Just finished reading the book "The Leftovers" by Tom Perrotta (also wrote Election and some other shit). It was a good read. Quick and interesting. It's being turned into an HBO show that starts next week, and the trailers for it looked intriguing. The premise is that a "Rapture-like" event takes place and 2% of the world's population vanishes. Rapture-like because it's not just Christians that disappear. It's also Jews, Muslims, atheists, gays - it appears to be random. So the story follows a family in a small town that's been torn-apart by the event and gives glimpses of how the world reacts after something like that happens. Lots of weird cults, suicides, disassociative behavior. It sometimes feels like The Stand-lite, minus supernatural stuff other than the main event that sets the whole thing off. I would love to read Stephen King's take on this world, because he would probably be way crazier with everything, but it was still a really good story.
I started listening to this history podcast called Hardcore History with Dan Carlin. The show I'm on right now is SO GOOD. It's called Blueprint for Armageddon I, and it's about the beginnings of WWI:
"The planet hadn't seen a major war between all the Great Powers since the downfall of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. But 99 years later the dam breaks and a Pandora's Box of violence engulfs the planet."The host is really easy to listen to and he's got a unique presentation that's addictive. The shows are apparently super long - like 3-4 hours each, but it doesn't matter because it's all this awesome shit I've never heard about, and I'm loving every second of it. They seem to come out every few months, so I guess the long run-time makes up for it. Haven't listened to any of the other episodes yet, but start with the same one I'm on and see if it hooks you. I found it through iTunes.
(He also does a current events show that I haven't checked out yet. I'm not sure what his angle on today's politics are, so I'm avoiding it till I burn through these history episodes .)