Happy New Year! I hope your 2018 was a good year for you and that 2019 will be even better. For those of you who thought I have abandoned my sacred monthly Recommendation project, I haven’t. It’s just that I have decided I will combine November and December into one big post (perfect for the holidays!) since these months are too crazy to pen down everything I want. You can check out here what I wrote last year during my November and December post.
Escher Museum, the Hague
I visited this museum in November after complaining I haven’t really seen a lot of museums in the Hague and this quickly turned into one of my favourite ones. It definitely offered more than I have expected, starting with the permanent exhibit of Escher’s visual illusions, the superb interior with square staircases, unique chandeliers and the fantastic interactive rooms perfect for testing how deceiving our sight can be. It’s certainly a fantastic place to spend 2 to 3 hours on a rainy day in the Hague.
Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden
I had no idea about this museum until I got out of Leiden’s train station and saw an ad for an exhibit about Bali. I was instantly triggered, so that obviously became a spontaneous stop during my day in Leiden. The exhibit was very well done, with many local objects, recordings, infographics, videos and so on depicting the local Balinese customs and way of living, while also highlighting the urgency of certain issues: mass tourism, plastic pollution and globalization. Beyond this exhibit, this museum of Ethnology has permanent and temporary exhibits on most regions of the world, from Asia to North America and Australia. I have to go back, so I would definitely schedule more than 3 to 4 hours for a thorough visit.
Femmes Fatales exhibit, Gemeentemuseum, The Hague
I had been waiting for this exhibit ever since I first read about it online and on my birthday I finally managed to get there with my mom. It was absolutely fantastic – from the selection of pieces and designers (all female) to the set up of the rooms and the stories behind them, this was a very tasteful exhibit which displayed more than I anticipated, so it has definitely exceeded my expectations. If you decide to go and visit it, the museum ticket also includes the entrance to the permanent exhibits (such as the one on Delftware) and temporary ones (such as Splendour and Bliss – a fantastic show of Islamic art!).
Since I have quite a long list of videos I loved during the past two months, I will list them below instead of writing full paragraphs about them. Each is under 20 minutes, so you can definitely carve out some time to watch them if you like the topics. These months I was very into movie-related subjects and I have definitely learned a lot from them, so I hope you will enjoy them too.
If you enjoyed this video about the role of food into character and plot development, you might also enjoy another video made by the same channel, this time about The Power of Aspect Ratio. It’s under four minutes, so it’s straight to the point and very well exemplified.
+ Arrival – Examining an Adaptation – by Lessons from the Screenplay (it’s a video from 2017, but it’s amazing nonetheless)
+ This Greenpeace video about palm oil. It’s from August, but if you haven’t watched it, you should. Expect goosebumps, guilt and a newfound desire to change things around.
The Everything Store – Brad Stone
It was about time I deep dived into Amazon. As it frequently represents a debate topic in uni classes, I thought it would be a good idea to read more about it and form a better informed opinion. I will not spoil the content of the book for you, but I think it’s a good read and it certainly clarifies certain aspects about the origins of Amazon’s values, work ethics (or the issues around them) and Jeff Bezos’ vision of the company and the future.
Citeste, te rog, citeste – Felicitas von Lovenberg (Read, please, read – literal translation)
I finished this on the last day of December and I really enjoyed it, I feel it made my appetite for books grow increasingly bigger as I was progressing through the book. It’s currently available only in German and Romanian, but I have a feeling it will become more popular. A fantastic read about books and any possible topic connected to them.
I also finally made time to read Mihaela Noroc’s Atlas of Beauty and I adored it from the first pages, deciding it is one of the most beautiful books to get and have at home, and also RO-KIT, another Romanian initiative, this time bilingual RO-EN, aimed at illustrating 50 Romanian icons in a minimalist fashion using the same single-weight line. I enjoyed both of them, so perhaps you will do too!
Movies and series
Unless you were on a two month-long no-social-media sabbatical journey, you have probably heard about the premiere of this epic movie about Queen and its lead singer, Freddie Mercury. Personally, I think the movie did justice to the story and also considering the run time of only 2 hours and few minutes, they condensed 15 years pretty decently. However, the most extraordinary parts are hands-on their musical performances. I got a wave of goosebumps every other second and this definitely shows the impact of the movie. Definitely go watch it if you haven’t already!
This is Us
Perhaps one of the series I have recommended the most to my friends in the past two months, This is Us reached the rare achievement of connecting many narrative threads into something coherent, touching and relatable. Some of the topics of the series are childhood, parenting, adoption, raising an African-American kid, anxiety, miscarriage, addiction and more. Sometimes all these are treated at once, but somehow the show avoids creating a cacophony of voices and problems, creating instead a mature view over the complexity and the diversity of issues contemporary families face in real life, where nothing is simple, nor perfect.
For those of you who devoured Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Tetralogy, you will love this adaptation! The first season premiered in November and follows the events from the first book, while staying true to Ferrante’s universe, seemingly endless array of characters and many twists and turns. I binged all episodes with my mom during two days and we are already looking forward for the second season 🙂 For those not familiar with these books and the series, it’s not too late to jump on board!
As this blog post is getting quite long, I will only write few lines about some cool articles I have been reading during the past weeks. During their end of the year articles, VOX published a great piece on Crazy Rich Asians, diversity at Hollywood and the true portrayal of Asians. The article is on point and very relevant, so I highly recommend it. Another great piece by VOX was this one about the spare button we receive with clothes and its significance and real usage. It made me think about my own behaviour regarding clothes and ways to improve it. The New York Times published a piece about one font which took over New York, and despite the fact that I am nowhere near being a graphic designer, I was intrigued and excited to learn more about Choc. Speaking about design, WIRED published a very interesting piece about the way one female illustrator changed AirBnB’s online image, so you should definitely check that out as well. Since we are talking about tech companies, after watching Minority Report two years ago, I can definitely understand why companies like Ford and Boeing chose to hire SF writers to create future scenarios for them. This post on Medium by Brian Merchant will hopefully explain this interesting situation better. And finally, also on Medium, Tom Whitwell wrote his annual post with 52 things he learned in 2018, which will probably lead you to a rabbit hole of links, just my cup of tea.
If you still want to read more, Vanity Fair published a piece on Michelle Obama’s book, which made me even more curious to read it and Scoala9 delivered one of the most interesting visually illustrated articles I have ever seen on the slow death of cursive writing. Mura is the one who created all the illustrations and I can easily say I fell in love with them (the article is in Romanian though, sorry international folks!)
This is all for now, but I already started working on January content, so see you soon with new posts! And if you have enjoyed this article, I would most certainly appreciate it if you would share it with your friends.