And welcome to the Cultural Reads Newsletter with book, music, and movie recommendations from around the world.
In this week’s newsletter: Buy Better Souvenirs, Best Places in Brussels, Language Learning App, Basque Music, A Cultural List, and Swedish-Egyptian Thriller.
Join me on a journey as we explore the stories behind my 10 favorite (travel) items and souvenirs.
From the rugged backpack that has accompanied me on countless adventures to a great Guyana rum.
Inspired by GQ’s 10 Essentials, I set out to share the personal items that have shaped my travels and offer a glimpse into the experiences that have made them unforgettable.
So come along and discover the magic of these cherished travel treasures – you never know, they may just inspire your next adventure.
Find my best souvenirs here.
Are you planning to visit Brussels?
Check out the best bars, restaurants, and cafes on Brussels Kitchen.
I visited Brussels for the first time last weekend and absolutely loved it. The list was a big positive contributor!
Looking for a fun and effective way to learn a new language?
Check out Language Reactor!
This innovative app allows you to watch your favorite YouTube and Netflix videos with subtitles in both your native language and your target language.
You can even set it to pause after each sentence, giving you the opportunity to review new vocabulary and add it to a personalized list.
But that’s not all – Language Reactor also uses AI technology to generate additional vocabulary words and phrases to help you expand your language skills even further.
If someone says they’re Basque, most would ask: “So you’re Spanish?”
My Basque flatmate and most other Basques strongly disagree.
Why is that?
The reason is that the Basque culture is ancient and has roots dating back to prehistoric times.
The Basques have a strong sense of cultural identity, rich traditions, and one of the oldest living languages in Europe, unrelated to any Roman, Germanic, or Slavic language.
In addition, during the Spanish dictatorship between 1939-1975, Franco began a campaign of repression against the Basque people, leading to a violent conflict.
It’s recent history and, therefore, still a sensitive topic.
Today Basque country enjoys political and cultural autonomy within Spain, with its government, parliament, and police force.
The culture plays a key role, which brings me to today’s band, En Tol Sarmiento, with this fantastic Basque song Zurekin Batera.
Attention book lovers!
If you want to broaden your reading horizons and explore literature from different parts of the world, you’ll want to check this out.
Last week, I stumbled upon an expertly curated list by a Michigan library with the best Japanese, Indian, Spanish, Native American, Chinese, and Korean books.
Each region features several books with short descriptions. I’ll use it to improve the country pages.
In need of an edge-of-your-seat thriller that explores the tensions between Egypt’s religious and political elites?
Then I’d recommend watching Egyptian-Swedish director Tarik Saleh’s newest film Cairo Conspiracy.
The movie follows Adam, the son of a fisherman, as he is given the opportunity to study at the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo.
However, Adam soon finds himself caught up in a dangerous game of politics and power, becoming a pawn in the conflict between religious and political factions.
While the movie is fictional and not intended to provoke controversy, Saleh’s work is known for its controversial themes and perspectives on Egyptian society and politics.
You can find it on Amazon.