See, here I am again! This time with a whole backlog of recommendations. For shows tostream, books to read, & theater to see. I have gotten lifts, thrills, and even life lessons from things I turned to simply for distraction. Hope they prove as valuable to you. And please, share your own entertainment discoveries in the comments section!
1. Lark Rise to Candleford (available on Amazon Prime)
Alfie. Queenie. Minnie. Twister. Such memorable, adorable characters. Oh, and Bates from Downton Abbey. (Though I'm not such a fan of that actor really, or the character he plays here.) It's amazing what resonance this story of poor villagers rubbing up against middle class townsfolk in early 19th century Oxfordshire, England could have for a modern gal such as myself. The main storyline in each episode is usually such a minor incident in old-fashioned country life -- a post-office package gone missing and then recovered, a lost dog adopted -- that it's a true accomplishment how engaging and important it seems while you're watching it. I really can't recommend this enough, especially for fans of Victorian literature and series/movies based thereon such as myself. And there are 4 seasons!!! So satisfying. Here's a little clip to give you the flavor.
2. The Last Man on Earth (broadcast on Fox, available on Hulu Plus)
I really don't know who's funnier, Will Forte or Kristen Schaal. Kristen's a lot more loveable, that's for sure. This show is hilarious. Hilarious. Hilarious. The first episode is slow, but by the end it gets funny, and the show just gets more and more hilarious with each episode. Did I mention I find it hilarious? By the way even though it is kind of inappropriate I do let my 10-year-old watch it with me, and he loves it as much as I do. Which is fun.
3. Poldark (available on Amazon Prime)
Swoon! That's my response to Poldark (the character, as played by the smoldering Aidan Turner). You can catch up on Season 1 while waiting for Season 2 to begin sometime this year on PBS. I can't wait. I've even gotten my mom into it. The story is replete with passion, resentment, family & class tensions, powerfully conflicted men riding their horses across the starkly beautiful coastal landscape of 1790's Cornwall, England... if that sounds like your kind of thing, get on it!
...or listen to on audiobook, as I do (thank you New York Public Library):
1. Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella
Totally vapid. And totally entertaining. I especially recommend the audiobook, which (unlike most of the others in the Shopaholic series, which have a different reader for some reason) is read with deadpan understatement by Clare Corbett. I chortled out loud more than once. You don't have to have read the previous books to enjoy it. It's perfect light reading for when you just want to laugh!
2. The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin
I'm not going to lie to you, this one's trashy too. Despite its trappings of historical fiction -- the story interweaves interesting fictional characters with real aristocrats and royals from 19th century Europe -- it amounts to not much more than a guilty pleasure. But the characters are engaging, and the story is just unpredictable enough to help this novel transcend the bodice-ripping genre to which it arguably belongs. A well-written, light, juicy read!
3. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
3. The good thing about having a memory that gets worse and worse is this: I can read great books I have already read and enjoy them as if for the first time, because I have completely forgotten them! I have done this now with practically everything by my favorite authors. This book, though, I had omitted to re-read because I vaguely remembered not liking it very much when I first read it. I don't know if that memory is faulty or if my tastes have changed (probably both), but boy did this exceed my expectations (no pun intended) when I finally got around to re-reading it recently! So gothic, so epic, so affecting! I can't think of a more purely endearing character in literature than Joe, nor a more oddly sympathetic one than Pip's convict. Dickens' narrative voice is as cleverly droll and inimitably trenchant as ever. The whole thing is just a big, touching treat.
Full disclosure: my husband gets a free pair of tickets to most Broadway shows because of his professional involvement in musical theater (huge perk for me, when I feel well enough to join him!). So I am not really judging the shows I see according to the same standards as most, i.e., "Was this worth the hundreds of dollars these seats cost?" Which is not to detract from the enthusiasm of my recommendations; just to let you know I'm not saying the shows I liked ARE necessarily worth spending a fortune to see.
1. Bright Star (now on Broadway)
Who know Steve Martin was such a talented composer! I loved his (and lyricist Edie Brickell's) folk/bluegrass score as much as I loved his story, the great performances (especially by hugely talented leading lady Carmen Cusack), the wonderful choreography and costumes, and the clever set. With a cast of unknowns, this show may not attract enough of an audience to stay open long on Broadway... so catch it while you can!
2. On Your Feet: The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan (now on Broadway)
We were indeed on our feet by the end of the show, dancing and singing along! Which is saying a lot for both me (endurer of fibromyalgia & chronic fatigue that I am) & Mark (harborer of inhibitions and epitome of propriety that he is). I really can't believe this show wasn't nominated for any of the major Tony awards, with its super-talented cast and appealing, inspiring story. If you do go see it, be forewarned... the rhythm is gonna get you!
Well that's the round-up of my latest recs. Hope it leads to lots of enjoyment!
You may also like:
subscribe to this blog!
Blogs that inspire me: