Read, Watch, Listen Again

Every now and then I love to share what I am currently reading and enjoying as well as something I am watching and listening to. As November looms, it may feel like the right time to snuggle up on the sofa with a good book or TV show. You may want a new podcast to zone into when you are going for a run or, like me, whilst having a bath. Or maybe you need something to send you to sleep.

If you missed my October instalment, it is here. Last time I mentioned the funny paramedic TV series, Bloods, as well as a very nostalgic book, The Former Boy Wonder. I also spoke about the Dragoncast podcast which accompanies House of the Dragon.

Read: Normal People by Sally Rooney

I am incredibly late to the party with this one. Having seen the BBC series, I wondered whether I would appreciate the book as much. It was a lot to live up to.

A rich Irish girl who is antisocial and oozes confidence alongside an intelligent yet rugged guy who has met his match. Hiding the fact that he is attracted to his mother’s employer’s daughter, we witness the intriguing story or Marianne and Connel unfold.

The book is amazing! I found it weird that Sally doesn’t use speech marks but soon got used to that style. I can absolutely see why people rave about her writing. It is fascinating how she shapes a story in short chapters which are insightful, captivating and built around social challenges.

Watch: The Watcher on Netflix

When I first came across the advert for this I was instantly attracted because of Jennifer Coolidge, who recently appeared in The White Lotus. Later on I found out that Ryan Murphy had scripted this series based on real life events. I had to watch it for those reasons.

When a couple moved out of New York to the suburbs and bought a dream home, they quickly found themselves freaked out by the neighbours and some unusual occurrences. A letter arrived which was threatening and overshadowing, signed by someone who called themselves ‘The Watcher’.

I am half way through and loving the mix of scares, comedy and general weirdness. I cannot predict who The Watcher is but I am having fun trying to identify this menacing character.

Listen to: Calm

I have been using the Calm app for quite some time as a way to ease myself to sleep at night. I heard about it from a friend and have found it full of so many soundscapes, stories and relaxation pieces.

Sometimes I play some light piano music or raindrop sounds while I sleep. Other times I hear great sleep stories told by brilliant readers like Tamara Levitt or celebrities like Kate Winslet and Harry Styles. I suggest trying a free trial and seeing what you think. OK so it isn’t quite a podcast but it is a fantastic resource for those of us who struggle to get to sleep.

I take a nap a few times a week while listening to one of the half an hour nap stories.

Putting It Together

I hope your Autumn started well. It is incredibly warm in England which is worrying as it is meant to be cool by now. Climate change is definitely messing with our weather. So my way of distracting myself is keeping busy with books, TV shows and podcasts. I would love to know your thoughts on those I suggested. Thank you for taking the time to read my post.

Read, Watch, Listen (October)

It has been a short while since I last wrote one of these posts and so I now have plenty of things to talk about. As Autumn draws in, sitting by the TV or on a sofa, curled up with a good book sounds good. If not, maybe hooking up with a good podcast is your kind of thing.

Today I am happy to discuss a book, a TV show and a podcast that are all really satisfying. I hope that you will consider checking one of them out or recommending your own newly found gems in the comments below.

Reading – The Former Boy Wonder by Robert Graham

This book is really interesting as it is about a slightly washed out music journalist who has daddy issues. It starts off with his parents split and the infrequent visits of his light entertainment father and then jumps around in time a bit.

The author’s way with words is great and some of the nostalgia is very relatable. The main character, Peter, goes to Uni in Manchester and falls madly in love with Sanchia, who fades in and out of the story in an enigmatic way. A lot of the book is during his middle age, when Lucy is Peter’s wife. She was his university housemate and played second fiddle to Sanchia during those college years.

When an old friend invites him to a party at the house where he first met Sanchia, he isn’t sure whether to tell Lucy. Delving back into the friendship group of his early twenties presents emotional conversations and lovely recollections. The story is really reminiscent and warm.

I would say check this book out if you can as rarely has a modern story got such heart as well as stacks of throwback details. For me, the memories felt relatable and cosy, taking me back to my own Uni days in the 1990s.

Watching – Bloods Season 2, Part 2

I may have mentioned this before but I love this comedy which is available on Sky Or NOW TV. Starring Jane Horrocks (as Wendy) of Absolutely Fabulous fame, it is a laugh along show about paramedics and some of the funny circumstances they find themselves in. Lucy Punch (Motherland) is also onboard as a quirky boss who is secretly infatuated with one of the ambulance crew.

My friends and I agree that the comedy has got wittier and the writing sharper in this second series. Samson Kayo is Wendy’s crew mate and their relationship is funny and fractured at times. All of the characters have great comic timing and brilliant onscreen chemistry.

Listening – Dragoncast Podcast

I used to watch ThroneCast which was a discussion show that came on every week after each fresh episode of Game of Thrones. Jamie East used to give detailed explanations of some of the Westeros history and rivalries.

Now I have discovered his brilliant podcast and it is the perfect companion to each episode of House of the Dragon. With special guests and forensic unpicking of the key events, this podcast is very entertaining and helpful. Check out Dragoncast if you get the chance (available on Spotify, Apple etc).

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest recommendations. Please consider following my blog for similar articles about books, TV, podcasts and the environment. You can also read my summer choice in Read, Watch, Listen 4.

House Of Dragons – Did You Watch?

Obviously I cannot get a real image from the series.

This week I caught the first episode of the new GOT prequel, ‘House of the Dragon’. When I was in Amsterdam I saw people queueing for a preview and so I knew it would arrive on our screens soon but I wasn’t sure if it would be worth watching or not. How can anything live up to Game of Thrones?

After being disappointed by the end of GOT (a bit rushed and not really satisfying for fans) I was wary of a new series being developed as so often they are poorer versions of originals. Nevertheless I noticed that Sue Perkins had a panel show which was discussing the new season and she quickly got me intrigued.

In A Nutshell

Daenerys Targaryen was the last in a long line of dragon riding royalty and this series was all about her ancestors, 200 years before Game of Thrones. The King was chosen by ballot and was desperate for a male heir. His daughter was uninterested in power and his raging brother (Matt Smith) was a loose cannon, intent on inheriting the Iron Throne himself.

The daughter, Rhaenyra, was a young version of herself and had a close friend whose father was the King’s right hand man, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans). The friend, Alicent, will eventually grow up to be played by the brilliant Olivia Cooke. I cannot wait to see how the Hightowers become involved in the unfolding stories, especially as they are played by such talented actors.

Without giving too much away, the first episode is all about establishing the royal family. The Queen was in labour and the King had arranged a tournament in the name of his forthcoming heir. Needless to say, things didn’t flow predictably. Thank goodness.

What Was Missing?

For me, I enjoyed the original series because each main character (mainly the Stark family) went off on journeys and we caught up with them each week. Mind you, they all started off in Winterfell in the first episode.

Everything in House of the Dragon began in Kings Landing. However, hopefully they will all spread out to different places in future episodes. That is one thing that I really enjoyed and will miss if House of the Dragon doesn’t do it.

Summary

I hope that you get to check out House of the Dragon on Sky Atlantic or Now TV. It is really good and sets the scene incredibly well. There is so much potential for a fulfilling season.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog. You can also read a previous post about the ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ movie. Please follow the blog for similar future reviews of books, TV shows and films.