Elaine, When next you see Diana Birchall, kiss the hem of her garment for me. I have been reading a lot of heavy stuff -- politics, biography, Iraq, Afghanistan, race relations, more politics -- and I had come to a point where I desperately needed a book that is what my friend Sarah calls non-challenging non-trash. Mrs Darcy's Dilemma was perfect. It made me relax, it made me chuckle, it made me frown, it made me want to turn the pages faster, and it made me admire the author's skill at imitating Austen's inimitable language. Writers who provide that kind of thing to needy readers deserve our applause. (Clap, clap.)
So, Jill, yes, I recommend the book.
Fay, The Robert Caro biography of Robert Moses, The Power Broker, was the finest biography I had ever read until I began his three (soon to be four) volumes about Lyndon Johnson. If you have any doubts about it, read the chapter called "Sad Irons" in the first volume. You are a Texan and will appreciate all Caro has to say about rural electrification in the Texas hill country.
Les, A friend sent me a Maxine cartoon today that said, "I read cookbooks the same way I read science fiction -- I get to the end and think . . . Well, that's not gonna happen." I'm with Maxine. Cooking isn't my thing. But books and reading are and this is a book that can be read with much enjoyment. No need to cook. I loved reading this cookbook.
Simran, I started reading Ghost Wars quite a while back and I'm reading it very slowly. There are so many Afghan, Arab, Pakistani, and American names to remember that the book has a dramatis personae in the front! I've been told it's the definitive book about modern Afghanistan and the origins of the terrorism that currently plagues the world. Among other things it talks about Charlie Wilson's Afghan activities, which made a good movie, Charlie Wilson's War. I'll review Ghost Wars when I get closer to the end of the book.
I love Narnia! In fact, your comment about The Chronicles of Narnia have sent me to find my set of the books and I've begun re-reading The Magician's Nephew. Thanks for mentioning C S Lewis.
Barbara, I heard about the BBC version of Dance to the Music of Time from my aplist group, a Yahoo group like Trollope and Balzac, to which I also subscribe. The members, some of whom knew Powell and all of whom are steeped in his work are appalled. Calling the first part "Sex" and having a fluctuating narrator are bad. Nick's telling Widmerpool to "shut up" has set their teeth on edge. So I decided to pass. But thanks for mentioning it.
By the way, your blog is looking good these days.