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I too have only read one of the Edgars, but mine was Gone Girl, which I thought was absolutely amazing. I've just been reading your review of SJ Bolton, who I've never read at all. Yet another writer to be added to the TBR (sigh). Which one should I start with?


That Downton Abbey spoof is so funny. Some of them look so much like the characters of the series.
In a way I'm tempted to read the or the other book in that vein but I'm very picky when it comes to historical fiction, I will have to wait for some reviews to see which ones would be for me.
Would you beleive it, I still write by hand daily.


Tons of interesting stuff here, Danielle--I found myself clicking on your links, then coming back for more. I loved the Downtown Abby spoof--hilarious. I'm glued to my TV also, though I usually tape the episode and watch it later.

I usually write my blog posts (and other writing projects) in longhand first--there's just something about the feel of the pen on the paper that seems "creative" to me. Which is not to say my handwriting is particularly neat, though I can make it that way if I really try. I used to fill out insurance applications at our office many moons ago and learned to print very neatly, anyway.

Anytime you want to escape the bitter cold, come down and see us in FL, where it has been 80 degrees half the time. Too warm for winter! I want to be tired of the cold before the real heat sets in.


The Downton Abbey spoof is funny! I hadn't seen it before. As you know I signed up for the month of letters too. Should be fun. I don't think you have bad handwriting, I have no trouble reading it at all! I just started reading volume one of the Letters of Horace Walpole whom I have heard was an excellent letter writer.


Part of the meaning of writing in my diary daily is writing it in careful and attentive longhand. Couldn't do without that.


Thanks for linking to my Downton readalike lists, Danielle! I feel the same way... I enjoy these books, but I have to leave some space in between them or it's too much at once. I've never seen that spoof before. Hilarious!

Margaret Powling

How coincidental! National Handwriting Day! I've only just written a piece for next month's issue of an online magazine and the subject is handwriting and penmanship!


What an excellent generous mishmash post. I put on my "active reading" hat and dug into many of your links and added a book to my wish list. Thank you!


I've got Gone Girl on my reading pile and really must get to it. I've heard many good things about it--just need the right moment to squeeze it in. I've read all but one of SJ Bolton's books. The last two are more police procedurals and it would be good to read them in order (and I see there is a third one coming out this summer!), but all her previous books are standalones. I've enjoyed them all--though sometimes the endings are a bit over the top--she often weaves folklore into her stories and they tend to be pretty creepy!


Isn't that great? I've not seen it on TV so am not sure if it is a commercial airing somewhere in the US, but they certainly go the personalities just right! It is nice reading a review of a book you're interested in from someone who's opinion you trust. I get many of my reading ideas that way, though if it is a subject I like reading about anyway, I tend to dive right in--with varying results sometimes. That's cool you write by hand every day--I mostly use the computer at work, and find my hands get very stiff when I Do want to write out something longhand!


It's nice to be able to watch Downton when you like and not be tied down to the actual time or worry about missing it. So far it's worked out that I can watch it on Sunday nights, but I think I will buy the DVD and have a little Downton fest eventually--watch all three seasons back to back. I wouldn't mind learning calligraphy or working on improving my handwriting. I think I write too slowly to actually write out blog posts, but that's really cool that you do! I could use some warm weather right now, but 80 might be borderline too warm for me. I like it between 65-75! Not picky or anything, am I?!


I think you are likely the only person who is going to add me to their friends on the Month of Letters website, but that's okay--I think I know enough people to be able to send out a card every day--you may get more than normal in February, so get ready! :) I am looking for a book of letters to read, too, actual letters rather than a novel, though I will start with Keats and Fanny Brawne!


I can tell you practice as you have really lovely handwriting. Mine starts out okay but gets worse as I go. Like Kathy says, writing by hand must be part of the creative process really, which is really nice especially if you keep a journal.


I was happy to see another list! And am happy to share it here, too. I get so many good book recommendations from other readers and you always have the scoop on really good forthcoming historical fiction. The spoof is pretty silly, but funny too. A coworker shared it with me and it has since made the rounds at the library.


What good timing! You'll have to let me know when it is up and ready to read--if it is a magazine anyone can click into. Unfortunately many schools here no longer teach penmanship and kids don't need to learn to write in cursive. My niece learned in third grade and has not used it since! Really a shame, that.


So glad you liked it. I try and jot down interesting links to share when I am out and about. There always seems to be something new to look at and read online--it's hard to keep up sometimes.

Margaret Powling

The online magazine which anyone can look at, Danielle, is It's mainly for the over 50s but I'm sure anyone would enjoy most of the features.


Danielle, your link to the
Month of Letters site prompted
my post on 'The Idea of Letter

I am going to try for the 23
letters/notes/postcards in
February. Thanks for the nudge.


Lovely links, Danielle, and I must follow up some of those Edgar Awards titles. I am a sucker for good crime fiction!


Great links, thank you. I am interested in some of those Edgar titles.

Liz F

A very interesting post yet again Danielle - I don't know how you do it!
The nominations for the Edgars look fascinating and I have added quite a few names to my list - like you I have read the SJ Bolton and I can certainly recommend The Gods of Gotham and Midnight in Old Peking which are both a bit different to the run of the mill and fascinating reads although I found the latter very sad in the end.
I have only ever read a short list for a book prize in its entirety once when I read the short lists for the Orange and the Booker about three years ago but I have to say I found it hard going although I did at least attempt them all! Overall I much preferred the Orange choices although I don't consciously prefer women writers and I think it would be quite evenly balanced if I worked out the stats (not going to by the way as I am currently drowning in the wretched things at work as it is!)
Since then the majority of short lists haven't really appealed to me which is sort of a relief.
I do try and keep up my handwriting although it has never been particularly wonderful! I try and send my daughters a postcard each week as I think it is nice to get something through the post that is not either junk mail or a bill, but I really don't think I have the energy to do anything formal with post crossing - I can barely manage to keep up my journal at the moment!
There is nothing wrong with your handwriting by the way - it is neat and perfectly legible which is all that you need!


The Month of Letters challenge sounds great - I'd be tempted to join too, except for the fact that I'm traveling for work for a chunk of February and don't actually think that I'm going to be up for a piece of mail a day while traveling!


What a wonderful post! So glad you are joining the Postal Reading challenge ~ I know you'll have lots of great reads to share. Bright Star looks like a good beginning. I'm getting excited about the Month of Letters project too. Just hope I can do it!


Thanks Margaret--I'll check it out--sounds like perfect timing!


I'm so glad you are going to join in. It does sound like fun. I may have to do letters on weekends, but during the work week it will have to be postcards for me I think.


I want to add a few of those Edgar titles to my list as well. I'm always on the look out for the perfect crime novel--though lately I've been sticking with cozy mysteries.


You're welcome! I seem to collect links when I'm catching up on blog/online reading--there always seems to be something new and interesting to read. The Edgar lists do look good!


Can you tell I spend too much time online??! I had Midnight in Old Peking checked out from the library last year but didn't get to it (what a surprise!), and do still want to read it. As I am still trying to read from my own piles (though I seem to be ordering an inordinate number of books and adding to the piles rather than whittling them down) it will be hard not to be tempted to go find the books that look good at the library. Such dilemmas! Almost always the Orange longlists (what is it called now?) appeal more than the Booker (though maybe I shouldn't admit to that?). I have toyed with the idea of reading the list, but I am so slow and so easily distracted I don't think I could manage it. That's cool you send your daughters cards--I love getting real mail and there is so little of it these days--Postcrossing has been great, but lately I can only manage to do it on weekends! My handwriting usually starts out nice and then rapidly declines as I go...


That does put a damper on the whole letter writing thing--you would have to do too much planning and stick to postcards, but then it sounds a little like work and that's not good either. It's just in time for the increase in postal rates unfortunately, but it should still be fun. We'll see if I can manage it even without anything special going on at the moment.


I've started a little pile of books that would work and am getting quite excited about them--will have to share them eventually. Bright Star should be a good first book--fairly short and I don't read any poetry, so a nice way to expand my horizons, too. I'm hoping I'm not being overly optimistic about writing a letter every day--will likely stick to postcards most of the time--I think I can manage that!

Buried In Print

Oh, a challenge for reading letters...I'm IN! Thanks for bringing it to my attention, as I'm behind in making my reading plans for this year.


Yes, the perfect challenge! You'll have to let me know which books you decide to read. Maybe this would be an opportunity, too, to read something together. I have a little pile of growing books of letters I am choosing from (and adding to it seems).

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