CULTURE

Wonderful Obsessions

What makes a person amass so many unusual objects and how does a real collection begin? It may start as a whim or a passion that, over time, begins to build. Orhan Pamuk, author of The Museum of Innocence, says, “Getting attached to objects is a common thing..In our attachments we almost behave like dogs who keep their bones in a corner.”

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Cairene Dust

There is much sweeping of the outdoor dust in Cairo, leaving patterns from the long-stranded brooms on the narrow streets and sidewalks. Outside the city, at the Saqqara, I once watched a young man sweeping the sand before the tomb of the vizier Mereruka with this same long broom.

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Living Color vs. Minimalism

We regard any change in the home—whether it’s downsizing, renovating or reorganizing—as a rite of passage, a fresh start that comes with a built-in guarantee of happiness like finding a new career or falling in love. Yet these activities are fluid, rich, expansive, and our approach to the home has grown perfectionistic and restrictive.

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At Home with the Coronavirus

A report in The Lancet shows that during a quarantine, boredom and isolation bring on psychological distress, especially among teens and young adults. Yet you can turn that around by teaching them what everyone knew a generation or two before the internet: Solitude is the best breeding ground for creativity, and boredom is the mother of invention.

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Literary Homes in Paris

Feminist writer Anna de Noialles set the trend for the ultra-quiet writer’s den. Marcel Proust, followed suit, writing his novels in a sound-proof room.

Some writers do their best work when they withdraw from society, working in a kind of fevered isolation.

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This is Your Brain in Winter

December is a time of stress and over-indulgence, shopping madness, traffic jams and holiday blues. How do we manage to enjoy the season and keep our spirits bright? The best way is to hunker down at home.

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Found in Translation

How does an artist adapt to a new country? Sara Evans explores Gustave Baumann’s move to New Mexico and his woodcuts from the 1930s in a lavish new book from Rizzoli.

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Art and Memory

The paintings in Leo Tadek’s home are a memoir of his marriage, his life in Belgium and in Moscow — and they also double as a tour of European history.

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