My essentials: Irene Chias’s cultural picks

No 28 | Irene Chias, 48, writer 

Novelist Irene Chias
Novelist Irene Chias

1. Books

Oliver Sacks’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, not because it’s the best I’ve ever read, but because it was the first that truly changed my approach to reality, to the concept of health and illness, to one’s own personality. Then there is a book that I’ve read many years ago and that from time to time I partially reread: Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar. You can always discover a new perspective on life, death, power.

2. Film

2001: A Space Odyssey. From Arthur Clarke’s book, Kubrick made a film that never dates, but which many scientific breakthroughs related to the mind and space/time seem to confirm. La zona, a Mexican film on nowadays reality of social classes in a hyper capitalist society, where the strong (read rich) have the law in their side and the weak (read poor) can be simply sacrificed.

3. Internet/TV

My beloved Rai3 Blob, since the late Eighties, the perfect synthesis of the craziness going on in Italy and in the world, and a reflection on the indigestibility of television. I used to be a series binge-watcher, not any more. However in the last few years I loved many of those. But if I had to choose one, I would say Black Mirror, no doubts.

4. Music

How can one answer a question like that? Can I say three? Talking Heads, Marvin Gaye, Bach. It depends on the mood and on the moment of life. Then, for anagraphic and personal reasons, I can’t avoid to mention R.E.M., for they have been the soundtrack of long part of my existence.

5. Place

I love Brazil, Kerala, California. But having to choose, I would go closer and say the Torre di Ligny in Trapani, from where you can take in the view of the Egadi Islands and the mountain of Erice.

I have travelled quite a lot in my life, but now I have decided that – if a war or a pandemic doesn’t force me to change my plans – I’d like to limit long-distance flights to a couple of countries that I’d like to visit, and instead keep it in the Mediterranean or in the close Atlantic. I like the idea of being more sustainable and less dependent on airplanes.