Downton Abbey

Hello, fellow Downton Abbey fans! If you’re anything like me, you’re awaiting the Downton Abbey movie with a mixture of hope and trepedation. I’m excited to return to my favorite period drama and become reaquainted with beloved characters, both above and below stairs.

At the same time, I’m worried. They’d wrapped up the final season so happily for everyone, hadn’t they? A sucker for a happy ending, I was pleased with where characters ended up in the final season, and I’m just not sure I can take it if Anna and Bates are subjected to new trauma. JUST LET THOSE POOR PEOPLE LIVE IN PEACE, Julian Fellowes!

Nevertheless, I’ll be there on opening night.

In the meantime, here are a few library materials to get you back into that Downton frame of mind. 

9.13 Lady AlminaLADY ALMINA AND THE REAL DOWNTON ABBEY: THE LOST LEGACY OF HIGHCLERE CASTLE
By Fiona, Countess of Carnarvon
(2011)

Downton Abbey, is, alas, a fictional place, but the entirety of the series was filmed at Highclere Castle, a country house in Hampshire England with history going back to the 9th century (though the current building was build primarily in the 1600s and 1700s). This book, written by the current Countess of Carnarvon who lives in the castle today, tells the story of one of Highclere’s most famous residents, Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon.

 

9.13 Below StairsBELOW STAIRS: THE CLASSIC KITCHEN MAID’S MEMOIR THAT INSPIRED UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS AND DOWNTON ABBEY
By Margaret Powell
(2012)

If you were always more interested in the exploits of Daisy and Mrs. Patmore than in the goings-on of the Crawleys, this is the book for you. Margaret Powell, who lived from 1908 to 1984, became a bestselling writer with this memoir about her experiences as a maid and later a cook in aristocratic houses in the 1920s and 1930s. As the title suggests, her book was eventually a source of inspiration for Downton Abbey.

 

9.13 Downton Abbey MusicDOWNTON ABBEY: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION: FEATURING THE MUSICAL HIGHLIGHTS OF ALL SIX SEASONS
By John Lunn
(2016)

It doesn’t take much to conjure up the notes of Downton Abbey’s opening theme in my mind. This CD collection brings together favorite musical pieces from throughout the show’s run. And if you’re a pianist, why not check out the sheet music too?

 

9.13 Edwardian CookingEDWARDIAN COOKING: 80 RECIPES INSPIRED BY DOWNTON ABBEY’S ELEGANT MEALS
By Larry Edwards
(2012)

If you’re feeling especially motivated, you can try your hand at one of the delicious recipes in this historically-inspired cookbook. It blessedly stays away from away from aspics (a.k.a meat jello) and the like, instead favoring classics like pork tenderloin with sweetened cinnamon apples and any number of tea sandwiches and biscuits. 

 

9.13 Downton Abbey A CelebrationDOWNTON ABBEY: A CELEBRATION
By Jessica Fellowes
(2015)

Written by Jessica Fellowes, niece of show creator Julian Fellowes, this book goes behind the scenes on the Downton set, with gorgeous location shots of Highclere Castle and stills from all six seasons of the classic period drama. It's a perfect refresher course if you’re feeling a little foggy on the timeline of the series. 

 

Back to School

The first month back to school after summer is a doozy. Students are tired, anxious, and cranky, but are suddenly expected to perform at their top-notch academic game! How can we help our students have a smoother transition into each new school year? One piece of advice from seasoned teachers is to give students a chance to “escape” every day through reading a good book. Check out the books below that are perfect for an escape! 

9.11 A Dragons Guide to the Care and Feeding of HumansA DRAGON’S GUIDE TO THE CARE AND FEEDING OF HUMANS
By Laurence Yep
(2015)

Perfect for ages 8-12, this whimsical book takes the reader on a magical adventure with a cantankerous dragon, Miss Drake, and her ten year old human “pet,” Winnie. Miss Drake teaches Winnie about all the secret, magical things that happen right under people’s noses. 

 

9.11 Mila 2.0MILA 2.0
By Debra Driza
(2013)

An engaging, suspenseful thriller for teens, Mila 2.0 is the story of a girl who discovers that she is living a lie. She wasn’t supposed to learn the truth about who she is; now that she has, her life in is danger. 

 

9.11 Over Sea Under StoneOVER SEA, UNDER STONE
By Susan Cooper
(1965)

Great for ages 8 and up, this novel series withstands the test of time. This book is the first volume in Cooper’s famed “The Dark Is Rising” series that takes readers on a dangerous quest with three children who happen upon an ancient manuscript. They soon become locked in a battle between the forces of the Light and the forces of the Dark. 

 

9.11 The Wild RobotTHE WILD ROBOT
By Peter Brown
(2016)

This fantasy book for children/teens follows the story of Roz the Robot who wakes up one day, alone on an island, with no idea how she came to be there. Her only hope for survival is to learn to get along with the island’s animals. Readers will love cheering for Roz as she struggles to fit into a world where she doesn’t seem to belong.

 

Fanx 

The Salt Lake Comic Convention FanX is coming to town September 5-7. As many of you are aware, comic conventions are the ultimate experience for anyone who loves interesting TV shows, cult classics, and the latest super hero wonder. Oh, and my personal favorite: books!

Every year authors make their way to the Salt Palace to meet current and future readers. They set up booths, attend panels, and put together signings. As an avid reader, I enjoy being able to bring my own books, get them signed, and chat with authors I adore. I also always find time to wind up and down the aisles in search for my next great read.

Since I’m sure not all of you can make it to FanX, I’ve decided to spotlight some of the authors attending for you. This way, you too can become a fan of the great authors at Salt Lake’s own convention.

For a complete list, please visit the FanX Author page (https://fanxsaltlake.com/authors/)

8.30 Ink and AshesINK AND ASHES
By Valynne E. Maetani
(2015)

Debut novel for Utah author Valynne E. Maetani.This book follows the mystery of Claire Takata’s father, who passed away when she was a little girl. After discovering a letter from this deceased father to her step father at the age of 17, Claire begins to search for answers, which eventually lead to unsuspecting places, such as the Japanese mafia. In his Goodreads review for this novel,  author Brandon Sanderson said, “I can sincerely say this was one of the best books I’ve read this year… An artful blend of Japanese culture, solid mystery, interesting characters, and an excellent use of viewpoint.” Please step into the mystery of this young adult novel!

 

8.30 Mustaches for MaddieMUSTACHES FOR MADDIE
By Chad Morris
(2017)

Based on the true story of Chad Morris’s own daughter, Mustaches for Maddie follows the life of 12 year old Maddie as she tries to impress school-mate Cassie with her collection of fake mustaches. Sadly, Maddie is self-conscious of her right arm, as it is only comfortable pressed close to her chest. When Maddie and her parents discover that her arm’s discomfort is actually the result of a brain tumor, Maddie must find the courage to confront the operating room and also the kids at school.

 

8.27 DefyDEFY
By Sara B. Larson
(2014)

The first book in a Young Adult Fantasy series. Considered by many fans to be inspired by Mulan, the novel follows Alexa Hollen. Alex, after disguising her true gender and joining the king’s Army, successfully makes her way up the ranks until she is a member of the prince’s elite guard. But even with her unquestionable skill, Alex can’t prevent the abduction of herself, a fellow guard, and the prince in the dead of night. In her attempt to protect the kingdom, secrets are revealed and strength is tested.

 

8.30 Promise of BloodPROMISE OF BLOOD
By Brian McCellan
(2013)

“The Age of Kings is dead . . . and I have killed it. It's a bloody business overthrowing a king...” Yes, I used the original two sentences of the blurb on the back because that is an epic way to introduce a fantasy novel. With this first book, Brian McCellan is slowly rising to a big name in the Epic Fantasy fandom. The story revolves around Field Marshal Tamas and the aftermath of his assassination of the king. With this, the book produces a revolution rife with political intrigue in a world that mixing gunpowder and marksmen with the magic of mages.

 

Reimagined Classics 

Oddly enough, I read many more classics when I was twelve than I have managed to get through as an adult pursuing a library science degree. As a kid I loved going through Project Guttenberg’s files and reading all sorts of classics for free. I devoured GIRL OF THE LIMBERLOST,  ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, TARZAN, and so many more.

So for the purpose of this blog post there are three types of people in this world:  

  1. You have read all of the classics! Congratulations!

  2. You're somone like me who has read some of the classics but not as many as you would like to before you die.

  3. You still have nightmares of being forced to read GREAT EXPECTATIONS in high school.

Whichever person you may be, there are some reimagined classics you might really enjoy.

8.28 Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesPRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES
By Seth Graham Smith
(2009)

A horrible plague of zombies have fallen on the quiet English village Meryton. Elizabeth Bennet has been trained in combat and is determined to wipe out the zombie threat. But she is distracted when the arrogant Mr. Darcy comes to town.

 

8.28 HiddenseeHIDDENSEE
By Gregory Maguire
(2017)

In this retelling of The Nutcracker, Dirk discovers that when there were too many mouths to feed he was taken and abandoned in the woods. Fate saves him and he eventually moves to the city to settle and open a toy store. His toys are very popular, but only his friend’s granddaughter Klara sees the magic that is embedded in the them.

 

8.28 For Darkness Shows the StarsFOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS
By Diana Peterfreund
(2012)

In this retelling of PERSUASION, the future world is absolutely devastated by genetic engineering gone horribly wrong. As all children became mentally challenged, Elliot North fights to save her family’s land.

 

8.28 Second StarSECOND STAR
by Alyssa Sheinmal
(2014)

Wendy Darling goes off to find her missing brothers and finds herself on a beach in California. Here she meets Pete and his friends. Have fun reading this retelling of PETER PAN.

 

8.28 The Mere WifeTHE MERE WIFE
By Maria Headley
(2018)

A modern retelling of BEOWULF recasts classic themes from the perspectives of the attackers and finds a suburban housewife and a battle-hardened veteran navigating dark realities to protect the sons they love.

 

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