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Julian Shen-Berro

Julian is a writer and reporter from Berkeley, California. His writing spans multiple genres, most recently covering local news in North Carolina. His work has also appeared in NBC News, HuffPost, and Columbia University’s longform magazine, The Eye.

Julian Shen-Berro's Articles

Courtesy Tertulia

This New App Gives Readers a Place to Convene and Connect

How or when do we talk about the books that move us? Perhaps at a dinner party. With a bookstore clerk or librarian. Maybe on Twitter or Facebook. Raving to a friend.

Le Bernardin’s apricot sorbet and chamomile ice cream, infused with Nature’s Fynd dairy-free cream cheese. (Courtesy Nature’s Fynd)

A Microscopic Fungus From Yellowstone’s Hot Springs Is Spurring a New Culinary Movement

Born beneath the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park, a microscopic fungus is spurring a new culinary movement. Fy, short for “Fusarium of Yellowstone,” has sprouted into the limelight as a sustainable alternative for conscientious diners, and has begun to germinate in menus and stores across the United States.

Ji Hye Kim. (Courtesy Miss Kim)

An Ann Arbor Restaurant Fuses Korean Tradition with Modern-Day Michigan Ingredients

When Ji Hye Kim first moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, she didn’t find much that resembled the homemade Korean cooking she’d grown up with. In 2016, in an effort to fill this gap, she opened Miss Kim, where her aim is to fuse traditional Korean recipes—like those her mother would cook—with the distinct produce of Michigan and the Midwest. But Kim, who was named one of Food & Wine’s best new chefs of 2021, didn’t always see a culinary career in her future.

Courtesy Mack Books

A New Book Captures the Magnificent Breadth and Melancholic Beauty of Alec Soth’s Photography

What does it mean to revisit a photograph? When a camera shutters, it locks a moment in time, forever trapping the image it renders. That well-trod notion, however universally understood, becomes unsteady in Gathered Leaves, the latest book by the Minneapolis-based photographer Alec Soth, whose work has long documented lonely souls and fractured dreams in spaces across the United States. In Gathered Leaves, Soth revisits five of his previous books, including in its pages new notes, annotations, text excerpts, and even photographs—melding his works into a distinct and retrospective road trip across his accomplished career.

Akebia flowers at the Hortus Arboretum and Botanical Gardens (left) and co-founders Allyson Levy and Scott Serrano (right). (Courtesy Chelsea Green Publishing)

From Their 21-Acre New York Estate, a Botanist Couple Propagates Plants and Gardening Know-How

Scott Serrano and Allyson Levy know all too well that the distinction between a simply beautiful garden and an “important” one comes from its most fragile or unusual plants. “It’s the Noah’s Ark function,” Serrano says. “You try to find rare plants that are disappearing and protect them.”

“Communicating Vessels” by Jenny Gräf Sheppard, on at the Sound Studies Lab through fall 2023. (Courtesy Sound Studies Lab)

A Lab in Copenhagen Looks at How Sound Explains the World

Holger Schulze runs the Sound Studies Lab at the University of Copenhagen, where scholars and artists gather to explore sonic and sensory experiences. There, researchers trace the aural rhythms of our lives and of the societies we inhabit—both historically and in the present. Mixing field research and critical analysis, the lab tackles projects ranging from the birth of rave culture in the late Soviet Union to how the dramatic effects of climate change manifest in sound.

Courtesy Princeton Architectural Press

A Handbook for Navigating the Nuances of Japanese Tea

Steeped in centuries of rich cultural and agricultural practices, Japanese tea can be difficult to fully grasp, with its subtle hints of flavor and complex aroma. Brewed for well-versed drinkers and first-sip novices alike, Zach Mangan’s Stories of Japanese Tea: The Regions, The Growers, and The Craft (Princeton Architectural Press)  provides the ideal guide.

Courtesy Thames & Hudson

A Photographic Compendium Highlights the Unspoken Power of Flowers

Consider the flower. What image blossoms to mind? What emotion does it elicit? For centuries, flowers have persisted as muses, motifs, and even mediums for artists seeking to capture and express some aspect of the human condition. In Flora Photographica: The Flower in Contemporary Photography (Thames & Hudson), out August 30, editors William Ewing and Danaé Panchaud compose a selection of vibrant modern floral works. The end result is a book stocked to the brim with images that dance into bloom—but there’s more than beauty beneath the surface.

Courtesy Chelsea Green Publishing

Hannah Lewis on the Burgeoning “Mini-Forest Revolution”

Writer Hannah Lewis says she practically fell in love with Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki when she first read the 2007 book The Healing Power of Forests, which he co-authored with ecologist Elgene O. Box. The book introduced the Miyawaki method, a reforestation technique that involves planting native trees close together in vacant lots and backyards to restore biodiversity in urban areas and towns. According to advocates, these tiny forests, even with footprints as small as six parking-lot spaces, can grow up to 10 times faster and generate 100 times more biodiversity than forests planted using conventional methods. The concept resonated with Lewis’s own efforts to raise awareness about sustainable ecosystems—including her work as editor of the Compendium of Scientific and Practical Findings Supporting Eco-Restoration to Address Global Warming, a bi-annual, open-access compilation of scientific studies, industry and government reports, and journalistic investigations that outlines the benefits of repairing degraded or destroyed natural ecosystems as part of society’s response to the climate crisis. Reading Miyawaki and Box’s book led her to write an article about the approach for The Guardian in 2020, and a just-released book of her own: Mini-Forest Revolution: Using the Miyawaki Method to Rapidly Rewild the World (Chelsea Green Publishing).