be happy later to have taken pictures of yourself when you looked good. It’s human nature. And it does no good to puritanically say, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t be doing that,’ because people do.”

Margaret Atwood, you’re a treasure.


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