I can't remember if I've mentioned that I've been watching the original episodes of Upstairs Downstairs. I've been getting the DVDs from Netflix and had been waiting for the first disc from season three for weeks. Didn't I have it at the top of my queue? Why aren't they sending it to me? Apparently the 1970s version of Upstairs Downstairs is no longer available from Netflix. I'm not quite sure what happened and there has been no explanation forthcoming from them, only an "unavailable" when I try and add the discs to my queue. Very annoying indeed. I'm hoping that they get it back as it seems a 40th anniversary edition has recently been released, but rather than wait (since patience has never been my strong suit), I requested season three from interlibrary loan. Lots of changes are underway for the residents of 165 Eaton Place. It's been interesting seeing how the clothing styles and haircuts have changed, and as it is now 1912, we all know what's in the near future. It was only on a whim that I started watching the show but it's become sort of addicting--very like a soap opera. My other favorite 1920s costume drama has been The House of Elliott, which was sadly cancelled after only three seasons, so I have forever after been left hanging never to see how things ended for Beatrice and Evie.
I don't watch much TV but I do like to watch movies on the weekend. Strangely I get in very little reading time as there is always so much that needs to be done that I didn't get around to during the work week. I keep fantasizing about lazing about on the sofa for hours on end reading, but that never seems to happen. So most of my reading is done in snatched moments. I've veered off a bit from my normal reading to pick up a favorite book that I like to revisit from time to time. It's one of my very favorite comfort reads, On Borrowed Wings by Chandra Prasad. I don't think I'll be writing about it again as I'm not sure how much more I have to say about it, since I wrote about it here and here already. I like it so much because it's about not only finding yourself but also reinventing yourself along the way, and I am all for changing paths when needed. It's also something of an adventure story. A young woman takes the place of her brother at Yale when he dies in an accident. The twist is that this is the 1930s and women are not allowed to attend, so she must disguise herself as a man. I suspect any day now I'll be pulling a book by Clare Chambers out as well, as she is another of my favored comfort read authors. I should mention that both authors write good, intelligent prose, so don't be put off by my categorization as I don't consider either to be mindless fluff.
Doesn't Italy sound nice right now? Specifically Sicily? I've also pulled The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri off the shelves. This is one of those books I've owned for a number of years and have eyed many a time only to return it to its place as I usually have too many other books started (so shouldn't start yet one more). Well, I decided to just start one more since I'm drawn to the setting. I'm not very far into the story yet, though it is a short book and seems to be a quick read. I'm not sure yet how much of a sense of Italy I'm getting, but Inspector Montalbano is an interesting character. Things seem quite laid back but politics seem a tangled mess. Unlike so many other detectives that are anguished and often depressed Salvo seems very even tempered and even perhaps good humored. I had no idea, but the books have been made into a TV show called Detective Montalbano (not very creative on the title, were they?) that might be worth watching after I've read more of the books.
Alongside Inspector Montalbano I am being introduced to Camilla Ceder's Inspector Christian Tell in Frozen Moment. The story opens with the discovery of a body that's not only been shot but run over by a car. A young woman who knows the witness manages to insinuate herself into the crime scene for as yet unexplained reasons. She's a journalism student, so perhaps is looking for a good story, but she seems to have an inexplicable interest in seeing the body (beyond a morbid curiosity anyway). Ceder is a Swedish author, and blazoned across the cover of the book is "move over Wallander". I often think publishers do a disservice to their authors by making these sorts of comparisons. As a reader, if I like an author, I am perhaps likely to pick up a book by someone else writing in a similar vein. But I think most readers see through this marketing ploy and it would be better off letting the new author's work stand on its own. I've yet to read Henning Mankell, so I'm not familiar yet with Wallander anyway. I should probably give him a try along with Steig Larsson, shouldn't I?
Along with reading my mysteries I'm hoping to finish Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises this week, which despite the simplicity of prose I am finding to be a much more challenging read than I anticipated. And I hope to get back to Winifred Holtby's South Riding, too.
One small side note, I'm planning on posting a tad less this summer. I'll be taking the weekends off--along with Saturdays I will likely not be posting on either Fridays or Sundays. I'm hoping that a little less time spent working on posts can be time spent reading. Or maybe working in the yard. Preferably reading, of course, but you know how these things go.