Monday, December 7, 2015

Media, Music, and Movies

Read any good books lately?
Dad reading to great-granddaughter Cali on Thanksgiving Day.
I enjoy a good story, but I'm a multitasker, so I tend to listen to a book while I'm sewing, walking, or doing dishes.  

I caught up on a few of the classics this past summer via the collection of free audiobooks available on Loyal Books and LibrivoxThese are read by volunteers, and some of the readers are very good, others not so much.  As I discovered a particularly good narrator, I'd see what other books he or she had read and listen to those as well.

Recently, I resubscribed to Audible in a special 99 cents a month, "we want you back" deal.  It was an offer I couldn't refuse.  Especially since I wanted to pick up the audio versions of a couple of the Outlander series books I didn't have yet.  Davina Porter narrates the Outlander audiobooks, and she is a delight, voicing all of the characters in such an authentic, credible way.  With the series on TV, I've started relistening to the first couple of books again.  I've found myself wondering, as I watched the Starz TV series, did it really happen that way in the books?  Some things no, or not exactly, but they are getting the essence of it right and it's been extremely well done so far.

I've also really gotten into podcasts the past couple years.  Some favorites are Serial, Startup, Reply All, Mystery Show, and Surprisingly Awesome (the last four can all be found on  

I could name about a half dozen more  that I regularly listen to, but if I could recommend just one today, it would be Serial.  The second season is in the works and should be starting soon (I hope).  What is Serial about?  From their website: 
Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, and is hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story - a true story - over the course of an entire season. Each season, we'll follow a plot and characters wherever they take us. And we won’t know what happens at the end until we get there, not long before you get there with us. Each week we bring you the next chapter in the story, so it's important to listen to the episodes in order, starting with Episode 1.
I'm not usually a huge mystery or crime drama fan, but the story in Season 1 was so compelling, I was hooked after the first episode.  Apparently, I wasn't the only one to feel that way.  The podcast was so successful, it's going to become a TV series.  If you haven't checked it out already, you can catch up on past episodes online or on iTunes.

In movies, I watched a little-known gem this past week called A Little Chaos.  It's a period piece, or costume drama, about the building of one of the gardens at Versailles.  

Ultimately, it's a romance starring Kate Winslet and Matthias Schoenaerts (yum) as landscape architect Andre Le Notre.  The latter actor is the main reason I rented the movie.  He captured my attention in Far From the Madding Crowd, and I'm catching up his body of work to date.  To my surprise and delight, though, I found out in the first scene that the movie also stars Alan Rickman as King Louis XIV.  Be still my heart!  Alan Rickman could read me the phone book.  Stanley Tucci also has a fun role that gives the film some levity.  I really enjoyed the movie and watched it twice, in fact.

As for music, I heard a new song on the radio yesterday that I really liked.  It's by Tor Miller, called "Carter and Cash."  There's kind of a subtle '80s vibe to it that is pretty cool.  See what you think.

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