Top Picks: Paul Rishell's old country blues, a new novel on the Tudors, and more

Ronald Reagan offers advice for all bridegrooms, PBS airs the documentary about soldiers on the battlefield and at home, 'Hell and Back Again,' and more top picks.

Paul Grover/Reuters
A two-hour special on ABC "The Real Queen: By Her Own Royal Family" with Katie Couric will air Tuesday, May 29 at 9 p.m.
Eric Antoniou
Blues guitarist Paul Rishell's new CD is "Talking Guitar".
The Secret World of Arrietty on Blu-ray and DVD.

Long Live the Queen

The summer media blitz of all things British gets under way Tuesday, May 29, at 9 p.m. with a two-hour special on ABC, The Real Queen: By Her Own Royal Family with Katie Couric. Couric interviews the two British princes, William and Harry, as they talk about their grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, on the occasion of her diamond jubilee.

A soldier comes home

PBS has a full Memorial Day of programming honoring veterans, anchored by the Academy Award-nominated documentary Hell and Back Again. This film transitions between the frontline dangers and chaos of war and the sometimes difficult normalcy of home life as veterans return home. Check local listings.

Old-time blues made new

In the 1920s and ’30s, America fell head over heels in love with the blues. Country style or urban, blues records sold like hotcakes to all kinds of audiences. Contemporary Boston blues musician Paul Rishell conjures up the sound and spirit of the old country blues like no other living practitioner on his new CD Talking Guitar. This charming collection of songs of the period, expertly played on a variety of vintage guitars and sung with rootsy authenticity and gentle humor, is a convincing argument for the genre’s great popular acclaim all those decades ago.

On your wedding day

Sometimes Dad says it best. Letters of Note, a website that posts letters penned by historical figures, features a letter from former President Ronald Reagan to his son on his wedding day, just in time for summer nuptials. "There is no greater happiness for a man than approaching a door at the end of a day knowing someone on the other side of that door is waiting for the sound of his footsteps," Reagan wrote. Read the full letter at

Henry and Anne

As far as historical fiction is concerned, Hilary Mantel is queen. Her latest crack at the Tudors in Bring Up the Bodies is nothing short of spectacular, detailing a juicy version of Anne Boleyn's downfall through the eyes of Henry VIII's master secretary Thomas Cromwell. In 432 pages, Mantel does what countless authors have failed to do – mold Anne and Henry's infamous relationship into something modern and mesmerizing.

Small but fearless

The Secret World of Arrietty, directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and co-written by animation legend Hayao Miyazaki, is a captivating animated feature based on the children's novel "The Borrowers," by Mary Norton. Arrietty and her family of tiny people enchant as they navigate a full-scale human world. The film is available on DVD and Blu-ray.

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