Fiction: still reading Neal Stephenson's "Reamde", and will be for a while yet - I think I'm only about a third of the way through. Still enjoying it, still not sure I know where the story is going yet, the introduction of complicating factors to the plot is still continuing.
Non-fiction: still reading Gerald Harriss's "Shaping the Nation: England 1360-1461" - finished off the chapter on urban life and started the one on the institutional Church (as opposed to religion which is the next chapter). Read about bishops, and was surprised to discover it was to large extent a meritocracy. Eventual bishops rose through the ranks in court administration (generally) before promotion to a see, most had a university education and over this period more & more had higher degrees. Generally educated in law rather than theology, except during Henry VI's reign when theologians were more promoted.
Maps: 800-200BCE - waves of empires in the Middle East (the Persians come & go, Alexander ditto). China fragments, and then re-coalesces (via the conquest of the First Emperor). India also comes together as an almost single unit briefly under Ashoka. Iron working spreads from niche tech to in use across Eurasia. And several of the great religions/philosophies are founded - Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism.
Podcasts: ep 2-28 of Renaissance English History podcast. Somewhat patchy to start off with, but it feels like she's beginning to hit her stride (and the dates on the episodes are getting closer together). It does feel like the most amateur of the podcasts I've listened to so far but still interesting.
Sunday podcast: ep 5 & 6 of Our Man in the Middle East - more Jerusalem/Israel in the 90s, the assassination of their Prime Minister which also killed the peace process.
Music: while running I've listened Prince, Scissor Sisters, Roxette and an 80s compilation.
Diablo - bumped up the difficulty level a notch, and died loads as we're still adjusting to that ;)
ep 4 of From Russia to Iran - Armenia & finally Iran. This last episode felt a little padded, partly because there were big jumps in distance so they felt we needed more orientation. A good series, and a part of the world I knew nothing about before.
ep 2 of Reginald D. Hunter's Songs of the South - Alabama and Georgia (where he was born but left). Delved rather more into the racial tensions of the South along with the music (Confederate flags at Lynyrd Skynyrd concerts for instance), but somehow remained upbeat in tone.
Seven Days in Summer: Countdown to Partition - more about Partition. This focused on the absolute clusterfuck of the handover & division process. Perhaps the violence would've happened anyway, but I don't think the British Government of the time helped the situation one bit (like, some dude who'd never been to India before was flown in to draw the boundaries between India & Pakistan and the line wasn't even finalised till after the handover so people were in limbo & relying on rumour).
ep 3 of The Sweet Makers - our intrepid confectioners were pretending to be Victorians, and were perhaps a little more competent with this level of tech than the older tech. Fun series, but not as high quality as other living history type documentaries we've watched.
ep 1 of The World's Busiest Cities - Dan Snow, Anita Rani & Ade Adepitan visiting some of the busiest cities. This episode was Hong Kong, which has a massive gulf between the winners of capitalism and the losers (people living in cubicles no bigger than their beds, Filipino domestic servants whose days off are spent camped out in public spaces because they have no place of their own).