Meals at La Fleure de Ly in Metz are a gastronomic delight. Photo: Lydia Linna

Meals at La Fleure de Ly in Metz are a gastronomic delight. Photo: Lydia Linna

Delano’s staff picks for May feature a book by an imprisoned Turkish novelist, a podcast on historical figures, a memoir that gives behind-the-scenes glimpses into the lives of famous artists, two Netflix series and a couple of restaurants.

Current reads

Turkish novelist Ahmed Altan was sentenced to life in prison under trumped up charges by the Erdogan regime for criticism of the government. In , smuggled out of his prison cell, he reflects not only on his sentences but also what it means to face a life in prison, seeing the world from behind bars, distant from friends and family and even mundane tasks, such as doing the daily shopping. Even in its English translation, the language is masterful, sad but not despondent, hopeful without being kitsch. CS

, written by art lecturer Rosamond Bernier, provides a fascinating--and often amusing--look behind-the-scenes into the personal lives of some of the 20th century’s most famous artists, musicians and fashion designers. Bernier’s “scrapbook memoir” consists of a series of episodes that recount her personal experiences with Picassao, Matisse, Frida Kahlo, Coco Chanel, Aaron Copland and many, many others… It seems like Bernier met everyone who was anyone. Her book, which provides plenty of delightful tidbits (transporting sweets and sugared almonds from Picasso’s mother in Barcelona to the artist himself is one such anecdote), is a charming read that made me envious with how easily she accessed artistic giants. LL

Listen to this

… is a free podcast that transports listeners back in time where they can learn about iconic figures and important moments in history. Find out how Alexander the Great conquered vast swathes of land in a short period of time, why Muhammad Ali’s strengths in the boxing ring later proved to be his undoing, or how Frida Kahlo overcame personal tragedy to become one of the most celebrated artists of our time. New episodes are released weekly and make for fun listening on your daily commute or on a long family trip in the car. YY

Essential viewing

The salacious romp that is Shondaland’s Bridgerton on Netflix has received a prequel with that introduces us to Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and how she came to marry mad King George. If you’re looking for historical accuracy, this isn’t it, and if you’re not part of the target audience, it’s best you refrain from a high-brow review. For fans of the original, it builds a nice backstory with romance galore and fills a gap as season three is yet to announce a release date. CS

Slated for an ambassadorship in Afghanistan, American diplomat Kate Wyler is yanked last-moment into the equivalent posting in the UK instead, which (as everyone learns before her) is secretly a litmus test of her viability to take over the job of vice president once the airwaves go thick with a career-killing scandal that the sitting VP cannot contain much longer. This provides one source of long-range tension in  (Netflix), the other being Wyler’s relationship with her husband, also called Wyler--indeed, the Wylers have swapped roles: formerly, he was the ambassador and she the partner, meaning that his lob-the-grenade approach and general celebrity need containing, all while the two are secretly separating but also, kind of, secretly dating, all of which rolls into a truly well-written take on power dynamics inside work-happy hetero couples, a take that couldn’t have been written ten years ago, maybe five. None of this is to mention the plot, which has the expected quota of intrigue (a British ship attacked! Russian spies! finger-pointing as political strategy!), nor the wonderful pacing of both script and performance. Do recommend. JP

For foodies

in Metz is one of my favourite gastronomic discoveries in the Grande Region. I literally dream of this restaurant. The food is delicious and everything is beautifully presented, from the amuse-bouches at the beginning of the meal to the dessert at the end. Friendly and professional staff, reasonably priced prix-fixe menus (available for lunch and dinner) and a lovely location close to the cathedral. Highly recommend for either lunch or dinner; keep in mind you’ll be very full after. The desserts are delectable. LL

Lunchtime is one of the highlights of my day, as my colleagues can tell you, and I recently (okay, twice in the last week) tried Bangkok Thai Brasserie, which is (very conveniently) located close to Delano’s office. I quite liked the stir fried chicken with cashew nuts that was part of the lunch special--tasty and filling. Located just off the Place de Paris, the lunch deal consists of a starter and main dish. LL