Friday, January 20, 2012

Read Alike Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey is back on PBS for a second season! The popular British series explores the social and technological change during the period surrounding WWI from the perspective of country home's residents and staff. If you missed the first season (or want to be on the list for season two), you can place a hold in our catalog or watch online at PBS (including bonus features).

If you're one of the many caught up in the drama and romance of Downton Abbey, we've put together a list of other books and programs that you may enjoy.

Upstairs, Downstairs (TV DVD) The original drama of life of the nobility and their servants in a stately (London) home and the upheaval of the early 20th century.

Gosford Park (Feature DVD) A comic murder mystery at a posh weekend house party. Dame Maggie Smith (
Dowager-Countess Violet Crawley) appears in this film.

Manor House (DVD 942.082) British reality television program inspired by Upstairs, Downstairs and Gosford Park. The Olliff-Cooper family spend three months living as an early 20th century aristocratic family, while several other people take on the roles of the servants.

Anyone curious about the details of life in England during the events of Downton Abbey's first season should take a look at Juliet Nicolson's The Perfect Summer. From the coronation of George V to the fight for women's suffrage and the rights of industrial workers, this book provides an engaging look at history.

Ken Follett is the author of over twenty books that range from spy thrillers to epic multi-generational Historical novels. His most recent novel, Fall of Giants, is set during the upheaval of WWI and the years following. This compelling and character-driven novel is the first in a planned trilogy that will follow five families from different walks of life, from the mines of Wales to the Russian revolution.

Jean Marsh is a co-creator of Upstairs, Downstairs, an actress (she played Rose Buck on
Upstairs, Downstairs), and an author of fiction. Her novel Fiennders Keepers is a story of forbidden romance between the daughter of the gamekeeper and the heir to the estate set during the early 20th century. Also try The House of Eliot

Kazuo Ishiguro's novel about a stoic butler and his memories of a bygone era, The Remains of the Day, was awarded the Man Booker prize. Mr. Ishiguro is known for his character-driven, thoughtful and occasionally funny fiction, and this story of the snobby, dignity obsessed Stevens is no exception.

Nancy Mitford, eldest of the Mitford daughters, used her aristocratic and somewhat eccentric upbringing to write a series of novels. The Pursuit of Love ; and, Love in a Cold Climate collects two of her better known witty and satirical titles in one volume.

The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy is a three volume novel of a family elevated to wealth through their success in trade during the late 19th century. A dramatic family saga of the changing fortunes of love and society.

Hearst Castle: the biography of a country house (728.809794 KAS) A history of American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst's extravagant West Coast home built between 1919 and 1957.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque A classic novel written in reaction to the horrors of the Great War, this bleak and gritty tale of German soldiers in the trenches remains a classic.

You may also enjoy the works of
P.G. Wodehouse, Agatha Christie, and these other authors:
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
The Observations by Jane Harris
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
A Bitter Truth by Charles Todd
Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
A Room With a View by E.M. Forster
The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin
Gone With The Windsors by Laurie Graham
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Please stop by the Recommendations Desk on the first floor, check out NoveList Plus on the library's website, or visit W. 11th & Bluff next week for more reading suggestions. Or submit a Personal Recommendations request, and we'll create a reading list just for you!

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