And so ends another month in lockdown. I’m halfway through week 10 of social isolation and it is REALLY starting to get to me now!
But how have I been keeping myself historically entertained during May? Discover how in the second of my monthly review posts, inspired by fellow history girl History Lizzie.
Books I read in May
This book was chosen by The History Bookshelf online book group for our May read. It was a great choice, full of amazing stories about people who I have never heard of before. Greg Jenner has written the book in such an entertaining and humorous way, much like you were in conversation with him. I can’t wait to discuss it with the book club on Sunday.
I’ve made it my aim to read one self-help book a month during lockdown – well, something good has got to come of it all, hasn’t it?! I picked this particular book after an online recommendation and I’m glad I did. My childhood wasn’t the most straightforward, and separating from my husband last year bought a whole load of issues back to the surface. This book was just what I needed at the right time.
Films I Watched In May
To honour the 75th anniversary of VE Day, I decided to devote my Hisdoryan Film Club to WWII films during the month of May. I eased myself in with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which has a dash of heartwarming feels more than the average WWII movie. Lily James simply shines in this film.
I have a confession to make. This was the first time I had watched Darkest Hour, headed by an Oscar-winning Gary Oldman playing Winston Churchill. Its a solid film, and Oldman did a great job of playing the wartime Prime Minister. Modern history has never been my thing so I learned quite a bit about the early history of World War Two courtesy of this movie.
I had never watched Saving Private Ryan before this month either. Its criminal, I know – I just don’t do well with war films. I come out the other side a blubbering wreck. Saving Private Ryan was no exception, but I am glad I can say I have now watched it. It is a great film and I can see why it is highly recommended.
On the week I was feeling a bit emotionally fragile, I decided to be indulgent and recommend Emma for my weekly film club. I used it as an excuse to watch the beautiful and aesthetically-pleasing 2020 adaption directed by Autumn de Wilde. Lounging on the sofa with cocktails and eton mess in hand, naturally.
TV I Watched In May
I’ve watched the previous series of Medici, so when the last series dropped at the start of May it was the first thing on my watch list. Because I’ve watched it all along I was so emotionally invested in the characters, and I’ve definitely learnt more about the famous Medici family along the way. A dramatic and fitting end to a great series.
A new Netflix series from Glee creator Ryan Murphy, Hollywood was totally engrossing and I binge-watched it all in one day. Its set in post-WWII Hollywood, but apart from that it totally rips up all the period drama conventions! It is inclusive, it is explicit, it is groundbreaking…if you watch one thing this month, make it this.
At the time of writing this post I am halfway through watching The Great and I am LOVING it! Its a series very loosely based on and inspired by the life of Catherine The Great. It is laugh-out-loud hilarious and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Elle Fanning plays Catherine, but Nicholas Hoult steals the show as her obnoxious husband Peter.
Due to the current coronavirus situation the Hay Festival has gone online this year – and its totally free! I’ve watched Greg Jenner talk about his book Dead Famous, and Dame Hilary Mantel chat about her recent The Mirror and The Light. I hope other literary and history festivals follow suit by going online. As a person who lives in a remote part of the country and can’t always get to festivals, I think this is an improvement!
How have you been keeping yourself historically entertained during the month of May? What have you been reading, watching and scrolling? Let us know in the comments below.
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