Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lark Rise to Candleford and Also Reading

Dorcas (Julia Sawalha) and Laura (Olivia Hallinan), Lark Rise to Candleford
Minnie (Ruby Bentall)
After crying over an episode of Lark Rise to Candleford, the BBC TV series which plays at 6 p.m. every Sunday, I decided to return to the second book of Flora Thompson's trilogy.  I recently enjoyed Lark Rise, the first book in the series, but put the trilogy aside because (a) I had read it long ago, and (b) I had too much going on this month.  Now the TV series has me hooked.  I love Dorcas Lane, the postmistress played by the actress Julia Sawalha. Her character is kind, canny, dashingly ladylike, and Machiavellian in a good way:  she mediates and manipulates for the good in times of crisis in Candleford.  She is also extremely generous.  She gives Minnie, the slothful, chirpy maid, many chances after housekeeping disasters because of Minnie's abusive stepfather.  Minnie dreams of marrying and having her own house, but is an incompetent and scatterbrained maid, and, in one sad scene, is left at home to do housework while Dorcas and Laura go to a party across the street.  Minnie dresses up, Cinderella-like, to dance by herself to the music.  She breaks Dorcas's trust, but Dorcas then begins to understand Minnie's needs.

I looked up the show IMBD.  I have to ask myself, Why?  In the old days, when I was really hooked on the BBC,  I would have watched the episode, had a cup of tea, and then read the book.  And doubtless I'd be finished by now.  Now I click on the title at IMBD, click on some of the actors, then discover I know some of them from other shows and movies:   Julia Sawalha as Sapphie on Absolutely Fabulous, Dawn French from The Vicar of Dibley, Ruby Bentall from Pride and Prejudice, and Peter Wight from Vera Drake.  I even found a long, very good article on Lark Rise to Candleford (the book and a bit about the TV series) at The Guardian (Dec. 13, 2008).  Which I skimmed.  Because I hardly need to read an article when I've read the book.

ALSO READING. The internet is a lot of clicking around, and I hate to tell you the exact number of pop books AND classics I have read reviews of on the internet  and which I am currently reading (of course many I've owned for years).   Audrey Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry, The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy, the second book of Kristin Lavransdatter,The Tin Drum, and Margaret Oliphant's A Country Gentleman and His Family (I may have to give that up). And that's not all.


I added four books today today to my TBR in the Distant Future List. 

1.  A Man of Parts by David Lodge (not released here till September).  This historical novel about H. G. Wells will doubtless illuminate my fascination with his affairs with Rebecca West and Dorothy Richardson. Turn of the (last) century People Magazine AND literature?   I'm a Wells addict because of The History of Mr. Polly, Ann Veronica, and his other non-SF.

2.  Lucky Break by Esther Freud (available in April).  I've been a fan of Freud since Hideous Kinky; my favorite is Summer at Gaglow.    This new novel centers on a group of drama school friends and their subsequent 14 years.  

3.  Thomas Pletzinger's Funeral of a Dog.  A first novel by a German writer, compared in today's The New York Times Book Review to W. E. Sebald.  I love literature in translation and am eager to read something German: it's usually Spanish these days; have you noticed?

4. An Amazon Encore book.  If I understand this correctly, Amazon has picked up some self-published books and given them a kind of second chance.  One keeps showing up on my recommendations list:  Karen McQuestion's A Scattered Life, a novel about three women in Wisconsin, one of whom works in a bookstore.   Is it on my recommlendations list because I'm from the midwest, or because of the bookstore employee? I WILL  read anything with a bookstore in it... 

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