Cultural Reads 60: Banned Books, Mollywood & Raï Folk Music

Hi Everyone, 

Welcome to the Cultural Reads newsletter with book, music, and movie recommendations worldwide.

I just came back from 3 amazing weeks with my family in Vietnam and am creating a list of the best places, hotels, bars, and restaurants in Vietnam

Are you interested?

If so, click YES here.

Now, onto the newsletter with a Vietnamese War Book, Algerian Street Music, Mollywood, Banned Books & Flatmate Playlist.

Mollywood, Raï Folk Music

📓 Banned Books Per Country

Before going to Vietnam, I bought the Vietnamese book The Sympathizer about a Southern Vietnamese double spy during the war.

I wanted to learn more about the country this way, only to realize the book was banned in Vietnam.

I got curious and found this Wikipedia list with banned books per country.

Surprisingly enough, Animal Farm is banned in many countries due to political criticism. Some other common reasons are blasphemy and obscenity. 

🎵 Mohamed Lamouri (Algeria)

After performing in the Paris metro for 15 years, Mohamed Lamouri became famous worldwide. 

With his raw voice and simple keyboard, he sings his version of Raï folk music, a popular Algerian genre for its free radicalism in expressing “taboo” topics. 

Some traditionalists are not happy with these songs, however, and Mohamed’s role model, the famous singer Cheb Hasni, was murdered after making a song about drunk sex.

🍿 Mollywood Movies (India)

How many movie industries do you know? And how many do you know in India?

After I posted an article with the best Bollywood movies, an Indian colleague recommended Mollywood.

Mollywood is the movie industry of Southern India known for its artistic and experimental filmmaking, compared to the vast mainstream productions of Bollywood. 

Here’s the list he shared with the best 20 Mollywood movies.

📕 Sorrow of War (Vietnam)

How would it be to fight against the Americans for 11 years and be one of only ten survivors out of 500 soldiers? 

That’s precisely what former North Vietnamese solder Bao Ninh shows you in his heartwrenching The Sorrow of War.

He provides a candid look at how the Vietnam War forever changed his life, country, and the people who live there.

The book became a massive bestseller in Vietnam and won the Independent Foreign Fiction Award.

For more war-inspired novels, have a look at this post with the best war books.

🎧 My Flatmate Playlist

My flatmate and I are both huge music fans.

He has a Radiooooo subscription (a French non-mainstream music platform), and I listen to a lot of African music.

Instead of constantly sending each other songs, we created a shared playlist and blended our music tastes.

Today, it’s time to share it with you. I hope you enjoy it!

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