Podcasts for Royal History Lovers

Via Wikimedia Commons. Empress Joséphine in her coronation regalia painted by François Gérard, 1807-1808.

If you like reading about royal history, then you may enjoy listening to podcasts about royals. There are a number of excellent podcasts I subscribe to that I think you might find of interest.

The Exploress Podcast is incredibly well-researched and a fun way to learn about ancient historical women. The recreations of historical dialogue are entertaining and a must-listen. Though there are many episodes on historic noble women, some of the women featured are commoners. It’s still an entertaining resource and I highly recommend the outstanding four-part series on Cleopatra. Plus, the website has a page devoted to book recommendations. Enjoy!

Noble Blood is a podcast about the footnotes of royal men and women; the stories we don’t learn in school. It’s well-researched and told in a narrative style, as if a good friend is sitting near you and whispering a gossipy tale. The episodes are about tyrannical royals, murdered royals and tragic princesses. Very entertaining. I can’t recommend it enough.

The History Chicks is run by two very good friends who enjoy talking about historical women. They began the podcast ten years ago because they couldn’t find any podcasts devoted entirely to women. Though a good number of royals are featured, they are not the main focus of this podcast. However, it’s worth perusing their catalog since it features many episodes of interest to royal history fans. I recommend their episodes on Gilded Age HeiressesCatherine the Great and Empress Sisi of Austria

The Art of Monarchy is no longer updated, but the past episodes about decorative arts of The Royal Collection are a must-listen for royal history lovers.

Last but not least, if you enjoy royal fashion, then you may enjoy listening to Dressed. The two hosts are experts in fashion and textiles and are a joy to listen to. Their well-researched episodes feature everything from the history of haute couture to Oscars fashion and feature a good amount of interviews with experts.

xoxo, Jane

(This article is also posted at my other blog, The Royal Archivist.)

Happy New Year 2021

Hello, friends!

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my bookish posts. As someone who is a bibliophile, it really means a lot to me. Especially this year when I felt out of sorts and worried about so many things. It’s truly nice to be in touch with others who appreciate books just as much as I do and I hope you stick around as we turn the clock to 2021.

Speaking of 2021, may the new year treat all of us in a more gentle manner. Wishing you good health and lots of happiness.

Happy New Year!

xoxo, Jane

I’m ready for 2021 (and my new planners)

Well, I don’t know about you but I sure am ready to say farewell to 2020 in the hope that 2021 will treat us more gently.

My two new planners should see me through the new year. For 2021, I have a desk planner, plus a smaller one for my handbag and future travel (you know, for the days when we are allowed to go places again). In the past, I’ve lugged my big planner around with me on airplanes which is cumbersome. The smaller planner will be much better, plus it can hold my passport and credit cards.

I’ve always been a big lover of paper planners. Planners help me stay organized and efficient. Plus, if I write down my to-do list it helps me sleep better. Another weird thing about me, if I write something down (even if it’s having lunch with so and so), I don’t cancel the plans no matter what. It’s not in me to not go through with something once it’s written on paper. However, I must admit, lately I’ve been easing up on my massive to-do list and allowing myself to transfer tasks to the next day. (#2020!)

The Bibliophile Planner is a weekly calendar with a two-page horizontal spread per week and includes a notes section. The monthly section has a place for writing down the books you’ve read and the books you want to read. There is also the usual month-at-a-glance, which I will use for blog post titles and blog ideas. So there you have it, a pretty decent planner to help me stay focused and on task for the coming year.

My favorite part about it? The author birthdays, full-color graphics of books and literary milestones throughout the planner.

Do you use paper planners?

xoxo, Jane

Small Moments of Happiness: August 2020

The staircase at Hillwood Mansion and Museum. The late owner, Mrs. Post, bought many Russian art pieces from her time as the ambassador’s wife to the USSR.

I’m glad August is almost behind us. While I try to find something good in the everyday, it’s really hard to sit back and relax when the world around me is on fire. There was yet another shooting of an unarmed Black man by police. He is alive but paralyzed from the waist down. I can’t in all good conscience sit here and count my blessings when so many families are suffering from so much tragedy. That said, I did find the Democratic National Convention hopeful. It gave me hope for what is to come this November. My favorite part about the DNC was the roll call. If you want to virtually travel across the US and territories, then please watch this amazing roll call.

I also visited two museums in August, the National Gallery of Art (see a short tour here) and Hillwood Mansion and Museum. It was wonderful to meander through near-empty rooms admiring art. I won’t do it again anytime soon, but these two excursions should tide me over until there is a vaccine.

How are you? Are you slowly venturing outside again?

xoxo, Jane

Small Moments of Happiness: July 2020

Welcome to August!

What made me happy in July? Well, I really love working from home so that was a big moment of happiness for me. I’m down to a routine and I can’t imagine ever working in an office again. I’m sure that day will come sooner than I’d like, but for now I’m savoring the productivity and peacefulness of working from home.

I also received my copy of Sanditon. You can see it above, it’s the third book from the left. My Jane Austen Penguin Clothbound Classics series is now complete.

In July, I worked on my various writing projects, read a few interesting books, listened to my favorite podcasts and took lots of nature walks (in the humidity, but you can’t win them all). I also completed another The Great Courses. It was about Prince Albert. Very interesting to learn more about him.

July was a very productive month, but I’m glad it’s August because I want to inch closer to the end of this year and the end of this presidency.

How was your July?

xoxo, Jane

Small Moments of Happiness: June 2020

Looking down Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C.

It is difficult to sit down and write about what made me happy in June. It’s selfish and out of touch because June was an awful month for most of us. We are grappling with a deadly pandemic and systematic racism. Among a thousand other problems. And I won’t lie, I’m feeling a touch of depression because I feel helpless. Nothing seems to ever change…but I’ll try to remain hopeful. Don’t worry, I’ll do more than keep hope alive. I’ll vote. And I’ll continue to be vocal. And I’ll continue to donate to the causes that fight injustice.

I do feel it’s healthy to try to focus on a few good things, but out of respect for what our country is going through, I won’t wax poetic about it. I’ll be brief. Here we go: in June, I bought new books, went on several garden walks, listened to The Great Courses (highly recommend) via Audible and my library app, picked up library books and of course enjoyed every cup of steaming morning tea. So I think the moral here is that it’s the little things in life, the small moments of happiness.

I very much hope you had a few small moments of happiness too and I’d love to read them, if you’d like to share in the comments. I hope you have a great Friday and a wonderful new month.

xoxo, Jane

Small Moments of Happiness: May 2020

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With a pandemic firmly settled in our lives and not seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, I tried to make the most of May, one of my favorite months of the year. However, I must admit that I feel silly writing about happiness when the world is on fire so I’ll keep it short and sweet.

May was about fresh air and springtime walks, enjoying flowers at home and spying them in gardens on my walks. I even bought my first bouquet of peonies to bring home and they’ve bloomed beautifully. I enjoyed the quieter pace of life while working from home. I hope it’s been a peaceful, healthy month for you too.

xoxo, Jane

Book Haul Update

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I bought more books to add to my Penguin Clothbound Classics collection. This should be the last ones I buy because I now own the full-length Jane Austen novels in this collection. My goal wasn’t to own the entire Jane Austen set, but the pandemic forced me to do a little bit of retail therapy to support my small, independent bookshop.

I bought Northanger Abbey from the collection which I’ve read before and enjoyed the movie adaptation. I also bought Mansfield Park, which I haven’t read and is up next. I am a little bit weary of this novel because it’s about cousin love (the hero and heroine are first cousins !!). I’m hoping I can enjoy the book regardless. We’ll see.

Oh, and can you spot my new book-inspired vase?

In other news, I’m currently listening to the Catch and Kill podcast by Ronan Farrow. If you don’t know what it’s about, it’s the podcast where Ronan Farrow and his guests (journalists, victims, private investigators, etc.) talk about the Harvey Weinstein investigation process and everything they endured because of it. If I didn’t already hate predators as much as I do, I would hate them even more now. I’ll probably read Ronan Farrow’s book, Catch and Kill, afterwards. If I don’t explode from anger first. Have you read it?

xoxo, Jane

Small Moments of Happiness: April 2020

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Another month is drawing to a close. I truly hope that your April was better than March. Was it?

Here are a few things that brought me joy in April.

The Andrea Bocelli Music for Hope Concert

I thought it was so nice of Andrea Bocelli to do this concert for the world. It really brought me hope and made me feel like we really are in this together. I also found the cathedral stunning. Andrea Bocelli has the voice of an angel.

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Audible

Like most of us (I know that readers of this blog are like-minded individuals) I find comfort in books. I mentioned earlier on the blog that I signed up for the Audible membership. I’m really pleased with it. It comes with one credit per month towards a free audiobook, no matter the length or cost. After that, the audiobooks are discounted for Audible members. It also comes with several free monthly Audible Originals. So far, most of April’s Audible Originals weren’t my cup of tea, but I’m hoping May will have a few that are more my style. Before I signed up for Audible, I used my library for digital audiobooks (which I will continue to use for when I don’t want to purchase audiobooks). I would start with your library before committing to a paid membership.

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Tea on a rainy April day. A glorious cup of tea makes for a joyful morning.

The Great Courses

I listened to a Great Course via my library’s digital collection. If you need an educational diversion, then I recommend The Great Courses. They have courses on literally every subject on the planet. My course was about espionage which I highly enjoyed.

TV adaptation of Belgravia

I’ve already mentioned this on the blog, but period dramas are seeing me through this pandemic. Belgravia is doing a nice job of keeping me going. I also watched Doctor Thorne (Anthony Trollope adaptation) on Amazon Prime. Loved it.

What have you been enjoying?

xoxo, Jane

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I leave you with this picture of tulips from a few years ago. (Maybe I should have also mentioned that another thing that brings me joy is scrolling through my flower photos from years gone by.)

 

A few current pleasures

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Dear friends,

We’ve now entered the phase of reckless impatience here in the USA. People no longer wish to be confined to their homes and have decided to protest. I am told these protestors are in the minority. I would hope so. I imagine even one small group of protestors can make life even more difficult for our tired, underpaid, under-protected and overworked healthcare workers.

In the spirit of staying upbeat and positive, I thought I’d share with you a few of my current pleasures while complying with my stay-at-home order.

The TV adaptation of Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia.

Belgravia is a well-made historical drama with an incredible cast. Period dramas are seeing me through this pandemic! A new episode is released every Sunday. I watch it with a pot of tea and a sweet treat. It really gives me something to look forward to all week long. In fact, I’m in a good mood just thinking about this week’s upcoming episode.

My current audiobook.

I’m listening to To Tempt a Viking by Michelle Willingham. The narrator, Deirdre O’Connell, is fantastic. She has this Irish lilt that is oh so lovely and soothing in my ear. This book is the second in the Forbidden Vikings series. I enjoyed the first book, To Sin with a Viking, so very much that the sequel was an automatic yes for me.

Chocolate.

Life shall remain somewhat upbeat as long as there is chocolate. I’m sure someone else, much wiser and more important than me, said the same thing.

Audible.

I finally signed up for an Audible account. I don’t know why I was so late to join the audiobook game because audiobooks are the best thing ever. I can listen to books while I clean, cook or do the laundry.  Or I can listen while I do nothing except lounge around!

How are you holding up?

xoxo, Jane

Spring is here.

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Just a little note to say hello.

When I see flowers and trees blooming, it gives me hope. And I think we could all use a little hope right now.

xoxo, Jane