Let’s put it this way: we’re not NOT sad to have more time to read, listen to music and podcasts, and catch up on shows and movies. Everyone knows Sciences Po students have strong opinions, including the Sundial Press’ editors. And those opinions definitely apply to the aforementioned books, podcasts, songs, shows, and movies (and recipes too—because you know, food). So after considerable cutting down, here are our editors’ best recommendations to take your mind away from the worldwide pandemic we are facing or on the contrary, to plunge you deeper into light existential despair.
Evan Boulogne, Photography Editor
Music: An eclectic mix of beats and rhythms to get you through your long days at home
- Crush, Floating Points (2019): a groundbreaking electronic music album by neuroscientist and musical artist Sam Shepard.
- Stabat Mater, Pergolesi (Andreas Scholl’s 1997 version): Pergolesi’s most famous Cantate, a melodramatic baroque classic
- Pink Moon, Nick Drake (1972): a 28-minute album by an unknown English songwriter from the 1970s
- Siège, Foulques Nera (2018): dive into Nigel and Shien’s (French rap duo from 75e Session) medieval world:
- Mall Grab’s set for Boiler Room x Streaming from Isolation (2020): somewhere between house and techno by a prolific Londoner DJ:
TV: Both are creepy but may make you feel better about our current world state in comparison: Westworld and Black Mirror
Elisa Vovos, Creative Writing Editor
- Les mots bleus, Johan Papaconstantino: a song to make you feel like you’re in Greece, sang by a magnificent French-Greek native
- Getting Kinda Boring, Lack Of Afro: yeah, quarantine is getting kinda boring.
- Love by Gaspar Noé: an erotic film portraying an American in Paris (that’s another movie, guys), as he endures Murphy’s law
- The Breakfast Club: a classic, may I say.
- Les Noces et l’Été, Albert Camus: as we are confined in urban spaces, Camus takes us on a journey, in nature, under the heat of the sun. This book is the perfect escape.
- The Portrait of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde: an extremely well written book, that brings you to question your own sense of morality.
- En attendant les Barbares, Constantino Cavafis: a personal favourite; a Greek author (but really Turkish like all Greeks) and his vision of the world, imprisonment, nature and life.
Maeve Cucciol, Culture Editor
A Good Read:
- To think:
- Women on the Edge of Time is a true masterpiece! Marge Piercy touches on a very broad range of topics—race, migration, domestic violence, mental health, eco-feminism, art, environment protection … and so many others—and in doing so produces a moving novel! For further information, I invite you to read this book review, published last year in The Sundial.
- In Between the World and Me, Ta Nehisi Coates writes a letter to his son, reflecting on the notion of race in contemporary American society under the Obama presidency. Thought-provoking, challenging, beautifully written and deeply moving, I credit this book for truly changing my perspective of American society.
- To laugh and to think: Embroideries, by Marjane Satrapi, is a biographical account of her teenagehood in 1970s Iran. As she navigates the gender norms and tradition of her home-country, young Marjane’s candour and wittiness will draw you in.
- For a touch of poetry: Kevin Young’s jelly roll and Clint Smith’s Counting Descent, both have a dazzling jazzy rhythm that will fascinate you! Young and Smith explore the questions of race and identity in the United States and deliver powerful testimonies of their experience as Black men and poets in a deeply troubled American society.
- For a mental escape and literary travel: L’amie prodigieuse, by Elena Ferrante, is a series of four books recounting the life of a young Italian girl, growing up in XXth century Naples. A fascinating read!
A Good Listen :
- Inspiring : La poudre will definitely speak to your strong, empowered, feminist (and French-speaking) self! This podcast features women on the road to success, and will surely motivate you.
- Spanish-speaking: El primer café is the work of the Colombian El Tiempo Spotify, and gives you a glimpse of what is currently going on in Colombia. This podcast was actually recommended to me by a Colombian friend … so, no hesitation, you can really go for it!
A Good Watch :
- For a bit of magic: Outlander is my personal favourite; grab a cup of tea and travel through time, as the Scottish music and incredible landscapes capture you!
- To chill and to laugh (and not have to think too much, that is for sure), Jane the Virgin is always my go-to!
Lorraine Fabre, Editor in Chief
I have nothing in the way of music or movie recommendations as I have the most vanilla taste in both—not that my book recommendations are edgy—but here are some of my recent favourites and timeworn treasures:
- Normal People by Sally Rooney (fiction): I have recommended this book to everyone I know and I will keep doing so. Gets closer to ‘real life’—whatever that is—than any book I’ve read while remaining a uniquely enthralling read. You’ll feel wiser after reading this!
- Educated by Tara Westover (non-fiction): the most powerful memoir I have read to date. The author’s life is so radically different from my own, sometimes impossible to even fathom. Rarely have I felt such a rollercoaster of emotional reactions when reading a book: anger, stupefaction, compassion… I was utterly gripped by this book.
- The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan (fiction and non-fiction): Keegan was class valedictorian at Yale and had a job lined up at the New Yorker when she died in a car accident five days after graduation in 2012. The context surrounding this compilation of her works instantly drew me to it and the book is so many things: simple, insightful, wise, beautiful, and above all honest and real. This is a book you can pick up and put down at your leisure; you’re guaranteed to feel at once comforted and saddened by the words and story of this young writer—an absolute gem.
- Anything by Agatha Christie suits the current mood in my opinion. If you’ve never read her works, go for the ‘incontournables’ (unmissables?) like Death of the Nile, Murder on the Orient Express, and And Then There Were None.
- *not a book* This earl grey yogurt loaf recipe by Bon Appetit is by far the best thing I’ve baked in a while. Best consumed when you’re cozy—or sequestered—inside, and you probably already have all the ingredients at home already. At this point, there really is no reason why you shouldn’t make this, so do yourself a favour and bake this loaf.
Sophie Harrington, Managing Editor
- A Good Read: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie is one of my favourite books and details the story of the Biafran Civil War in the 1960s through the themes of class, race, colonialism, ethnic ties and love. Classics never fail either; I would definitely suggest Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison’s 1977 masterpiece.
- A Good Watch: Dix Pour Cent (in english, Call My Agent) is a French TV series that follows the lives of people who work at a talent agency in Paris. Entertaining and good for those of you who dropped your FLE classes but want to passively stay engaged with the French language. Also Sex Education! If you haven’t already binged the two season series fear not, the show is also on Netflix.
- A Good Listen: Cheap Queen by King Princess is a great album for a rainy day or a walk (if you can) to just get into your feels. All I Ever Wonder by St. Paul & the Broken Bones is also a great pick-me-up song to dance to in your kitchen.
- Something Tasty: Chocolate chip cookies might be basic, but they are always a delightful treat. The Toll House recipe is one I’ve been using for a while now and I highly recommend you do too! To substitute for chocolate chips you can just cut a bar of dark chocolate into bite-size pieces
Juliette Laffont, Travel Editor
- Thelma and Louise: a fantastic feminist movie in which two women who had planned a friendly weekend find themselves accused of murder and have to drive across the US to escape the police actively looking for them; Brad Pitt also starred in the book’s cinematic adaptation and first launched his career… I’m not spoiling the end, but it is absolutely worth being read or seen!
- Banlieusards: this movie is just amazing—it’s the story of a man living in poor Parisian suburbs and a woman coming from the rich center of Paris, whose destinies cross paths as a result of an eloquence contest for which they are the two finalists and that will determine which of them will have the chance to become a lawyer.
- Papy fait de la résistance: although the title may sound a bit too serious and childish at the same time, this movie, starring many of the most famous French actors (Jugnot, Clavier, Lhermitte, Lamotte, Balasko…), offers a breathtaking plot, combined with a the historical perspective of occupied France under WW2…
- Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – an amazing book which relates the story of a Nigerian young woman who flees from her country to escape an educational which remains perpetually in strike, and finally struggles as she tries to navigate her way through American society. If you are interested in topics like intersectionality, this book is for you!
- La civilisation du poisson rouge, by Bruno Patino – very thorough book if you care about our attention skills and the effects of our screens in our ability to stay focused; a very thought-provoking and attention-grabbing read!
- Little Rock Nine, 1957, by Thomas Snégaroff – the author is an amazing journalist and historian specialized in the United States; if you care about the desegregation process and its practical realities, you will love this incredibly moving novel…