Tagged Gail Carriger Recommends

Fictional Travel – Favorite Movies With a Strong Sense of Place

Posted by Gail Carriger

I’m a pretty chronic traveler, Gentle Reader.

My parents put me on a plane by myself to the UK when I was 9. I pretty much never stopped moving after that. I’ve lived and worked overseas, as a student and as an archaeologist. Since I became a full time author I’ve travelled more, not less.

I also really love watching movies with a strong sense of place. And by that I mean my kind of movies ~ heroine’s journeys, romcoms, and queer dramas. Piper J Drake and I did a podcast on this topic for 20 Minute Delay so you can listen to our picks there as well, if you want.

Anyway as a companion piece, I thought I would concoct a list for you of some of my favorite movies that make me want to go somewhere. I’ve alphabetized by country/setting. (Incidentally, I have intentionally left LA and New York off this list. Far too much is filmed in those places.)

INDIA

Bride & Prejudice

I love this movie. I know, I know, it has issues but I have a weakness for Bollywood romances and this is take on Pride & Prejudice is directed by Gurinder Chadha! The genius who gave me one of my all time favorites: Bend it Like Beckham.

The two leads don’t have the greatest chemistry but I find everything else about Bride & Prejudice delightful.

I just want to go everywhere that they go, and no other movie has ever made me want to visit India as much as this one did. Also, I defy you not to get No Life, Without Wife stuck in your head.

Such a fun movie! It’s one of my favorite P&P adaptations, you can read about the others here:

The Great Pride & Prejudice Award Show! (Miss Carriger Recommends)

My book that visits India?

Prudence (specifically 1890s Bombay area) .

ITALY

Under the Tuscan Sun

I consider Northern Italy one of my heart homes. I excavated there in the late 90s for several summers running, near Florence. I’ve also traveled extensively throughout the country. I love the Como region in particular.

It’s the light and cadence of the language and the food of the northern parts of this country that particularly attract me. Also the vegetation and climate are similar to where I grew up in California.

Lake Como Italy in 2000 by Gail Carriger umbrella parasol

The AB and I once chatted about where we would be if we hadn’t met one another. My answer was probably living in Italy (at the time I had an EU passport). I always wanted to live and work in a place where I didn’t speak the language.

Under the Tuscan Sun was originally a book, a self-help memoir of the Eat, Pray, Love variety, but I prefer the movie. Still, as such it has serious flaws in terms of white lady syndrome, but that doesn’t stop the movie from making me yearn to return to Tuscany.

The movie is particularly evocative of the exact part of the country where I excavated and lived. It is a love letter to that part of the world. It is also a love story, if such can be said about falling in love with a different country.

I adore it because it so clearly reminds me of some of my youth as well as archaeology and my first real experience living in a non-English speaking country.

Also, in terms of movies that recommend Italy, I have to throw in the gorgeous Dangerous Beauty (about a female courtesan and famous poet in Venice late 1500s), Much Ado About Nothing, and, of course, Room with a View (for its intense worshipful look at Florence).

My book that visits Italy?

Blameless (Florence 1870s, I recommend the movie Daniel Deronda if you like this book). Yes, the Etruscan site they visit is a take on one that I worked on.

JAPAN

Spirited Away

Is it odd to have animation on this list? Not if it’s by Studio Ghibli. Many of their movies could be on this list but Spirited Away is my favorite. There is something about the evocativeness of the bath house and the spirits and the food in this one that really made me want to visit Japan. And yes, I admit it, I really just want to find soot spirits of my own.

My book that visits Japan?

Reticence (Meiji Restoration 1890s, although mostly a fictional floating lantern city).

NEW ZEALAND

The Lord of the Rings

The New Zealand tourist board did a smart thing when they embraced their identity as Middle Earth from The Lord of the Rings movies. It was watching them that made me want to visit. And before you ask, yes, I visited, and I went to Hobbiton. At the time I had to sign an NDA because they were re-doing the set for the new Hobbit movie which hadn’t even been announced yet. So I can’t post the photos, but we visited. My mom cried. She read The Lord of the Rings out loud to my father when they were first married. And then to me as a child. It’s very important to her.

I also visited the glow worm caves and every hot spring and vineyard I could find, steampunk HQ, most of the coast line, and so much else.

I’ve been back twice now, both times I drove around in a caravan and to be perfectly honest, I kinda just want to live there forever.

I flipping LOVE New Zealand, I enjoy the weather, like how quiet, unpopulated, and remote it is. Remember I grew up super rural, middle of nowhere is my natural habitat.

It is the only place in the world, that I have been able to find, where the coffee is as good as the tea. It’s a flipping miracle. Their breakfasts are often UK in nature (which I LOVE). In fact, there is very little I don’t like about New Zealand, to be fair. There would be a steep learning curve on Mexican food, but I’m willing to give it a try. And if I want to truly eat Singapore isn’t that far away.

THAILAND

Until We Meet Again

For decades now, Thailand has topped the list of Asian countries I want to visit. Initially this was for one reason and one reason only: The FOOD. It has always been my favorite cuisine since I first ate Tom Kha Gai (the world’s best soup, no contest, no argument). The spice profile of Thai food is to my exact preference leaning towards bright, herbaceous, sour, and spicy. I like every vegetable in their pantheon and every protein. I have yet to meet a Thai dish I didn’t enjoy.

Then I met and fell into an enduring friendship with the amazing Piper J Drake. She’s Thai and we have discussed visiting Thailand on more than on occasion. Piper and I both travel so much we started a travel podcast together called 20 Minute Delay about traveling, often alone as a woman. Thailand comes up… a lot.

And then, oh and then, I got into Thai BL Dramas and all was lost. I specifically chose Until You Again, for this blog post.

This mini-series is available on YouTube and it features modern Thai college students plus reincarnation, lost love, so much pining, and so many obscure Thai desserts it’s like heaven in TV form. (Trigger warning for suicide and family homophobia.) Watching dramas like this one caused me to become deeply interested in the Thai spoken language.

Now I’m basically obsessed with visiting Thailand.

My books that visit Thailand?

None yet.

So those are some of my top want to visit places driven my the silver screen. What are some of yours?

Yours in motion,

Miss Gail

  • Want more Tv and movie suggestions? This kind of thing goes to my Chirrup members once a month, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
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BOOK DE JOUR!

The Enforcer Enigma, third the in San Andreas Shifters series.

TEE Enforcer Enigma SAS3 eBook

PICK YOUR VENDOR!

Direct from me?

A werewolf without rank or hope and an enforcer who has lived too long go up against the selkie mob.

This book has a very strong sense of place too, since it is set in the part of California I grew up in.

Upcoming Scribbles?

Gail’s Daily Tea Party

Tisane of Nifty 

Lotus Lilies, by American painter Charles Courtney Curran (1888). Terra Museum of American Art

Book Nibble 

Bonkers About Books says of The 5th Gender:

“I loved this book! It had everything I ever want from a sci-fi story and added in lots of lovely romance and then stirred the whole thing up with a murder mystery. With all my favourite tropes in one book, of course I loved it.”

Quote to Sip 


Fictional Travel – Favorite Books With a Strong Sense of Place

Posted by Gail Carriger

I’m a pretty chronic traveller, Gentle Reader. My parents put me on a plane by myself to the UK when I was 10. I pretty much never stopped moving after that. I’ve lived and worked overseas, as a student and as an archaeologist. Since I became a full time author I’ve travelled more, not less.

I also really love reading books with a strong sense of place. And by that I mean my kinds of books comedy, heroine’s journeys, romances, and urban fantasy. (As a reminder here is a list of the tropes I gravitate towards and read for in fiction.)

Piper J Drake and I did a podcast on this topic for 20 Minute Delay so you can listen to our picks there as well, if you want: Ep 35 Books That Call Us To Places (iTunes). We go into the writer perspective on travel in great depth, how we use out travels to write settings in our books. Watch us on YouTube to see how much we hand wiggle and get excited!

Anyway as a companion piece, I thought I would concoct a list for you of some of my favorite books that make me want to go somewhere, a few of which I talk about on the above episode. I’ve alphabetized by country/setting.

Places to Visit With Fiction

EGYPT

Specifically the Nile and the archaeology sites along it.

Lord of Two Lands by Judith Tarr

Sailboat on the Nile, Cairo, Egypt, ca. 1895

This is a bit of a cheat as it’s Egypt during the time of Alexander the Great but I still think it provides and extremely strong feel of Egypt, especially the desert and Nile delta. Although never having been, I can’t say for certain.

My stories that visit Egypt?

Curious Case (Luxor 1840s), Timeless (Alexandria 1870s), and Imprudence (Alexandria, Cairo, Nile down through Sudan 1890s).

ENGLAND

Specifically the Yorkshire Dales.

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

(Plus the long running TV series by the same name.)

This could be a huge category, since I grew up with British children’s book read to me by my English mother. The moors and the dales and the rolling countryside play huge roles in books like the Wind in the Willows, The Secret Garden, and so forth.

I wrote and set the Finishing School series in Devon because that’s were I spent my childhood. Defy or Defend takes place in Nottingham because I went to university there.

So why did I pick the Dales for England?

Well, James Herriot, of course. I grew up listening to All Creatures Great and Small on tape, reading his children’s picture books about animals, and watching the All Creatures Great and Small TV show.

This pick is a bit of a cheat, as these are technically non-fiction memoirs about being a vet in Yorkshire, but these stories are funny, sweet, touching and uplifting offerings full of quirky characters and their humans. I think, non-fiction or not, my readers will love these books.

Another movie suggestion?

Because it gives a great idea of the differences in setting in England during the Industrial Revolution is North & South.

All Parasol Protectorate Books Germany Soulless Changeless Blameless Heartless Timeless Teacup Octopus Nook Bedding

My stories that visit England?

Many of my Parasolverse books are set in and around England. Soulless and Heartless (19870s London), Romancing the Werewolf (I recommend Maurice as a companion movie) and How to Marry a Werwolf (1890s London, I recommended the TV series The Buccaneers), all of the Finishing School series (in and around southern England 1850s), Poison or Protect (countryside near Oxford), Romancing the Inventor (countryside near London, I recommend Tipping the Velvet if you liked this book), and parts of the Custard Protocol series.

GREECE

Specifically Corfu.

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

(Also the movie adaptations plus The Durrell’s in Cofu TV series)

Corfu has been on my long list of places to visit but I’ve never managed to get there. I have been to Greece but not Corfu. My love affair with this place started as a child when I first read Durrell’s work, or more properly listened to them on tape from the library.

This pick is another cheat (like James Herriot), as these are technically non-fiction memoirs about being a British ex-pat growing up in Corfu prior to WWII. But Jerry and his eccentric family and how they cope with his pathological need to keep and understand animals (he would eventually become a zoo keeper and famous animal conservationist) are truly hilarious. Non-fiction or not, my readers will love these books, and will see the ways that they have influenced and inspired my own writing.

My books that visit Greece?

None sadly. Although I have visited.

SINGAPORE

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

(Plus the movie adaptation.)

Both the book and the movie give an intense feeling of visiting Singapore.

I truly utterly adore Singapore and it is one of the places on earth I consider a heart home, that is a place I could see myself actually living in as a resident.

This is a big statement for me as it is both hot (located almost exactly on the Equator) and a bustling larger city (I am, by nature and inclination a small town girl).

What Crazy Rich Asians doesn’t really cover is the food scene and hawker centers in Singapore, which were, of course, my favorite part.

My book that visits Singapore?

Competence. I promised a government official (also a fan) that I would have my characters visit them, and spent half my trip exciting researching what Singapore was like in the 1890s.

WALES

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

I have never been to Wales but when I read The Dark is Rising sequence of books I vowed some day to get there. What Cooper manages to do with her work is reflect the lyrical nature of the Welsh language and the rolling green softness of its topography in her writing style and in the serene yet tense nature of her prose.

I can’t say enough good things about The Dark is Rising series and it a CRIME that these books are more popular in the United States. Do yourself or your child a sold and check these out.

Also the audiobook (back in my day) was so good because you got to hear how all those welsh words are pronounced. I had read them as books first so when I listened to the tapes it blew my MIND.

My books that visit Wales?

None yet. Maybe after I visit?

Check out the podcast episode that inspired this blog post on 20 Minute Delay.

20 Minute Delay Podcast Free Download

Also find me talking about writing and researching setting on Dan’s Podcast, The Everyday Novelist Question 828: Faking Your Setting.

Here’s an FAQ all about world building.

And here’s a blog post with tips for researching Victorian set steampunk.

26 Tips for Researching Victorian Set Story, Steampunk & Beyond (Important for Writers)

Yours (can’t wait to travel again),

Miss Gail

  • Want more books recs in your inbox? Once a month for Chirrup members, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
  • Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!

BOOK DE JOUR!

The Enforcer Enigma, third the in San Andreas Shifters series.

TEE Enforcer Enigma SAS3 eBook

PICK YOUR VENDOR!

Direct from me?

A werewolf without rank or hope and an enforcer who has lived too long go up against the selkie mob.

Upcoming Scribbles?

Gail’s Daily Tea Party

Tisane of Nifty 

Magic coconut pie, follow the recipe exactly (do not deviate).

Writerly Tincture 

Virtual Book Events You Won’t Want to Miss This Summer

Book Nibble 

Fictional Hangover Mug Gail's Books

Recent swag from the Fictional Hangover podcast.

Quote to Sip 

Quote Omega Mana Fox Shift Kitsune




If You Like My Books, Try These Black Authors (Gail Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

It’s weird, Gentle Reader, to try to figure out what people like about one’s own books. But after ten years I have some idea, so I hope you’ll humor my list attempts.

I believe that people read my stuff for comfort, because I’m gentle to my characters, and light and fluffy and funny. People come back to my books because I have queer representation, and because they know there will be romance, found family, and an HEA – basically lots of Heroine’s Journeys.

I tend to think of my stuff in terms of what it is not: gritty, dark, tragic.

So with that in mind, I have some book recs for you that I tried to organize loosely by what you might be looking for next. I chose two per category to focus on, but there’s also longer lists at the bottom.

Something steampunk?

For lovers of the Parasolverse…

P. Djèlí Clark‘s The Black God’s Drums 

In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air–in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Scott Westerfeld called this book:

“A sinewy mosaic of Haitian sky pirates, wily street urchins, and orisha magic. Beguiling and bombastic!”

Nikki Woolfolk‘s series of steampunk novellas

Based in an amazing alternate historical USA world. Worth checking out for the world building alone, her characters are also immensely tough, charming, and queer AF. She also has a cozy mystery series (start with Mise en Death) featuring, you guessed it, FOOD! I mean come on, what is not to love? She knows what she’s talking about too, she is ALSO the genius behind Belle Monde Chocolates. Which are, without question, my favorite chocolates in the world.

Something with strong tricky female main characters?

For lovers of the Delightfully Deadly series…

LL McKinney‘s A Blade So Black (The Nightmare-Verse series)

Is a thrilling YA urban fantasy retelling of Alice in Wonderland, if you or your teen reads Marissa Meyer, then this series is for you.

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Alyssa Cole‘s historical spies series, The Loyal League

Cole writes romantic historical, scifi, and contemporary with lots of queer rep. Honestly she has something for everyone. Her historical series is period-drama-delightful full of machinations and spies, so if the Finishing School was your jam, try this series.

Something whimsically alt history?

For lovers of the floof…

C. L. Polk‘s acclaimed Witchmark

Witchmark (followed by Stormsong) with more to come, was described as “a stunning, addictive fantasy that combines intrigue, magic, betrayal, and romance.” Polk’s novella The Midnight Bargain is described as a “fantasy of manners.” Yes please!

Rebel Carter’s Gold Sky series

This is the first in a Western shared town series all of which feature different interracial couples and groupings, fluffly alt-history of the best kind. This first one is two men who love each other and their mail order bride, the second features is a mail order groom, and the third a best friends to lovers romance.

Fun & Sexy?

If what you really love of my books is when I get all over with the sexy, then here are some authors who bring on the heat with a side of humor and romance.

A. E. Via‘s Promises series

Via’s gay romances featuring tough military-types with soft squishy centers are some of my favorites, I chronically reread. The sex scenes are numerous and extremely hot, and written with such skill. I would take a master class from her on how to do sexy and emotional at the same time. If you’re a chronic romance reader Via will have hit up at least one of your favorite tropes. I happen to be a big May December fan, so the first Promises book is one of my favorites. Tough bounty hunter with self-worth issues is pursued by a much younger lawyer who came back into town expressly to reconnect with the man of his dreams. Gah, so good.

Jasmine Guillory’s Wedding Date series

Guillory’s rom coms are (so far) het central, but her supporting cast of characters is always super representative and queer friendly. Lots of found family themes and a ton of humor. Start with The Wedding Date:

“A swoony rom-com brimming with humor and charm.” ~ Entertainment Weekly

“What a charming, warm, sexy gem of a novel….One of the best books I’ve read in a while.” ~ Roxane Gay

YA with serious girl power?

For lovers of the Finishing School series…

Dhonielle Clayton‘s The Belles series

Okay if you like Hunger Games or The Selection then you need to read these books RIGHT NOW. No, seriously, start with the first one and just keep going. If you have a teen who liked either of these, hell I’ll chuck Maas into “also like” mix, they should be reading these books. They are THAT GOOD.

Brittney Morris‘s debut SLAY

“Ready Player One meets The Hate U Give in this dynamite debut novel that follows a fierce teen game developer as she battles a real-life troll intent on ruining the Black Panther – inspired video game she created and the safe community it represents for Black gamers.”

Queer rep?

For lovers of the San Andreas and Supernatural Society series…

Alyssa Cole‘s Reluctant Royals series

Already on this list once, here Cole is again, this time for her reluctant royals series. More light-hearted than her historical stuff and mostly with het central characters, I would start with the adorable lesbian novella, Once Ghosted, Twice Shy.

Holley Trent/H.E. Trent pick your joy, she’s got it all

Seriously, what does this woman not write? She’s amazing. Whatever your preference, she’s probably written you the romantic joy you crave: scifi, paranormal, contemp with poly, menage, gay, het). I like scifi romance a lot, so I would start with Wager.

More Black Authors Writing Queer Joy here:

Black Authors Writing Queer Comfort

Authors from above will also appear on this list, for ease of copy/paste and printing.

More Black Authors Writing Genre Fiction

Mostly SciFi & Speculative Fiction

Mostly Fantasy & Horror

Romance

There tends to be more romance on my lists than other books because I gravitate so strongly towards the heroine’s journey, and romance is a guaranteed HEA. These days I read more romance than ever before, so I have a better understanding on what’s happening in this field.

YA

More Lists!

More we can do?

If you are a member of the Parasol Protectorate Facebook Group there is a long ongoing list available:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/the-parasol-protectorate-group/poc-authors-to-read/556926225245343/

(Hot link not permitted, you’ll need to copy and paste into your browser, and you need to be a member of the group. Sorry, it was the best way to organize the fans, I do pull from there to update my lists here.)

Yours (destined to be killed by a tumbling TBR pile),

Miss Gail

  • Want more book recs? Get ’em monthly in the Chirrup, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
  • Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!

Note, this is an ever growing list, as I find more I’ll add more, I promise!

The links?

Where possible I linked directly to the author’s main website. For the book links, some of these authors write indie, and some of those are Amazon exclusive, in which case the link I shared goes straight to Amazon. Otherwise I’ve included links to as many platforms as possible, including audio when I find it. At no extra cost to you these links have affiliate codes. Anything I earn from them I will double and donate to NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund


Gail Carriger Meets Mercedes Lackey ~ A Fangirl Story (Video)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Dear Gentle Reader,

Mercedes Lackey is one of my favorite authors. She is important to me as an inspiration. When I got to meet her in person I learn she’d my books and enjoyed them, I might have lost my tiny mind.

Gail Carriger Mercedes Lackey Fangirl

I still get giddy thinking about it.

Here is a short video in which I tell the story of the first time I met Mercedes Lackey. I am not the hero of this story. It is embarrassing because I was a professional author and went total fangirl. Please, enjoy my embarrassment…

So, yeah, what a fan girl I was! How much I do I owe to author/narrator Lauren Harris?

“Are we… HUGGING friends?”

I want to reiterate that what Lauren and I wanted to impress upon her was the fact that her books were so very important because they gave us a model of fantasy that included alternate sexuality. As she went to pains to point out, there were other genre authors doing this before her. But those authors were generally less accessible to young women.

Her books were/are important because in them queer wasn’t a big deal. It just was. And so when Lauren and I began to write it just was for us, too.

Normalization.

That, my darlings, is a powerful instrument of change.

Lackey Books!

Here is a short list of some of Lackey’s books that I recommend all the time:

The Last Herald Mage series

The first fantasy book I ever read with a queer main character. Warning, it’s hella sad.

The Arrows series

I think of these books as YA and I still love them so much. There’s some triggers for violence and bullying, but certainly no worse than hunger games. And since these are about be special but also about finding friends and family and making your way in the world… so good.

By the Sword 

This stand alone is probably my favorite Lackey book and if you are going to start anywhere, start with this one. It’s so good. A lady knight type character kicking ass and taking names, finding her place and her family, upsetting monarchies… you know, as you do.

Knight of Ghosts and Shadows (with Ellen Guon)

This was one of the very first books I ever read that had a poly-amorous triad at its heart. Lackey wrote urban fantasy before it was cool, and did it with her usual charm and aplomb (not to mention a few subtle jabs at various dominant cultural paradigms).  Want your elves in LA and bumming about the Renaissance Faire? Then this book if for you. The romance is very light, but still present, and this book may have the most romantic ending ever. (Read my full review on Goodreads.) (no ebook edition)

Lackey Queer by Ursula Vernon @ursulav on twitter

By the amazing Ursula Vernon @ursulav on twitter

More about my relationship with Mercedes Lackey and her work?

Queer Characters? Blame Mercedes Lackey, Behind The Supernatural Society (Special Extras)

This Is Why I Write: 10 Books That Inspired & Formed Gail’s Identity As An Author (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Yours (destined to be killed by a tumbling TBR pile),

Miss Gail

  • Want monthly books recs in your inbox? This stuff goes to my Chirrup members, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
  • Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!

BOOK DE JOUR!

Defy or Defend, a new Delightfully Deadly book featuring Dimity!

Defy Gail Model Green Vintage Dress Boots Brown Square

PICK YOUR VENDOR!

Direct from me?

Dimity, London’s cheerfullest spy, must fix a broken vampire hive while a gentle soldier tries to keep her safe. A charming makeover story set in the popular Parasolverse.

It’s a battle for survival… and wallpaper!

Tsana’s Reads says:

“I recommend the book to fans of Gail Carriger’s other supernatural Victoriana books. I also suggest it’s a pretty good place for a new reader to dip their toes in, since the book stands alone well and introduces the particular flavour of Carriger vampires (and werewolves, but less so).”

Upcoming Scribbles?

Gail’s Daily Tea Party

Tisane of Nifty 

Green Teacup Orchid Stensil square

Writerly Tincture 

On the origin of the word “blurb.”

Book Nibble 

A fun podcast interview I did with a bunch of librarians on the PLP Fiction podcast talking books.

Quote to Sip 

Quote Changeless Scottish Kilts Knees Ivy


Black Authors Writing Queer Comfort

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

One of my reading wheelhouses, Gentle Reader, is queer comfort. These are books, mostly romances, featuring queer characters where trials might happen but things all turn out okay in the end. One of the reasons I like these books is because I see them as writing into existence the future we all want.

I struggle to come up with what I can do to help the world right now, and mostly my practice is to try to put good out into it. I’m a reader and a writer, that’s what I know best, and that is where my voice carries the most strength and weight.

So here, without further ado, for Pride and in support of Black authors and artists, are some amazing Black voices – writers – creatives who bring joy and comfort with their talent.

Alyssa Cole

Her reluctant royals is more light-hearted but her historical stuff is way more period-drama-delightful so it’s a case of pick your edition with Cole. Most of her stuff is het, so I would start with her charming queer novella, Once Ghosted, Twice Shy.

A. E. Via

Via’s gay romances featuring tough military-types with soft squishy centers are some of my favorites, I chronically reread. The sex scenes are numerous and extremely hot, and written with such skill. I would take a master class from her on how to do hot and emotional at the same time. If you’re a chronic romance reader Via will have hit up at least one of your favorite tropes. I happen to be a big May December fan, so the first Promises book is one of my favorites. Tough bounty hunter with self worth issues is pursued by a much younger lawyer who came back into town expressly to reconnect with the man of his dreams. Gah, so good.

Kilby Blades

Describes herself as an author of romantic fiction (rather than romance) but her queer offering, Adam Bomb, is definitely romantic. However, if you don’t consider yourself a romance reader, do yourself a favor and check out some of her other offerings. Not only is her website a thing of beauty and a joy forever, what’s amazing about Kilby is how sharp she writes, I think the blades thing runs true in all her work. Also, if you’re an author yourself, check out her non-fiction, particularly the Book Marketing Audit.

Christa Tomlinson

Writes both gay sci fi and gay superheroes, yeah! I’m into her sci-fi ones, you know me, it’s a niche I totally adore. She also writes heterosexual romance. Almost all her stuff is in KU, so if that is your jam, check her out!

C. L. Polk 

Like my Parasolverse? Try C. L. Polk whose acclaimed Witchmark (followed by Stormsong) was described as “a stunning, addictive fantasy that combines intrigue, magic, betrayal, and romance.” Polk has a new book this fall, The Midnight Bargain, described as a “fantasy of manners.” Yes please!

Nikki Woolfolk 

Nikki is probably the one who, if you like my stuff, you’ll like her stuff the most. She has a series of queer steampunk novellas based in this amazing alternate historical USA world. Worth checking out for the world building alone.

Nikki also has a queer cozy mystery series (start with Mise en Death) featuring, you guessed it, FOOD! I mean come on, what is not to love? She knows what she’s talking about too, she is ALSO the genius behind Belle Monde Chocolates. These are, without question, my favorite chocolates in the world. No seriously. They are amazing. If you don’t want to read, at least EAT. NOM.

Belle Monde Chocolates Nikki

More Suggestions?

More Lists!

* That’s my spy name: Bonus Bisexual. Can’t you just hear it over the coms, “Time to send in… da da da dum… the Bonus Bisexual.)

More we can do?

  • Order Books from Black-Owned Bookstores
  • Not feeling like reading right now? How about tea? Or chocolate? Or more tea?
  • Buy books with POC on the cover! Read amazing romance author Naima Simone‘s article about this. I’ve noticed it in my own sales and it is a horrible, rarely discussed prejudice in buying behavior (and publisher reactive behavior).
  • Write to and urge major book bloggers and taste makers (I’m looking at you BookBub) to consider books by Black authors.

Another fun article to read?

Why We Need Queer Escapist Lit from The Lesbrary

A fun watch?

Yours (destined to be killed by a tumbling TBR pile),

Miss Gail

  • Want more book recs? Get ’em monthly in the Chirrup, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
  • Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!

The links?

Where possible I linked directly to the author’s main website. For the book links, some of these authors write indie, and some of those are Amazon exclusive, in which case the link I shared goes straight there. Otherwise I’ve included links to as many platforms as possible, including audio when I find it. At no extra cost to you these links are sponsor codes. Anything I get from them will be donated to NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund


30 Days of Queer Reads for #ReadingPride

Posted by Gail Carriger

I like to participate in lots of book sharing memes on Instagram, Gentle Reader.

Since June is Pride Month, I decided to make my own to celebrate #ReadingPride.

06 June Queer Books Month #ReadingPride

Please feel free to gank this image and share as widely as you like, also to photograph or just Tweet/Post each day any queer reads you feel fit this criteria. The hashtag to follow is #ReadingPride.

I’m going to try to remember to do this each day, but in case I forget here’s my list.

What Would Gail Read MM Gay Romance Books

Gail Carriger’s #ReadingPride

  1. First queer book I remember reading ~ Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey (read about my relationship with this book and author here)
  2. A queer book that reminds me of home ~ Beyond the Sea by Keira Andrews (because of the isolated beaches)
  3. A queer book that has been on my TBR for too long ~ Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (I don’t know why I haven’t read this yet) alternatively Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole is also supposed to be great
  4. A queer book with a name or number in the title ~ Loving Jay by Renae Kaye (a great Sydney-based author) or Atom Bomb by the amazing Kilby Blades
  5. A queer book where the main character has a fun or interesting job ~ Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts by Lyn Gala (alien linguist)
  6. My favorite queer graphic novel (for kids or adults) ~ Brother by Yuzuha Ougi (brings new meaning to the word graphic) 
  7. A queer book that I find myself rereading all the time ~ Earth Fathers are Weird by Lyn Gala (such a comforting book). Another queer book I reread constantly is AE Via’s Promises it’s just so sexy and sweet and bone achingly romantic, full of pining and sacrifices, and very hot sex
  8. A queer book with a happy ending ~ Taji From Beyond the Rings by R Cooper (it’s hard fought but happy)
  9. A queer book over 100 pages ~ Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey (long book, long series)
  10. My favorite queer genre novel (sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery) ~ Lodestar of Ys by Amy Rae Durreson (I have lots of these, but this one represents both genres so well both fantasy and gay romance), how about my favorite queer steampunk novel? Invitation by Nikki Wolfolk, the world building is insanely good
  11. A queer book I love from a genre I normally don’t read/like ~ The Truth in the Dark by Amy Lane (I generally don’t like fairy tale re-tellings)
  12. A queer book with a strong sense of place ~ Bitterwood by Rowan Speedwell (cold wooded winter atmosphere)
  13. A queer book that really made me think ~ Pansies by Alexis Hall (such a complicated take on childhood bullies, coping, revenge, reprisal, and forgiveness)
  14. A queer book that made me cry ~ Family Man by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton (the scene with his mom in the cafe)
  15. A queer book that made me laugh out loud ~ The Lightning-Struck Heart by TJ Klune (bone achingly funny)
  16. A queer book that is really personal to me ~ Bonfires by Amy Lane (it’s partly responsible for my becoming friends with Amy)
  17. My favorite queer book that is a sequel or spin off ~ A Fool and His Manny by Amy Lane (she has a whole Manny series but this is my favorite)
  18. My favorite queer book by a favorite author ~ For Real by Alexis Hall (Alexis Hall is a truly amazing writer who has written all kinds of queer in all kinds of genre, this is the only BDSM one, and it is truly remarkable and amazing)
  19. A queer book that changed my life ~ Knight of Ghosts and Shadows by Mercedes Lackey (for obvious reasons)
  20. My favorite queer book series ~ R Cooper’s Being(s) in Love series (I will read anything R Cooper writes)
  21. A queer book I recommend a lot ~ The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (it could have landed in many of these categories, it’s that good)
  22. A queer book that made me take action ~ Granddad’s Cup of Tea by Amy Rae Durreson (I have never waited so long and so hopefully to be able to recommend a story)
  23. A queer book by an author who is dead ~ The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault (such a painfully sad book from the queen of gay historical fiction)
  24. A queer book I wish I’d read when I was younger ~ Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (my life would be different if this book came out when I was a teen)
  25. Queer historical book with a strong sense of time ~ The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (the scion of Mary Renault’s first book, which is a work of genius)
  26. A queer superhero book or comic ~ Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee
  27. My favorite queer children’s picture book ~ Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack and Stevie Lewis (every kid should get to read this)
  28. A queer book that made me feel uncomfortable ~ Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford (very violent)
  29. A queer book that made me fall in love ~ Frog by Mary Calmes (I fell in love with Mary Calmes)
  30. The queer book with my favorite ending ~ Cinderella Boy by Kristina Meister

I hope you enjoyed this list and really hope you’ll consider participating and suggesting your own favorite books!

Meanwhile this is happening this month.

Gail Author Event Baton Rouge Library

Yours (destined to be killed by a tumbling TBR pile),

Miss Gail

  • Did you want a special book recommendation once a month in your inbox? I send thsoe to my Chirrup members. Sign up here.
  • Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!

BOOK DE JOUR

The 5th Gender (A Tinkered Stars Mystery as G. L. Carriger).

Your Vendor of Choice | Direct from Gail

Sci-fi queer romance meets cozy mystery in which a hot space station cop meets the most adorable purple alien ever (lavender, pulease!) from a race with 5 genders.

Boy Meets Boy says:

“This was smart and complex, contemplating human and alien nature as Carriger creates a fascinating species with their own complicated problems and foibles. Such contrasting dynamics always bring an interesting perspective in seeing ourselves from another point of view and to be more accepting and opening minded about others’ choices and beliefs.”

Here’s something lovely & meta for you: Dirty Mad Libs at Balticon 53 as part of the Nobilis Erotica podcast includes my cover art designer, Starla, doing said mad libs with 5th Gender.

Upcoming Scribbles?

Gail’s Daily Tea Party

Tisane of Nifty 

Lilliput Lick Window Look Suit Tie Bow Filter

Lilliput cosplays Madame Lefoux

Writerly Tincture 

These 2020 LGBTQ+ Romance Books Need To Be In Your TBR

Book Nibble 

Mike and I reading the first 30 minutes of The Curious Case of the Werwolf that Wasn’t

Quote to Sip 

Hilarious series of article titles on Sydney’s gay penguins, read from the bottom up.

Hilarious series articles titles on gay penguins


Lady Knight Books (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Dear Gentle Reader,

Can I talk to you about books featuring lady knights?

Lady Knight Books Header

Reading Glasses Podcast has this thing the call “Your Reading Wheelhouse.” One of mine is lady knights. I absolutely LOVE a book about a lady knight.

A little while ago I did this tweet…

My Favorite Lady Knight Books

Taming the Forest King by Claudia J Edwards (sadly out of print)

By the Sword by Mercedes Lackey

The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce

Protector of the Small series by Tamora Pierce

The Hero & the Crown by Robin McKinley

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

Books Shelf YA McKinley Pierce Pope

Books I Have Not Read but Fans Suggested

  • A Knight to Remember by Bridget Essex
  • Starless by Jacqueline Carey
  • The Afterward by EK Johnston
  • The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner
  • One Good Knight by Mercedes Lackey
  • The Rose Crown by Catherine Glenn

Other People’s Lists

And here’s an associated blog post:

5 Books That Will Shock Your Pants On: Reading About Women Who Dress As Men, or Girls Disguised as Boys (Miss Carriger Recommends)

If you want to know whenever I post a review, follow me on BookBub or Goodreads.

Yours (destined to be killed by a tumbling TBR pile),

Miss Gail

  • Did you want a book rec from me once a month? This stuff goes to my Chirrup members, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.

BOOK DE JOUR!

Defy or Defend, a new Delightfully Deadly book featuring Dimity!

Defy suggestion by Annie Earley

PICK YOUR VENDOR!

Direct from me?

Dimity, London’s cheerfullest spy, must fix a broken vampire hive while a gentle soldier tries to keep her safe. A charming makeover story set in the popular Parasolverse.

It’s a battle for survival… and wallpaper!

Tiny Navajo Reads says:

“I love Dimity, I love Crispin and his morality, and I love how much a change of scenery can change not only a person, but their outlook on life as well. If you’re looking for more of Gail Carriger’s writing, or just want to know what happened to the girls after Finishing School, then you need to read this book next!”

Upcoming Scribbles?

Gail’s Daily Tea Party

Tisane of Nifty 

Fashion plate, 1909. vis she who worships carlin tumblr parasol

Fashion plate, 1909. vis she wo worships carlin tumblr

Writerly Tincture 

Four Problematic Tropes to Drop

Book Nibble 

Soulless has over 1000 reviews on Amazon. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Quote to Sip 


Silly stories of Gail the Fangirl, Bonnets and Glue Guns, Defy or Defend (Behind the Magic Video)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Hello my darling Gentle Reader,

Quick first update: My boxed set is on SUPER sale right now! (No idea how long this will last, I wasn’t told ahead of time and it might be a mistake.)

PP Boxed Set Sale

It is up at $6.99 for ALL 5 BOOKS (ebook USA & Canada ONLY). This is insane. I’ve never seen my publisher do this before! So take advantage while it lasts and please spread the word!

The Finishing School series is also on sale for $9.99 (ebook USA & Canada ONLY).

And now, your regularly scheduled blog post!

New video for you! More things making me happy.

Gail Carriger Blue Bonnet FB Live Pub Still

In which I confess that my only true skill in life is wielding a hot glue gun (with bonnet as proof). I tell the story of fangirling over Mercedes Lackey. “Are we… hugging friends?”

I mention my upcoming book, Defy or Defend, and give a few non-spoiler sneak peeks.

Go to Borderlands Books for a signed edition.

I talk about wisteria, playing neighborhood frogger, and my mom hilariously learning (or not) how to use video chat, and show and tell the books and tea making me happy right now.

Gail Carriger Facebook Live Lipstick Airy

Citations & Reference Links!

Rishi Masala Chai Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger Defy Or Defend FB Live Pritn Edition

Book Suggestions

 

Books That Make Me Happy (Miss Carriger Recommends Comfort Reads)

What My Set Up Looks Like

Here’s a bit from behind the scenes, the set up in my office before I start the Live video.

Office Behind the Scenes FB Live Blue Bonnet Hat Couch

Before you ask, pictured:

Yours (at least I’m trapped in style),

Miss Gail

  • Did you miss my latest release announcement? This stuff goes to my Chirrup members, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
  • Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!

BOOK DE JOUR?

Defy or Defend, a new Delightfully Deadly book featuring Dimity!

PICK YOUR VENDOR!

Dimity, London’s cheerfullest spy, must fix a broken vampire hive while a gentle soldier tries to keep her safe. A charming makeover story set in the popular Parasolverse.

It’s a battle for survival… and wallpaper!

Upcoming Scribbles?

Gail’s Daily Tea Party

Tisane of Nifty 

1910 Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) The Garden Parasol

1910 Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) The Garden Parasol

Writerly Tincture 

Why We Love Untranslatable Words

Book Nibble 

An ode to… Gail Carriger

Quote to Sip 

Quote Gail Talking Romance


My Biggest Gripes with Austen Movies (Miss Gail Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Generally speaking, Gentle Reader, when times are tough I watch Austen movies. I know, I know, but we all have our visual comfort food.

Austen Movie Sins Promo Blog Post

I don’t like to be negative here on the blog, but I figure taking sublime umbrage in a Jane Austen movie adaptation ranks pretty low on the totem poll of putting negativity out into the world. Still, if you come here for all things positive, best to skip this post.

Still with me?

For the purposes of this discussion I’m going to talk about only those movies and miniseries produced in the last 20 years.

I have plenty of gripes with the 1970s BBC series of adaptations, but those party stem from being made the 1970s, just as it would for some of the 1950s and earlier black & white productions.

All of these, then, I tend to think of as period pieces, both in and of themselves, and representing the aesthetic and directorial style of he time in which they were made. As such, I hold them to different standards.

So without further adoo…

Gail’s Biggest Pet Peeves in Austen Movies

Okay then, let’s talk things about Austen adaptations that bother me.

Hair Sins Austen Wear it Up

A Lady’s Hair Is WORN UP

For goodness sake. There is absolutely no excuse of any grown female character in an Austen movie to have her hair down and loose. Under no circumstances, outside of the bedroom, would this have been acceptable. Even young girls would have had it plaited or tied with ribbon, or treated in some way.

We are talking Austen characters here, basically tradeswomen and higher ranked. THE HAIR WOULD BE UP.  It is absolutely unacceptable in a period piece to break this society regulation. It’s upsetting to watch, breaks the suspension of disbelief, and instantly modernizes a character.

It’s like being at the Renaissance Faire and seeings someone in full proper garb… wearing sun glasses.

Sanditon hair ARGH

Sanditon is doubly egregious in this manner, her hair cut and styling are entirely modern, plus she is at a very windy beach half the time, where any normal human with long hair would tie it back, doesn’t even matter if it’s period or not. The director’s choice in this matter is unforgivable.

Billie Mansfield Park Austen Half Back Hair

Billie Piper’s half-back atrocity in Mansfield Park, and Jemima Rooper’s ultra modern bob in Lost in Austen, I’m assuming have something to do with the actress weighing in on brand image. (And yes, I get that Lost in Austen is portal fantasy, but if she’s putting on the period dresses she should put up her mother-fing-hair!)

Lost Austen Modern Bob

Incidentally, Gwyneth’s Emma is a bit too severely scraped back into a bun, she looks like a ballet dancer half the time. And I can’t stand even thinking about Kiera’s neck bangs in Pride & Prejudice.

Regency Hairstyles Jane Austen

What I expected?

At the very least: parted in the middle, curls at the side of the face, bun directly at the back or slightly higher up. Yes they got more elaborate than this, but this is the basic. Here’s a historical article on the subject. The 1995 Pride & Prejudice mini series does a decent job with the hair.

Glove SIns Austen

Ladies Wore Gloves In Public!

This is a harder one to spot in movies, but generally speaking, ladies and gentlemen of a certain class (or aspiring to that class) wore gloves in public for everything BUT eating. So sitting down at a meal, or eating from the buffet at a ball = no gloves. Otherwise, dancing, walking, socializing, visiting = GLOVES!

Pride and Prejudice Kiera Darcy No Gloves Ball Austen

In the Keira Pride & Prejudice movie she and Darcy are not wearing gloves at their dance, neither are Anne and her men in Becoming Jane.

Becoming Jane Austen Dancing No Gloves

The most recent Emma (2020) committed this offense in both directions. First Anya is dancing without gloves in “that scene.” Second she eats a strawberry with her gloves on. Sigh.

Gloves Eating Austen Emma

You need only watch Under the Greenwood Tree (Victorian later period, but still about the gloves) for the sexiest no gloves scene ever filmed. They are washing their hands and it’s practically a sex scene.

Not wearing gloves is a serious business. And I get that’s what the director is alluding to in 2020 Emma, but still, there is no excuse for her not to be wearing gloves at a ball! I mean they made special gloves exactly for balls!

Jane Austen Society Gloves

What I expected?

Gloves. I expected to see gloves. On ladies and gentlemen!

“I was very lucky in my gloves–got them at the first shop I went to…and gave only four shillings for them; upon hearing which everybody at Chawton will be hoping and predicting that they cannot be good for anything, and their worth certainly remains to be proved; but I think they look very well.”

~ Jane Austen, 1813

So those are my big ones, what are some of yours? Anything you peeve about in Austen movies?

Yours (destined to die on the tiniest of hills),

Miss Gail

  • Want a fun blog in this vein? Try Recycled Movie Costumes tumblr. It’s GREAT. 
  • Want more Gail grumbling about behind the scenes stuff? This goes to my Chirrup members, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
  • Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!

BOOK DE JOUR?

Defy or Defend, a new Delightfully Deadly book featuring Dimity!

Defy or Defend by Gail Carriger Free Download

PICK YOUR VENDOR!

Dimity, London’s cheerfullest spy, must fix a broken vampire hive while a gentle soldier tries to keep her safe. A charming makeover story set in the popular Parasolverse.

It’s a battle for survival… and wallpaper!

Upcoming Scribbles?

Gail’s Daily Tea Party

Tisane of Nifty 

Shoes Before Corset

Writerly Tincture 

5 Bookish Ways To Stay Connected Amidst Quarantine

NaNoWriMo is doing StayHomeWriMo

Book Nibble 

The first lines of 10 classic novels, rewritten for social distancing.

The Austen character that I, Gail, most identify with…

Gail Carriger Austen Characters Catherine du Burg Lady Susan Fanny Price

Quote to Sip 


The Great Emma-Off Austen Award Show! (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

So, once upon a time I got very sick and watched 4 different adaptations of Pride & Prejudice. With a new adaptation of Emma, I though I would do this again (without the sick part, I promise).

Great Emma Watch Along Austen

Emma & Me

For me, one of the most significant things about Emma is Austen’s portrayal of female friendship in a dispirit power dynamic. (Austen’s other books mostly show familial sisterhoods and/or negative female interactions.)

Not only is Emma in a superior social position to Harriet, she has the dominant personality, and she thinks she knows best. How gently (and with what sophistication) this is handled by a movie is, for me, key to this book and our feelings towards Emma. It is Emma’s behavior towards Harriet (not Miss Bates, because in that scene Emma will always look bad) which defines Emma as a decent human. If this dynamic isn’t handled well, Emma looks not just like a spoiled waspish brat, but also manipulative and somewhat cruel.

To a certain extent, the Mr Knightly romance takes second fiddle to this female friendship. He is a fixture, part of the furniture. Not particularly exciting. By modern romance standards, it is Harriet and Emma I look to for the true emotional weight of this story.

Emma is not my favorite of Austen’s books, although it contains many of my favorite tropes (May/December, Friends to Lovers, Pining Males). Nevertheless, I still have QUITE DECIDED OPINIONS on the various adaptations and so I am going to give out awards to my favorites. As is custom, I chose 4 adaptations to watch…

3 Emma Movies Austen

The Movies In Brief

1996 Gwyneth’s Emma

Emma staring Gwyneth Paltrow opposite Jeremy Northam is like the two popular but still nice kids from your high school getting together. You’re like, yeah, that’s fine, of course they’re homecoming king and queen, but do I care that much?

Emma Gwyneth Jeramy

What I like?

OK I actually don’t mind Gwynnie in this role. I don’t love her, but I don’t mind her. I mind her accent tho, ugh. That said, she kinda is Hollywood Emma, if you think about it. I enjoy seeing her friendly relationships with family and Mrs Weston. Of course I love Mr and Mrs Elton. Miss Bates is great, but a bit cartoonish for me. All around this adaptation wins point for side characters.

Collette is my favorite Harriet (although she is far too old for the role) outshining Emma with a proper British accent. Their friendship is almost sweet. While not equal, it’s better balanced than some of the others. Harriet has a bit of manipulative avarice to her, which I like a lot, while Emma is more gentle and kind.

What I didn’t like?

There is little to no chemistry between the leads. Mr Wodehouse is dull as doornails. I cannot stand Ewan McGregor as Frank Churchill. I just can’t. The family dynamic isn’t as clearly portrayed as in some of the other adaptations. Emma’s hair is way too tight and pulled back and weirdly strict for her character.

It’s rather dark in filming and setting, I didn’t get England in the way that I got it from the 1997 adaptation. Some of the costumes look a bit cheap in fabric and construction, less authentically historical and more stage costume-esque.

All round this had my favorite secondary characters, best general casting, script is fine if a bit too modern.

1997 Kate’s Emma

Emma staring Kate Beckinsale opposite Mark Strong in a made for UK TV movie. Is Emma blonde in the books? I can’t remember if she’s described at all. Does it matter? I see her as blonde, so does everyone else, but I also LOVE Kate. Mark Strong is frankly, un-memorable, but at least there’s a decent age difference.

Emma Kate Mark Movie

What I like?

Emma is very cheeky, and there is chemistry between her and Mr Knightly. Miss Bates is ON point, exactly as described in the book. Emma and Harriet’s relationship is fine. Emma is shown to be romantic in her dreams for Harriet, and in having Harriet’s best interests at heart. The family scenes are fun and Mrs Weston actually has a personality, which I enjoy. Also, I like the actress who plays Jane Fairfax very much as well (she’d go on to portray Jane Austen herself, eventually).

I like the sense of place and got a real feel for the seasons changing in this one.

What I didn’t like?

Harriet is quite insipid, portrayed by the wonderful Samantha Morton (who would go on to become my favorite Jane Eyre). But in this I don’t think her approach suits the character. I see Harriet as more robust. Mr Elton is too repulsive. Frank Churchill is my ideal Lord Akeldama, and as a result I can’t see this actor as anything but very gay.

Many of the characters are rather fussy. I think this is honest to Austen in that she’s showing how small town moneyed life can lead intelligence towards eccentricity and minutia. But it makes some of the group scenes tiresome to watch.

All round this is a good basic adaptation with one of my preferred more relaxed scripts but falls short on casting.

2009 Romola’s Emma

Emma miniseries staring Romola Garai opposite Jonny Lee Miller. I adore both these actors and I like seeing a longer adaptation with Austen as a rule, although I’m not sure Emma needs it in the way Pride & Prejudice does. And, up front, there just isn’t enough of an age gap in the leads.

Emma Romola Jonny

What I like?

I maintain that is the most accurate to the book, the characters (as written therein) and setting. I like the gloomy lighting, very England during the 1820s. Emma comes off as very young. Her flaws stem from her youth and lack of worldly experience, rather than being truly a spoiled bitch. She’s sweet to her friends and family and comes off as a little lonely, looking for a true friend in Harriet. I like the comparison between Emma, Frank, and Jane. The Mr Knightly relationship is the most sibling-ish and true to the original story, and I like seeing the Knightly brothers relationship in depth.

What I didn’t like?

The hair is a bit too soft and pretty. Emma is a bit petulant and there isn’t much chemistry between the leads, sibling affection but nothing sexy. Mr Wodehouse is Dumbledore, which now seems odd to hear (if not see). Harriet isn’t my favorite although Emma is awfully sweet with her. The voice-over should have been female but either way is hugely unnecessary. The whole thing is slow in places.

All round this has my favorite leads, least favorite side characters, and the script has pacing issues.

2020 Anya’s Emma

Emma movie starring Anya Taylor-Joy opposite Johnny Flynn (who is far TOO YOUNG for the role). The filming and costumes and hair are really wonderful ~ super saturated sherbet colors, like Pushing Daisies. This is a very romantic adaptation. It is to Emma what the Kiera Knightly version of Pride & Prejudice is to that oeuvre.

Emma Anya Johnny Movie

What I like?

I really didn’t see Johnny as Mr Knightly but the chemistry between him and Anya is there by the end. Definitely the best kiss. There is an epic amount of side eye and shade being thrown and the chemistry between Frank and Jane is palpable. I loved how earnest the film was about showing staff. Mr Wodehouse’s constant footmen ballet was truly glorious. The conversation at dinner was very much weary country gentry, and I got a great small town vibe. Mr Martin is the most pineingest white boy to ever pine. Nice to see Harriet get a  kiss too, although Lilliput didn’t approve.

Emma Watch Along Tea Popcorn Lilliput Harriet Kiss Teacup

What I didn’t like? 

This is going to make me unpopular but I don’t love Anya’s acting. The crying scene was like watching an alien who’d never cried before try to do what she thought human crying looked like. Mr Elton got overly angry. Occasionally (like him yelling and her loud sobs) the whole movie broke period drama tone way too much. Was the nose bleed necessary? You know what, no. It wasn’t.

Emma Juliet Stevenson Mrs Elton Shocking Lack Of Satin

Also, and “I do not profess to be an expert in the field of fashion (though my friends say I have quite the eye) but I can tell you,” there was a shocking lack of gloves!

All round this had some of my favorite minor characters, least favorite leads, and I thought the script a bit overworked with the director relying on silence to carry the film.

THE AWARDS!

Character Portrayal

  • Best Mr Martin: 2020 Connor Swindells, PINE, WHITE BOY, PINE!
  • Best Miss Bates: 1997 Prunella Scales
  • Best Frank Churchill: 2020 Callum Turner
  • Best Jane Fairfax: 1997 Olivia Williams
  • Best Mr Wodehouse: 2020 Bill Nighy OF COURSE
  • Best Mr Weston: 2020 Rupert Graves, no contest. Freddy my love! So happy to see him, and so jovial.
  • Best Mrs Weston: 2009 Jodhi May, one of my favorite actresses from Tipping the Velvet
  • Best Mrs Elton: 1996 Juliet Stevenson (also my ideal Sidheag)
  • Best Mr Elton: 1996 Alan Cumming, THERE CAN BE NO OTHER
  • Best Harriet: 1996 Toni Collette, nash
  • Best Mr Knightly: 2009 Jonny Lee Miller, I was tempted by the other Johnny and his edginess, but in the end I went traditional
  • Best Emma: 2009 Romola Garai, I just like her best

Honorable mention to Bartholomew and Charles, the ballet-like footmen and their many fire screens in the 2020 version.

All Round

  • Most Romantic: 2020
  • Most Comforting: 1996 for Alan Cumming, Toni Collette, & Juliet Stevenson
  • Closest to the Book, Best Adaptation: 2009

So, you are welcome to disagree with me and I would love to debate such a serious matter, but I insist on you having seen them all and read the book! Well informed debate only. Wha ha ha!

Other Adaptations of Note

1972 Emma BBC

1972 Doran’s Emma

This a six-part BBC miniseries, starring Doran Godwin as Emma, was available to rent on VHS from the library when I was in high school and I saw it then. I had no inclination to rewatch now, as I remember very much NOT liking it. That could have been my general dislike of Emma, though.

Like all the BBC 1970s adaptations, it’s very much a stage play on screen. It’s likely quite honest to the book. However, the leads were both far too old and there’s a good deal too much chewing the scenery from the side characters.

Here’s a more thoughtful review than mine. 

Clueless

1995 Clueless

Clueless is a modernization of Emma set in a Beverly Hills high school. The film was directed by Amy Heckerling and stars Alicia Silverstone and (noted vampire immortal) Paul Rudd.

Honestly this is my favorite Emma.

Bite me.

Only if you’re Paul Rudd, though. For obvs reasons.

What’s weird is how few other Emma adaptations there are (especially when compared to Pride & Prejudice). Honestly, she comes across, to me, as the most modern character Austen ever wrote.

Must ponder further,

Miss Gail

Other blog posts in this series?

The Great Pride & Prejudice Award Show! (Miss Carriger Recommends)

 

  • Did you miss the first in this series? Want to know why I was sick? That kind of gossip goes to my Chirrup members, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
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BOOK DE JOUR?

Defy or Defend, a new Delightfully Deadly book featuring Dimity!

Defy or Defend by Gail Carriger Free Download

PREORDER!

Dimity, London’s cheerfullest spy, must fix a broken vampire hive while a gentle soldier tries to keep her safe. A charming makeover story set in the popular Parasolverse.

It’s a battle for survival… and wallpaper!

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Tisane of Nifty 

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Book Nibble 

The Need for A Bechdel Test for Books and Why I think that Gail Carriger’s PARASOL PROTECTORATE Series Would Still Pass: A Women’s+ Canon Month Article by Cori Domschot

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