Wondering what to read next in historical (especially Regency) romance? I stumbled across this fabulous Top Ten list from the Historical Romance Addicts blog, full of my favorites (Mary Balogh, Julia Quinn, Eloisa James), newer names I’ve been meaning to try (Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean), and names new to me that I’m now determined to search out.
What are your favorites by these authors (or others)? Whom do you think should have been included in this list? I, for one, would add Sabrina Jeffries – I’ve enjoyed every book of hers I’ve ever read!
1. Everything You Need to Know About Ground-Hog Day – We love to say a ground-hog will predict whether or not we have 6 more weeks of winter on this day by whether or not he sees his shadow, but did you know this day is actually a seasonal festival? Read all about it!
5. Gonna Rockabilly like it’s 1951 – I learned a bit about rockabilly in the mid 90s, when I was in the throes of my 50s Elvis obsession. Did you know there are people who are still living / dressing / furnishing their homes as if it were that era? So retro. So cool!
6. What Crazy National Day Falls on YOUR Birthday? We already know it’s Groundhog Day, but what other crazy days exist (at least in the US calendar)? With which one do you share your birthday? I apparently was born on Old Stuff Day. I’m choosing to decide that applies to the stuff I research, not my age.
7. Historical Romance for Dummies – Not that you’re a dummy. Or me, either. But for those not familiar with the genre, sometimes it can be confusing to determine what exactly qualifies as a historical romance. The Dashing Duchesses help us out with this primer.
8. 40 Must-See Photos from the Past – The past. Can we ever really comprehend what came before us? (For that matter, do we ever really comprehend the times in which we currently live?) This is one of the reasons history fascinates me so much – I’m amazed at how much we CAN know about people and places long past, but also fully aware of how much we will never know. These photos, at least, help to illuminate by-gone eras a little bit more.
Pretty much none of the links that caught my eye this week have to do with writing. Oh well. They’re still awesome.
1. 5 Ways to Secure Your Happy-Ish Ever After – I’m a romance novelist. I believe in, relish, covet, am lifted up by the HEA (Happily Ever After, for those not as fluent in romance speak). But I also live in the real world, in a real marriage that I’ve been in for nearly 15 years, and I know that as much as I love and adore my husband (and I do!), it’s not all swooning and kisses and fairy tale moments. I love this article for telling it like it is – and reminding us that while we live in a society in which most things are considered disposable, love and commitment shouldn’t be one of them. Even when it’s hard. And yes, it will be hard. What do YOU think?
2. London’s Top Ten Urban Myths – My mind and my heart are still drawn to London, especially since I finally started blogging about my trip there last November. This article tickled me – I didn’t even know most of these were urban myths to begin with. Peeing in a policeman’s hat? Really?
3. 12 People Who Should Cancel Their Gym Memberships – Did you resolve to get fit this year? If so, I hope you’re in that 40+% that actually stick with it. I’ll admit none of my resolutions revolve around weight/exercise this year. Not that that’s a good thing, but, well, at least I’m not doing what some of THESE people are doing…
4. Beauty from the Crypt: The Mystery of Europe’s Jeweled Skeletons – O.K., if bones freak you out, don’t click this one. But I was fascinated to learn about these richly ornamented skeletons that people had assumed were the remains of saints and venerated as such, until doubt arose. Many were hidden away and only recently rediscovered.
5. World War II in Europe: Every Day – A stunningly simple and simply stunning YouTube video visualizing the changing of borders every day through the second World War – watching the colors move and thinking about the realities of war behind it is truly humbling, and heartbreaking.
7. The Great Sir Patrick Stewart in Perhaps the Role of His Life – Sure, that “What Does the Fox Say?” song reminded you that the cow goes ‘moo’, but did it do so in a variety of British mooing accents? No? Well, then, you don’t want to miss Patrick Stewart’s droll recounting of the moos of England. Make it so.
Happy New Year! Or, as we Merlinians like to say, Happy Birthday Colin Morgan!
Anyhoo, here’s a list of links that caught my eye in the last month or two. I’d meant to post them earlier, but the holidays and family and presents and sickness and Facebook addiction… you know the drill.
1. The Period Is Pissed: Texting Made Our Plainest Punctuation Aggressive – Have you noticed this? I have. It’s amazing what the advent of texting has done to our language, most of which I consider ugly [cn u rd ths nw? & ths 2?]. It’s also amazing how much we/I rely on contextual cues to get tone/intention, many of which are lost when one distills communication down to a few sparse words. I walk around convinced everyone is pissed at me these days – and now, as this article points out, it doesn’t take exclamation points or ALL CAPS to make me feel that way, but rather a simple period.
2. Open Content Program from The Getty – I wholeheartedly approve of the movement to get more and more texts digitized, especially for those of us who would otherwise never get to see such items personally. From the Getty website: “The initial focus of the Open Content Program is to make available all images of public domain artworks in the Getty’s collections. Today we’ve taken a first step toward this goal by making roughly 4,600 high-resolution images of the Museum’s collection free to use, modify, and publish for any purpose.” Woo hoo!
3. Designer of the Bayeaux Tapestry Revealed – O.K., maybe this only resonates with other medievally-minded people, but I think this is pretty cool. In grad school we studied the Bayeaux tapestry and had a beautifully illustrated fold-out copy I loved to study. From the article: “The Bayeux Tapestry depicts the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, when Duke William of Normandy defeated the English king Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings. The tapestry is considered to be a major artistic source for these events, although its origins remain a hotly debated mystery.” Who was the designer? Read the article to find out!
4. Sleep ‘Cleans’ The Brain of Toxins – Have you resolved to get more sleep this year? I almost added that to my list, since I’ve heard so much recently about lack of sleep contributing to weight gain [I must have a SERIOUS case of long-lasting insomnia], but then realized my screen addiction would undoubtedly cause me to break that resolution the very night I set it. Perhaps this article will get me back on track and lead to more shut-eye; we all need healthy sleep, for so many reasons.
5. Four Websites You Should Know About – Perhaps you’ve resolved to keep up more with current events and become a better informed citizen. Well, Organic Lifestyle Magazine has come up with four websites with which they say you should be familiar, “regardless of your political leanings, beliefs, or interests.” Do you agree with their choices?
6. 10 Words to Cut from Your Writing – Eek! I probably use all ten of these. Literally. Dude, I’ve gotta stop writing things like this. Maybe it’d make my writing, like, quite amazing, instead of the very stinky pile of stuff it often ends up being. I’ll think about it. Really.
December is such a fun time – school festivals, present wrapping, baking… And apparently very little blogging, but at last I’ve found time to share 7 of my latest favorite links!
1. 20 Things That Our Parents Did That We Don’t – Looking for ideas to make the holidays special? Try a few of these – so simple, and yet it’s true that I don’t do nearly as many of them as I should (although my mother will be happy to know the Thank You note tradition lives on strongly in my household.).
2. It’s Official: Henry Cavill is Sexier Than Benedict, Tom, Robert… – Do you agree? I, of course, think this list is quite lacking in that Colin Morgan and Bradley James appear nowhere on it. I have to concede, however, that I not only don’t mind looking at Mr. Cavill, but that he is already pegged as the physical inspiration for a future romance hero.
3. Regency Pianos – Most Regencies that I read have at least one pianoforte in them. Sometimes the hero plays, sometimes the heroine… or sometimes, a la Julia Quinn, the musical component of the book is hilariously and hideously bad. Here’s a nice, short blog piece with pictures showing what pianos really looked like back in the day.
4. The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People – I live with two Eeyores, and I hate to admit that I myself am prone to bray more than I should. I’m always seeking my Inner Tigger, so if you’re like me, read up to find out what NOT to do if you want to be happy.
5. Best Books 2013: Romance – These are the Library Journal’s picks for the best of the genre in 2013. How many have you read? Do you agree with their choices?
6. Best Books 2013: Ebook Romances – Do you read more eBooks or traditional books? I definitely lean toward the paper side of things, but having recently acquired a Kindle, I’ll admit my e-to-read list is starting to pile up, too. What do you think of the choices Library Journal made?