Cultural Reads 74: Chinese Books, Gomorrah & Protest Song

Good morning,

And welcome to the Cultural Reads Newsletter with worldwide book, music, and movie recommendations.

In today’s newsletter: Chinese Books, Mexican Movies, South African Jazz, Italy & Gaza Protest Song.

šŸ“• 10 Best Chinese Books

China has the biggest population in the world and is a global superpower.

But how much do we know about China?

Most of us seem oblivious to Chinese culture and what’s happening in China.

That’s why I selected 10 Chinese books to help you learn more!

šŸæ Best Mexican Movies

Mexico has some of the best movies I ever watched, especially when studying Spanish.

Many of you may have heard, but Mexico offers a lot more. Check out nine of the best Mexican movies ever made.

šŸ“€ Hugh Masekela (South Africa)

After my post with the best jazz albums, one of my colleagues shared his favorite jazz album, Hope, by Hugh Masekela.

This fantastic album combines South African music, jazz, and even Afrobeats. Masekela grew up in South Africa during the apartheid regime and used his music to protest in songs like Mandela (Bring Him Back Home!).

šŸ“™ Gomorrah (Italy)

Two weeks ago, my girlfriend and I traveled through Naples to visit friends in Salerno. Returning to Naples reminded me of a book about the city’s dark side called Gomorrah.

Gomorrah is a criminal organization, much like the mafia in Sicily. It runs a large part of the economy, including construction, real estate, and fashion. Their influence even reached Angelina Jolie when she wore a dress made by the organization to the Oscars.

Roberto Saviano infiltrated the organization and shared what he had learned. He paid a high price for it and has been under police protection since 2006.

šŸæ Southern Italy | 5 Movies

1.Ā Gomorrah:Ā The Gomorrah (mentioned above) became a popularĀ movieĀ andĀ TV seriesĀ and shows how this criminal organization operates.Ā 

2.Ā Hand of God:Ā Find out what it’s like to grow up in Naples in ‘Hand of God.’ This funny and somewhat stereotypical movie shows the Neapolitan director Paolo Sorrentino’s upbringing and the craziness around Maradonna.

3.Ā Maradonna:Ā Napolitaneans see Maradonna as a God. ThisĀ beautiful but sad documentaryĀ will help you understand the insanity at the time. The same director made the documentaryĀ AmyĀ (about Amy Winehouse).

4.Ā Talented Mr. Ripley:Ā If you’re looking for a fantastic Hollywood thriller set in the beautiful South of Italy, check outĀ The Talented Mr. Ripley, starringĀ Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jude Law.Ā 

5.Ā Welcome to the South:Ā For a great comedy, check outĀ Welcome to the South. ItĀ discusses the stereotypes between South and North Italy, later remade inĀ FranceĀ and Spain.

šŸŽµ Cairokee (Egypt)

In Gaza,Ā over 13,000 children diedĀ since October. DespiteĀ many Europeans now viewing the situation as an unfolding genocide, their governments’ policies don’t represent this view.

According to a survey,Ā over 75% of ArabsĀ from 16 countries view the French and German positions on Gaza as bad or very bad. The result is that the Global South no longer trusts the EU or its agenda onĀ essential topics like democracy and human rights.

Egyptian rock band Cairokee’s new single,Ā Telk QadeyaĀ (“This is an issue”), addresses precisely this, despite not mentioning the words ‘Gaza’ or ‘Palestine’ specifically.

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