Anyone else watching the BBC series based on these books?

Ross Poldark - Winston Graham Demelza - Winston Graham

Or has anyone else already seen it or read the books?


I am totally, ridiculously  hooked–so far I’ve watched each of the first four episodes two times and have added the books to my TBR list. 


If you’re watching Poldark now, the website is doing great post-episode recaps which include information from the books that’s rushed over or missing.









Original post:


To Kill a Mockingbird - Nelle Harper Lee Hawaii - James A. Michener The Leopard - Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa The Chapman Report - Irving Wallace The Affair - C.P. Snow The Lovely Ambition, a Novel - Mary Ellen Chase Set This House on Fire - William Styron Advise and Consent - Allen Drury The Agony and the Ecstasy - Irving Stone Ship of Fools - Katherine Anne Porter

According to the New York Times, To Kill a Mockingbird was on its best seller list for 98 weeks, but weirdly never made it to number one. Here’s the list for the week it debuted–I’ve heard of several of these books but the only other one I’ve read is Hawaii:



NYT article link

Original post:


A diverse, thought provoking collection


The Science of Herself - Karen Joy Fowler

I enjoyed all  five shorts in this Outspoken Authors collection by Karen Joy Fowler, but the title story reintroduced me to a fascinating woman from history. Combining Jane Austen, dinosaur bones, Nonconformist religion, and dissenting politics, The Science of Herself is an “almost true”, gently fictionalized mini-biography of Mary Anning (1799-1847), who grew up in poverty, taught herself (and helped create) paleontology, and was sought out by some of the most esteemed scientists of the day, including Louis Agassiz and Charles Lyell, but almost never given credit for her work.

Young Mary Anning would have spent her days combing the dangerous crumbling cliffs of Lyme Regis collecting fossils to sell for food during the time that Jane Austen visited the area–Austen even mentions Anning’s father, a cabinetmaker, in her diary. While Austen was on that trip she must have walked beside Cobb wall, where Louisa Musgrove will fall giving Anne Elliot a second chance at love, and she may have noticed Mary peddling her ancient stone curiosities, an idea Fowler uses in her story.

Karen Joy Fowler’s written work ranges widely, from The Jane Austen Book Club, about a group of people who gather to discuss novels, to We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, about a  family with three children–two human and (spoiler alert!) one chimp. That variety is evident in this collection as well,  which includes a transcribed interview with Fowler at her outspoken, whip smart best,  an essay by Fowler challenging smug gender role assumptions made by authors and literary critics from all shades of the political spectrum, and two other short stories–one somewhat funny, about a boy whose father may or may not have been abducted by aliens, and the other quite disturbing, about an abusive, reality based overseas detention facility for wayward American teens.

Mary Anning

Mary Anning as an adult with her dog, Tray, painted before 1842, the Golden Cap outcrop can be seen in the background

Original post:


Books of June and summer re-reading plan

The Professor of Poetry - Grace McCleen Little Pretty Things - Lori Rader-Day The Bellbottom Incident (The Incident Series Book 3) - Neve Maslakovic Trouble is a Friend of Mine - Stephanie Tromly August Folly (Virago Modern Classics) - Angela Thirkell Run You Down (Rebekah Roberts Novels Book 2) - Julia Dahl Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio - Jessica Abel Killer Getaway: A Killer Wasps Mystery (Killer Wasps Mysteries) - Amy Korman

I finished 8 books in June, less than usual, partly because I’ve started a summer re-reading project. For my mid-June birthday I received TWO different annotated copies of Pride and Prejudice, this one and this one. I’m reading both now, which takes much longer than just reading Austen’s text but the commentary is so interesting, and sometime after I finish P&P I plan to re-read War and Peace because I also received  a very beautiful illustrated edition of my favorite translation published by The Folio Society (found here)  as birthday present.

Reading an annotated book turns out to be trickier than I expected. At first I kept getting distracted by all the information in the sidebars and was missing the joy and flow of just reading Austen. Now I’m reading a chapter or two of P&P on my Kindle, then going back to read the annotations in my books, which is working out much better. I didn’t review but greatly enjoyed The Bellbottom Incident, the final book in Neve Maslakovic’s trilogy of time traveling academics. Normally I enjoy time travel books because they bend my mind with temporal and causal paradoxes while taking me to eras I haven’t experienced, but in this adventure Julia & company end up on a university campus in the 1970s, which was a blast from my own past since that’s when I was going to college.Also unreviewed by me but equally wonderful is August Folly, one of Angela Thirkell’s highly entertaining Barsetshire books set in Britain during the 1930s. This one involves a collection of country families, at least 2 Jane Austen references, a summer holiday production of the Greek play Hippolytus by Euripides, and the misunderstandings of several young couples as they fall in love. Here are links for my reviews of Little Pretty ThingsTrouble is a Friend of MineRun You Down, and Out on the Wire.

Originally published at