Isolation Reading for the Week of May 11

Every Monday we’re bringing you some great books chosen by our staff for your work-from-home reading. This week, Breanna Muir, our Product Marketing Specialist, has chosen The Hotel as her staff pick. Enjoy!


Robert A. Davidson’s The Hotel: Occupied Space explores the function of our modern-day hotel. It’s much more than the lodging for the intrepid traveller: in this book it becomes the backdrop for cinema, photography, art, and culture.

Featuring an entire chapter on my favourite filmmaker Sofia Coppola, director of The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette, and Somewhere, The Hotel gives credit to Coppola for her continued preoccupation with women who are either physically or mentally isolated. Davidson discusses how in many of Coppola’s films, such as Lost in Translation and Somewhere, she uses spaces like Tokyo’s The Park Hyatt hotel and The Chateau Marmont in Hollywood as backdrops emphasizing not only the boredom of solitude, but the anxiety associated with being isolated and lonely, in a space that just doesn’t feel like home.

As we move into our third month of isolation, Sophia Coppola’s films have more resonance as of late. Although I’m self-isolating in my apartment, the space has increasingly taken on a hotel-like quality. My apartment is no longer a space that I return to after a day at the office, a yoga class, or an evening out with friends enjoying a glass of Cava (all things I miss). It has become a space encompassing the “all-in-one”: gym, office, and restaurant have all collapsed listlessly into one space, and it’s not rare to find myself feeling a little brain-foggy and jetlagged, only to discover that I haven’t left my living room.

In this age of COVID-19, the hotel is again deeply relevant. Davidson notes the ever-changing role and function of the hotel, e.g. during wartime when hotels became hospitals. I can’t help but wonder what he would say given the opportunity to write an extended chapter of The Hotel, as our contemporary hotel has yet again transitioned into a space of emergency, so crucial to those of us entering a new country and having to self-isolate for two weeks, as well as to those of us seeking sanctuary and physical distancing.


Interested in finding out more about The Hotel? Click here to read an excerpt from the book.

Click here to order your copy of The Hotel.


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