Throughout this strange year, we have been so grateful to have the solace of a book to read, a show to transport us, a podcast to listen to and enlighten. We have such appreciation for the storytellers, the thinkers, the artists, the makers who have created a vast array of compelling material keeping us inspired and thoughtful. Here is our April 2021 edition of the flora and henri recueiller!
In our opinion, there are few things in life as brilliant as a book. Some of our favorite, current reading recommendations are:
Edward Weston is a collection of 125 photographs from the renowned fine art photographer Edward Weston (1886-1958). This comprehensive monograph features the artist's iconic and classic still lifes, nudes, and landscapes. The book also features 125 written excerpts from Weston's daybooks that chronicle his life and travels. - Edward Weston is considered one of the most preeminent and influential 20th century photographers. - His black-and-white photographs are part of museum collections around the world. Bound in a high-quality linen cloth with Edward Weston's seminal nude image from 1936 on the cover, this book is a beautifully designed tribute to one of photography's most significant creators. - The perfect gift for art and photographer lovers, museum buffs, black-and-while film fans, and anyone who appreciates art history - An ideal coffee table book and a welcome addition to any emerging or extensive art book collection.
For years Isabella Tree and her husband, Charlie Burrell, farmed Knepp Castle Estate and struggled to turn a profit. By 2000, with the farm facing bankruptcy, they decided to try something radical. They would restore Knepp’s 3,500 acres to the wild. Using herds of free-roaming animals to mimic the actions of the megafauna of the past, they hoped to bring nature back to their depleted land. But what would the neighbors say, in the manicured countryside of modern England where a blade of grass out of place is considered an affront?
In the face of considerable opposition the couple persisted with their experiment and soon witnessed an extraordinary change. New life flooded into Knepp, now a breeding hotspot for rare and threatened species like turtle doves, peregrine falcons, and purple emperor butterflies.
The fabled English nightingale sings again.
At a time of looming environmental disaster, Wilding is an inspiring story of a farm, a couple, and a community transformed. Isabella Tree’s wonderful book brings together science, natural history, a fair bit of drama, and—ultimately—hope.
In 1580’s England, during the Black Plague a young Latin tutor falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman in this “exceptional historical novel” (The New Yorker) and best-selling winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Agnes is a wild creature who walks her family’s land with a falcon on her glove and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer, understanding plants and potions better than she does people. Once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose career on the London stage is taking off when his beloved young son succumbs to sudden fever.
A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a tender and unforgettable re-imagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, and whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays of all time, Hamnet is mesmerizing, seductive, impossible to put down—a magnificent leap forward from one of our most gifted novelists.
In 2004, Momofuku Noodle Bar opened in a tiny, stark space in Manhattan’s East Village. Its young chef-owner, David Chang, worked the line, serving ramen and pork buns to a mix of fellow restaurant cooks and confused diners whose idea of ramen was instant noodles in Styrofoam cups. It would have been impossible to know it at the time—and certainly Chang would have bet against himself—but he, who had failed at almost every endeavor in his life, was about to become one of the most influential chefs of his generation, driven by the question, “What if the underground could become the mainstream?”
Chang grew up the youngest son of a deeply religious Korean-American family in Virginia. Graduating college aimless and depressed, he fled the States for Japan, hoping to find some sense of belonging. While teaching English in a backwater town, he experienced the highs of his first full-blown manic episode and began to think that the cooking and sharing of food could give him both purpose and agency in his life.
Full of grace, candor, grit, and humor, Eat a Peach chronicles Chang’s switchback path. He lays bare his mistakes and wonders about his extraordinary luck as he recounts the improbable series of events that led him to the top of his profession. He wrestles with his lifelong feelings of otherness and inadequacy, explores the mental illness that almost killed him, and finds hope in the shared value of deliciousness. Along the way, Chang gives us a penetrating look at restaurant life, in which he balances his deep love for the kitchen with unflinching honesty about the industry’s history of brutishness and its uncertain future.
No doubt everyone has been spending ample time in front of screens, but if you are in need of some beautiful storytelling, visual inspiration, or momentary escape, check out the programming below:
Ted Lasso on Apple TV: Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso, an American football coach who led the Wichita State Shockers to a Division II National Collegiate Athletic Association championship. He is hired to coach AFC Richmond, an association football team. A folksy American, he is seen as unsophisticated but is smarter than he looks.
Halt and Catch Fire on Netflix: Taking place over a period of more than ten years, the series depicts a fictionalized insider's view of the personal computer revolution of the 1980s and the growth of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s. The show's title refers to computer machine instruction Halt and Catch Fire (HCF), the execution of which would cause the computer's central processing unit to stop working (catch fire being a humorous exaggeration).
Pretend It's a City on Netflix: Wander the New York City streets and fascinating mind of wry writer, humorist and raconteur Fran Lebowitz as she sits down with Martin Scorsese.
Staged on Hulu: David Tennant and Michael Sheen star as two actors whose West End play has been put on hold due to Covid-19, but whose director has persuaded them to carry on rehearsing online.
In & Of Itself on Hulu: Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself is a new kind of lyric poem. It tells the story of a man fighting to see through the illusion of his own identity, only to discover that identity itself is an illusion. An intimate and powerful exploration of what it means to be and be seen, the film chronicles Derek DelGaudio’s attempt to answer one deceptively simple question, “Who am I?” His personal journey expands to a collective experience that forces us to confront the boundaries of our own identities.
What The Constitution Means To Me on Amazon: Fifteen-year-old Heidi Schreck earned her college tuition by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the United States. In this hilarious, hopeful, and achingly human show, Heidi resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women and the founding document that shaped their lives. This one is a special favorite of ours, as Heidi is an old friend from Seattle!
If you are able to have some time enjoying your own head phones and head space, here are our recent Podcast loves:
The Vitality Of Ordinary Things/The On Being Project: To reassert the liveliness of ordinary things, precisely in the face of what is hardest and most broken in life and society — this has been Michael Longley’s gift as one of Northern Ireland’s foremost living poets. He is known, in part, as a poet of “the Troubles” — the violent 30-year conflict between Protestants and Catholics, English and Irish. And he is a gentle voice for all of us now, wise and winsome about the everyday, never-finished work of social healing.
The True Hard Work Of Love And Relationships/The On Being Project: As people, and as a culture, Alain de Botton says, we would be much saner and happier if we reexamined our very view of love. His New York Times essay, “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person,” is one of their most-read articles in recent years, and this is one of the most popular episodes we’ve ever created. We offer up the anchoring truths he shares amidst a pandemic that has stretched all of our sanity — and tested the mettle of love in every relationship.
Sometimes, there is simply magic to be discovered on the internet. This is one of those discoveries. We invite you to visit WindowSwap, to be delighted, soothed and transported.
WindowSwap: website that allows you to cycle through picturesque views from other people's windows around the world. The views are videos (with sound!) so it feels like you're actually there, and you can easily click on "Open a new window somewhere in the world" to immediately switch locations. You can also submit your own view to share with others.