I love What You Missed in History Class! I've been listening (and delighting my co-workers with trivia) for a year now. Recommendation: The Lizzie Bourden episode
This week, curl up with a good story, laugh with some cartoon therapy, and reminisce about high school with a history lesson and a classic novel.
On your kindle
This week, pick up State of Wonder, the acclaimed new novel by Ann Patchett, author of The Magician’s Assistant and Bel Canto. If you are in the mood for a story, then this is your lucky day: Patchett weaves together the fantastic with the scientific for a just-barely-believable story that transports you from cold Minnesota to the lush and mysterious depths of the Brazilian rainforest. As sweater weather descends upon us, pick this up and feel the warm comfort of a well-told mystery tale.
On your smartphone
If your commute is quick and you could use an antidote to a case of the Mondays, log on to newyorker.com and watch quick ten-second animated versions of their famous cartoons. The videos are posted almost every other day, and—best of all—viewing them doesn’t require a subscription.
On a podcast
Do you ever feel glum when you think back to the years you spent in history class, taking copious notes on people and events both obscure and not-so-obscure, and realize how little you remember? (Maybe that just happens to me.) I’ve recently found a new obsession that somewhat quells my anxiety over those lapses in memory. Meet the What You Missed in History Class podcast: a fun, informative subsection of HowStuffWorks.com.
So far this week, I’ve learned the stories behind the Pied Piper of Hamelin, the ghosts that allegedly haunt Versailles, and the real-life barbarian who inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Listen and learn—on your commute or your lunchbreak!
This week, I’m having a bit of a Victorian novel kickback. I blame it on the onset of a certain crispness in the air, which reminds me of college autumns spent poring over novels of manners, and not in small part on the appearance of Jane Eyre on Comcast’s OnDemand.
If you’ve never read the book, or haven’t read it since high school, do yourself a favor and pick it up for your commute this week. Jane is one of the original feminists, who speaks out against injustice, creates her own fortune, and values herself and self-preservation over nearly everything else. Moreover, Charlotte Bronte’s novel is different from other Victorian novels—like the well-loved, ever-sunny Pride and Prejudice—in the pervasive darkness that settles over the text.