These days when I go to the record shop, I skip the rock and the country and the folk, and head straight for the “Female Vocalists” section. I flip through its selections, which cover all ground from Linda Ronstadt to Eydie Gormé and back to Skeeter Davis, and without listening I pick the albums that look like they’re going to sound the best. It’s a dangerous game, and sometimes it’s a flop, but now and again you stumble across something that sends you back to the roulette table. Last week I found Je T’Aime … I Love You, by the American singer Joni James. It’s a short album from 1958, and her voice drifts from French to English and back to French like the Seine slipping through Paris on a misty summer day. It’s not on Spotify or Apple Music—the only digital format I’ve found it on is YouTube—so my advice to you is this: hit the local record store and dig (or settle for the lo-fi YouTube cut). (youtube.com) —Alex Oliveira
Je T’Aime … I Love You
Quo Vadis, Aida?
Just like it’s hard to imagine that crimes against humanity are happening right now in Syria and against China’s Uighurs, it’s difficult to internalize that in the mid-1990s Bosnia was the site of a mass genocide. In the small eastern town of Srebrenica alone, 8,000 residents were executed—an event that endures as “a huge trauma for all Bosnians,” the filmmaker Jasmila Žbanić said this year in an interview about her new film, Quo Vadis, Aida? Recounting this tragedy through the eyes of a local Bosnian woman, the film renders the human aspect of an ethnic cleansing that is primarily described through statistics and, instead, speaks to the incredulity that surrounded the violence. “Srebrenica is a 40-minute flight from Vienna, less than two hours from Berlin and it is scary to think that such an act of genocide happened directly in front of European eyes,” said Žbanić, especially “after we all repeated a million times over, ‘Never again.’” (amazon.com) —Julia Vitale
Vegetarian Dinner’s in the Oven: One-Pan Vegetarian & Vegan Recipes
So many cookbooks and blogs promise easy, tasty weeknight meals, yet surprisingly few deliver. Vegetarian Dinner’s in the Oven: One-Pan Vegetarian & Vegan Recipes, by Rukmini Iyer, features 75 recipes—half are vegan—that require only a single roasting pan and do not disappoint. Diverse, colorful, and savory, the dishes use easy-to-find ingredients, all of which are equally easy to substitute if you’re in a pinch. Well laid out with bright full-page photographs and fuss-free directions, this book offers the antidote to bland veg-based dishes. ($20, bookshop.org) —Bridget Arsenault
People can be cagey about their discoveries—the charming trattoria in Rome you recommend only to close friends, the wiz vintage-car mechanic in White Plains you share with no one. There’s absolutely no reason to hoard Open Culture, a Web site created by Stanford dean Dan Colman in 2006 that lists every imaginable free cultural and educational offering—for right now, just the digital ones: free streaming films, free virtual language classes, free online college courses, free virtual art exhibitions, free e-books, and so on. And yet it’s so thorough and eclectic that it feels like a secret treasure, which is why the Open Culture daily newsletter is such a treat. The editors showcase new things every day, from a video of a Bach recital played on a forgotten Baroque instrument, the Lautenwerck—a “lute-harpsichord” that the composer’s cousin was known for expertly building—to an interactive map showing the most frequently assigned books in universities around the world. (The Elements of Style takes first place.) Best of all, the newsletter, like the site’s recommendations, is completely free. (openculture.com) —Alessandra Stanley