Cultural Reads 15: Top 5 2021 Books, Ukrainian Rock, Netflix Cheat Sheet

Happy Tuesday Everyone,

And welcome to the 15th issue of the Cultural Reads Newsletter! A bi-weekly book, music, and movie recommendation from different countries all around the world.

In this week’s newsletter: 2021 Top 5 Books, Ukrainian Rock, Netflix Cheat Sheet.

📕 Best International Novels 2021

We’re already in February of this new year. Time flies, so before another month passes, let me share last year’s personal favorites.

If you’ve been a subscriber for a while, you’ve likely seen these books featured before. If you’re new, however, you’re in for a treat.

My personal favorites of 2021 were:

1. The Forty Rules of Love – Elif Shafak (Turkey)
2. Circles in a Forest – Dalene Matthee (South Africa)
3. The Bad Girl – Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru)
4. Woman at Point Zero – Nawal El Saadawi (Egypt)
5. The Untamable – Guillermo Arriaga (Mexico)

If you’re interested in the teasers (and a few bonus books), please check out the reviews in this blog post.

🎸 Okean Elzy (Ukraine)

Okean Elzy is a rock band formed in 1994 in Lviv. The group gained some fame after performing as the support act of Deep Purple and later started touring Europe.

The band eventually became one of the most popular ones in Ukraine and gave the largest concert in Ukrainian history with 70,000 fans in the Olympic Stadion.

The group is culturally involved and quite idealistic. The band’s frontman Svyatoslav Vakarchuk is a UN ambassador of Good Will and ambassador of Ukrainian culture. Okean Elzy participated in campaigns against illiteracy, human trafficking, and the promotion of a democratic system.

Their most popular Spotify song is Obijmi (Hug Me).

🍿 Netflix Genre Cheat Sheet

Netflix usually selects your movies for you through their algorithm. This makes it difficult to find anything outside your usual scope.

What most people don’t know, however, is that there’s a way around this.

Netflix has codes for each genre (see complete list). Code 10398, for example, shows all Japanese movies, and 7687 shows noir titles.

If you add the code to the following link, you will see all movies in this genre:

Hence, if you’re looking for Japanese movies, use this link:

Happy Hacking!

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Cultural Reads