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.