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Showing posts from April, 2012

The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes

Downton Abbey is a British, Edwardian period drama, that airs first in Britain and then airs an edited version of the British series on PBS.  The dvd set of the TV show offers Downton Abbey in all its un-edited, original, British glory.  I watched the first series last fall on a whim in the midst of my Jane Austen/Elizabeth Gaskell film adaptation obsession and enjoyed the show.  Earlier this year, the show's second series aired on PBS; however, I chose to wait for the dvd because, well, why watch the edited version when you can wait a week or two and watch it all, unedited, on dvd.  I haven't yet watched the second series; in the meantime, I found this book, The World of Downton Abbey, in the online catalog, and I read it.  It is really a must read for all fans, especially the obsessive and hardcore, of the show.

Admittedly the books starts off a little slow, but give it a few pages, and it'll pull you right in.  The book offers a historical overview of the society, cultu…

That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor by Anne Sebba

According to the book jacket, That Woman is the first biography of the duchess written by a woman.

Beginning with the duchess's birth in Pennsylvania and her childhood years in Maryland, the early chapters recount a difficult and precarious childhood fraught with worry over financial security due to her father's death just a few months following Wallis's birth.  Sebba also recounts the duchess's first difficult marriage to an abusive military officer and their subsequent divorce and the years spent travelling all over the world while waiting for both the right time and the funds for a divorce.

The duchess's second marriage was a much more contented match to a gentleman who treated her far better than her first husband; however, the union was waylaid by the couple's introduction to Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, who steadily developed an obsession with and dependence upon Wallis that eventually led to both Wallis's second divorce and the k…

Shakespeare's Wife by Germaine Greer

Shakespeare’s Wife by Germaine Greer was the book from which I had to take a hiatus to read The Obamas.  The first several chapters, especially the ones recounting the genealogical history of the Hathaway and Shakespeare families, were fascinating.  Then the middle chapters started to drag.  When I came back to the book, the remaining chapters sucked me right back in.
Shakespeare scholar Greer attempts to shed new light on the controversial figure of Ann Hathaway, William Shakespeare’s wife.  Hathaway has long been maligned as the spinster strumpet who seduced her boy-husband and entrapped him into marriage with an out-of-wedlock pregnancy.  These are charges usually made by other scholars based upon little to no proof.  Scholars also contend that Shakespeare was himself embittered by the marriage and grew to resent the wife from whom he may (or may not) have spent long periods of time physically estranged while he pursued playing in theater and writing—assumptions again made based up…

The Obamas by Jodi Kantor

I'm sure many of you are wondering where I've been for the past couple months, and why haven't I been posting.  I haven't been reading nearly as much as I used to--lately, it's been hard for me to finish a book that I start, and I've found that non-fiction (a genre I hardly ever read) is what I tend to finish reading.  It's been annoying me very much that I just can't get into a fiction book because there are so many (as there usually are) that I want to read that sound and look so good and there are so few hours in the day!  I have a few reviews backlogged of some non-fiction books that I've read since the new year started.  Here's hoping the fiction dry spell dries up soon...
New York Times correspondent, Jodi Kantor, who has covered the Obamas since 2007, offers an in-depth portrait of the first couple.
I don’t usually read non-fiction, and I’ve written on this blog before that usually what happens when I start a non-fiction book is that I ge…