Saturday, March 17, 2012


I took over the book club at work rather reluctantly. Since finishing college, I really have a hard time when people tell me what to read and when to read it. Hey, I think, I studied literature for four years, please give me a break. I'll get to it when I get to it. (That's not to say I didn't love my literature classes because I did.) So when I was approached about leading book discussions at work, I almost said no. So that would mean I have to read all the book club books whether they interest me or not, right? Hmmm... I'm not so sure about this.

But I've been in charge of book club for several months now, and I'm glad, in the end, that I said yes. Because I've had the chance to read some wonderful books that I never would have chosen for myself. And one of those books was Room, by Emma Donoghue. The book is narrated by a five year old boy who lives in a small room with his mother. You find out the mother was taken against her will and trapped in this shed in her capture's backyard. And even though her son, Jack, was the product of continuous rape, she loves Jack and does everything she can to protect him from her kidnapper.

She also creates this routine to keep the two of them from going crazy. She teaches him as much as she can with the little resources she's been given, and she comes up with the most creative games to play and projects to work on during the day. I think that's what stuck out to me the most. She realized early on in her captivity that she would lose her mind, if she didn't break up her day with a schedule of sorts.

I don't want to say anymore about the plot because the twist is so surprising! But this was a wonderful book, and great for a discussion group. If you have a book club of your own, I would highly recommend reading it. There are a lot of great talking points. It's just a great read all around, so next time you're at your library, ask your librarian about it!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

So You're Having Downton Abbey Withdrawals...

I've been talking to a lot of people about Downton lately, and everyone agrees that it's wonderful! But now, after the end of second season, we are beginning to feel it's absense, and what my patrons and coworkers keep asking is, "How are we supposed to wait until next January to watch season three?" Yes, it's going to be quite a wait, so I thought I'd make some recommendations that might help you power through the withdrawals, and keep you entertained in the meantime.

Solution #1: Watch more Masterpiece.

Upstairs Downstairs: This started as a British drama in the 1970s, but in 2010, Masterpiece decided to continue the story. They made a three part mini-series that picked up the story of 165 Eaton Place with a new family and new servants, but great drama all the same! The new story takes place in the 1930s, and stars Keeley Hawes and Ed Stoppard, and Jean Marsh returns as Rose Buck.

Sense and Sensibility: Most people have probably seen the film version of Sense and Sensibility starring Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant. But in 2008 Masterpiece made a new mini-series that has an outstanding screenplay written by Andrew Davies. Plus, Edward Ferrars is played by Dan Stevens. Remember him? Do this words Cousin Matthew ring a bell? He is phenomenal as Edward!

Solution #2: Also written by Julian Fellowes

Julian Fellowes, who wrote Downton, has written for a lot of films and TV Shows. So if you enjoyed the excellent writing in Downton, you're bound to like these as well:

Gosford Park: This is a murder mystery set in the 1920s, and you'll like it, even if you're not a huge fan of murder mysteries. Because it's not really about the murder. Much like Downton, there are servants and masters, and it's fascinating to see their worlds collide. It's also very funny, and of course well written!

Vanity Fair: Based on the novel by William Makepeace Thackeray. Reese Witherspoon plays Becky Sharp, a woman ahead of her time who tires of being a governess, and decides to try climbing the social ladder in 19th century England.

Young Victoria: This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I'm a sucker for a good love story, and Julian Fellowes writes the love story between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert so beautifully! Both Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend give wonderful performances, as well! It's a good one, for sure!

So I hope these will tide you over for a little while at least. Just keep watching Masterpiece. Great Expectations starts April 1st, and it promises to be fantastic!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Doctor Who

I know. I’m a little late to the Doctor Who party, but I’m catching up quickly. Oh, Doctor, I think I might be falling in love with you, just like one of your companions….

Okay, let’s back up a little. A couple summers ago, I was in Michigan at my Cousin Aubrey’s wedding reception talking with a couple of relatives about the TV show Lost. It had just finished its last season, and I was saying something really melodramatic like, “No more Lost. What am I going to do now without Lost?”

Then my Cousin Heather’s husband said, “Start watching Doctor Who.”

Doctor Who. Yes, I’d heard the buzz surrounding this updated version of the British classic, and I was a little curious, so when I got back home, I put the first season on hold at the library. I watched the first three episodes and thought, “I don’t think this is for me.” I took is back to the library the next day.

Then, my friend Jeremy told me I just needed to get through the first season. “Season two gets so much better. You need to keep watching,” he said. I was still pretty skeptical.

A girl even came into the library about a month later raving about Doctor Who, asking me if I watch it. “I saw the first few episodes,” I said, “It wasn’t really my thing.”

“Oh no, you need to keep watching!” she said, in almost hysterics, “It’s the BEST show EVER!”

I thought she was crazy, but I just started season three last night, and I’m afraid I’ve turned into her. I even switched the desktop background on my computer at work to a picture of The Doctor with his sonic screwdriver in hand and a single sentence that reads, “Have you hugged your Time Lord today?” (I wish I could hug my Time Lord! Seriously.)

So Trust me on this: By time you get to the end of season one, you will want to go on to season two. Once you get to the end of season two, you’ll be hooked. This is a great show full of humor and insane adventure. I mean, come on, a time traveling genius saving the world armed only with a sonic screwdriver?? What’s not to love?