Thursday, August 18, 2016

Voyage Into Sewing Blogging

"Charles, I SAID tell me when you are READY to take the picture, and not ONE SECOND BEFO--"

I don't blog very much about sewing here anymore, but I am planning to change that.

Actually, I don't blog very much here anymore, period, but I am planning to change that.

Some of you who know me "in real life" may already know this, but I am mildly involved in Civil War reenacting, with a keen interest in being involved on a deeper level. Time constraints, financial constraints and the fact that I don't live in the middle of a national park slash historic battlefield all contribute to limit my participation in every living history/battle reenactment that comes down the turnpike.  However, I'm in possession of a job, a car and a chaste selection of unoccupied weekends.  I could go to more events.  My biggest problem?

My wardrobe right now doesn't cut it.

See, I started going to Civil War events "in costume" (you're supposed to say garb, not costume, in the Circles Who Know What They're Talking About) in the early summer of 2013, at which time I sewed an 1860's-ish (pay attention to that suffix ISH) day dress out of quilting cotton.  I vaguely followed the Simplicity 2887 pattern and the finished product was... well, it wasn't great, but for a first Victorian-esque dress it wasn't horrendous.  However, it is not period correct for a multitude of reasons.  That dress is now a "ball gown" (again, pay attention to the quotation marks) and you can read more about how it got that way by clicking the link above.  Still... not half as period correct as it could be.  Although the lace is fun.

Later on I made myself a somewhat Little-Women-inspired ensemble that consisted of a skirt and matching zouave jacket, but since I knew very little about appropriate fabric use and since my inspiration mainly came from book covers that I had liked when I was younger, the dress was made out of a solid red broadcloth and trimmed with polyester black braid.


Again, it served its purpose for the time and I got a lot of wear out of it and enjoyed the process of making it (AND learned quite a bit about putting together a garment that would actually fit) sO I definitely don't consider that dress a wasted effort.

Still and all, I need some new clothes, and I need some new clothes that look right.  And since half the fun of sewing things is getting to show them off, whether in person or online, I fully intend to document the creating process here at the blog before I wear the finished product to an event.  Plus, writing posts about what I'm sewing is great motivation to, y'know, actually complete whatever it is I started.  My mom could tell many fascinating stories of the half-finished articles of clothing that have been stashed away and never seen the light of day again because I got bored halfway through.  Um, anyways.

So, if you've followed this blog for slightly snarky movie reviews in the past and do not wish to see anything else, well, you may not be stopping by quite so often in the future. (Not that there's been much to read about in the past few months anyway... cough cough cough.)  I'm certainly not intending to make this blog into a strictly needles-and-thread domain, which is why the title is staying the same and nothing is changing as far as the Look and Feel at the moment.  But blogs change as people change, and my interests today are not quite the same as those of the sixteen-year-old girl who first hit publish on her inaugural post at this domain nearly five years ago.  So, expect to see a good deal more about what I've been stitching, and if that's not your thing and you'd prefer not to stick around, I completely understand.  (I may hop back in with a tongue-in-cheek takedown of Julian Fellowes' new monstrosity Doctor Thorne at any moment, though, so consider yourself forewarned if you hit that unfollow button.)

What else, what else... oh! And I made an Instagram for sewing stuff too.  So take a sneak peek if you feel inclined, because there are snippets there from what I'm working on right now.  A real post about THAT project will follow.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Les Miserables: What They Were Really Thinking

All accurate quotations taken from the Complete Symphonic Recording libretto, aka The Whole Doggone Thing (The Actual Musical, That Is).  All inaccurate mumbo-jumbo is from mine own weird brain. Screencaps are from the movie, because it's just easier to find those.  This juxtaposition may be jarring to purists.  Then again, my whole blog is probably jarring to purists, so if you're a purist you may wish to take your business elsewhere.

Full disclaimer: rampant irreverence shown to a very sad and moving story, all in good fun. Also completely unashamed digs at big-name movie stars' singing.  Sorry not sorry.  And no copyright infringement intended, even though I don't own any of this (obviously.) Yada yada.

Let us proceed.

Convict: When I get free, you won't see me here for dust!
Other convict: What is that even supposed to mean? Personally, when I get free you won't see me here for a MILLION DOLLARS, if I knew what a dollar was, which I don't, living in barely-post-revolutionary-France.

Javert: You robbed a HOUSE!
Valjean: I broke a window-pane!
Javert: That's still robbing a house, man.  The window was IN the house.

Javert: You will starve again unless you learn the meaning of the law.
Valjean: I know the meaning of those 19 years a slave of the law.
Javert: I didn't ask you if you knew the meaning of those 19 years, I asked you if you knew the meaning of THE LAW.  Learn to listen, 246-whatever-your-name-is.

Valjean: I drink from the pool, how clean the taste.
(I have no response for this, just thought all y'all needed to see this picture.)

Valjean: When they chained me and left me for dead, just for stealing a mouthful of bread.
Javert (in the distance): And robbing a house, did you forget the house already?

Javert: What is this fighting all about, will someone tear these two apart! This is a factory, not a circus!
Foreman: I don't know what kind of circuses you've been to, Valjean, but if the main entertainment there is women fighting, I think you are going to some pretty third-rate circuses.

Valjean: Your face is not a face I would forget.
Javert: I feel like the implication of this remark is very hurtful but I am not exactly sure how or why.

Javert: Tell me quickly, what's the story? Who saw what, and why and where? Let him give a full description....
Beggars: Well if you would shut up for ten seconds together, maybe some of us could get a word in edgewise, JAVERT.

[tries to expunge any and all singing from that confession scene between Javert and Valjean in the movie]

Valjean: Hush now, do not be afraid of me, don't hide. Show me where you live.
Cosette: The saddest thing about my neglected childhood is that no one told me not to talk to strangers like you, Creepy Man Who Just Showed Up in the Woods and Asked For All My Personal Information.

Valjean: Thank you both for Cosette. It won't take you too long to forget.

Madame Thenardier: Here [the students] come slumming once again.  Our Eponine would kiss their feet, she never had a scrap of brain.
Eponine: Yeah, but according to two songs ago I'm really good at wearing little blue hats, or did you forget that Mom...

Eponine: I like the way you grow your hair...
Marius: Do you really, Eponine? Do you like how I grow it? Or do you just like the way I cut and style it?  Because the growing is actually done pretty involuntarily and I do not actually have any say in how it's done.  See, this is the kind of thing you would find in a book, if you read books, a sad lack in your education which I am apparently bent on rubbing in your face.

Marius: A ghost you say, a ghost maybe, she was just like a ghost to me.
Enjolras: Just to be clear, you actually like this girl or you're saying she scared you out of your skin?

Enjolras: Is this simply a game for a rich young boy to play?
Grantaire: Obviously not, Enjolras, have you MET most of us?  Marius hasn't eaten in, like, a month.

Enjolras: Marius, you're no longer a child--
Marius: Enjolras you are THREE years older than me, will you please CHILL with the ageism there.  I am VERY mature.

Marius: Cosette, I don't know what to say.
Cosette: Then make no sound.
Marius: I am lost!

Valjean: Must be Javert! He's found my cover at last! I've got to get Cosette away before they return!
Cosette: Are you talking to me or to someone unknown person on the other side of that camera?  Dad?  And who's "they" and who's Javert and WHAT IS GOING ON AND WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE'RE LEAVING, I HAVE A BOYFRIEND NOW.

Barricade Boys: One day to a new beginning, raise the flag of freedom high! Every man will be a king...
Combeferre: You realize that if everyone's a king, then no one's a king, right?  Right?

Eponine: I've got you worried now, I have - that shows you like me quite a lot!
Marius: There is a way that you can help! You are the answer to a prayer!
Eponine: ...When did I say I wanted to help?  I said I wanted you to LIKE ME, Marius, how hard is that to understand- sheesh, you are REALLY lucky you're so cute.

Eponine: The trees are bare and everywhere the streets are full of strangers!
Stranger: Okay, first of all I am the ONE SOLE PERSON on this street right now, kiddo, and also, if the streets WERE full of strangers, you technically wouldn't be on your own. Think about it.

Javert: What's the difference, die a schoolboy, die a policeman, die a spy?
Courfeyrac: If there really genuinely isn't any difference why do we all have to be schoolboys?  I for one would rather be a spy. It sounds cool.

Eponine: Don't you fret, M'sieur Marius, I don't feel any pain. A little fall of rain can hardly hurt me now.
Marius: I'm not concerned about the rain hurting you, Eponine, I'm concerned about the MASSIVE GUNSHOT WOUND IN YOUR RIBCAGE RIGHT NOW.

Enjolras: For your presence of mind, for the deed you have done, I will thank you M'sieur when our battle is won.
Valjean: Give me no thanks m'sieur, there's something you can do--
Enjolras: I literally just told you I wasn't giving you thanks yet so you DON'T NEED TO STOP ME.

Javert: Once a thief, forever a thief! What you want you always steal! You would trade your life for mine?
Valjean: The very definition of a trade is swapping one thing for another, which is the exact opposite of stealing, so your logic is not only mean and rude, it is FLAWED, Javert.  FLAWED.

Marius: Would you weep, Cosette, for me?
Valjean: THAT'S HIM THAT'S THE ONE. Okay be cool. BE COOL.

Valjean: He's like the son I might have known, if God had granted me a son.
Cosette (back at the ranch): I HEARD THAT.
Creepy eye overseeing Valjean in the movie: PLEASE STOP "SINGING."

Thenardier: And only the moon shines down... the harvest moon shines down...
Dead guy in the sewer: Bro, it's JUNE, do you even know what a harvest moon is.

Javert: My heart is stone and still it trembles!
Random bird: Do you really think the two are mutually exclusive? Have you ever heard of an earthquake?
Other random bird: Also please stop "singing."

Valjean: I never told Cosette, she had enough of tears
Marius: Do you think I haven't had enough of tears, dude? In case you haven't noticed, ALL MY FRIENDS ARE DEAD.

Marius: Whatever I tell my beloved Cosette she will never believe.
Valjean: Yeah, good luck with making that marriage work, kid.

Marius: When I look at you, I remember Eponine.
Eponine (from heaven): Gee, thanks, buddy, I was trying to get some distance there.

Marius: Cosette, your father is a saint. When they wounded me he took me from the barricade, carried like a babe...
Cosette: This is not the time or the place, but at some point the two of us need to very carefully review How One Carries a Baby, because "through the sewers slung across your back" is Not It.

All the Dead People: Do you hear the people sing, lost in the valley of the night?
All the Weeping Audience:  That's a depressing way of putting it when you think too hard about it.
Me, Writing This: Okay, I got nothing, that ending just Gets You Right There.  Can't joke, I'm out.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

An Ode to Tea

"No coffee, thank you, for me -- never take coffee.  A little tea, if you please."
-Miss Bates, Emma

Okay, I kind of lied. This post is not going to be an Ode.  In order for an Ode to be happening, there has to be some sort of poetry going on, and poetry and I Do Not Mix.  So this is a Prose to Tea, except that that sounds really weird in a post title, and I like to display some semblance of sanity for the rare occasions when my mother reads my blog.  (Recent quote from her: "You still write a blog?!?!" Okay, so make that "nonexistent occasions.")

But I digress before I even begin.

O Tea, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways, in a rambling and out-of-order form numbered only because I just used the phrase "count the ways" and not because I am actually ranking The Ways in any hierarchy of importance.

1.  Thou art warm and comforting for any foul mood or stormy weather. Or when one is under the weather. That too.

2. Thou art beautiful to behold and come in a great variety of pretty colors, unlike thy ugly brother Coffee, who is one color without cream and one color with, and, by extension, incredibly boring.

3.  Thou hast been proven over centuries to be the fuel of creativity, and thy praises sung by many great people, including Jane Austen, so there.  (Tea is apparently drunk at least 58 times by various characters throughout her novels.)

4. Thou art generally affordable and though some of thy varieties may be in a pricey range, for the most part one can get a good bang for one's buck (i.e. 20 cups of tea can be made from the standard box of teabags, which is generally available for under $5 in the U.S., even if you're buying something of good quality like Twinings, and since that's the average price of a kiddie cup at Starbucks... it's a pretty good deal).

5. Thou canst be served in lovely and delicate teacups, which are pleasing to the sight and beautiful in the eye of the beholder, and also collectible.  (I currently have 17 in my bedroom alone, plus two mugs, one of which is decorative and one of which perpetually sits on my bedside table because I always forget to take it back down to the kitchen when it is empty.)

6.  Thou art naturally free of calories, and that is a beautiful thing.  Doctoring thee up with sugar and cream is the business of those who drink thee, and on their own heads be it if they decide to add to thee-- but on thine own thou art not a Guilty Pleasure and for that we salute thee.

7.  Thou smellest SO GOOD.  (And smellest is... not a word?) And thy fragrances are many and varied, and linger pleasingly in a manner much unlike old coffee, whose aroma becomes unwelcome with great haste after it has been consumed. (No, this post is not solely for the purpose of dissing coffee. :P)

8.  Thou art such a companionable sort of treat to Share with a Friend.

9.  Thou art easy to make-- seriously, all one needs is a stove, a kettle, water, and a teabag.  Thou shalt not be sullied with water that has been microwaved, but everyone knows THAT. ;)

10.  When thou art paired with a good book, truer happiness cannot be found, unless of course there is chocolate too.

Monday, February 22, 2016

That Really Long-Delayed Post About Stories and the People Who Make Them

My first real movie crush was on Nicholas Hammond as Friedrich von Trapp in The Sound of Music. I was nine, he was fourteen (the character, at least), and he was fictional and I was real, so the relationship really had no future, but I thought he was super cute.  (Still do.  In a weird nostalgic I-am-way-too-old-for-him-now way.)

Round about the same time as I saw The Sound of Music for the first time, I experienced the magic that was the Kevin Sullivan adaptation of Anne of Green Gables (still one of my top five favorite movies).  I'd read the children's version of the book before, and then my mom read aloud the Real Thing, but the movie clinched the deal-- I was an Anne fan forever.  And eventually a diehard Gilbert fan too... but not right away.  He was, you know, sort of old.  (Like, nineteen or twenty in the second movie. ANCIENT.)

After a while, though, I began to come around and appreciate Gilbert Blythe for a little bit more than just saying mildly funny things now and then.  For one thing, I was beginning to develop a somewhat greater and more refined taste for romance (i.e. Mushy Stuff, because This Was a Kissing Book), so Anne and Gilbert's relationship warmed my little heart.  For another thing, I was beginning to develop a slightly greater appreciation for the Aesthetically Blessed among us-- in short, it hit me one day that Jonathan Crombie was also super cute.  (This opinion has not changed in the past ten years.)

Come on.  I'm human.

That, combined with Gilbert's personality, charm, sense of humor, kindred-spirit-ness-- oh, did I mention his adorably curly hair-- and down-to-earth common sense, made him one of my favorite literary and film heroes of all time.  (See this post for a little more on that.)

So even though Friedrich was my first real movie crush, Gilbert was the one who endured.  The older I got, the more I liked him.  (And it wasn't just the hair-- although of course that helped.)

All this ought to have been clear to me as the reason why I was so devastated when Jonathan Crombie passed away last April.  But at the time, it wasn't, and I couldn't figure out why I was so sad over the death of a person I'd never met.

I think I first found out through the Sullivan Entertainment Twitter... and then a news article on his death... and then an instant message from Melody.  I remember telling my mom that night while making my lunch for work the next day, and actually breaking down crying while sharing the news.  "I don't even know why I'm so upset," I wailed, trying not to drip tears into my refried beans (because face it, that would be gross-- even if I was the only one eating them).

My mom was, bless her, sympathetic, and didn't tell me to stop crying into my lunch bag over a person I'd never even seen in real life. "Well, that story was a huge part of your childhood," she said, "and so it's natural for you to feel attached to the characters, and since he played one of the characters, that's the closest thing in real life."

{{At this point in the post it is worth mentioning that I started writing this about three weeks ago and then got distracted and never finished it, and now it is February 17th and I am finally finishing it. #perseverance

The problem is that I am now having a little more difficulty remembering where I was going with all this.  Reason #293827 why I should write better blog post outlines than "why people who make stories are important & it is sad that Alan Rickman died."}}

Right. Alan Rickman.

So I've actually only ever seen him in one whole movie, and that's my beloved Sense and Sensibility, as the perfect and best version of Colonel Brandon.  Yes he was too old.  Yes he could have been Kate Winslet's dad.  Shut up.  He was still awesome.  And David Morrissey is fine and all, but come on.  He was in a movie up against Dan Stevens.  We all know who wins the 2008 version.

(And yes I still love the 2008 version-- see review here-- but that's not the topic of this post.  *gets distracted rereading the review*  Wowwwwww I was a lot younger then.  ....anyways.)

And then he passed away in mid-January and, well, it was really sad.  Again, I'd only seen one of his films, yet I still felt as if the world had lost someone very special.

After Rickman's passing, the Internet pretty much exploded with tributes and eulogies and musings on the impact he had on the theatrical world.  There's a theater in the city where I work that has a poster in their window display with the quote at the beginning of this post.  "A film, a piece of theatre, a piece of music or a book can make a difference. It can change the world."  (And yes, I just retyped that quote so that you wouldn't have to scroll all the way back up to the top to look at the picture again.  YOU'RE WELCOME.)

I've always loved that quote, and this one-- which I hadn't read before all the tributes came along-- is just as good.  
And it’s a human need to be told stories. The more we’re governed by idiots and have no control over our destinies, the more we need to tell stories to each other about who we are, why we are, where we come from, and what might be possible.
- Alan Rickman

Stories.  That's what it comes down to.  That's what makes these people special-- they told stories that resonated with us.  They used their talents to bring fictional characters to life, and it was magical.  Most little girls have a crush on Gilbert Blythe at one time or another.  (Come on, admit it... you did too...) Naturally a lot of that is due to L.M. Montgomery's writing of a character whose all-around-great-guy-ness resonates with so many people, but a lot of it is also due to Jonathan Crombie's talent in making Gilbert seem real and alive.  We want to believe that people like Gilbert exist... which is why that kind of character becomes so beloved by so many.  Same goes for the Jane Austen heroes... well, except for Edmund Bertram but DON'T GET ME STARTED ON EDMUND BERTRAM.


That's what storytellers do, though.  They give happy endings, even if they aren't realistic.  (People argue at times that Marianne Dashwood and Colonel Brandon wouldn't have been truly happy together and that she was just settling for him... I will argue that one until I'm blue in the face, but this post is not the place for that.)  They restore order with imagination. They instill hope, again and again and again.

(That is NOT a Walt Disney quote.  It is a Kelly-Marcel-and-Sue-Smith quote-- from the writers of the screenplay for Saving Mr. Banks, one of the best movies of this decade.  But the somewhat-fictionalized character of Walt Disney said it in the film, so... yeah.)

Probably one of my favorite movie quotes of all time, that line sums up why stories are important--- why artists and novelists and playwrights and actors are such valuable contributors to society.  Because they give us something beyond day-to-day reality, something hopeful and happy and thought-provoking.  Is there always a happily ever after in real life?  Or, even, in a novel?  No.  But in a story, any story, there can be, because a story is limitless.  Because even if the people in it aren't real in one sense of the word, they are real to the reader. To the viewer. To the person sitting in the hushed theatre audience.  They are real because a long line of other people-- actual living people-- have made them so, from the first idea set down on paper to the costumed actor speaking lines to a camera.

And that, to me, is nothing short of incredible.

End of cheesy post.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The January Book Round-Up

I realize that saying I'm going to make this a monthly institution is like saying that I'm going to get up at 5 AM every day-- in other words, a million little pieces of the universe will conspire against me to make sure it doesn't actually happen.  But for January at least, I'm going to try and recap what I read this month, what I'm still reading, and what I think of what I've read.  Have I said "read" enough now?  Yes? Good.

Read: Destination Unknown, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The Bronte Plot

Abandoned: Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse, All the Light We Cannot See 

Currently Reading: Wives and Daughters, Pioneer Girl, Beginning at Moses

2 out of 5 stars

Destination Unknown wasn't quite my least favorite Agatha Christie mystery-- that distinction would have to go to Postern of Fate, which was doubly disappointing because the plot was lackluster AND because it was about my two favorites of her characters, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford.  I expected better for T&T.  Destination Unknown is a standalone novel, and the detective (something Jessup) is forgettable at best, but the main character, Hilary, was actually quite likable.  (I should clarify that I listened to this as an audiobook on my way to and from work, and didn't actually read the printed text, so if I spell the names wrong, it's because I didn't bother to look them up.)  There wasn't actually a whole lot of mystery mystery though (i.e. no one was doing much detective work... just sort of following enigmatic people around and being taken to remote scary institutions and pretending to be other people's dead wives) and I like mysteries to challenge my little gray cells.  I definitely enjoyed this more as an audiobook than I would have as a regular old lump of text, however, because Emilia Fox (Georgiana Darcy!) narrated it, and she's very talented and fun to listen to.

4 out of 5 stars

Guernsey was actually a reread-- a third-time reread, in point of fact, but I definitely enjoyed it.  I can't give it the full five stars though, because unfortunately this is one of those books that doesn't live up to the hype I've given it myself in my head.  It's such a great premise, and it's told in one of my favorite (and rarely-seen) formats-- that is, it's all in letters.  Epistolary.  It's a book for bookworms, about bookworms, and it takes place in the English aftermath of WWII, a time period you don't hear as much about in historical fiction.  It's full of fun characters and a few good quotes, yet each time I read it I come away wishing it were a little... better, for lack of a more descriptive word.  (There are, obviously, more descriptive words out there.  But I'm not in an industrious mood tonight and have not bothered to go hunting them down.)  It has so much potential, and that's where a large part of those four stars come from, but it doesn't quiiiiiite live up to the potential.  For one thing, it's not terribly gripping.  For another, it's hard to keep track of all the characters, interesting though they may be.  I think some of this may have to do with the fact that Mary Ann Shaffer was unable to finish her manuscript, and her niece Annie Barrows took over and helped her to turn it into a final draft.  Maybe more character development and a clearer narrative was in the works, but couldn't come about for one reason or another.  Regardless, this is a fun novel (despite a few themes that I'm not thrilled with-- don't recommend for younger readers) but it's not as fun as I would like it to be.

And I saved the best for last!  Katherine Reay is quickly becoming one of my favorite contemporary writers-- Dear Mr. Knightley is still the best of her books, in my personal and not-so-private opinion, but The Bronte Plot held its own.  It made me think more than her other two did (DMK and Lizzy & Jane, and yes you should read both) and messed with the lines of ethics more than either of the others, while still managing to keep the heroine, Lucy, likable and sympathetic.  (I'm still more partial to Samantha from DMK.  But that's an aside.)  Reay's previous two novels focused primarily on Jane Austen, and so I was a tad disappointed that this book revolved mainly around the Bronte sisters-- Charlotte Bronte was notoriously contemptuous of the immortal JA, and Wuthering Heights is what I consider to be one of the most time-wasting claptrap-jumbles of high school required reading.  Therefore, I went into reading this with, shall we say, a slight Bias against the authors I assumed would be forefront in the story.  I was pleasantly surprised.  The Brontes figure in the tale, yes, but as themes rather than almost-a-character as Jane Austen did in DMK and L&J.  The idea of the Bronte sisters, women with courage to endure, was a larger part of the story than their actual works, and I liked that. (I should note that Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books of all time, and I would love the opportunity to visit Haworth-- just in case you think I have some sort of personal vendetta against the Brontes. I just happen to like Jane Austen better. I'm only human.)

The male main character, though, didn't really impress me.  He wasn't unlikable-- in fact there was nothing about him that was actually off-putting, but I just didn't think much of him simply because I didn't think about him much.  I was rooting for him and Lucy to get together, but more because I wanted Lucy to be happy than because I felt they belonged together.  Sid, the middle-aged owner of the antique shop, was far more interesting than James-- even if James did like Jane Eyre.  :D

All in all, definitely a good book.  And it made me want to visit a moor in Yorkshire as soon as possible.  Dare I say that I also kinda want to read Wuthering Heights again now, if only to see if it's as awful as I remember? ;P

Some quick notes about the other books on my list-- I enjoyed what I read of Pioneer Girl so far, but since it's still a new title at my library, I had to return it after 7 days and didn't get to finish it, so hopefully in February I'll get it out again and be able to move past the interminable foreword. :P  Wives and Daughters is as enchanting as ever-- Melody and I are reading it together and thoroughly enjoying ourselves.  Beginning at Moses isn't very well-written, but it's an interesting look at Jesus' role in the Old Testament.  I'm actually quite interested in All the Light We Cannot See, but stopped it after just a chapter because that, too, was an audiobook, and the guy who was reading it was annoying me no end.  Too... many... long... pauses.... between.... each... word....  Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse, like Guernsey, had good potential as an idea but jumped around too much in the (minimal) storyline for my taste, and the lack of moral structure in an early-1900's conservative Catholic setting was eyeroll-worthy.  I don't like abandoning books, but I got so fed up with this one that I just took it back to the library.  There are other ways to spend my time.

Looking forward in February to... Death Comes to Pemberley!  I actually own this, but haven't read it yet.  My sister and I just started the BBC miniseries and I'm loving it so far, so I'm anxious to read the book afterwards.  What are you reading these days?

P.S. Thank you one and all for your lovely responses to the reader survey!  I've closed the poll after receiving 52 responses (wow!) and will be compiling the results and blogging about those... soonish.