Most memorable books I have read in 2020
Most memorable films (+1 documentary) that I watched in 2020
I know it’s been a while since my last article. But don’t worry – I have meticulously saved everything I loved watching, reading, and discovering over the summer months.
I am beyond happy I managed to assemble all my lists into one article because it feels like an extra special treat. Which it is, since this post also marks my 8 year blogging anniversary!
These being said, here are my favorite…
This must be one of the most memorable books I have read in 2020. Bernardine Evaristo successfully crafted 12 stories of absolutely fascinating women. She also perfectly managed to portray these women through a unique calibration of words that is neither cumbersome nor confusing.
Ian McEwan is a master of words, and this book is a masterpiece in itself. Beautiful, painful, emotional, real, fictional – it had everything.
Briony was impeccably crafted as a character – McEwan has a perfect grip on childhood, children’s thoughts, and their behavior. And even though I kept reminding myself that the characters and actions are fictional, I still couldn’t bring myself not to hate Briony and pity Cecilia and Robbie.
It’s hard to love a book about a topic as grim as the climate crisis. But our reality may be equally grim if we don’t take global action towards our emissions. This is a very well written and well documented book. I am (oddly) very excited to read more books on the topic so I can make better comparisons.
“Khaled Hosseini writes about the bonds that define us and shape our lives, and how the choices we make resonate through history.” I don’t know what else to add. Other than that this has to be one of the most memorable, beautiful, and heartbreaking stories I have ever read.
This has got to be one of the most beautiful books I have read in 2020. It is made up of 15 stories crafted by some of the biggest Romanian writers and it is full of character, emotion and memories. It’s a delightful reading experience and a masterclass in writing and celebrating Romanian vocabulary.
A book about the real Romania and the courage to live differently and document this reality. Impeccable and simple writing. Memorable photography. A gorgeous gift idea.
Hans Zimmer Breaks Down His Legendary Career – Vanity Fair
The master of epic soundtracks offers a bit more insight into how he got involved in certain projects, including his initial reservations about The Lion King or Pirates of the Caribbean. Absolutely fascinating and inspiring.
Yvonne Orji is so fun to watch and listen – she is simply bursting with great energy! Watch her explain Nigerian Slang in the video above and have a look at Insecure as well (HBO)!
This is both hilarious and instructive, and if you have a passion or curiosity for movies, you will love learning more about what happens behind the scenes. This is an ongoing series that Vanity Fair produces, so once you are done watching this video, you can check out the others as well.
This has got to be one of the funniest, most spot-on and time-relevant ads of 2020. I love that the ad started from a real-life situation and then cleverly integrated the Apple products, services, and ecosystem, rather than the other way round. This is in fact, a follow-up ad to Apple at Work, a campaign from 2019.
If you are searching for an eerily calming and fascinating video that combines art and physics, look no further than this recording of Theo Jansen’s fascinating beach creatures. It sounds weird (and it is), but it’s really mesmerizing and worth watching.
My coworkers raved about this show, so I obviously had to find out what was all the fuss about. I was honestly expecting a very awkward and cringy show, but what I got instead were plenty of laughs, the satisfaction of seeing great chemistry on screen, and even a crying moment. It’s a very enjoyable show.
Not in a million years did I think I would be entranced by basketball. I am glad that the Last Dance changed my mind. In the beginning, I thought there were too many episodes to explain a single NBA season, but as I started watching I understood that it would be impossible to explain the last championship of the Chicago Bulls, as led by Michael Jordan, without explaining all the work and events leading up to it. It’s an absolutely captivating show, even for people who don’t know much about basketball.
I lost count at the number of times I gasped or said WOW or simply paused an episode in order to savor the beauty of some houses. This is a stunning show which will make you appreciate good architecture even more.
While researching more about the relationship between fast fashion and sustainability, I stumbled across this article which I found very constructive and practical. I bookmarked it and then looked up its author, Lauren Bravo. Turns out she also wrote a book about the topic, which I have to read now, of course.
This hilarious piece from Penguin (the publishing house) answers the question “what if novels were reviewed in the same way tourist destinations are online?”. Some of the novels reviewed are The Great Gatsby, Les Misérables, and Dracula.
* All are located in Bucharest.
This is the first extension of a Romanian brand focused on healthier eating-out options. The whole design of the place is super nice, quite photogenic, and laid back. I wrote more about this in an Instagram post.
Carturesti is already known worldwide for its superb Carousel bookshop, but Carturesti Verso is a smaller sibling that also deserves some love. It hosts a mix of design objects and books, with enough options to satisfy any book lover.
This is a newly opened space in Bucharest with amazing ice cream and cakes. Forget I said “amazing”. They have THE BEST mango cake I ever tasted. It’s a brand and concept where you can instantly notice the thought that went into each detail and product.
You probably saw this link floating around during the first half of the year, but I only recently got to explore this website and it is so cool and surprisingly calming. Highly recommend it.
This amazing podcast tells “the stories behind the world’s most recognizable and interesting sounds”. I absolutely enjoyed learning more about sonic logos in this special episode about Netflix.
I hope you enjoyed this list of recommendations. If you did, share it with a friend who you think might like it too.
Here’s to 8 more years of writing!
Yes, I’m aware that I’m awfully late with this post (for various reasons relevant only to myself), but alas, here is another list of books, movies, and resources that I appreciated in the past two months.
A note on future content: Starting June, I will also add more books authored by BIPOC and movies/series about black history (and not only!) to my Recommendations as a conscious, constant, and long-lasting duty in my content curation.
This must be one of the most eye-opening books I have read in 2020. In her 1990 book, Naomi Wolf presents how social and cultural stereotypes have increasingly shaped women’s physiques, behavior, and mentality.
On top of all the layers described by Wolf (media, advertising, education, religion, etc.), social media is increasingly influencing how women perceive themselves, so I’d be very curious to read a second volume on the topic.
This autobiography has been on my list for two years and I am so thrilled I finally got to it. I read it almost feverishly and then quickly instructed my mother to read it as well. The book tells the story of Andre Agassi, a world-renowned tennis player, from his early childhood on the tennis court in his backyard to the last match he played professionally. It is told almost breathlessly and it’s not easy to put down.
Fiction-wise, I have enjoyed reading Where the crawdads sing by Delia Owens and Little fires everywhere by Celeste Ng. I don’t frequently read fiction, but when I do, all I want is to be immersed in well-built and believable worlds and be engaged in relevant and thought-provoking themes, which both of these books provide.Continue Reading…
How is everyone doing? I figured most of us are craving for bits of our “old” lives, hence why I decided to go on with my regular editorial scheduling, bringing you my favorite cultural recommendations in terms of books, movies, documentaries, videos, exhibits and more. Obviously, everything I will mention in this month’s post will be accessible from home, the place where we should be most of the time for the sake of everyone’s health and for the sake of worldwide health systems.
PFEW. Saying all this makes me feel like a broken record, but alas… here are all the things I loved during March 2020:
This book was everywhere on my Instagram feed ever since it launched. There were multiple interviews with the author which I saved in my TBR folder because I wanted to read the book first. And my God, I basically inhaled the 300+ pages in 3 days, it was that good! It’s an amazing book about relationships, desire, human needs, trust, despair, disappointment, sex, societal influences, labels and so much more.
I knew I would like this book the moment I saw it. It explained simply and scientifically how most of our decisions are actually triggered, inspired or influenced by members of the society around us. We aren’t really that free and independent in our choices as we would like to think, but I believe that if we are aware of the factors influencing us, then we can truly better understand why we do certain things/ buy certain objects/ crave a specific lifestyle. Super good read.
I love everything Alain de Botton writes and this book made no exception. I found its story very compelling and its structure very useful in providing constructive explanations and reasoning into the story. I think it’s a fantastic read for anyone who wants to better understand oneself and who wishes to have an equally emotionally intelligent relationship with their romantic partner.
Building unlikeable characters which you end up loving by the end of the book is no easy feat, but Backman does a particularly great job at this. I laughed out loud a few times, deeply felt the tearjerking moments and overall tried to empathize a lot with Ove and his way of living. A delightful read to hopefully put into perspective the life of elders around us.Continue Reading…
Kunsthal constantly manages to create absolutely incredible exhibits and the Thierry Mugler exhibit is no exception. The exhibit wastes no time in introducing people to the designer – the first room is instantly immersing people in Mugler’s early work involving stage costumes. Besides this aspect, I was pleasantly surprised to see the number of iconic items they have gathered. I must have spent at least 25 minutes in total just gasping at the craft behind the pieces. The expo will move In March-April to Munich, so if you want to see you can catch it there.
I have absolutely loved this analysis of 1917! Obviously, the movie itself is a technical masterpiece – a rare immersive experience. I almost forgot to breathe during the movie because I felt it so intensively, but this is proof that it is definitely worth watching.
This documentary shouldn’t have shocked me, but somehow it did. it takes an insider look at an American factory which is reopened by Chinese investors. The whole story made me feel very uneasy due to a lot of reasons I will not list here, but I would still recommend it. And btw, it was created by the production house set up by Michelle and Barack Obama.
I did not think I would enjoy Taylor Swift’s documentary so much, but I did. And I am glad she made the step of opening up and letting people in her thoughts, her process, and her own issues. Naturally, I became OBSESSED with Only The Young – it’s a really good song.
Surprise, surprise – the second The Take video in a Recommendations post! Seriously, I am mesmerized by their video analyses. This one is also very nuanced, going through a lot of the movie’s layers.
Right after the second season dropped on Netflix, it seemed that all my friends had been hard-core fans of the show because everybody was hyping it left and right. So, obviously, I had to watch it to satisfy my curiosity. And I get it now. The topics, the acting, the characters, the aesthetic, the jokes – the combo of everything is a winner.
In case this campaign has not reached you in February, I decided to list it here as well. I will not spoil it for you (you’ll get this pun after you see the ad), but it’s really good and provocative.The Goop Lab – Cynical reviews
I didn’t even attempt to watch The Goop Lab because I don’t want to support in any way pseudo-science that aims to capitalize on gullible people, but I still wanted to know what they talk about in this show. This analysis is great and funny and very important, especially if you have the tendency to believe celebrity sponsored activities and products.
WOW. I promise you that after watching this video you will never listen to Toxic in the same way. I wish more songs were broken down and analysed like this.Continue Reading…