It’s been a while since I did one of these posts and, to be honest, I can’t remember everything I’ve read and watched during that time. Mostly, I read; with a few exceptions, lately, I haven’t felt the desire to sit down and commit to a show. The exceptions? I’ve watched almost the full 2 seasons of The Crown, and parts of My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I adore the latter, and the only reason why I haven’t gobbled up every episode is that I don’t have access to it except when I’m visiting my girlfriends; we’ve had a few watch-a-thons, but I’m not fully caught up on all 3 seasons. I know all the songs though – they’re definitely my favourite part.

As for The Crown, it is eminently enjoyable but not binge-watching material for me. I will go ahead and confess that I enjoy the gossipy bits the most, and could do with less politics. I will definitely finish season 2 at some point, though, and look forward to future seasons; I hope they follow through to the Diana/Sarah Ferguson years at the very least.

I would also love for a similar treatment of Queen Victoria and her offspring; since PBS’ Victoria already covered the early years of her reign and marriage to Albert, we could skip ahead to, say, the 1860s when most of her children were starting to marry and multiply dynasties across Europe. There is SO MUCH material to be mined there! Scandals, love stories, wars, revolutions … you name it.

Moving on … much of what I read recently consisted of Anne Perry mystery novels. Perry is one of those writers, like Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and PD James, whose work I re-read once every 3-4 years. I’m actually not a huge fan of historical detective writing (i.e. set in pre-1900s times), but there is something about her writing that strikes the right chord with me. I prefer the Thomas Pitt series over the William Monk one, though I also like the earlier novels better because they focused more on the upper classes and less on things like treason and espionage. I am HERE for all the Victorian scandal, is what I’m saying. If anyone has recc’s for similar work in this narrow genre, let me have them.

Sidenote: during this most recent reading marathon, I belatedly realized that Anne Perry is the pseudonym of one of the women who, as teenagers, were involved in the infamous murder which inspired the movie Heavenly Creatures. She went to jail and served her time, and then emerged (or disappeared) into an incredible “second act” as a famous mystery/crime writer. The mind, it boggles. I also can’t believe that I had not heard of this before.

Other books I have read & enjoyed lately (round-up style):

Sicily by John Julius Norwich. I generally enjoy Norwich’s non-fiction, and this was no exception. Excellent writing and a interesting, fast-paced read. Sicily gets overlooked a lot in history books, but it was at the centre of conflagrations and political machinations for millennia.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. Brosh is a co-writer of My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I had heard of this book before (and, in fact, I’m pretty sure I read the blog at some point years ago), but I decided to buy it and read it over the holidays because I love the show so damn much. I loved the book as well, and my only complaint is that it didn’t keep going. It felt much too short.

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby. My BFF introduced me to this book, and I was hooked about half a chapter in, and rushed to buy my own copy. Needless to say, LOVED it. I am one of those people who is perpetually convinced that her carefully constructed cover of normalcy might be blown at any moment, leaving the “gross” weirdness inside completely exposed. Reading Irby’s book made me feel a little bit better about the possibility that there is weirdness that we all keep hidden away.

Your turn: tell me everything you’ve read and watched (and loved or didn’t) recently.

21 Comments on What I Read: Recap Edition

  1. I watched the Crown too – I liked it, but like you said, it’s kind of slow. I have to admit my favorite story line is that of Princess Margaret’s romance woes, which feels a little shallow of me. I definitely did a lot more reading about the actual historical events after watching the show, so that’s probably good for me. I started watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and really liked the first few episodes, but dropped off somewhere in the middle of the season. I kept falling asleep mid-episode which makes it difficult to keep up 🙂 I can’t tell if this says as much about the show as it does about my life. Oh well.

  2. LOVED every minute of The Crown! I barreled through Mindhunter and Bloodline, too. So, so good. Bloodline is a slow start, but it’s amazing. I just started reading The Girl with all the Gifts, and I’m enjoying that immensely.

    • Thanks for the recc – one of these days I’ll get back into Netflix hardcore and will def check those out. I seem to go through cycles; either I read or I watch.

  3. I recently binged American Vandal (on Netflix) and really liked that, though it’s a premise that may not be for everyone.
    Otherwise, I’m watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend too, along with the Good Place, Great News, and Riverdale.
    I found the Crown to be a little too slow for me, but maybe I should try again.
    The best thing I’ve read recently is Between the World and Me.
    It’s a much later historical period, but you might like the Maisie Dobbs mysteries by Jacqueline Winspear–set in the 1920s. I didn’t keep up past the first five or so books in the series, but at the time I really likeed them. Most are reflecting somewhat on World War I.
    It’s sort of a tentative recommendation but the Deanna Raybourn Victorian series that starts with Silent in the Grave–this was an odd series (I read the first five books), in that I found parts to be absorbing, and when I was reading, I wanted to keep reading, and I found the setting and atmosphere engrossing but at the same time, the two main characters completely got on my nerves.
    Thanks for the recs–I’ll definitely need to check out those latter two books!

  4. 1) LOVE that you’re blogging aging!

    2) Added Sicily to my list of books to read. I’m in the middle of Prairie Fires, a non fiction book that analyzes the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. So good! Highly recommend.

  5. Still struggling through those Elena Ferrante books. Have you read them? Friends from College was a great tv distraction – can’t wait for more episodes. Oh, and FYI, Allie Brosh the blogger isn’t the crazy ex girlfriend writer. I thought the same, but Google told me otherwise.

  6. I have really been enjoying the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. It is a post-WWI detective series with a female main character. It is very intelligently written.

  7. I read an odd little book recently called The Astonishing Thing. It’s written from the perspective of the family’s cat. I also tend to read a lot of trashy mystery novels on my phone on the train to work. I signed up for Bookbub and it sends me links to free or cheap books – lots of first time authors and first in a series books and the occasional recent best seller. I’m currently reading Patti Boyd’s autobiography; she’s the ex-wife of George Harrison and Eric Clapton. I’m also reading the new Marian Keyes, my favourite Irish chick lit author.

    As for TV, I’m catching up on Jane the Virgin and the hubs and I have a weekly Riverdale date. 🙂

    Nothing high-brow for me. LOL

  8. I just got so excited that Hyperbole and a Half and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend are written by the same person, that I went to Amazon to buy the book…but in reading the author bio, they’re actually not the same person. Aline Brosh-McKenna works on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. They’re both amazing though!

    • Gah! You’re right! That explains why I was confused – I *thought* the CXG writer’s name was Aline but she didnt pop up on Amazon and then I figured that I just had it wrong. There is a similarity of tone there – and of course, CXG did a great job of looking at mental illness and depression recently. Would explain how my wires got crossed. Thanks for the note!

  9. Hello! I am so glad to see you back on the blog! I’ve been following your IG pics . I was hoping you would resume your writing because you are so talented! Welcome back!

  10. Always love your recap posts. I’ve been enjoying yes, The Crown, Victoria, The Marvelous Mrs. Maizel, A Chef’s Life (not sure if it’s available in Canada?), Catastrophe (so funny!) and *blush* Suits. Have been struggling to find my cup of tea in books lately. Have given up on a few not worth mentioning.

  11. Isn’t the real life story of Anne Perry so crazy?? I’d read her for a few years before finding that out. I had to watch Heavely Creatures again.

    I am another fan of the Masie Dobbs novels. She’s now entering the World War 2 period in the books. I find them to be slow mysteries in the sense that they are a slow build but I suddenly realize I’m hooked! They are also good b/c she’s an incredibly smart & thoughtful woman who must navigate society’s expectations of women in those times.

    Someone else mentioned The Girl with the Gifts & I highly recommend it! It is a book a friend loaned to me but I had no clue what it was about (I’d never have chosen it if I had). I started it one night when it was the only book I had on the night stand & just couldn’t put it down. I actually hope it’s made into a Netflix series or something along those lines. It would be so good (maybe–sometimes Hollywood screws things up).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *