Summer Holiday Essentials: Books, TV Series & Podcasts20/07/2016
Your summer holiday is the perfect time to catch up on your favourite show, discover your new favourite podcast or get lost in a great book. With this in mind VOYA has put together three of the best of each type of media to help you unwind this summer, whether you’ll be lying on a sun lounger in an exotic location or putting your feet up out your back garden.
Best Summer Reading
Every so often a person comes along that is so ‘larger than life’, that their biography reads better that the escapades of the most ludicrous fictional character you could dream up. We’re of course talking about Helen Gurley, the former editor-in -chief of Cosmopolitan whose business acumen and entrepreneurship saw her masthead publication capture the untapped market of single young female readers, searching for a voice in the 1960s. Enter Helen, chronicles Gurley’s journey as a self-help writer and the captain of the early mainstream feminist movement.
A Place Called Winter
By Patrick Gale
Have you ever been so engrossed in a book that the effort of scanning the words with your eyes disappears and you are magically transported into the perspective of the main character? If the answer is a definitive ‘No’, then it’s time to pick up a Patrick Gale Novel. A Place Called Winter follows the life of Harry Cane, a young man of privilege who sees his promising future threatened as he gets tangled up in an illicit affair. If you’re a sucker for a true story, then you’ll be fascinated to know that the story is loosely based on the mystery surrounding the life of Gale’s real life great-grandfather and the questions that surrounded his sudden emigration to Canada in the early 20th Century.
The Good Son
By Paul McVeigh
The Good Son has been one of the most talked about books in recent months and is a top choice for critics and book clubs alike across the country. McVeigh offers a window into The Troubles of the North from the perspective of a young boy, Mickey Donnelly. The Guardian put it best when they described the Good Son as “a full-colour close-up of life in a no-go area”. One of the more consistent compliments coming in for McVeigh’s work is that he has managed to infuse some humour into such a brutal subject matter.
Best Summer Series
The Good Wife
Julianna Marguiles first won our hearts and for some, our envy, in E.R where she played Carol a trauma nurse and George Clooney’s other-half onscreen. It wouldn’t be until almost 20 years later that she would become the star of her own show, portraying Alicia Florrick in the Good Wife. Returning to practice law to support her family after her politician husband (Chris Noth/Mr Big from Sex and the City) is sent to prison, Alicia starts again from the bottom while desperately trying to be the lawyer who cares, but who also earns. Think the West Wing, but with more warmth. It’s very easy to enjoy this show.
The great thing about Mad Men and its portrayal of the lives of the ad executives of Madison Avenue, is that it doesn’t suffer from spoilers. The only time way you’ll know what happens next is if you’re a pop culture history whiz. Fall in love with the style, the current events and the music of a bustling Manhattan set against the back drop of the 1960s and eventually the early 1970s and witness the stellar performance of John Hamm, John Slattery, January Jones and Christina Hendricks. Enjoy every minute, from the hypnotic opening credits to the selected songs of the year in the end titles.
This six-part UK drama just finished a very popular run
on RTE and is already available on DVD. Unforgotten centres on the discovery of a body in a London tenement building that has lay undiscovered for 40 years. An address book with six names is also found near the deceased and from this point we follow a police murder investigation and meet some very senior suspects who keep you guessing about their true colours right up until the last minute.
Best Summer Podcasts
Here’s the Thing
If you could interview your heroes and ask them anything you wanted, how would you compose yourself? Could you keep calm and collected and act professional? That’s just what Alec Baldwin does in his popular podcast Here’s the Thing. Billy Joel, Julianne Moore, Michael Douglas and others, all drop into say hello and answer Baldwin’s curiosities. The host’s sultry tone makes a great audible companion for a flight.
In 2014, the podcast world changed forever when we were introduced to Serial, a spin-off of NPR’s This American Life. Serial focuses on Adnan Syed, a man who was sent to prison in 1999 for allegedly killing his high school girlfriend Hae Min Lee. Host Sarah Koenig, investigates a sloppy defence, confusing cell phone records and attempts to track down alibi witnesses that never featured in the original trial. Koenig talks to Adnan once a week and when she gets close to a clue is often frustrated by his lack of memory of the day he is accused of murdering Lee. Gripping to the end.
The Mystery Show
Starlee Kine solves the type of mysteries that can’t be
concluded with a simple internet search. Through her podcast, The Mystery Show, she tracks down the origins of interesting artefacts that her friends have acquired, uncovers the mystery of a controversial car licence plate and even tries to figure out how tall Jake Gyllenhaal really is. Emotional at times, but always intriguing, the mystery show is a wonderful summer companion.
Heading to the sun? Click to check out our guide to skin cancer awareness and prevention.