Friday, April 27, 2012

a book sale

I have a confession.

As enthusiastic a reader as I am, I rarely ever buy books :O

I'm a library girl all the way and usually only buy books when I have read them and know I love them. Also, there must be a discount involved. I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've bought a full-price book.

My friend Ian told me about a great book sale in town this week though, and with prices at $1-5 dollars, I couldn't pass it up. Still though, I was weary until we got there and I saw this:

And that was only half of it! At one point I had a stack of a dozen books in my arms (which did not make for easy browsing), but I narrowed it down to six.

My loot included:
  • Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
  • Pigtopia by Kitty Fitzgerald
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Half of them I've already read and enjoyed (Revolutionary Road, The History of Love, Love in the Time of Cholera). 

The other half have been on my to-read list a long time and have great reputations (Pigtopia, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Middlesex). 

The best part? I got them all for $10 total :) Score!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

ttt: all-time favorite book characters

I've been participating in the Broke and the Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday for several weeks now, but I've gotta say, this is my favorite topic yet. Just thinking about these characters makes me want to pick up each and every one of their books so we can have a little reunion.

Top Ten All-Time Favorite Book Characters

In no particular order . . . 

1. Holden Caulfield (from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger). He curses, he calls people phonys, he's always critical. He wrote an extraordinary essay on the Egyptians :) Holden might be my favorite of all these characters. After reading The Catcher in the Rye before my freshman year of high school, I was immediately hooked on Salinger and read all his other books shortly after. Holden's the perfect character for a novel geared towards teens. He's so disgruntled with life that teens "get" him, but he's also got something worth saying.

unknown source- if anyone knows please let me know!

2. Rhett Butler (from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell). Rhett, like Holden, is that great kind of bad boy. He's bad, but he's also got a good heart (generally) and interesting things to say. I was in love with him after reading Gone with the Wind in the 8th grade and although I've yet to re-read the book, I doubt he'll have changed much for me. I only wish they'd make a new movie version of the book! I know, I know . . . Everyone loves Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh . . . Well I don't. I never did. I read the book before seeing the movie and was incredibly disappointed, mostly with Clark Gable. He wasn't like Rhett at all for me. I imagined him much more charming and handsome (though I know Gable was probably considered very attractive at the time . . . and maybe now . . . by some?).

3. Scarlett O'Hara (from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell). I thought about cutting out either Rhett or Scarlett, but I just couldn't do it. I love them both. Rhett's a great bad boy, but Scarlett's probably an even better bad girl. She's cocky, beautiful, selfish, and incredibly rude. I love the contrast of her Southern belle coquettishness with her inner bitch/diva. Plus, despite all that, she is actually very strong and determined. When things are falling apart (you know, what with the Civil War and all), she's the one that steps up and makes things happen.

4. Remus Lupin (from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling). He's just so lovable. The geeky professor who guides Harry like a father but also has this horrible secret tearing him apart. I love all the chapters of Harry Potter involving the Marauders, but Lupin was definitely my favorite. Unfortunately, I really disliked his movie counterpart too. Not at all like I imagined (this isn't my only complaint, but what's with the mustache?).
5. Harry Potter (he needs no introduction). It sounds stupid to say, but it's true: Harry's the hero of my generation. He's an orphan with a troubled upbringing who learns he's so much more interesting than he ever imagined (i.e., a famous wizard). He is courageous, bright, and talented, but he's got his problems too. He's misunderstood at times, moody, a little cocky. But that's what makes him great. He's just a regular guy beneath it all, a guy who slacks off on his homework and has trouble talking to girls. I grew up right along with him, and there's no question that he's one of my favorites.

*Daniel Radcliffe's okay, but he's not at all how I imagined Harry. To me, Harry will always look like this. Like he was drawn in the original (U.S. version) books.

6. Oskar Schell (from Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer). Precocious and imaginative, determined but depressed, Oskar's voice is what draws you into Extremely Loud. And I loved, loved, loved his inventions-- the birdseed jacket, the ambulance with a flashing message on top, the super-long limo.

*No picture for Oskar. I couldn't find any drawings I liked and I haven't seen the movie.

7. Seymour Glass (from various stories by J.D. Salinger). After Catcher in the Rye, I read Salinger's other books-- Nine Stories, Franny & Zooey, and Raise High the Roofbeams, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction. Seymour appears in all of these in one way or another. Many of Salinger's stories revolved around the Glass children, child geniuses who once had their own radio show. Seymour is the most interesting to me, partially because we never get to see him clearly. He's usually talked about rather than seen. The only time we do see him, I believe, is when he kills himself. Just a really interesting guy.

*Also no picture. Just couldn't find one, sadly. I would have loved to see an interpretation.

8. Lisbeth Salander (from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series by Stieg Larsson). She's truly unique. A small, pixie sort of girl with a photographic memory and incredible computer hacking skills. Not to mention her brutality if you dare to mess with her. I loved her movie adaptation too (meaning Rooney Mara-- I haven't seen the Swedish version).

9. Stephen Colley (from I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith). He's a gorgeous but awkward gardener who just can't seem to get the girl. Super sweet (sometimes annoyingly so) but always incredibly earnest (which usually makes up for it). Plus, his movie counterpart is gorgeous.

Am I right or am I right?

10. Nately, the Chaplain, and Yossarian (from Catch-22 by Joseph Heller). I read Catch-22 years ago and there were several characters I really liked, but these three stand out. And I can't remember why exactly, to be honest. Yossarian had a great sense of humor and Nately's kind of pathetically entertaining, but I barely remember anything about the chaplain now. Only that I liked him!

I can't wait to see everyone else's choices and if you're a visitor, I'd love to hear your thoughts on mine. Are any of my favorites also yours? Or to make it more interesting-- do you hate any of my favorites? Let me know below! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

pins and things

I only have two weeks of classes left (what?!?), which means I have a lot of final projects due, which means I spend all day trying to work on said homework (except for needed breaks with friends), which means I spend about 40% of my time procrastinating, which means I pinned a lot of things on Pinterest this week.

Here are some of my favorites:

a sleek amsterdam houseboat.
 I'm not always a fan of modern architecture, but man is this cool.

jewelry organizer.
I've been wanting to make one of these for the longest time. Right now my necklaces hang from tacks on the wall.

 Flowers, colorful shutters, a gorgeous bookshelf, and a fruity drink. What's not to love?
dish soap in glass bottles.
 Such a great idea!
striped modcloth dress.
Love this silhouette. I'm definitely a nipped waist, knee-length skirt kind of girl.
'40s dior gown.
 Amazing. Makes me think of Gosford Park, which I just re-watched a week or so ago. I only wish I had occasions to wear dresses like this.
circa 1932.
Love this. The girl on the left reminds me of Jordan Baker (of The Great Gatsby).

And finally, bits of my dream house, courtesy of Anthropologie. I know I'm not the only one who dreams of living in their catalogue . . .

Saturday, April 21, 2012

by james joyce

Am currently in the middle of writing a short story (my last piece of fiction ever written for school . . . unless I end up getting a Masters someday). It's going okay. Slowly and a little aimlessly, but I'm trying to enjoy the process too. I like just writing and waiting to see where the story will take me, no plan whatsoever.

However, because I'm a senior and it's a Saturday night, I'm definitely getting a little impatient with myself. I've got a glass of wine and put my Monsters, Inc. DVD (one of my favorites!) in, but I do wish this thing would just start writing itself . . .

I keep coming back to this quote by James Joyce though and it gets me typing away again!

Thank you, Mr. Joyce. I needed that.

Friday, April 20, 2012

invisible man

I read this for school. In fact, this is the last book I'll ever read for school!

I can't review this book saying things like "It was okay" or "I liked it." The unfortunate life of our narrator, a Southern black man who moves to New York in the 1920s and suffers because of his race, feels too loaded (is that right word?) for me to judge it.

Ellison fills the book with competing symbols and metaphors (black vs. white, light vs. dark, blindness vs. sight) and some of the scenes are just hard to read because they're so heart-breaking (especially those in the first chapter or two). As the book went on, it began to feel like a horrible nightmare. The narrator (who was unnamed- we referred to him in class as "the invisible man") lets his thoughts run wild and Ellison's long, rambling sentences full of repetition and alliteration carry you hazily along. Sometimes it gets confusing too, so it helped that I was in a class while reading this and got to hear the book analyzed a bit.

Did I enjoy reading it? Mostly. 

Would I read it again? No. 

Is Ellison a good writer? Yes. 

Does the book deserve such a prominent place in the history of literature? Definitely.

TITLE: Invisible Man
AUTHOR: Ralph Ellison
VERDICT: 3/5 stars.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

upcoming literary movies

There are so many literary-themed films coming out soon! 

I just found out about "Hemingway and Gellhorn" today, which will premiere on HBO next month (it's a TV movie, not a real movie). It stars Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman and is already getting Emmy-buzz:

Looks interesting. I really wish they'd made the Fitzgerald movie that was supposed to come out though. It was going to be called "The Beautiful and the Damned" but instead of following his novel's plot, it would tell the story of Scott and Zelda. It disappeared from IMDb only to reappear with a very vague page.

And the "On the Road" trailer's been out for a while now, but I thought I'd share it anyway:

I haven't read "On the Road" but I plan to soon, despite all the mixed opinions I've been hearing lately. When talking about the movie, a girl in one of my classes named the book her all-time favorite. Then a few days later, I saw an article where authors named the books they were embarrassed to have once loved. And at least half of them named "On the Road!" :/

I've also heard it's a book for the young, so I'd better read it while I can still appreciate it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

ttt: tips for bloggers

I almost didn't participate in this week's Top Ten Tuesday on the Broke and the Bookish. You see, the theme this week is "Top Ten Tips for New Book Bloggers." And as a new book blogger myself, I don't think I'm qualified to give advice to others yet. I started this blog to share my semester in Greece (which I did from August to December), but I've only been blogging about books since January. 

Really, I'm just excited to hear what others have to say. Clicking through a few, I've already learned a new word: ARC (Advanced Reader Copy). Am I only the one who didn't know that?

So like I was saying, I wasn't going to participate. But then I realized, I might not have a lot of blog writing experience, but I do have a lot of blog reading experience. So the tips below come from my experience as a reader. They focus on what makes me really enjoy a blog and want to stick around (and they're not limited to book blogging). So without further ado . . .

Top Ten Tips for Bloggers

1. Simple, attractive graphic design. This is probably the #1 reason I turn away from a blog. Most people can write clearly, I've found, and have something worth saying, but not everyone takes the time to make their blog a visually appealing site. And for me, that's a deal-breaker. You don't have to study graphic design or hire a designer; you just have to take the time to play around with the design template. Clean, non-distracting, personalized design draws people in and makes the words you write (the most important thing, usually) stand out. 

2. Never post without a picture. This goes along with #1. Pictures help break up the text and catch the reader's eye. Even if your post doesn't have a matching picture, you can find something. Find a comic on Google or take a quick picture yourself. Or if you're book blogging, just post a book cover!

3. Blog consistently. If you want consistent readers, you have to blog consistently. It's so frustrating to find a great blog and then (A) realize they haven't posted in months or (B) wait and wait and realize they're not going to post again for months.

4. Be blunt. No one wants to read a 2,000 word essay on a blog. Write clearly and get to the point. If you do write a lot in a post, keep it entertaining, keep it engaging, and try to post several pictures to break up the chunk of text.

5. Introduce yourself. Either on the sidebar or on a page, tell us who you are. Hit the basics- age, location, occupation, hobbies. It doesn't have to be specific (you could just say "twenty-something" if you wanted, or "Midwest" or "in healthcare"), but it should give readers an idea of who's talking to them. Include a photo too. 

6. Title of blog should be consistent with the hyperlink, if possible. Just to make it easier for us all. But of course I understand if the link was already taken. At least make it close. I purposely named this blog "A Quick Red Fox" because someone (who hadn't posted in years, mind you!) had already taken "The Quick Red Fox" as a hyperlink.

7. Check out other blogs and comment. Comment on those who comment on your blog. Share the love. If you just post and never look at what others are doing, no one's going to know about you. It's a community, so it's important to keep the conversation going and make friends. Also, if someone posts on your blog, try to reply to their comment or return the favor (and comment on their blog).

8. Organize, tag, and make pages. Make it easy for readers to navigate. What if I want to read all your book reviews? What if I want to look in your archives and read your first posts ever? What if I want to read all the posts you have about movies? Make it easy for me. List tags that are clickable. Have an archive on the sidebar. Make it easy.

9. Share some other things you like to do. It's a good idea to keep your blog's theme consistent: books, food, fashion, etc. But everyone's more complicated than that one theme might show. No one's just a bookaholic or a foodie or a fashionista. Show your personality and (sparingly) share your love of other things. It gives a personal connection and helps readers feel like they're hearing from a real person and not just an anonymous website.

10. Write the blog you want to read. It's as easy as that. Would you read your blog if you weren't you? If not, you better change it.

Agree with me? Disagree? Have some other tips I should know about? Let me know!

Monday, April 16, 2012

pins and things

I love blogging about books, but I think from now on, I'm going to share something other than books once a week. Sometimes it will be a recipe I've tried. Sometimes a great movie. And sometimes, like today, it'll be new favorite pins from Pinterest. Hopefully you'll get your nose out of a book long enough to take a look. Lately I've been loving . . . 

This gorgeous chair from Suite New York.

This sunset. Makes me think of how beautiful the sunset was every night in Greece!

 This bathroom. Love the contrast of dark wood and soft walls.

This rebranding. Sophisticated but cool, with a perfect color palette.

These sugar cookie bars with white chocolate raspberry frosting. Yum!

Friday, April 13, 2012

from little, brown book group

Either this escaped me yesterday or it's new. In any case, I thought I should add it for full disclosure . . .

Little, Brown Book Group announces that the new novel for adults by J.K. Rowling is entitled The Casual Vacancy.  The book will be published worldwide in the English language in hardback, ebook, unabridged audio download and on CD on Thursday 27th September 2012.

The Casual Vacancy

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils...Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.
Honestly, this description makes me a little less excited. A man dies, people are fighting, an election . . . Eh. The only thing that really intrigues me is: "Pagford is not what it first seems."

But we'll see! Best to keep an open mind.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

j.k. rowling's new book

In case you haven't heard . . .

J. K. Rowling's publisher Little, Brown & Co. announced a few details about her upcoming (non-Harry) novel. It is a dark comedy titled The Casual Vacancy and will center on "the fictional English town of Pagford, where darkness lies beneath a peaceful facade."

Vague, but intriguing. The book hits shelves on September 27 and will surely spark mass chaos and opinionated reviews in the literary world.

Despite Harry Potter's success, many have criticized Rowling's writing style, claiming she can only write for children and an attempt at adult fiction would bomb. This book is (I've heard) her response to those critiques. And personally, I can't wait to read it. I love Harry Potter, but I never thought much of Rowling's actual writing skills. She's just so great with the plot/character/imagination part of it. I really hope she proves everyone wrong though!

Will you be reading?

UPDATE: More information from Little, Brown & Co.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

my a-z book list

Sometimes I feel like such a kid as far as reading goes. I don't read much juvenile/YA fiction now, but I read a lot when I was younger (obviously) so looking through my Goodreads, a large percentage of the books are by children's authors like Sharon Creech, Judy Blume, and Ann Rinaldi.

I'm only 22, so it does make sense. Generally, I think my reading habits went something like this:

6-9 ---> Kids' Books (Go Dog Go, Chasing Redbird, Just Ella, Sweet Valley Kids)
10-13 ---> Teen Books (The Giver, The Outsiders, The Princess Diaries, everything by Ann Rinaldi)
14-present ---> Adult Books (Never Let Me Go, Catch-22, Fingersmith, Little Children, etc.)


Of course there's a lot of crossover, but you get the idea. And if you do the math, I've only been reading "adult" books for 8 years. Before that, kid/teen books spent about 7 years on my nightstand.

My point? I stumbled on this A-Z book list on A Guy's Moleskine Notebook the other day and thought it'd be fun to make my own. All you have to do is pick your favorite book for every letter of the alphabet.

I consider myself to be an avid reader and usually feel like I have quite a few books under my belt, but when I was making this list (using my Goodreads for convenience), I was shocked how many of my options for each letter were kids' books. There are so many books I want to read and at the same time, new books are being published every year. How will I ever get to them all? And how long will it take until my Goodreads is at least 80% "adult"?

Anyway, enough of my childish rambling, here's the list:

A An Acquaintance with Darkness, Ann Rinaldi
B Bloomability, Sharon Creech
C Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
D Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson
E Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer
F Fingersmith, Sarah Waters
G Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
H Harry Potter, JK Rowling
I An Inconvenient Wife, Megan Chance
J Just Ella, Margaret Peterson Haddix
K The Kitchen Boy, Robert Alexander
L Little Children, Tom Perrotta
M May Day, F. Scott Fitzgerald
N Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
O On Writing, Stephen King
P The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
R Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
S The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon
T The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
V The Vanishing Point, Mary Sharratt
W Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
Y The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman

* I haven't read books that begin with a U, X, or Z (at least not that I know of).

A few of the books here aren't even favorites, but they were the best choice I had for the letter (like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde). There were also quite a few books I was sad couldn't make the list, but alas, only one book is allowed for each letter (sorry, Catch-22!).

If any readers make their own list, leave a link. I'd love to check it out!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

ttt: books that were totally deceiving

Today's Top Ten Tuesday on the Broke and the Bookish is "Top Ten Books that Were Totally Deceiving."

It's usually a bad thing for a book to be deceiving, isn't it? If you don't know what you're getting into, how can you know if it's the right book for you? So of all the books here, I can tell you I would only recommend four of them.

Top Ten Books That Were Totally Deceiving

1. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I just read this a few weeks ago, and as I said in my review, I thought this was a creepy book for adults. I was, sadly, wrong.

2. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. Isn't this supposed to be an adventurous, exciting, sea-faring novel? It would be, maybe, if you cut out 80% of the book (the horrible middle). 

3.  Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I didn't even like Ishiguro's other popular novel (see below), but man did I love this. It stepped outside of ordinary literary fiction in the best way possible. I would say more, but I don't want to spoil it!

4. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. Yet another book that I thought was meant for adults. And maybe it is? I'm really not sure.

5. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. So I thought this was about geeks. Geeks as in nerds, I should say. Who knew a geek also refers to someone performing entertainment at a carnival by biting off chickens' heads?

6. Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I don't know what I expected here. Something about a slaughter-house? I'd never read Vonnegut before (and still need to read more of him).

7. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. It's just so different from her other novels. In fact, it's my favorite. Lighter, more fun and exciting.

8. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. I'd heard so many good things about this, so my expectations were high. But man was it boring! Am I the only one who thought so? Listening to a butler ramble about his life and job are not worthy of a book, I think. Maybe I'll give it another chance someday though.

9. Journal: The Short Life and Mysterious Death of Amy Zoe Mason by Joyce Atkinson and Kristine Atkinson. Has anyone else read this? Let me explain. The book plays itself out to be a true journal (as in, the authors appear on the front cover as the ones who "found" it, there's a story explaining how the journal was found, fake newspaper clippings, fake myspace pages, etc.). But of course, it's not true at all. And in my opinion, it's only a good book if it is, so . . .

10. The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. I guess I just thought I would love it. It looked perfect for me (I like Donnelly's A Northern Light, love historical fiction), but it was predictable and unrealistic (and very disappointing).  

Can you guess which are the four I do recommend? :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

downton abbey

Sybil, Mary, and Edith Crawley.

I've always been a sucker for good period movies. Marie AntoinettePride and PrejudiceSense & SensibilityChicago, A Very Long Engagement, etc. The British do it especially well, what with all their mini-series adaptions of classic novels. A few years back, their channel iTV made new versions of a bunch of Jane Austen novels-- Northanger Abbey, Sense & Sensibility, Persuasion, Mansfield Park-- and I may have been guilty of watching all of them on YouTube in 10-minute increments. That's how much I like period movies.

My newest favorite is Downton Abbey (another hit for the British), an iTV miniseries that has also aired on PBS. I first started watching last year, but when the new season came out this fall in Britain, I couldn't wait and ended up watching the whole season online.

The servants.

Downton Abbey revolves around, well, Downton Abbey. It is an estate in Northern England owned by the Earl of Grantham, Robert Crawley, and his wife Cora. They have three daughters-- bold and determined Mary, forgotten Edith, and forward-thinking Sybil-- and a full staff of servants. 

Cora, Countess of Grantham.

Season 1 begins with the sinking of the Titanic, a national tragedy but also a personal one for the Crawleys. The heir to their estate, cousin Patrick, who was expected to marry Mary, was on board and died. The family is devastated but also very nervous. The estate, by law, cannot be given to any of the daughters (only men can inherit). So because of Patrick's death, it must now go to a distant third cousin, Mr. Matthew Crawley. 

Matthew Crawley.

The show follows the lives of both the Crawleys (upstairs) and their servants (downstairs). Their is romance, drama, scandal, death, and more. Almost like a historical soap opera. Cora is desperate to get her girls married, especially Mary. Sybil rocks the boat with her interests in politics, women's rights, and "racy" fashions. Matthew and Mary struggle between attraction and bickering. Downstairs, maid Anna finds romance with the new valet Bates, and O'Brien and Thomas, a maid and a footman, always have some new scheme in mind.

Season 1 (1912-1914) ends with the announcement of WWI and thus, Season 2 (1914-1919) focuses greatly on the war. Some characters become soldiers and others nurses while the house itself is transformed into a convalescent home. 

Lady Sybil Crawley.

There are so many reasons to love this show. The plot is ever-changing with romances, secrets, and surprises. And there are so many characters, you're bound to find someone who interests you. My favorites are probably sisters Mary, Edith, and Sybil, as well as their grandmother, Dowager Countess Violet, played by the always wonderful Maggie Smith.

Of course though, the main reason I watch the show is the history. I wouldn't watch it if not for that and if you don't like the setting much, I really wouldn't recommend the show. Personally though, I love it. The historical events-- the Titanic's sinking, WWI, the Spanish influenza-- keep things moving, but what I find most interesting are all the little details.

Lavinia Swire, a season 2 character.

For example, did you know the wealthy used to have their newspapers ironed? That way, the ink wouldn't bleed. Simple things like electricity and cars amaze the characters, especially the older ones like Violet. And there are so many other little things that differ from the way we live now. Did you know women then didn't wear make-up? Not unless they were a whore, that is. Or that after leaving school, girls would wear their hair always up, as if to symbolize they were a woman then? I could go on and on. I love learning about the little things that made their lives so different from ours.

But I have to say, the fashions always interest me most. Their lovely beaded evening gowns, headbands, and jewels. New-fangled harem pants. Riding coats. Army and nurses' uniforms. The maids' black dresses and pinafores. All of it. It's eye candy and watching, I can't help but dream I had the occasion to wear such an elaborate gown. 

Recently I picked up a book at the library about the show, The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes. On pages filled with high-quality images and watercolor graphics, Fellowes (niece of the show's writer and creator, Julian Fellowes) delves into the history behind the show. There are sections on Family Life, Change, Life in Service, Style, the House & Estate, Romance, War, and a special Behind the Scenes section to look into the show's production. If you like the show for its history, I would definitely recommend this book. 

And if you haven't yet seen the show, here's a little video to give you a glimpse of what it's like (though I don't know why it's paired with modern music):

Or if you want a laugh, here's a parody:

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