Book wishes

There is a cottage industry of books about/inspired by/vaguely related to PBS’ hit British Edwardian soap opera Downton Abbey. A sampling includes: The World of Downton Abbey (St. Martin’s, 2011); The Real Life Downton Abbey: How Life was Really Lived in Stately Homes (John Blake, 2012); The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook (Adams Media, 2012). Amid so many reading options, the most appealing is the one that holds the best claim to the word “real.” Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle (Broadway, 2011) is written by the Countess of Carnarvon, a.k.a. the actual heir to the actual castle where the TV series is filmed. In this book, Countess Carnarvon writes a biography of her ancestor Lady Almina, who was the inspiration for the character Lady Cora Crawley. We just hope that the contemporary Countess inherited writing chops along with her title.

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By Geoff Carter

THE ROYAL VISIT: It’s always a delightful social occasion when the Lady Gaga comes to our province to entertain us peasants using the tools of her office: the extraterrestrial drag, the enormous meat grinder, the simulated childbirth and more. Just knowing that we’re going to get a show with this level of refinement and sophistication should make you want to become a better person. Seriously, though: Who else is working on this level these days? David Bowie is retired. GWAR is fun, but if you’ve seen them once, that’s plenty.

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