knittertainment, April roundup

I know I said I was going to post about my colorwork adventures today, but the grey cloudy weather made it impossible to get a good progress shot. So instead, another review of what I’ve been reading or watching while knitting lately:

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On top, we have The Flight of Gemma Hardy, by Margot Livesy. This book is the sort of light-but-not-too-light fiction that I really love. The plot is largely an update of Jane Eyre, set in 1950’s/1960’s Scotland, with a late-breaking detour to…Iceland. A bit of a twist there. Overall, Livesy did a pretty good job of the “update” job–while the plot parallels with Jane Eyre were numerous, there were also details and issues that Emily Bronte would likely never have touched on, and the writing and plot felt faithful to the time period they were placed in, rather than coming across as a 19th century series of events suddenly transplanted to the 20th century. My only major quibble with the book is that Gemma’s impetus for running off from her Mr. Rochester (Mr. Sinclair) seems much more trivial and contrived than Jane’s impetus for running from the original. Let’s just say it’s hard to top an insane wife locked in the attic and leave it at that, eh?

Next book is The Wild Rose, by Jennifer Donnelly. I would describe this as fairly light reading, despite the length. This is the third in the “Rose” series of books following characters in the Finnegan family and is loosely centered around the youngest Finnegan sibling, Seamie, though his two romantic interests, his extended family, a German spy who might actually be a double agent and various figures in the London underworld all receive considerable attention as well. Numerous plot twists abound, ensuring that although you think you know what ought to happen in the end, you can never be quite sure. A central feature in all three books is female characters with lives independent of their menfolk, so if you enjoy reading about women who can get on with life despite pining away for their lost loves, you might enjoy these books.

And then, the screen pieces, a couple of DVD sets!

Wish Me Luck: Originally filmed in the 1980s, this TV series is now available on DVD. The show is set during WWII and focuses on the efforts of the British to place undercover agents in France, with the goal of coordinating with the resistance and thwarting zee Nazis. Allegedly much of the series is based on real-life events, drawn in part from the memoirs of Nancy Wake (The White Mouse) and in part on an actual French resistance uprising in Vercors. I had mixed feelings about this series. Overall, I enjoyed watching it very much. However, the acting and storylines sometimes made it seem a bit like a parody rather than a serious drama.

Inspector Lewis: A spinoff of the Inspector Morse TV series, Sergeant Lewis has now been promoted and has his own sidekick, DI Hathaway. After hearing about this series on and off for the past few years, I pounced on the DVD when I recently saw it at the library. If you are a fan of the original Morse series, this new one will not disappoint. Still set in Oxford, still featuring fairly complex and somewhat intellectual mysteries. Initially I was a little curious as to how Lewis would fare in the central role, as in the original series he is often presented as a slightly clueless and plebian foil to Morse’s intellectual brilliance. The challenge has been handled quite neatly: Lewis has gained more insight into the criminal mind with experience and the passage of time, while the insights of a posh education are provided via ex-seminarian Hathaway. I still have one more DVD from this set to get through, and then I’ll be investigating the availability of other seasons in my library system.

What have you been reading/watching lately as you knit?

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