Okay, so I don't watch the Oscars, but I found this via Letterology--it seems so appropriate to share here. If you've not seen it either, take a look, it is very cool indeed. It won an Oscar for Best Short animated Film. An award well deserved, I'd say. Read more about it here.
I've just finished watching the last few episodes of Upstairs Downstairs and must say I am the tiniest bit bereft to see the doors of 165 Eaton Place close one last time. I didn't realize I had become so attached to its residents whose lives I've followed from 1903 until 1930--through marriages and deaths, a war, labor strikes, an influenza pandemic, affairs, heartbreak, loads of elegant dinners and an endless parade of silk dresses, starched aprons and the tinkle of bells ringing throughout the house.
When I first started watching so many months ago, I thought it seemed quaint if a little dated. Produced in the 1970s on what appears to be a small budget it doesn't hold a candle to the likes of Downton Abbey in terms of pure lushness and visual opulence, but the more I watched the more it grew on me. Between the aristocratic Bellamy family upstairs and their mostly loyal servants downstairs there was no lack of drama for the sixty-eight episodes I've had the pleasure of watching.
You might remember I started this sampler a few weeks ago?
This is what I've stitched so far, mostly while watching Upstairs Downstairs. Can you spot the section I'm working on in the larger sampler? I didn't realize that most of the words are going to be stitched in that grey-ish color you see in the upper letters. The color is called London Fog--isn't that great? Overdyed floss always has names to describe the colors--like Cinnabar, Hibiscus and Scuppernong. So far I've used Putty, Amber, Gold and Sweetheart Rose! I'm quite enjoying stitching this.
In bookish news I've finished Mary Stewart's My Brother Michael, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Another title to add to my (ever growing) list of books I need to write about. I'm afraid I didn't get in much of that this weekend, but there were other things I wanted to do rather than sit in front of the computer, and I'm sure you know how that goes sometimes. I, of course, want to pick another Mary Stewart book out to read immediately, but I will be good and turn my attention to one of the books on my pile that I am so close to finishing. My Brother Michael is set in Greece sometime after WWII, and each chapter begins with quotes from Greek classics, which I am wholly uneducated in. Another gap in my reading I should remedy someday.
I've got another ghost story lined up to read, which I will hopefully squeeze in before the weekend finishes, and I hope to write about it in the next few days. It's cool and grey and drizzly out, so perfect reading weather for something dark and atmospheric. Where do the weekends go?
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.
I'm thoroughly addicted to the British TV show MI-5. I've been making my way through the previous seasons on DVD as I'm not sure it actually airs here in the US right now. After having been left hanging at the end of season six I had to make a special trip to the library this weekend to pick up season seven. Sometimes the shows can be quite a rollercoaster of a ride and the agents tend not to have a very long shelf life. Just when I think I'm settled in the story and the characters' lives, something awful happens or someone retires. I won't deny that Rupert Penry-Jones is very easy on the eyes, but I've just been introduced to Richard Armitage, who is just as swoon-worthy as I've heard. How have I not seen him in anything? I'm having the overwhelming desire all of a sudden to read Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South, just so I can see the film adaptation which he starred in. Nothing like hiring someone like Richard Armitage, Rupert Penry-Jones or Rufus Sewell to make the classics sexy! However...that's not why I'm hooked on MI-5 (though I'm certainly not complaining either). There's something very high adrenaline about watching the show--just like reading a really good crime novel or mystery, only you get the visuals in color, too. Compared with the earlier seasons the show has gotten very sophisticated and you sometimes can't tell who is working for whom and who you can trust. I watch very little TV but this is the one show that I will set my reading aside for. Season eight won't be released here on DVD until later in January, so I should probably try and ration my episodes.
Sorry, that was a little digression, since this is supposed to be 'reading' notes. I have been doing lots of reading over my break, but a little movie watching as well. I've finished two books (will write about them in the coming week), and have spent lots of time reading from my stack, and have a few new books lined up as well. My library pile is actually down to a respectable number, I've organized my books according to what I want to finish this year and what will be held over to next, and I even have a 2011 reading list going. All in all I've had a productive and relaxing break. And there is still one more day to go.
I'm going to participate in a blog tour in January. I've been trying to avoid taking part in anything that has a specific posting date attached to it, but the book was so tempting I couldn't say no. Matthew Gallaway's The Metropolis Case is set in the music halls of 1860s Paris and modern day New York. "Matthew Galloway's debut novel gives voice to the sweeping tale of an unlikely quartet, bound together by the strange and spectacular history of Richard Wagner's masterpiece opera Tristan and Isolde." I know zilch about opera, but from what I understand knowledge of opera isn't really necessary to appreciate the story. I am familiar with the story of Tristan and Isolde, though, so I'm curious what sort of spin Gallaway puts on it. The book just came in the mail, and while I don't want to start reading too soon, I am tempted to crack it open and get a little taste of things to come.
Along with starting From the Land of the Moon by Milena Agus, and Heart of the Night by Judith Lennox, I also have dipped into Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick. I've wanted to read him for ages. I almost never pick up a science fiction novel, though it has less to do with the fact that I don't like the genre and more that I'm just not very familiar with it. So far I'm really enjoying it, feeling a little like I'm in a game where I don't know the rules, and have to keep reminding myself that this was written in 1968--which makes for interesting going. I'm not sure I'd like all science fiction (just like I don't like all mystery novels), but I wouldn't mind trying some other authors or other books by Philip Dick. Any suggestions?
Since there is still a month left in the year I've not come up with my favorites list, though I have several books in mind. I might yet read something really spectacular, so best not to make it too soon. However 'Best of' lists are starting to pop up. I'll leave you with the 100 Notable Books of 2010 compiled by the New York Times and The Guardian'sBooks of the Year (as chosen by authors). I've not read a single book on either list (wait, correction--I'm reading the new Lydia Davis translation of Madame Bovary). Does it count that I at least own a few of them?
Don't you think every weekend should be a three day weekend? If only. I plan on spending as much of it relaxing and reading as I can. I'm nearing the end in a few books, so I hope to finish those and already have new books lined up to fill their places. That doesn't always happen, but there are a few I've been itching to start and am trying to be good and not just dive right in and add yet more books to my reading pile.
I've started pulling short story collections for my RIP reading and will be thumbing through them looking for a suitable ghost story or story of suspense to spend time with. One thing I love about short stories is the instant gratification they bring when you read one. One (hopefully) perfect little world or occurrence all in a very few pages. When done well it can be as satisfying as reading a novel.
No Name now travels with me to work every day. I forgot how much I love a good Victorian novel. Nice and sprawling with lots of detail and little secrets that keep me moving from chapter to chapter. Wilkie Collins is especially talented at grabbing a reader and telling a really good story. I'll be writing more about this one as I make my through the story.
This past week I received a copy of Martine McDonagh's I Have Waited, and You Have Come from a small publisher called Myriad Editions. They are new to me, but it looks as though they have some interesting titles on their backlist. I suppose you might call the novel dystopian, though it deals with climate change mostly. I'm not very far into the story, but it feels a little disorienting as I try and get a feel for what this odd society is like. Some creature comforts still exist, but life is not very normal for Rachel who is narrating the story in first person. What's disorienting is that she assumes you are already familiar with her environment and talks about it in a way that only vaguely reveals what life is like, so it's a matter of piecing things together, but I prefer it that way. This might actually be a good book to include in my challenge list as it is also a psychological tale as "Rachel finds herself in a murky territory somewhere between stalking and being stalked."
I'll probably take some breaks from reading and have finally gotten a copy of season five of MI-5 to watch. Last season ended in a cliffhanger (of course). I thought I would have no problem getting the first disc of the next season quickly to find out what happens--that's one of the main reasons I joined Netflix once again, only there has been a "very long wait" for the first disc, so I have truly been left hanging! I finally broke down and requested it from the library (there was a line for season four, hence my turning to Netflix in the first place and now here I am back at the library...go figure). I also have Shutter Island (tell me this is not too scary to watch on my own), and season one of Life on Mars (total impulse choice--please tell me it's good). By the way--many thanks for all the suggestions for movies--I've added them to my Netflix queue, so I should have plenty to choose from now.
First my little finish. This is only about 1" x 2", so it's fairly small. I started it ages ago (doesn't that refrain sound familiar), and decided it was time to finish it. It's called "A Giving Heart" and the designer is Drawn Thread. It's actually a pin, but as I don't wear pins I will leave this in a little basket where I have lots of little finished needlework accessories on display. The nice thing about small projects is the instant gratification that comes with finishing them quickly.
Here's progress on current project #1. It's called "Toccata" and is also by Drawn Thread. Toccata is a musical term and has something to do with a free style compositions--much like this design, which is a showcase of various needlework stitches--some quite challenging. The one above is called "couching" which uses a gold thread (not fun to work with) and Soie Perlee (also not fun to work with) to hold down the gold thread neatly. I had a lot of trouble working with these materials, so this project has been sitting untouched for a while. Next stitch? The same thing, only the gold thread is horizontally laid down! Maybe I'll just jump ahead to the next motifs and come back to it later. Do you like my scissors? They're French and one of my most favorite pairs!
And progress on project #2. This is by "Goode Huswife" and is called "The Sampler Farm". I'm enjoying working on it, but if you see the tiny sunflower? That's stitched over one thread of linen. Very tiny. I'm not a very adept over-one stitcher and find the work a little bit tedious. In the end it will look really good, if I don't mess up the over one stitching. I'm hoping to intersperse the smaller stitches with the rest (which are easy--plain cross stitch). And I'm hoping to stay focused because if I get too frustrated it will end up in a bin under my bed not to be seen for years!
And here's my newest project. It's a freebie from Piecework Magazine, a simple Quaker heart. I'm not big on Valentine's Day as holiday's go, but I do like a lot of the cross stitch designs that are out there for it. Something else small that seems like it will stitch up quickly--hopefully more instant gratification. I was going to get creative and choose a really colorful floss to work with but in the end I decided on plain red, though this has a bit of variegation to it. Nothing else seemed quite as nice against the linen I chose. The back has more little Quaker motifs. Maybe if it really does stitch up fast I will make another with different floss to give away!
This post is part one. I took this photo a few days ago and in the interim a few more surprises have arrived (or found their way into my purchases at the check out stand), but I'm too lazy to take another photo at the moment. Everything but the top book were bought with a (very generous) holiday gift card. The top book is the only one I received for Christmas! It was really hard deciding what to get after not buying much of anything for the last month or two. I went through my wishlist and splurged on a few books that I've wanted but not enough to spend my own money on. What I decided on:
Stealing Buddha's Dinner, Bich Minh Nguyen - My sister gave this to me. It's a memoir of a young woman who was born in Viet Nam but grew up in the Midwest in the 70s and 80s. The author came of age in "the pre-PC-era Midwest". So did I, so I have a feeling I'm going to be able to relate.
The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (Series 6) - I thought the final two episodes were tacked on to the previous season (which I already own), but was delighted to find them on a DVD of their own. I now have the complete series and am midway through watching them all enjoy--and enjoying them immensely. I'm still disappointed that it was canceled.
The Face of a Stranger, Anne Perry - I've been thinking I would like to read a mystery series from start to finish this year (not that I'll do it as I tend to go from author to author), and was contemplating Perry's William Monk mysteries. I've read a bunch of her Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels and was thinking how much I might enjoy a Victorian setting. In any case I'd like to read this one--there are more than a dozen William Monk books.
The Private Patient, P.D. James - James is also in the running as I really like Adam Dalgliesh! This is her most recent that's now out in paperback.
Lady Macbeth, Susan Fraser King - I'm sort of weird about books sometimes. For example I don't like the idea of picking up a retelling of a Shakespearean tale without having read the original first. In a way that's silly as I can easily read them in reverse and not necessarily lose anything in the process. I'd been eying this one since it first came out. "From towering crags to misted moors and formidable fortresses, Lady Macbeth transports readers to the heart of eleventh-century Scotland, painting a bold, vivid portrait of a woman much maligned by history."
The Sealed Letter, Emma Donoghue - Another one I've wanted since it came out in hardcover. This is based on an actual Victorian courtroom drama.
Theirs Was the Kingdom, R.F. Delderfield - This is the second in the God is an Englishman Series. I've yet to read the first, but I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy both books. There's a third book coming out later this year.
I've still got a gift card or two waiting to be spent (and expect one or two next month for my birthday), so I should be in new books for a while anyway!
I've been slowly working on Elizabeth Jane Howard's first book in the Cazalet Chronicles, The Light Years. I say slowly, as I could easily spend the afternoon (and however many succeeding afternoons until I finished) reading bits of the novel and then flipping the book over and picking up Howard's autobiography Slipstream. Whoever mentioned that EJH's fiction closely follows her own life story was quite correct. As a matter of fact I am trying not to read the autobiography too quickly, as I'm afraid some of the novel's plot might be ruined for me.
It's really fascinating stuff. This is the sort of auto/biography that I love reading--slightly confessional and extremely chatty. It's in no way dry history. She begins by jumping right into the story of her life as a child, and only later goes back and talks about her parent's history. Have you ever noticed that most biographers like to spend an inordinate amount of time discussing the subject's parent's lives in great detail, before getting on to the matter at hand? Not, of course, that that isn't important. I realize it's necessary to study the formation (so to speak) of whoever's being written about, but that is what tripped me up in the Emily Post biography I had been reading. The first third of the book didn't seem to talk much about Emily at all.
In Slipstream Howard begins by recounting a dream she had as a young girl where there was a tea party in her church and she had to pass around a plate of rectangular sponge cakes with white icing and each was decorated with a crystallized violet. She had hoped there would be just one left for her, but the last was scooped up by a "large lady with a brown fur round her neck" and she felt the disappointment bitterly. Those same crystallized violets appear in the novel, as does her favorite meal, and characters closely resembling her own family.
The Light Years is followed by Marking Time, Confusion, and Casting Off. I'd like to get them all read by the end of the year so I can watch the BBC production, which I received one Christmas and still have not yet watched (I knew I wanted to reread the books!). It's strange to see the actors on the cover of the DVD case as I can figure out who's who, but in some cases they're not at all how I imagined them to look (why I prefer to read before watching). The story begins in 1937 and follows the war years until the end. Looking through the books, it's interesting that Howard dedicated the last to Sybille Bedford, another author I really must read (and will be curious to see if she shows up in the autobiography).
If after reading the Cazalet Chronicles, I've still not had enough of EJH, I can read a few other books that I've had on my shelves for ages by her. Although they don't appeal to me in quite the same way as her WWII books, they might be very entertaining as well. Has anyone read any of these? I've got The Long View, which moves backward in time from 1950 to 1926 and is a portrait of a marriage. The Odd Girl Out seems to be another portrait of a marriage, but a happy one that must withstand the appearance of a beautiful young woman who enchants the whole family. I found an old copy of After Julius at my last library sale. Julius died 20 years ago, but "over the course of a disastrous and revelatory weekend in Sussex, the influence of Julius slowly emerges" on his daughters and wife. She's got several other novels and collections of stories out there that I'll have to be on the lookout for as well. Yet another author whose work I want to read all of.
Next week, February 29th, The Slaves will be discussing Margaret Laurence's The Stone Angel. There's still time to get the book and join in if you're interested! I wasn't aware until recently that the book has been made into a film. It is due to be released in Canada on May 9, though there is no release date yet for it here in the US. The screenplay was written by Kari Skogland, who also directed the film. Kari has very kindly agreed to join in the discussion once things get going. I thought this would add an interesting dimension to the conversation to have someone so intimately involved in the novel take part in the discussion. Hagar Shipley is certainly a formidable character. I'm really enjoying the book and looking forward to hearing everyone else's thoughts on it. Click here to read more about the film.
It's been too cold to walk to the bookstore (this morning it was -6 when I walked to the bus stop, and a mere -25 with the wind), and I've been itching to browse new books. I was surprised when I received a couple of boxes from Amazon in the mail last week, however. Today's my birthday (though I won't be celebrating with my family until the weekend), and a friend sent me a few wishes from my Amazon wishlist. No one ever sends me anything from my wishlist, so I was confused at first (did I forget I ordered something?). Needless to say I was very happy, and didn't wait until today to open the boxes. She makes jewelry and mosaics and is a fellow crafter, so she always sends me the most amazing gifts.
I've been eying a few collage books ever since I checked them out from the library. She sent Jill Hagland's Rubber Stamping Artist Trading Cards, and Bernie Berlin's Artist Trading Card's Workshop, both of which are excellent books. They offer step by step and fully illustrated tutorials in various techniques. I've seen both and am happy to now have them for my own. She also sent 1,000 Artist Trading Cards by Patricia Bolton. The book is more examples of ATCs and less about how to make them, but there is some instructional information as well. This book also shows lots of mixed-media designs particularly those using fabric. These have been sitting by my bed, and I'm enjoying just looking at them. They should be great for inspiration when I'm working. They make me want to pull out my papers and pens and paints now and start creating!
One other reading note. I'm again reading on the sly (whenever this happens you should know the culprit is a library book). I've read very good things about Rosalind Belben's Our Horses in Egypt. Things that tempted me enough to request the book via ILL (it's only out in the UK). I've started reading, but I've yet to orient myself in the story. Right from the start she plops you down in the middle of a situation, conversation really, and it's taking a little time to get my bearings. I think I've figured out most of the characters and their relationships to each other, but not quite. Hopefully once I get accustomed to her style I will enjoy the book, must keep persevering though. UK bloggers are getting me into trouble--I keep finding books not yet out here in the US, and it's a dilemma whether to order them or borrow them. Heaven forbid I wait until they're published over here.
Have you ever looked for a book that you know you own (or maybe owned, past tense), but no matter how many piles you move and stacks you sift through you just can't find it? I seem to be having exactly that problem with Pat Barker's Regeneration. I've looked on two occasions now and can't find it. I either gave it away or sold it, or am looking directly at it and not seeing it. Ever since I found the second book in the trilogy, Eye in the Door, at a library sale I've wanted to read it. And of course she has a new novel, Life Class coming out soon, so its been on my mind. Not that I would start reading it right away or anything, but the elusiveness of the situation is bugging me.
I gave up on my first book of the year yesterday. I didn't even add it to my sidebar as it is a library book and I thought I could quickly squeeze it in. It was to be one of my Winter reads, but I just couldn't get on with it (I made it about 35 pages). As there is another reader waiting for it, I knew I had to get it read soon as the due date is approaching. Well, now I guess they get it sooner rather than later. It sounded perfect for me, a historical novel set in 18th century Wales, written from a young woman's point of view in diary format. Frankly once I started nothing about it appealed to me anymore. The writing just didn't do it for me and neither did the character's voices. I feel bad as every Amazon review I read was very positive (though how often do I agree with or go by those?). It's rare that I outright don't like something, but that's the way it goes sometimes. It's definitely better to move on to something that I will enjoy.
The library book I am reading, Mary McCarthy's The Company She Keeps, is moving very slowly for me. The writing is very clever and I like her style, but I guess I am not overly keen on the episodic format. It started out very good, but I'm on the third story of the collection (there are six longish stories) and it's all very slow going. I do plan on finishing it, but I think I might set it aside when I finish the story I'm reading. Rather than trying to finish it all in one go, I think I might just read the remaining stories here and there. I just need to have it finished by the end of next month for it to count for the library's reading program. I do have a book lined up instead, The Shape of Sand by Marjorie Eccles. It is a novel of suspense set in the Edwardian and WWII era and moves back and forth between England and Egypt. Hopefully I will do better with this novel. At the rate I am going I won't get five library novels read before February 29!
I started reading a new novel, which promises to be good (at least I hope so, it's probably too soon to tell). I've been meaning to read some fiction by Margaret Forster, and I finally settled on Diary of an Ordinary Woman. It begins in 1914 England with thirteen year-old Millicent starting a diary--going through the decades until contemporary times. I do have to mention that I've seen some criticism about the book as it begins with a prologue which makes it appear that this book is based on real diaries. In reality the book is a complete work of fiction. I wouldn't have minded if she had skipped that as it does seem misleading. Hopefully this novel made up of diary entries will go over better than the last. At least I like her writing style much better.
The Longlist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award have been announced (thanks to Lost in Translationfor the link). After reading and enjoying Per Petterson's Out Stealing Horses (one of my favorite reads last year), I am going to have to take a closer look at their list.
Shall I throw my two cents in worth about the Masterpiece Theatre presentation of Persuasion? I sort of liked it....though I do have a few quibbles with it. My biggest problem--why did Mary Elliot act that way? Her behavior was nothing short of jarring. I know she is meant to be an annoying, sickly younger sister, but the Mary in this version was distracting. I did like the actress who played Anne, but I wish she hadn't that startled look on her face for so much of the film (jaw dropped open). Why they had her running about at the end of the film was beyond me. It's no wonder she didn't drop at Captain Wentworth's feet when she finally found him! However the scenery was so lush and beautiful and the costumes so lovely, I couldn't help but like it otherwise. Certainly the Amanda Root version is excellent, but I wouldn't mind watching this newer version again. In any case it makes me want to go pick up the book and start rereading immediately (which I plan on doing eventually this year). Now I'm curious to see Northanger Abbey.
I also watched the first three episodes of The Tudors over the weekend. I'm sure its chock full of historical inaccuracies, and it is rather racy (I forgot what cable TV is like...), but I have to say it was an entertaining romp! It's visually gorgeous to look at, and I admit I've already got the next episodes queued up next at Netflix. I consider it a good movie for entertainment purposes rather than educational purposes! I've always been more interested in his wives, but I wouldn't mind reading a biography of Henry VIII and more about this period sometime as well. More books to add to my list.