Culture Cocktails

Are you always reading something – perhaps even several books at a time? I like the way that books can often bleed into one another – the ideas and narrative flowing together, connecting, and mutually informing each other. There are some books for which I cannot remember which parts belonged to which, and I enjoy that. All my reading is mixed with seeing old and new art, architecture, landscapes, and cultures. I thought as a part of sharing the story of my interdisciplinary pilgrimage, I would also share some of the books, works, and sites that have informed my journey. Perhaps they may be good company on yours as well?

Culture cocktails:

The Keen Observer:
  • Fiction: All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr (rich, poignant)
  • Non-fiction: A Brief History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson (funny)
  • Art: The work of sculptor Giuseppe Penone
  • Museum: The zoological collection at the University of Florence, Italy, affectionately known as “La Specola” or visit the natural history museum of your childhood
Quiet Things:
  • Old: Tao Te Ching: An Illustrated Journey, translation by Stephen Mitchell, with art selections by Honolulu Academy of Arts Director, Stephen Little (clearing)
  • New: An Alter in the World, Barbara Brown Taylor (refreshing)
  • Art: the work of sculptor Yoshihiro Suda
  • Plants: The Jardin des Plantes (photo above), Paris, one of the more idiosyncratically complete collections of plants from humble “weeds” to showy exotics.
Dark Before the Dawn:
  • Experience: The Maundy Thursday ‘stripping of the sanctuary’ or Tenebrae service in a nearby cathedral or chapel (transformative)
  • Read: Holy the Firm, Annie Dillard (the longest little book you’ll ever read)
  • See: The northern lights, Aurora Borealis – and count yourself fortunate if these are in your backyard!
  • Art: The work of James Turrell
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