What have I been reading lately? Um, not much. Blame Netflix. It is the best/worst thing that has happened to me in recent memory. I am willingly risking sleep deprivation on the daily, unable to resists that “one more episode” lure every night. Nonetheless, I was able to finish All the Light We Cannot See and I really enjoyed it by the end. I grew very attached to Werner in particular, so the ending brought out all of the feels — not necessarily in a bad way, though I would not call it a heart-warming sort of ending a la Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society.
I also made my way through Crazy Rich, the Johnson & Johnson family saga. It was enjoyable in the way that biographies of the ultra rich tend to be – a kind of literary equivalent to reading Hello magazine – but it didn’t blow me away or anything. The Johnson are no Hiltons, let’s just say. A book of this kind is always better if Zsa Zsa Gabor is somehow involved.
As for what’s next, I have a long list of book in my bedside stash (it’s at least a foot tall), but none of them are calling my name quite as loudly as British TV — only reason I even have time to write this post is because Netflix does not carry all of the shows I am desperate to watch. Ahem. Next in the reading queue is probably We Two, a biography focused on Victoria & Albert’s marriage. It was recommended by one or two BCRL readers, so I have high hopes for it.
Since we may as well stop pretending this isn’t turning into a “What I Watched” post, here’s a quick rundown of my recent binges.
- Death Comes to Pemberley, the mini-series adaptation of the P.D. James mystery novel. I highly, highly recommend both. As you know, I am a huge James fan, and this novel (based on the Austen characters from Pride & Prejudice) is perfection. I wish James had turned her pen to the other Austen novels as well. I would read all the mysteries featuring my fave Austen heroes and heroines. The mini series is also fantastic – beautifully shot (seriously, it perhaps the best looking P&P-related adaptation), wonderfully acted. Matthew Rhys is not my version of a dreamboat Darcy, but I think he captured the essence of the character so well. Ditto for Anna Maxwell Martin who played Elizabeth. Their relationship dynamic rang so true — they came alive as flesh and blood, regular people, not merely these iconic characters.
- Oh, did I mention Matthew Goode plays Wickham? Yeah, so that sent me down a Matthew Goode rabbit hole (that sounds wrong but you know what I mean), which involved some truly terrible movies, season 6 of Downton Abbey, and then finally the mini series Dancing on the Edge. It was a bit odd in that I was expecting it to be an “inside showbiz” story when in fact it was basically a mystery (with a really, really obvious whodunit), but the acting was top notch. Chiwetel Ejiofor was superb. There were a bunch of familiar faces in it — hello, Anthony Head (aka Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Jenna Coleman (Victoria), and Tom Hughes, again. [Sidenote: British TV is incredibly incestuous. Jenna Coleman was also in Death Comes to Pemberley, playing Lydia. So, she got to pretend-shag Matthew Goode twice, lucky duck. Wikipedia tells me that most of the people on this show have, in fact, worked with each other in at least one other project. Playing 6 degrees of “British equivalent of Kevin Bacon” must be incredibly easy.]
- Watching rich & aimless young people make a muck of their (and others’) lives in Dancing on the Edge made me want to go back to re-watch Bright Young Things with Emily Mortimer and Stephen Campbell. Also, baby James McAvoy. Well, ok, not literally a baby but definitely baby-faced. (I now feel really old because I remember this movie from back in the day). It’s a good show, definitely worth a watch (or two). I’m thinking someone somewhere is probably about to re-make this movie (based on Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies). I’m already looking forward to the recasting possibilities.
- Pemberley also introduced me to James Norton, and may I say it was an introduction that was greatly overdue. Ahem. Netflix sadly does not stream Grantchester, but I am not easily discouraged when seized of an idea. I have procured season 1 from Amazon, and will surely post an update next week.
- I also watched the “Nosedive” episode of Black Mirror because, hello, James Norton. And good-bye; seriously, he was in the episode for all of 2 minutes. Boo. Anyway, it was an interesting premise, but the whole thing gave me terrible social media anxiety, and I ain’t got time for getting meta about social media. I do wish someone would teach me how to do my eyeliner like Bryce Dallas Howard, though. That’s some #goals right there.
That’s it … for now. As always, leave me your Netflix (and book!!) recc’s in the comments.
Finally, here are a couple interesting articles. Are younger generations reverting to old-fashioned gender norms? Click-baity topic, but some interesting theories in this article. I am familiar with the difficulties facing two working parent families, and I have ALL the sympathy for people who take them on without the support of extended family, but I am not sure that going back to “traditional” gender norms is the answer either. I think society as a whole still has a long way to go in adjusting to the changes that have been happening over the last 20-30 years. The paradigm is shifting (more or less quickly in different countries) but it seems to me that much work still has to be done; it sucks for those of us caught in the trenches, but for me the answer is to push on, rather than look back.
If you’re a PF nerd like me, you might enjoy this article that looks at median and average net worth across various demographics (US and Canada). What I found most interesting is towards the bottom of the page; there are tables showing average, good, excellent, and “rich” net worth by age group. I often wonder how my husband and I stack up to our peers in terms of financial health, if you will, and this gave me a pretty good idea, especially once I adjusted the numbers for my location using the link to the Cost of Living index. (Side note: it was also interesting to find out that the cost of living here in Edmonton is about half the cost of living in New York. That’s not bad, although, honestly, it probably should be even lower. It snows in April here, people! Ah, don’t mind me, I’m just bitter.)