This week’s picks are a virtual grab bag of quirky and interesting stories, podcasts, and books. Looking for something funny to read? Try Tony Horwitz’s exploration of early America or delve into mid-century scares with Collector’s Weekly. Fans of comedy and mysteries will like Rhys Bowen’s spunky Georgie Rannoch.
And if all your subway trekking makes you tired, Melissa West’s yoga podcasts can offer hints and tips to ease your ankle pains.
On Your Kindle
Her Royal Spyness, by Rhys Bowen
I’ve just discovered this comedic mystery series about a 1930s-era British aristocrat who has to sing for her supper. Lady Georgianna “Georgie” Rannoch, 34th in line to the throne, may have an illustrious pedigree, but she’s still penniless. Determined to find a job before she’s married off to a dull Romanian prince, she instead winds up in the middle of a murder investigation. Equal parts Dorothy L. Sayers and P.G. Wodehouse, this series is a funny send-up of the aristocracy.
On Your Smartphone
“Warning! These ’50s Move Gimmicks Will Shock You,” by Hunter Oatman-Stanford, Collector’s Weekly
I just watched 1959’s The House on Haunted Hill, the Vincent Price horror film directed by William Castle, so I was interested in this Collector’s Weekly article that touches on gimmicks used by Castle and other midcentury horror filmmakers. Castle is famous for his thrills-and-chills approach to B-movies: He wired seats to shock viewers at key moments, rigged flying skeletons to scare audiences, and set up “Coward’s Corners” for viewers who fled his movies in terror. Read more about his tricks here.
On a Podcast
“Ankles & Balancing Poses,” Melissa West
Have sore or previously injured ankles? Melissa West advises a regular viewer who writes in about her balance issue and demonstrates poses in this podcast. West’s series of yoga demonstrations and Q&A sessions are an excellent resource for people learning about yoga. Fan of juicing or nutrition? You’ll also find many recipes and ideas on her website.
I enjoyed Tony Horwitz’s Confederates in the Attic, where he immersed himself in the world of die-hard Civil War re-enactors, so I’m putting A Voyage Long and Strange on my to-read list. The book is Horwitz’s attempt to discover more about the “lost century” of early America. His quest begins with a random stop in Plymouth, Massachusetts one afternoon. There, he discovers that Plymouth Rock is smaller than he expected, but more importantly, that most Americans conflate 1492 and 1620. As a guide tells him, “Americans learn about 1492 and 1620 as kids, and that’s all they remember as adults,” she said. “The rest of the story is blank.”