* Wondrous Reads
* The Crooked Shelf
* Reclusive Bibliophile
* A Good Addiction
When I haven't been typing away I've been on an Elizabeth Gaskell (via the BBC) jag. I heartily recommend everyone watch the completely delightful Cranford and Return to Cranford miniseries starring Judi Dench. Set in a small English town in the 1840's, Cranford's women are at the heart of a story which has much humour, sorrow and plenty of tea.
North & South, also based on an Elizabeth Gaskell novel, is equally compelling and tackles the hardship of urban life in a town populated with mills where workers and the kings of industry alike must fight for their survival. It also happens to contain one of the best romances I've seen in awhile, full of troublesome misunderstandings that keep the main characters apart, even when each of their intentions are good and honourable.
I read extremely slowly when I'm writing (and I always write very slowly too!) and am finally nearing the end of Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly but can confidently recommend it, even before I reach the final page, to readers who appreciate truthful YA. Main character Drea, a musician who designs her own clothes and is also obsessively into sound design, is an original, layered and sympathetic character who has both Asperger's syndrome and ADHD. Drea is surrounded by equally complex characters in complicated situations of their own.
What I love about Harmonic Feedback is that its edges are sharp—it doesn't hold back and soften the experience of being a teenager in today's world. It's real, which to me is the highest compliment.
Finally, as well as being on an Elizabeth Gaskell jag, during the past few days I've also been on a bit of a nostalgic Duran Duran kick inspired by an email exchange with my brother. I was a huge Durannie back in the day and spent a significant amount of time listening to their records and collecting Duran Duran swag at the local flea market or in downtown Toronto, when I was lucky enough to get there. Below is a Duran Duran cover version of the Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel song Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me). It was the B-side to the 12" version of Duran Duran's #1 hit The Reflex and I can't tell you how many hours I spent listening to it in my bedroom when I was fifteen.
Though I loved most Duran Duran tunes in the eighties this cover is still my very favourite thing they've ever done. Sometimes when you look back at stuff you used to like when you were younger, you have a hard time understanding what you saw in it. Instead this song reminds me why I was such a Duran Duran fan; it's like an emotional shot of 1984 straight into the bloodstream. So, welcome to my youth...