MoviesThe Tuskegee Airmen
1995 made-for-HBO movie (supposedly very lavish for its time). Stars Laurence Fishburne. Historical film about the first African-American fighter pilot squadron in WWII. Supposedly fairly historically accurate. Fiction
Rhys Bowen, A Royal Pain
(Her Royal Spyness series #2)
Audiobook narrated by Katherine Kellgren. Light historical mystery / romance series set in England and Scotland in the 1930s. Lady Georgiana is 34th in line to the throne and has a family mansion in London but no money, so she puts on a disguise and cleans people's houses for a living, while the Queen involves her in matchmaking schemes. The Lady Georgiana character is a foil for the more broadly comic characters she interacts with. Many of the characters are kind of stereotyped and Kellgren's voices are sometimes a little forced so I am not quite sure why I like this, but when it came time to pick a new audiobook I felt like downloading this one instead of starting any of the ones I already have.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Captain of the Pole Star"
Not a Sherlock Holmes story, more of a ghost story. I love Conan Doyle's writing and the way he draws characters so I thought the story was fun, although it's not as intricate as many of the Holmes stories. However, the audio version I had, narrated by Walter Covell, was awful
Tananarive Due, The Good House
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Robin Miles. Due's second novel uses classic horror tropes about haunted houses and dysfunctional families with secrets and voodoo and multi-generational curses and small towns. But what's different from other horror stuff I've read is that every single one of her human characters is at least a little bit sympathetic and at least a little bit flawed. The protagonists are a mother and son, and there are occasional shifts to other characters' POVs. Race and racism are part of the their world but not constantly in the foreground. The horror comes from bad things happening to characters I care about, and characters making poor choices (either on their own or under outside influence) much more than from, e.g., the inherent ickiness of bodies (dead or alive). For example, mud and leaves aren't inherently scary, but when they show up in places they shouldn't be with no explanation, that is scary. The novel was longer and more rambly than I would have preferred, and there are a couple of plot points that I really disliked (one of these is a pretty big spoiler: (animal abuse, and a woman lying about having been raped [the "woman" is actually a demon in disguise, but it still bugged me]
). But overall I'm glad I read it and if more horror were like this (making me feel "I really hope they figure a way out of this" instead of "everything is dooooomed for all time") I would read horror more often.
By the way, Due wrote a wonderful eulogy of Octavia Butler here: http://www.tananarivedue.com/octaviaebutler.htm
Rex Stout, The League of Frightened Men
Second book in the Nero Wolfe series. A while back, a fraternity hazing prank went wrong and resulted in a young man losing his leg. Now members of the fraternity are dying and it seems as if the man with one leg is murdering them, but nothing can be proved. The main plot was pretty easy to figure out but there were a couple of subplots that were more interesting. I really liked a lot of the Wolfe–Goodwin byplay in this one, but I don't think it's one of the best in the series.GamesPure Hidden
This is a hidden object game with puzzles, but it has no plot laid on. It's kind of like an adult's activity box (many of the puzzles would also be suitable for children). You open boxes that grow on a vine and interact with what's inside, which include searching for different objects, searching for many of the same object, picture-assembly puzzles, pipe-fitting puzzles, apps that create music or pictures (one of them was that typing on the keyboard caused different kinds of flowers to grow on the screen). You're also occasionally decorating a bathroom. The images you put together or search inside are beautiful and come in many styles. Once you've finished an image, it becomes part of a gallery and you can set it as desktop wallpaper if you want. Different ambient music goes with each hidden object game, and the music also comes in many styles. You can play in an easy mode, with copious hints and the ability to skip many of the puzzles if you want; or you can play in a point-scoring mode (I didn't try this). The hints come in handy because at least on my non-Retina screen a few of the images were impossible to see. But otherwise this is a really great casual game.