Are you tired of reading about the French Revolution for the 18th time since high school for your classes? Or perhaps you are in a Spotify slump, where all your songs seem a little overplayed? I want to provide a few recommendations that may give you some hope and happiness after the rough couple of weeks we’ve had. Earthquakes, along with the poisonings in Iran and many other devastating events, arrived just in time for prelims. These books, and the songs that accompany them, are the type of books that remind me of why I love reading. For the 21+ folks: If you’re feeling pricey (and legal), the liquor store right next to DP Dough is carrying the 2019 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon right now. For a cheaper alternative, Chateau Souverain Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent pick. Pour yourself a glass and take your pick of these weekly recommendations!
Books & Music
Here’s your weekly ‘Winter Books for A Cozy Afternoon” YouTube video in column form! Following the previous theme of hardship, I think we could all do with a heartwarming story that makes you smile at every turn. This is a book full of beautiful friendships, plotting, minor spying and good vibes. A Gentleman in Moscow tells the story of Count Alexander Rostov, who finds himself locked away for life in the tiny attic of the Metropol Hotel. It is a bit of a slow read, but this is the perfect book for those who are ready to take it at their own pace. If you need a bit of hope and happiness, this is a gentle reminder of humanity at its best. After all, “if a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them” (Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow).
Add to your playlist: Future Islands – “The Moon is Blue”
A song I like listening to during long bus and cab rides.
Up next is a story for lovers of romance! I honestly devoured this book in one day. Gods of Jade and Shadow is the lesser-known sister of Mexican Gothic, another popular book by Silva Moreno-Garcia. It tells the story of Casiopea, who finds a sexy Mayan death god in a box and proceeds on a fairy tale folklore odyssey to help him recover his place on the throne of the underworld. The book is a delightful escape from the cold and muddy Ithaca streets into the dazzling 1920s Mexico landscape.
Add to your playlist: CASIOPEA – “Midnight Rendezvous”
You know. CASIOPEA for Casiopea.
Sometimes I need a book that keeps me hanging off on each page, itching to find out what happens next, to remind myself that I do actually enjoy reading. This is a recommendation I received from a dear friend on a bus ride. She informed me that shortly after another book by the author (Trevanian) was released, three paintings in Milan were stolen in the exact same fashion outlined in the book! There is even an editor’s note mentioning that some parts have been redacted to prevent actual art theft. At this point, you may have realized that The Eiger Sanction is about art theft, assassination and a little bit of satire. This is the type of book I used to carry home to Istanbul in my luggage, along with the rest of the series it belongs to, much to the annoyance of my parents, who were forced to pay the excess weight fee.
Add to your playlist: Yogi Lang – “No Decoder”
Also, if you feel like a little bit of headbanging: Jeff Beck – “Pull It”
New York Exhibitions
For those who are traveling to NYC in the upcoming weeks, Roberto Cuoghi’s PEPSIS at the Hauser & Wirth Gallery is an exhibition you might find interesting! From a first look at the gallery, it is hard to tell that all of the artworks displayed are by the same artist and bear variations of the name PEPSIS. Towers of cakes, blurred watercolored portraits and a mysterious blue-purple spider-like painting all come from the hands of Cuoghi, who challenges the idea of stylization. I, too, often feel like I am drawing circles around my work, stuck in the familiar. Cuoghi takes the opposite approach and works his pieces until he can no longer recognize his signature. For him, stylization is the “primordial force of learning by imitation, allowing knowledge and skills to be passed on while avoiding failure. It is better to remake than to create something that might not be successful.” In his work, Cuoghi attempts to break the constraints of stylization and his own presumed “style” as well, breaking through the boundaries of untapped innovation. It’s genuinely an interesting exhibition, one to catch before it closes on April 1st!
Thank you for tuning in to the recommendations of the week. Catch us here next time for new recommendations on the theme “Ithaca, but not this Ithaca.”
Don’t forget to send your submissions every Monday if you want something recommended at @lal.osi on instagram!
Lal Kosematoglu is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected]. Spring Offerings runs alternate Thursdays.