I’ve been busily ingesting tons of media lately in the form of books, films, and TV shows. Here are some of the latest:


I’ve read a couple of novels lately–

The Jane Austen Book Club, by Karen Joy Fowler, who is also the editor of a recent complete novels of Austen. Although it was good, I expected a little more from this book than it delivered. 😦 Apparently a movie has been made of it, as well.

The Opposite of Everyone, by Joshilyn Jackson. It has some interesting characters who are out of the ordinary, but I bogged down after two-thirds of the book.

Today Will Be Different, by Maria Semple. I can whole-heartedly recommend this one! ❤

As usual, what I’m mostly reading are non-fiction books. Some are about sewing and embroidery:

Merchant & Mills sewing books. I really like them! Out of all the books that I have consulted for help with sewing, these are the only ones that I made the decision to buy:

I’ve just started to learn embroidery, and here is the book that helped me create my piece of Double Herringbone Stitch:

If you have been reluctant to try embroidery, Chanin’s book is for you. Here is what I accomplished using it. This is my very first project:

Double Herringbone stitch for Coronation smokkr

Then there are two books by Trish Burr that I bought, which are about needle painting. The first one caught my eye, and my wallet, at Joann, the local fabric and crafts store. After I took it home and discovered that it was for intermediate or advanced embroiderers, I ordered the beginner’s book from Amazon:

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Her instructions are so clear! I hope to try one of her projects soon. I only wish that in addition to flowers and birds, she was into foxes. 🙂

I am a tree hugger, so the theory that trees have feelings and communicate with each other intrigues me. 😛 I checked out this book, which is a best-seller and somewhat controversial, from the library:

The English Country House, by Mary Miers. I saw this extremely heavy book (in terms of  physical weight, not theory) in the library and checked it out. I took it to Sewing Circle one week, where it was a great hit:

The book and the houses in it are simply gloriously gorgeous! 😛

Most of the non-fiction I’m reading is historical in nature. Many of them are books about Eleanor of Aquitaine and her contemporary, William Marshal, or Marshall. These are the ones that I’ve bought, mostly second-hand (I don’t buy novels anymore, except for Kindle versions, for example those written by such friends from cyberspace as April Munday and Millie Thom):

The blurb on Amazon about the Crouch biography of William Marshall says:

Ruthless opportunist, astute courtier, manipulative politician and brutal, efficient soldier: this is William Marshal as portrayed by David Crouch in his widely acclaimed biography of ‘the Marshal’. With the new translation of the contemporary epic poem, Histoire de Giuillaume de Mareschal, and newly discovered documents, David Crouch has substantitvely re-worked and expanded his original volume. Now fully illustrated, this second edition represents a complete reappraisal of the career and character of this remarkable man, and provides a riveting account of the realities of aristocratic life in the age of chivalry.

The Richard Brooks book, above, was recommended to me by April Munday, author and historian, whose excellent and informative blog, which is about all things Medieval, can be found at A Writer’s Perspective.

This book, below, is a really enjoyable reading experience, illustrated with pertinent photos, and contains brief but authoritative biographies of such diverse Medieval women as Eleanor of Aquitaine, Joan of Arc, and Christine de Pisan:

The Alison Weir biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine is my go-to book about her:

But I was sorely disappointed when I tried to read one of Weir’s novels about Eleanor of Aquitaine. I found it to be a stock bodice-ripper and not in the least well-written, which surprised me since her biography of Eleanor is so good.

The book below looks and sounds intriguing, although I haven’t started it yet. Each chapter is a tale told by a person from a different station in life about momentous events concerning the Angevin empire in the 12th century:

Another history I recently shelled out for, and can heartily recommend, is Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire, by Judith Herrin:

So much for books. Now on to movies! 🙂


Yesterday I saw “Call Me By Your Name,” which I first heard about on the Oscars show Sunday night. The movie was nominated for Best Picture. The lead actor, Timothee Chalamet, was also nominated for Best Actor for his performance in it, and it was indeed a nuanced and fine characterization from that 17-year old actor. Armie Hammer also did a good job as the young boy’s lover. James Ivory won an Oscar for his adapted screenplay for the film.

Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet in Call Me by Your Name (2017)

I particularly enjoyed the multi-cultural family and archaeology setting “somewhere in northern Italy.” I was also impressed by Chalamet’s piano playing. Whether or not it was dubbed over, it was obvious to this viewer, who has played piano since the age of five, that Chalamet was actually hitting all the notes.

Apparently a sequel is to be made, from the later part of the book, which wasn’t used for this first film. I can’t wait! ❤

Early this afternoon I’ll be going to see “Black Panther.” ‘Nuff said about this one ahead of time–you’ve heard all about it. I’ll chime in after I’ve seen it.

Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Isaach De Bankolé, Martin Freeman, Michael B. Jordan, Andy Serkis, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o, Daniel Kaluuya, and Letitia Wright in Black Panther (2018)

I also have a ticket to “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” for this afternoon. But I ordered the DVD from Amazon, so I might wait and watch it at home. Any movie with three Oscar nominations in the acting categories, which produced the Best Actress award for Frances McDormand, as well as Best Supporting Actor for Sam Rockwell, has got to be an excellent film. And the unsuccessful nominee, Woody Harrelson, is one of my favorite male actors.

Woody Harrelson, Frances McDormand, and Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

But I’m not too gung-ho about seeing the Oscar winner for Best Picture, which was “The Shape of Water.” Mostly because I wasn’t too impressed by the amphibious being’s get-up as shown in the film clips during the Oscars ceremony. It seems to me like they could have done a better job of it. Oh well. Apparently I’m out of step with the Academy on this one.

Doug Jones, Vanessa Taylor, and Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water (2017)

I just watched the excellent “Testament of Youth” on DVD from the library.

Alicia Vikander and Kit Harington in Testament of Youth (2014)

A memoir of World War I, I checked “Testament” out because two of the actors in it are favorites of mine: Alicia Vikander and Kit Harington, better-known as Jon Snow in “Game of Thrones.” I first became enamored of Vikander for her role in “Ex Machina,” a film I can’t recommend highly enough. It was also my first time seeing Oscar Isaac at work.

I ordered some DVDs from Amazon, in addition to 3 Billboards. A couple are movies that Alicia Vikander stars in:  “A Royal Affair” and “Tulip Time,” as well as “Testament of Youth.”

Two of my all-time favorite movies are “Do the Right Thing,” by Spike Lee  and “Warrior,” starring Tom Hardy as an MMA cage fighter. I wanted to own copies of them in order to be able to watch them again.

Samuel L. Jackson, Spike Lee, Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, John Turturro, Ruby Dee, Giancarlo Esposito, and Bill Nunn in Do the Right Thing (1989)

Warrior (2011)

The last new movie whose DVD I’ll be receiving, but not until April, is the Daniel Day-Lewis film, “Phantom Thread,” about the world of haute couture. I look forward to Day-Lewis’s performance, because he is such a consummate actor, and also to the gorgeous clothes. Day-Lewis was nominated for Best Actor, and the Lesley Manville for Best Supporting Actress.

Phantom Thread (2017)

TV shows

I don’t have cable TV, but I do have both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. On Netflix, I just watched all four series of “Sherlock,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the hatted detective and Martin Freeman as his trusty sidekick, Dr. Watson.


I had really disliked Benedict Cumberbatch before seeing him in this modern remake of the Sherlock stories, but now I’m a big fan! 😛 I’ll have to do some investigation and find other things he has starred in, which I previously avoided because of his then-repulsive presence.

The Netflix series I’m addicted to right now is “Anne with an E.” It is adapted from the book Anne of Green Gables, and I am smitten by it. ❤ The graphics as well as the song accompanying the opening titles are simply lovely. There is an option to skip the intro when watching episodes of the series, but I simply would never be able to do that. In fact, I want to watch the intro again and again!

Anne with an E

Amybeth McNulty is an affecting Anne. Such a great young actor! 🙂

So now you know what media I’m involved with these days. Which of them is most interesting to you?