READ | “The Splendid and the Vile” 

Erik Larson’s 2020 bestselling “saga of Churchill, family and defiance during the Blitz” explores the first year of Winston Churchill’s term as prime minister, when England entered Hitler’s crosshairs,but not in a way that reads like a history book.

Larson brings history to life, writing about events and eras in a way that’s not only readable, but riveting. He has written about deadly hurricanes, shipwrecks and a serial killer preying on young women against the backdrop of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.

WATCH | The White Lotus

This six-episode comedy/drama by showrunner Mike White was inspired by the claustrophobia of being cooped up with loved ones during the pandemic. Set in a Hawaiian resort over the course of a week, the opening flash-forward scene shows a coffin being loaded onto an airplane. We’re left to ponder “Who’s going to die?” as we watch each episode. One of the beleaguered staff, or one of the privileged guests? Beautiful Hawaiian music serves as an eerie backdrop to the scenes, which reveal more of each character’s complexity the deeper into the series the viewer gets.


This podcast from Kara Swisher, who covers tech for the New York Times, is about way more than tech. Two recent episodes: Is Limitless Choice Killing Us Slowly and $54 Billion Later, Why Is Flying Still a Headache. Swisher gets smart guests — who are not necessarily friendly — and doesn’t let them easily evade answering her smart questions. One of the best interviewers around.

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