Our New Project: Strong Sense of Place

My new project is taking all of my attention right now, and I’d love for you to join me for new adventures!

It’s called Strong Sense of Place…

… a web site and podcast dedicated to literary travel and the best books set in destinations all over the world.

Both the subject (books! travel! recipes!) and the work itself (reading! writing! photography! illustration! coding!) feel like the culmination of our combined 60+ years of work experience. Which is a long way to say: This feels so right. And we are super excited!

Our web site is live now — www.strongsenseofplace.com — and we would love it so much if you clicked over there to explore.

About Us

David and I have been a couple since 1992. One of our favorite things to do together is explore new places — and then to sit quietly and read. We’re two introverts who crave adventures, as long as we get to choose the time and place. We’ve visited 25 countries and 33 U.S. states… so far. It’s our mission to share the things we see, learn, and read with you.

As long-time readers know, in 2017 we sold almost all of our stuff and moved from the U.S. to Prague with our laptops and our cat Smudge. It’’s a fantastic, magical, livable city — and it’s an excellent home base for other travel.

The world is a large and wondrous place filled with fascinating people — and one lifetime is too short to visit and get to know them all. That’s why our favorite books have a strong sense of place. They help us travel — at least in our imaginations — to destinations all over the globe, to meet people we might never get to know in real life.

Not only is the trip a whole lot of fun, we fervently believe that reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for you and good for the world around us. We want more of that.

And that’s why we created Strong Sense of Place.

The Web Site

We’re updating the new site almost every day with info that’s vital for armchair travel: book recommendations, essays about literary landmarks, cultural traditions, and other things that fire up our curiosity. Every Wednesday, we pair a book and a recipe in our Food+Fiction series. On Thursday, it’s Weekend Getaway, our pick for an excellent weekend read that will transport you somewhere — or sometime — in the world. And on Friday, I collect my favorite book- and travel-related links in Endnotes.

The Podcast

Our first season of the podcast was a huge success, and you can listen to all 12 episodes right here. In each show, we give you the 101 on a destination, play a round of Two Truths and a Lie, then recommend give books we love set in that destination. We also invite a guest to join us from time to time. In Season One, we featured:

We’re currently in production on Season Two and have lots of new armchair travel-related goodies coming on the Strong Sense of Place web site.

The 2020 Reading Atlas

When you sign up for our Strong Sense of Place newsletter, we’ll send you our free 30-page 2020 Reading Atlas that’s jam-packed with international reading and travel inspiration. There are so many gorgeous photos and book recommendations, including 14 books to take you around the world, 6 audiobooks with a strong sense of place, and 7 of our favorite book series.

Let’s Connect

We’re @strongsenseof everywhere, and we’re active on Twitter and Instagram. Please follow us in both places to talk about books and historical libraries, and delicious things to eat, and other stuff that makes the bookish life more fun.

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  • Jennifer Garst says:

    Hey, Mel! I love your recipes! I just realized that Ketogenic girl Vanessa Spina is in Prague as well. I think that y’all would have a lot in common. Your taco meat is the best! Xoxo, Jennifer

  • CINDY WINTER says:

    I made your Paleo Dan Dan Noodle dish the other night. Amazing flavors; I mixed that up with assorted leafy greens and roasted winter veg and it was stellar! My husband said it should be titled Paleo Din Din! I was missing you and your emails, so I went looking for you. Hope you are well and enjoying your new loves! xoxo, Cindy

    • So glad you enjoyed that recipe! I’ve been on a zucchini noodle kick myself 🙂

      Thanks for thinking of me! We’re working very hard on our new project Strong Sense of Place. I hope you’ll give it a look!

  • Laura says:

    I have to say that I do like your new website. As someone who loves to read and travel it is completely addictive! That being said…I so love all of your recipes. I use them all the time. Your meatballs are incredible!!!! So please keep posting recipes when you have time. Or better yet…Well Fed 4 😊

    • Hooray! I’m so glad you’re enjoying Strong Sense of Place. It’s definitely where our hearts lie these days. Such rewarding and inspiring work — and doing a whole bunch of reading is not a bad way to spend our time 🙂 I’m SO happy that the recipes have been helpful and continue to make your taste buds happy. I regularly post recipes on Strong Sense of Place, so be sure to pop over there to see what’s up, food-wise. Happy cooking and reading and traveling!

  • Laura says:

    My fantasy cookbook would be all of these “traveling recipes” in Paleo format 😊