lost_spook: (Northanger reading)
(Because let's do this thing. :-D)

What I've Just Finished Reading

Nothing, actually. Since last time, I finished The Return of Sherlock Holmes, read two more Regency Romances made of pure fluff, and meanwhile carried on reading and taking notes from Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England (which I haven't yet finished but continues to be very good).


What I'm Reading Now

Currently, a book randomly picked up in a charity shop, Mrs Jeffries on the Trail by Emily Brightwell, which is basically crime fluff rather than Romance fluff - one of a long series* about a Victorian housekeeper who solves crimes for her Inspector employer. Well, actually the whole household solves the mysteries, and she just co-ordinates them and tactfully hints about their finds to the Inspector. I'm not sure when they get the housework done. So far, all I can say is that it's certainly easy reading, which is what I wanted.


What I'm Reading Next

Ah, the part of the meme where I'm supposed to predict the future. Well, meme, it'll either be something off my to-read pile, or something random that I picked up somewhere else, or a safe re-read, I can tell you that much. *nods*

And when I've finished the current NF read, I'll probably start on The Book of Barnstaple, which is a bit more specific than general, but of use to me.


* Going by the list of about 100 others in the front, anyway. Mrs Jeffries keeps busy.
lost_spook: (Northanger reading)
(Gosh, bi-monthly. Look at me. :-D)

What I've Just Finished Reading

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz, which a friend gave me for Christmas. This was the book that looked liked the easiest going off my to read when spoons pile, and it was. It was a recent Sherlock Holmes 'missing adventure' type novel and ticked all the boxes and was fun.

I then happened upon three more actual Sherlock Holmes books in a charity shop soon after and got them, so I've been re-reading for the first time in years The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles, all of which were perfectly readable, yay. (I feel v proud of myself). Interestingly, with the actual books it is very easy to hear Douglas Wilmer and Nigel Stock, which helps, but not so much with the 'new' one. (Anthony Horowitz was imagining Jeremy Brett, he said. I wouldn't have supposed it would make much difference which classic Holmes model you used but maybe it does.)

I also read and took notes from Barnstaple's Vanished Lace Industry by Peter Christie & Deborah Gahan. Obviously, this was a very specific local history book for family history purposes, so not likely to be of general interest, but it was useful (and not as dull as the title sounds). It did, however, reinforce my feeling from reading the North Devon Journal entries that Barnstaple is very possibly not a real place, although I don't know what that says about me or my Granny's relatives. It could explain a lot...


What I'm Reading Now

The Return of Sherlock Holmes (I got to the bit where Holmes reappeared, as you do; priceless), and in NF note-taking the very light and readable Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adkins. I would recommend it to all Regency Romance authors as it included a short section on naming and how most people didn't have middle names. (I know I'm mean about names, but the "What's your middle name?" question is a particularly head!deskworthy point every time it occurs.)


What I'm Reading Next

I don't know, meme! I'm only on the first few pages of "The Empty House", honestly. It depends on my mood and my spoons and what I find next in a charity shop or library to distract me from the to be read pile. But I do feel reasonably sure that there will be a next book now, and that's a good feeling. (Tomorrow, the world, people! \o/)


ETA: I'm still taking questions/topics for the Talking Meme *looks around hopefully*
lost_spook: (Northanger reading)
(I'm still not doing anything for [community profile] fandom_stocking. Luckily it should open soon and then I can relax and do something else! I forget, of course, that 'better' when you've been bad is a relative term.

Also I seem to have given the impression to everyone that Manhunt is rubbish and it really isn't; it was just a bit up and down and sexist to begin with & I get very little out of protracted 'action' sequences. It's now reached an impressively consistent high standard. Vincent, Nina, and Jimmy, though, remain the most rubbish. Strangely, everyone was a lot more interested in watching it despite this, much more so than anybody is when I tell them old TV is good. Reverse psychology??)

Anyway, look at me, this makes it twice in a year (not calendar year) at least this time. I probably won't read enough to make it every Wednesday, but hopefully more often. I am optimistic!

What I've Just Finished Reading

And So To Murder by Carter Dickson, which I finished up quite quickly after I posted the other day. It was good fun and I enjoyed it. I still don't know whether to praise the BBC for giving me lovely mental casting (the three characters who were the most fun were played by Suzanne Neve, William Russell, and Stephanie Bidmead) or curse them for burninating it, but it did add to the book, so I suppose I'd better at least be a tiny bit grateful.

As I said, Monica Stanton (aka Suzanne Neve) is a vicar's daughter who writes a steamy Romance novel in 1939; her aunt, distressed, wonders why she couldn't write a nice detective novel, like those by Bill Cartwright (Wm Russell):

Now Monica Stanton, to begin with, had no real grievance against that inoffensive form of entertainment known as the detective-story. She neither liked nor disliked it. She had read a few, which struck her as being rather far-fetched and slightly silly, although doubtless tolerable enough if you liked that sort of thing. But, by the time her aunt had finished, Monica was in such a state that she had come to curse the day Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born. It was a wordless, mindless passion of hatred. As for Mr William Cartwright... Monica felt that she would like to poison Mr Cartwright with curare, and dance on his grave.

Read more... )

Before Christmas, I can now say that I was for obvious reasons, re-reading a lot of Miss Marple as well as reading Dracula for the first time (my reactions are in my Yuletide reveals post).

I also finished Venetia by Georgette Heyer, a re-read, although it was one of the books I rashly gave away a while ago, so it had been a long time. Very enjoyable, of course, and I am very happy to have a copy again. It is very sad that after a year of reading Regency Romances, I still haven't found anyone even a tiny bit like Georgette Heyer. I wish there would be, somewhere, in some period or other.


What I'm Reading Now

I'm a bit between things, but I continue with the very excellent The Victorian City by Judith Flanders in NF. (I am even taking notes for family history, which is a very exciting development as of the last few weeks and months. It's taken a bit of patient building up, but I'm able to do it a little again.)


What I'm Reading Next

That is the question. I was looking at my TBR (when spoons) pile and seeing whether any of them clicked easily, but I haven't decided which one to try next or whether just to re-read something to build up a little more stress-free stamina first before I risk reading a new-to-me book that might get killed by CFS. (I'd rather wait and be fair in my first reading). We shall see!
lost_spook: (Northanger reading)
I really should get on with these because a) they were lovely questions and b) it is really not summer now. It's not even 2015. *cough*

For [livejournal.com profile] persiflage_1: What's the best new-to-you book you've read so far this year?

Well, it has been a while since July 2015 when Pers asked me this, but I think it is fair to say that the answer is still undoubtedly The Count of Monte Cristo, which I managed to read last spring. I had avoided it when reading other Dumas novels as a teenager because it was large and I thought it was about someone being in prison for years and finally getting out and having revenge. While that is kind of true, it turns out, Edmond is in prison only for a small part of the book (I know, I feel v dumb that I ever even vaguely thought Dumas would write endless grim prison fiction, lol me) and it is surely the most entertaining revenge tale ever told.

I don't know how my brain works: I can read so little without getting a headache and then I pick up a 1000 page brick and go "ooh, now this I can manage!" and basically solely in terms of having something long and enjoyable (I so rarely enjoy books because they are just such an effort; it's one of the main things I hate about being ill), it was amazing. I should think it is also a pretty darn great old-fashioned ride of improbable long, complicated revenge scheme even when you're not ill.

If you hate it, btw, this is one of those times when I will love you a lot if you don't feel the need to share that fact with me. Thank you.

Anyway, it is all the things (poison and runaway lesbians and treasure and random drug-taking and pirates and bandits and long-lost relatives and cunning disguises! Other things I have since forgot!) and only slows in a few sections where there is too long an absence of the Count, and it is both awesome and ridiculous, regardless of any faults, and I could have taken another few hundred pages of it, easy.


Coming up some way behind it, I thought The Invention of Murder by Judith Flanders was pretty great, too (an NF book about the Victorians and their obsession with murder) but that was not a magical huge novel that only rarely gave me headaches. Which is not its fault. It's definitely a recommended read for people with an interest in such things and a brain. Victorians, newspapers and lurid murders and the growth of detection fiction is a wonderful subject for a history book & the author is pretty reliably good.


Plus, in Jan 2015, I managed to finally finish the last few chapters of The English Civil War by Diane Purkiss, which was also excellent (even if I had five years or so in between the first 3/4s and the last). It deals with the Civil War (duh) but from all sorts of different points of views and aspects & is thoroughly engaging and readable. The author clearly has a passion for the era she's keen to communicate. It also mentioned my home town, which gets it extra bonus points, obviously.


But basically Le Comte de Monte Cristo is a thing of endless delight & my brain is a mystery. I feel bad for teenaged me for missing it when I could have read it totally without any adult reservation or irony or headaches, but on the other hand, I seem to have needed it last year.
lost_spook: (b7 - Vila)
Okay, my thoughts on Out of the Unknown, because, hey, despite my embarrassment at my lack of science education and unfortunate introductions to anthologies I once read, I've decided that I am still allowed to like and have opinions on science fiction. However, it's mid-century stuff, so this probably barely counts as a rebellion, but given that I simply can't read things like this at the moment, it's lovely to have even this I can watch.

And let's just say - can you imagine any TV station now deciding to put out an anthology of serious SF plays based on current SF stories and novels? But back in the 60s, Irene Shubik thought it'd be cool and so did Sydney Newman, so here we have another series by Sydney Newman and a female producer that unfortunately got partly burninated by people.

Here goes - some brief reactions to the remaining episodes, without being spoilery! (Possibly a pointless exercise, but here goes!)

Disc 1: No Place Like Earth, The Counterfeit Man, Stranger in the Family & The Dead Past )
lost_spook: (Charley)
There are spoilers for these Big Finish audios below the cut, but it occurred to me I never got round to posting my reaction.

Charley! )
lost_spook: (Romana)
[livejournal.com profile] belantana asking me about Classic Who reminded me that I'd given up reporting on my rewatching in order (that I started about four years ago now - so long that I'm just pining for One, Ian and Barbara by now.)

This was because I kept watching bits of serials and only finishing them months later in a very unorganised way, so here goes, nevertheless:

(Naturally, there will be 1978 spoilers).

Thoughts on the first half of the Key To Time )

The below are as spoiler-free as I can manage, though:
The Company of Friends )

The Shadow of the Scourge )

(Did I say my reviews are boring as I mostly like things? It's true.
lost_spook: (smallbrain)
[livejournal.com profile] velvetfascism told me to go watch Blake's 7 and after some experimentation with VHS copies found in charity shops (some which were more cut up than you would believe), I gave in and used my b'day money to buy S1 & 2 on DVD.

I know a Terry Nation cliche when I see one )

There, that's the end of my reviews. You can see I temporarily abandoned the Key to Time. I really can't watch two 1978 BBC sf shows at once.
lost_spook: (Default)
As of last year, I managed to be in on the right night, instead of out, and discovered Hotel Babylon. It's like the anti-Spooks or something, a lot of froth and nonsense that doesn't take itself seriously and so manages to get away with it, plus a bit of moral backbone (usually supplied by Dexter Fletcher's Tony) leavens it out. So, yes, I'm frivolous and shallow and I like it.

Cut for spoilers )
lost_spook: (Leela)
Well, I watched Underworld, too. Why does it get quite so little love? This is the second time I've watched it now and I still liked it. Very, very dogdy CSO, of course and other very 70s Who flaws, but if those are really going to bother you, why are you watching 1970s DW?

Oh, it's another self-aggrandising artefact! )
lost_spook: (Leela)
I just finished rewatching The Sun Makers. It occurs to me that last time I watched through this era must have been that time I was ill, so I found this a lot less dull than last time.

And the Doctor's inability to tell the difference between sweets is clearly deliberate and not due to lack of jelly babies. (He just gave a jelly baby to someone and said it was a humbug...)

Some more waffle here )
lost_spook: (Leela)
Okay, my thoughts (definitely spoilers all over the place this time, because this is new to me).

The Doctor talks to cows, Leela's a flirt and it's all rather fun. )
lost_spook: (Leela)
I've been away in London, but am back again.  Erm.  Obviously.

Never mind that: I've finished watching not only Talons now, but Horror of Fang Rock.

Much much waffle about 70s Who. )
Plus, unrelatedly, despite neither winning (oh, and how much I wanted Spooks to!), the Spooks and Doctor Who presence all over the BAFTAs last night was rather pleasing.  Call me strange, but the flick of the camera from Peter Firth to David Tennant for absolutelky no reason whatever half-way through amused me.  It felt like I'd wandered into crossover-land.  But little things please me.  (Although, it'd be nice to guess it's going to the show that dealt with the most disturbing material and be wrong, but there you go.)

lost_spook: (Cabby)

Since I did find quite a few of the films a while back, here are the rest of my waffly reviews.  (And before people wonder why I've got the little sanity I have left to me, these were watched over the last 3 or so weeks, not just today or something!) 

New friends, well, you remember I said I was slightly mad...  Here be proof.

Screaming, Cleo, Cruising, Behind and Abroad... Waffle waffle waffle )
lost_spook: (Harry)

I decided (as a New Year's resolution) that it was about time I got with my watching-Doctor-Who in order (minus any gaps I have, obviously), since I think I started at least two years ago, being bad last year due to lending The Pyramids of Mars out to someone and not wanting to skip it, The Android Invasion dying midway through and other events.

So I pulled out The Deadly Assassin and made a start...

I finally get it! Yay )

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