Laura Recommends

July Recommendations III

August 8, 2019

I was a ball of stress at the beginning of July. Worrying between where I would live in few months’ time, the decreasing social utility of jobs (might read Graeber’s Bullshit Jobs book soon) and a general restlessness, I spent most of July trying to calm down, take the decisions which felt the most practical, regroup and find new strength for the coming months.

Meanwhile, I did get to read a lot and I also caught up with most of the movies and series I had planned to, so below I am sharing with you my favourites.


How we got to now – Steven Johnson

This was such an amazing book – it was captivating, very well written and pretty entertaining. Johnson selected six modern innovations, starting from the triggering circumstances to the lesser known implications of these inventions. For example, in the chapter tackling the maritime innovations of detecting enemy ships, Johnson also discussed how an effect of this technology was the ultrasound. Nothing harmful until here, but when you come to think that ultrasounds can detect the gender of fetuses, then you realize it is incredibly dangerous in countries that discriminate girls from their birth. There’s more from where this came from, so trust me when I say that you have to add this book to your list.

Bucurestiul meu – ed. coord. Gabriela Tabacaru

This book was a lovely recommendation from my dear Irina Markovits (if you love fashion, art, styling and books – her Instagram and blog are amazing!) and it was an incredibly pleasant surprise. It was not romanticizing Bucharest as much as I thought it would and the writing of most contributing authors was very immersive, warm and clever.


Fashioned from nature – Victoria & Albert Museum exhibit in Copenhagen

I had no idea this exhibit was showing at Copenhagen’s Geological Museum and found it coincidentally while walking out of Rosenborg Castle. It’s an incredibly well done exhibit with lots of fascinating pieces on display and plenty interactive corners where you can touch various materials and find out more about the provenience of textiles. The exhibit also focused on sustainability, organic materials and less animal furs and leather, so no wonder it won awards in the UK for showcasing these themes!

I spent there 2 hours and a half and I absolutely loved it!


Fleabag – Amazon Prime

Yes, I became one of these people obsessed with Phoebe Waller-Bridge. I find her delightful in her quirkiness, humour and “controlled female rage”. I have to confess I only got into it after hearing so many people rave about how sexy good of an actor Andrew Scott is in his role as a priest in Season 2 of the show. They were not wrong.

Chernobyl – HBO

I know everyone was talking about this series in May, but back then my thesis was all I could think about. Now that the thesis is off my mind, I can focus on other depressing things such as the amazingly well executed HBO production presenting the Chernobyl disaster and the aftermath. Must watch. Beware you may want to curl up in a ball and shout minutes after you play start.

Good Omens – Amazon Prime

I was taken by surprise by this series. The world building is fantastic and it connects lots of real and imaginative events, myths and folklore. The acting of Michael Sheen (the Angel) and David Tennant (the Demon) was spotless. I have to admit I enjoyed the first part of the show more than the second half, but overall it is still a great, weird, quirky, funny and highly pleasant show to watch.

Russian Doll – Netflix

Okay, this is not the most recent release, but it’s still a show I truly enjoyed. The premise is a bit overused (protagonist finds himself/herself reliving the same day over and over again), but all the other ensuing events and twists feel refreshing.

Water Lilies of Monet – documentary

I went to the cinema to see this documentary and somehow I left being an even bigger Monet fan. My biggest takeaways were learning about his perseverance in painting, no matter how bad the times were, and being eloquently explained his later work and how it connects to the New School of New York and implicitly, Jackson Pollock’s work. It was truly fascinating to discover all these connections in one documentary.


Designing for trust – Dan Ariely

I have seen Dan Ariely during a live event in Amsterdam when he came to talk about one of his most recent books, Dollars and Sense, and I instantly knew I had to watch and read more of what he had researched throughout the years. This TED talk of his is very insightful and enjoyable, so I highly recommend it.

Why are there so many movie theatre formats? – Insider

If you ever wondered what are the differences between IMAX, Dolby or Digital, then I think you are going to enjoy this video a lot. Many of these things are quite useful when you get to pick the type of screening you want to see and some also explain the heftier prices.

Every detail of Grand Central Terminal explained – Architectural Digest

This may been one of the best videos I have seen the entire month! It’s a long take (I think) throughout the iconic New York train station, combined with wonderful explanations for the various building details, renovation stages and history. Probably the most surprising thing for me was the fact that the Grand Central Terminal was designed to be a stairless station in order to accommodate travelers’ needs.

Which is the real Girl with a pearl earring? – The Art Assignment

This video presents the work surrounding Vermeer’s most famous painting, currently on display at the Mauritshuis in the Hague. There is a fascinating discussion about the differences between a high quality print and the painting itself and the potential of a 3D product that would be virtually indistinguishable from the real one. The real highlight for me was Abbie Vandivere, the Mauritshuis’ Paintings Conservator and Head Researcher – I would love to go to any event she is speaking at!

Poverty isn’t a lack of character, it’s a lack of cash – Rutger Bregman

Bregman was applauded for many of his statements in this TED talk and rightly so. Although some may seem like common sense things to voice about poverty – his research and his insights are backing them up. He is always making me feel hopeful that we can still tackle some of the world’s largest issues.

Canada’s New Vertical Banknote – Half-Asleep Chris

Wonderfully executed video with lots of curious insights such as the details featured on the Canadian Dollar banknotes from the Frontier series, such as the fact that all these notes feature various elements of Parliament’s buildings, maple leaves and in one case, even the Northern Lights.

The Dolly Zoom: More Than a Cheap Trick – Now You See It

This may be one of the best videos on the dolly zoom, which explains why sometimes the spectacle of the technique is encapsulating more nuance and meaning. The video also presents wonderful illustrations for the use of the technique.

Hope you enjoyed all these recommendations and found something you like! If you did, please consider sharing this article with a friend 🙂

Have a great August!

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