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Hump day recommendations

Listen: “In a Sentimental Mood.” Duke Ellington. John Coltrane. Here’s four minutes and 15 seconds of beauty to lift your day to the bright blue sky. – Willis

Watch: “Shogunset in Japan, 1600 CE. The nation reels from the death of the Taiko, who unified the warring houses of Japan’s Senkoku Jidai before embarking on disastrous campaigns in Korea. His young son and heir lives in a gilded vipers’ nest in Osaka, where Lord Toranaga alone protects him from the scheming regents. In the southern domains, Portuguese Jesuits hatch their secret plots, beguiling avaricious daimyo with luxuries from the West. And into this powderkeg flies the burning spark of John Blackthorne, a Protestant English pilot shipwrecked on a secret mission, whose mere presence in the Land of the Rising Sun threatens to overturn the political order. You’ll be entranced by the tight storytelling, lush production design, and deeply compelling performances in this transcendent retelling of James Clavell’s 1975 novel, loosely based on the real life of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu – Matt

Read: The problem with “Islamophobia.” In the months since Oct. 7, bias and attacks against both Jews and Muslims in the US have risen substantially. But in rightly decrying the wave of Islamophobia, many people – particularly liberals – are deliberately refusing to call the hate by its real name, argues Egyptian-American analyst and writer Hani Sabra. I won’t spoil it for you, but I can promise you that whether you agree or not, this essay is a thought-provoking perspective on how we talk about things, or don’t. – Alex

Read/Listen: “Unruly: The Ridiculous History of England's Kings and Queens.” Tired of the royal saga involving Kate, Wills, Meghan, and Harry? Well, history is full of far more interesting royal figures. British comedian (and ersatz historian) David Mitchell offers gems like: “[Henry I] was predictable. That’s the key. It’s disappointing in a lover but, in a feudal overlord, it hits the spot.” And if you use Audible, you’ll have the added pleasure of laughing out loud on your commute as Mitchell himself reads the book to you, with a healthy serving of snark. – Tracy


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