Laura Recommends

December and January Recommendations

February 5, 2020

I know it may seem like I haven’t written a Recommendation post in years, but moving forward I was thinking of publishing these posts only once every two months as my schedule is getting increasingly busy. Any thoughts on this new frequency?

Other than this quick update, I hope the beginning of the new year found you happy, healthy and determined to make the most of this decade.

Meanwhile, to keep you informed, entertained and curious, I have prepared a list of all the books, articles and movies I have enjoyed in the past two months. Obviously I included only the things I really loved and feel comfortable recommending.

BOOKS

The Fate of Food – Amanda Little

I have absolutely adored this book and will not spam you further with content about it, but if you are curious about it and still haven’t read my review, you can find it here.

Lab Girl – Hope Jahren

This book taught me that’s it’s not necessary to have crazy action and events to write a beautiful book. Hope Jahren is a professor and scientist in geochemistry and geobiology. In her first book she manages to beautifully capture and share her passion for plants and nature and the struggles of being a researcher in a field where money is not necessarily pouring out of the sky. She also manages to present an honest perspective over friendship, particularly about finding friends who are as weird and passionate as you.

How to Stop Time – Matt Haig

I am a sucker for most books addressing time travel. While this particular book’s main character is not a time traveler, but a guy who lives for a bizarrely long period of time, readers can still enjoy stories from multiple centuries. This book is clever, emotional, grapping and very pleasant to read.

This is going to hurt – Adam Kay

I laughed so much while reading this book that it actually started to hurt 😂 While this book is incredibly funny and enjoyable, I think its biggest achievement is its authentic depiction of a doctor’s life (in NHS). We don’t usually read stories this long about the exhaustion and the crazy shifts medical professionals have to go through, but perhaps the reason why is because most of them barely have time to sleep, let alone write a book. I am also curious to read his second book: Twas the nightshift before Christmas, so let me know your thoughts if you have read it!

Videos, Series and Movies

Parasite – in cinemas

I am 100% sure Parasite will be a top contender for my favourite top 10 movies seen in 2020. It had all the elements of a masterpiece – incredible screenwriting, brilliant plot twists, fantastic acting, class commentary, comedic timing and beautiful cinematography. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but you must see it.

The other Boleyn girl – on Netflix

This movie might not have the highest IMDB scores or critic reviews, but I fell in love with the costumes and with seeing Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman share the screen. The resourcefulness of Anne Boleyn, as depicted in this movie, kept me on the edge of my seat.

What the Health – on Netflix

I have been reading and watching increasingly more about food, sustainable diets and health, so this documentary has been on my list for quite some time. I think the biggest take away about it is the fact that a lot of national and international organizations know about certain links between food products and diseases and still, they don’t act up on it due to financial and political interests. On top of this, they act like they are not aware of the issue or straightforward tell the documentary maker to leave once he starts asking more uncomfortable questions. The documentary maker is the same guy who did Cowspiracy, so some bits may seem a bit repetitive.

Abstract – on Netflix

This show not only manages to present the stories of incredible people in the creative industries, but also manages to do so in ingenious storytelling ways. Seriously, both seasons of this documentary series are a visual feast. Thank me later.

The Morning Show – on Apple TV

I was super curious about this show because it was one of the first one that Apple created. So, the streaming wars are on. And with a brilliant cast with the likes of Jennifer Aniston (who, dare I say, wasted many years in pathetic silly rom-coms instead of showing her true potential), Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell. I loved the emotional complexity of characters and the fact that the show presented more perspectives on the same story. It may not grab you at first, but most people will certainly stay to watch the whole series and see a whole TV network empire crumble.

The cool girl trope, explained – The Take (on YouTube)

It’s quite rare for me not to feature a video by The Take in my Recommendations posts because they manage to put out amazing video essays every month. With the Cool Girl archetype they launched a new series of analyses which now also includes the Tough Girl and the Smart Girl. They are super insightful and entertaining, so I recommend you watch them all!

Top 10 movies of 2019 – Cinefix (on YouTube)

I think this item is self explanatory. I adore Cinefix and I trust their judgement immensely, so when they make a top 10, I know they have done their research.

In the past two months my video intake went through the roof, so besides the videos, documentaries and films mentioned above, I have also liked Jojo Rabbit and Knives Out. Out of older movies (as in not from this season) I liked On the basis of sex, Sully and The Young Victoria.

Recently, Bombshell, The Goldfinch and I, Tonya left me feeling quite meh, so I am not particularly excited about recommending them. I am curious though if you feel differently.

Extra

Athleisure, barre and kaleThe Guardian

I feel that recently there have been increasingly more articles on how women need to constantly self-optimize themselves due to certain societal pressures or internalized you-name-it. The article is a long read but it is totally worth your time. The author challenges the relationship between female happiness and exterior looks, which I found incredibly insightful.

The Deep Sea – Neal. Fun

This interactive and scrollable web page made the rounds on Facebook, but it was too cool not to add it to my list. You basically seem to scroll endlessly through each level of the sea/ocean, while learning more about the living beings and organisms that can tolerate certain levels of light, oxygen, food etc. It’s deeply (haha) fascinating!

The Guest-imator

I frankly don’t remember who shared this, but I think the idea of it is brilliant. You add how many people who expect to lunch/dinner/whatever, how much they regularly eat (small, average or bit eaters), how many leftovers you want and what sort of food you would like to serve. I think it’s brilliant – I just need to learn how to convert US food scales to international ones 😀

Fashion Footprint Calculator

If a Buzzfeed test’s interactivity would marry a sustainable questionnaire, I am pretty sure the result would be this test. Besides the fact that the test is clearly showing people the direct relationship between their consumerist fashion habits and the environment, what I particularly liked was the fact that they offered actionable advice at every step of the way.

The quiz is also superbly illustrated. You’ll see what I mean if you go through it.

(RO) Lucrurile pe care le luăm cu noi, lucrurile pe care le lăsăm în urmă – Scena 9

This article broke me. Seriously – I was sobbing at the doctor’s office while reading it. The story is about emigrating and people’s emotional connections with seemingly useless objects. This article made me painfully acknowledge my own privilege of being able to bring with me everything I wanted when I moved to the Netherlands. Please read it.

I hope you found something you liked in these recommendations!

And as always, I am open to listening to your thoughts about the format, content, etc.!

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