Let’s start this week on a wholly unpromising note. Not one but TWO DNFs, aka Did Not Finish. The first was Love All by Elizabeth Jane Howard. I really enjoyed her Cazalet saga, but I couldn’t get into this book long enough to even tell you what it’s about. I think there’s a girl who gets dumped by her married lover just as she’s quit her job to be with him (or something?!), so she goes to mope at her aunt’s house, who happens to be a landscape architect for some rich guy, and then a bunch of other characters are introduced and … nope, that’s all I remember. Moving on.
Factory of Cunning by Phillipa Stockley started off strong, and held great promise. It’s a loose sequel to Dangerous Liaisons, and follows the adventures of a character based on Mme de Merteuil after the events of the original novel. The book is set in England, where Mrs. Fox/Mme de Merteuil is on the run/in hiding. Dangerous Liaisons is one of my fave books, so I was initially excited to read the story after twigging on to this subtext. (Disclosure: I just randomly found this book in my library and I have no idea how it got there. I tend to indiscriminately adopt books that other people discard, so that’s probably how. I like the surprise element.] I will give this to the writer: she did a good job with the tone and language. Nothing brings me out of a story more quickly than anachronistic dialogue. So I’m not really sure why, half way through the book, I just lost interest. All of the interesting characters were terrible people, and all the decent people were boring characters. I love a good anti-heroine, and Mrs. Fox/Mme de Merteuil certainly had potential to be one, but then the plot became too convoluted for its own good, and I found myself not caring enough to keep track of its various strands. I won’t lie; I totally skipped to the end to read the denouement. Out of context, it made no sense so I still have no idea what really happened, but I also have no desire to go back to finish the story.
My two cents: go and read Dangerous Liaisons.
And a further two cents? I think the book is due for a new screen adaptation. Neither of the two legit adaptations I’ve seen (we’re not counting Cruel Intentions here) managed to give us a great Valmont. John Malkovich was creepy and not sexy, while Colin Firth was sorta sexy but a bit of a vanilla villain. Come at me in the comments? But seriously, let’s talk fantasy cast. Aidan Turner? Fassy? Who is your Valmont?
Speaking of Aidan Turner, Being Human was another bust for me. I tried to get into it for about 3 episodes then gave up. I loved the idea of the premise, but the actual show was too angsty for my current liking. Basically, I wanted it to be something more in the vein of Misfits, humour-wise. Oh well.
I did binge watch Chewing Gum, and cannot recommend it enough. It’s full of wonderful quirky characters, and quirky humour, and I loved every minute of it, and I loved (girl) Tracey so, so much. My favorite character arc was her sister’s, though, which says a lot about the (great) writing on this show because Cynthia starts off as the character I was least interested in. I really, really hope there will be a third season, because I NEED to know what happens to everyone. I am totally rooting for Tracey and Connor, the world’s unlikeliest Romeo and Juliet.
I also watched a few episodes of Black Mirror. I really enjoyed “San Junipero” and “Be Right Back”, though they were both bittersweet in a way that feels a little too much for me right now. Whenever I’m stressed out, I basically can’t handle complex emotions.
Lastly, a couple of interesting articles. First, Refinery29 looks at the true (new?) way that the fashion industry works these days. Second, Buzzfeed makes a case why everyone’s (old) TV boyfriend was actually a jerk.
And that’s it for me for this week. Happy Friday!