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December 2019

November 2019

Bingeworthy British Television book...ON SALE!

Binge-britUpdate 12/3/2019: Big thanks to everyone who purchased a copy of the book this past week. The price has reverted to $19.99, but the deal of you buying a book at Amazon, posting a review, and then letting me know about it, will always result in me sending you a second book absolutely free! Thanks!

Hello, everyone!

Please bear with me as I write one more blatantly advertorial post for my and Jackie Bailey's book Bingeworthy British Television: The Best Brit TV You Can't Stop Watching.We're so proud of the book and the good reviews it has been getting, and if you're at all a British TV fan (or know someone else who is) we want to make the book even more easily available. We also just learned we were named a Finalist in the category of Best Cover Design--Non-Fiction at American Book, so rest assured: it's an attractive book to own and to give!

So: The announcement is that, if you are doing any shopping on Amazon this Black Friday through Cyber Monday, please consider buying a copy of Bingeworthy British Television. For that day only we'll be lowering the price from $19.99 to...I'm not sure yet. But it will definitely be cheaper than 19.99. AND our earlier deal applies--if you buy a copy for yourself and review it at Amazon (and you are free to review it honestly--even if the book turns out to be not your cuppa--anything you have to say about it will help us if we ever write a new edition) and shoot me an email at [email protected]--or comment at The Great British TV Site on any post to let me know you've reviewed it, I'll get in contact with you and send you a second copy absolutely free!!

As long as I'm asking for stuff I'll ask this as well: Please consider linking to this post on your blogs or social media to help us spread the news about these deals. We can also be found anytime at The Great British TV Site, or on Facebook at @GreatBritishTV if you can link to any of those sites.

Last but not least we're currently part of a huge giveaway over at the wonderful period television site Willow and Thatch. If buying the book just isn't in your budget this year, consider entering that contest to possibly win a free copy (or tons of other neat prizes), and please spread the word about that giveaway as well.

Thanks so much. End advertorial, and next week we'll get back to other nonfiction titles. And: Happy Thanksgiving. May you and yours be safe and content.

Sometimes you're just in the mood: What My Mother and I Don't Talk About.

I've never actually given my relationship with my mother a lot of thought. We were always really close and worked together in a family business and share a lot of the same opinions, so for me it's been a good relationship. When I first went to college I was really homesick for home and for her; I've kept some cards she sent me while I was a couple of hours away and they still make me laugh and tear up a little when I read them. They're not sappy or anything, they're just pure mom. She's kind of a stoic and could never really write I love you or I miss you but I know that she did. On one card she drew a little unhappy face with tears, with this written next to it: "I do this a lot."

But she is aging and I am aging. For my sisters and I, now in our forties and fifties, it seems just a bit like we are having a somewhat-delayed (thirty or forty years delayed; just somewhat) adolescent-hood. As Mom's needs change (and they have, particularly since my Dad died), we are experiencing some difficulties getting along with one another. It's all fine; it's growing pains. But it has been an eye-opening process.

All of which is a very long-winded introduction to the subject of how much I am enjoying the essay collection What My Mother and I Don't Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence, edited by Michele Filgate (who is also the author of the essay of that title). Just a few years ago I probably would not have been in the right place to read this book. But now I am, and it's knocking me over. The essays are good, and they're just (almost unbearably) honest and (often) sad. But there is a strength in them, and in the writers, and in the humbling realization that we are all human and it is hard to get along, even where there is love. I continue to learn this lesson over and over, just of late. How hard it is to get along even with those you love the most. Reading a book like this makes me look at people and the human condition and just be awestruck, over and over again, that so many people get up out of bed and face each day. To do what humans do--go out and face life every day, over and over and over--with all our weaknesses?* It's incredible.

Anyway. I'm explaining it badly. But it's a good book and an interesting collection and even if you don't have any issues with your mom, you may want to check it out. I'll leave you with one of my favorite paragraphs, from the essay "Thesmophoria," by Melissa Febos:

"There is a difference between the fear of upsetting someone who loves you and the danger of losing them. For a long time, I couldn't separate them. It has taken me some work to discern the difference between the pain of hurting those I love and my fear of what I might lose. Hurting those we love is survivable. It is inevitable. I wish that I could have done less of it. But no matter how much of it I did, I would never have lost her." (p. 56.)

*And constant freaking snow and unrelenting record-setting cold in November? As if it wasn't hard enough to get up and go about your day?

Always nice to see evidence that some people still have a sense of humor.

So we're in the middle of a record snowy and cold November here. When I was out today, this is a sign I saw in an elevator:

"Snow in November happens when people decorate for Christmas prematurely. We know who you are. Stop it."

I enjoyed that quite a bit, on the same level where I enjoy London Underground signs like this one: One Direction film premiere in Leicester Square.

That is all. Go about your business.

Henry Marsh's "Admissions."

Okay, the copy I have is overdue from the library, so here's your extremely short review: I liked Henry Marsh's memoir Admissions: Life as a Brain Surgeon. His work is fascinating, his take on the bureaucracy of the British medical system is also fascinating, and even when I don't like Marsh very much (mainly because I don't like doctors) I find most of his honesty refreshing. I could have done without his advocating for euthanasia, because (as previously stated), I just don't think we have the right to kill ourselves or others, but that mostly comes in the last chapter so it's easy to skip it if you're so inclined.

So yeah: a good book. Not as good as his first book, Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery, but still a good book.