Laura Recommends

October and November Recommendations

December 1, 2019

Perhaps some of you noticed that in October I did not publish my list of favourites. I was not on an unannounced break, I just realized at the end of the month that there weren’t enough things to make for a full and worthy article. So, my call was to combine October and November recommendations in one post (I usually do November and December together).

BOOKS

When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

I saw this book on one of my coworker’s desks and then one of my best friends told me about it, so obviously I had to give it a go. I listened to the audio book version of it and I was hooked from the first few minutes. The book explores death and mortality in sincere, hopeful and raw ways and it quickly became one of my 5 stars books this year.

Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot

WOW. Let me tell you I had no idea about the ride I was embarking on when I started this book. Although it’s pretty big (over 400 pages), I read it faster than I expected because the writing was great, flowing and clear. I don’t think it’s easy to follow multiple timelines and characters, but Rebecca Skloot certainly did a great job telling the story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman who died in 1951 due to cervical cancer and whose cells have been harvested and commercialized as the first ever immortal human cells. The book leads to a lot of discussions about the medical industry, ethics, privacy, racism and future practices and I highly recommend you to read it.

In the past weeks I have also read The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, which resonated to me more than I thought and which now made me add the movie adaptation on my To Watch list as well. I also read Outline by Rachel Cusk and found the writing absolutely beautiful and last but not least, I finally read This is how you lose her by Junot Diaz. Cannot wait to read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao soon!

PLACES

De Plantage

Using my graduation as a pretext for a fancy celebratory dinner, I finally had a strong enough reason to book a table at De Plantage, one of the most beautiful and elegant restaurants I have been admiring for years. The food was lovely, the desserts were great and the serving was impeccable. I will definitely go back there for a Martini Espresso, so if you want to join, let me know.

Droog

My friend Lesia took me to high tea at Droog and I have to say I was impressed! The tea was perfect and the complementary food we got was really delicious. We left really full, happy and giddy, and to be honest, that is the best emotional combo for leaving a restaurant/design hub/garden/ complex boundary-breaking cool place that Droog is.

Micropia

Micropia was one of the last 5 or 6 museums I still wanted to see in Amsterdam and when the opportunity rose to go with some friends, I said yes. While I never found microbes and bacteria particularly enchanting, going to the world’s only microbe museum chanced that. Once we got to talk about cheese and dairy products, I was hooked. I think it’s a super nice museum to visit in 60-90 minutes, and it’s especially nice for kids because it’s very interactive and dynamic – all museum goers having the opportunity to collect 30 stamps while there on a special card 🙂

Belgian Comic Strip Center

This museum was such a pleasant surprise! I was not expecting to go to a comics museum and find the history, the production processes and the array of possible genres so fascinating! I definitely left the place with a newfound love, admiration and respect for comics.

VIDEOS/SERIES

Rotten

I saw a trailer for Rotten on LinkedIn a while ago and I was hooked. This year I have been reading and watching a lot about food, so this series of documentaries (12 almost hour-long episodes) hit the right spot. I have learned a lot and certainly adopted a more critical perspective on food, how it’s made, where it’s produced and how sustainable it is, so I highly encourage you to watch it the two seasons!

The Game Changers

Hands on, THE BEST documentary I have seen all year! And the only one who made me click re-play instantly, which almost never happens. It’s about plant-based athletes, and if you are the tiniest bit interested in vegan nutrition, sustainable foods or athletic performances, please watch it.

Modern Love

I had high hopes for The New York Time’s series, adapted from their collection of essays, and it did not disappoint. There are things which could be critiqued, such as the inaccessible New York style most characters have or the fact that it shows highly optimistic scenarios, but the series promised to show modern love stories and it delivered. I binge-watched it in two nights and it made me very happy, so there’s that 🙂

Collective

This documentary about the fires that happened in a Bucharest club in 2015 has been one of the most expected screenings for me during IDFA. I went to see it with my mom and we both left the theatre crying and even after 4 years, still trying to grasp the reality of our home country, a place where people can be left to die in hospitals and where politics and money are more important than anything. The documentary is not yet streaming anywhere, so if you get the chance to watch it during a festival or special screening, I highly recommend you to go.

The Forum

Another great documentary from the IDFA week – The Forum explores in a way that has not been done before – the way the World Economic Forum works, the mentality of its founder, Klaus Schwab, and the increasing pressure of treating the climate crisis as an emergency that has to be brought up way more frequently and acted upon. Since the World Economic Forum celebrates 50 years of existence in 2019, there is no better time to watch this documentary than now.

MORE

Classic Fm

While on the hunt for background music to help me get work done, I somehow stumbled over classic fm (or maybe Jamie Beck @annstreetstudio mentioned it) and I fell in love with the soundtrack section. It’s a mix of new romantic classics, classic thriller songs and much more, so it helps me work on my music recognition skills, while not enabling karaoke (lyrics are always too distracting for me, so I can only be productive with instrumental music).

Crazy Genius

This may be the third or fourth time I mention Derek Thompson from The Atlantic on my blog, but his work is always so consistently good that it’s impossible not to share. A while back I learned he also hosted a podcast for The Atlantic so I obviously downloaded all episodes and binge listened to them. The themes covered vary from tech monopolies, going to Mars, self driving cars, AI, influencers, online dating and so much more. Most topics revolve around technology, science, culture and the impact on human life. I highly recommend it because it contains loads of food for thought.

No Squeak Broadcast

This might be one of the coolest campaigns I have seen in a while – thanks to technology a Ford campaign was able to remove the sound of basketball sneakers’ squeaking in order to illustrate how their new anti-skidding system works. It’s fun and unconventional and I love it!

How to think without the Internet again

I found this Medium piece incredibly insightful. It definitely made me reassess the number of tabs I have open on my work laptop, personal laptop and phone and try to drastically reduce them in order to have a clearer mind. Here is one quote I adored from this piece:

Odell’s theory is that trying to reclaim your attention from the internet isn’t entirely a fight against the internet. It’s a fight against a society that’s obsessed with the inhuman pace of productivity made possible by the internet.

Can a burger help solve climate change?

As part of my quest to read more about food, the way it reaches our table, our relation to food and the more sustainable approaches towards nutrition, I have also read this piece from The New Yorker which depicted various plant-based initiatives, their goals and their hurdles. I think it’s a great overview of the new wave of “meat” coming to our supermarkets, restaurant menus and plates.

I hope you found in this list something you liked, and if you did, it would be great to share it with a friend!

Enjoy December! 🙂

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