Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesday Intro: Below Stairs

I was born in 1907 in Hove, the second child of a family of seven. My earliest recollection is that other children seemed to be better off than we were. But our parents cared so much for us. One particular thing that I always remember was that every Sunday morning my father used to bring us a comic and a bag of sweets. You used to be able to get a comic for a halfpenny plain and a penny coloured. Sometimes now when I look back at it, I wonder how he managed to do it when he was out of work and there was no money at all coming in.
Below Stairs
by Margaret Powell

My library hold for Below Stairs arrived earlier than expected, and I spent some time last weekend beginning this classic memoir. An enjoyable, quick read with a straightforward tone, it offers an interesting glimpse into the "downstairs" life of great houses in 1920's England.  I have a feeling this may be a must-read for all Downton Abbey fans.

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening paragraph(s). Feel free to grab the banner and play along.


28 comments:

  1. Oooh. This looks good, although I don't watch Downton Abbey. Here's Mine

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    1. Paulita - This would be an interesting book even without the Downton Abbey background.

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  2. I am drawn into this story from this opener. Love this kind of book, and now must read it! Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - This is a fascinating memoir. Hope you can find it.

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  3. Ooooh I bet my mom would love this! I haven't seen Downton Abbey but I am considering watching it on Netflix.

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    1. Reviewsbylola - Any fan of Downton Abbey would definitely enjoy this!

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  4. I love it already. I've never heard of it so I'm thrilled you profled it...enjoy.

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  5. I read this! Agree that it was a quick and engaging read, but I don't really see how it inspired Downton Abbey as claimed. She certainly had a very different experience, except with one employer, right?

    Now go put the book The World of Downton Abbey on your reserve list -- pictures!!! Serious DAW cure. :)

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    1. Audrey - I've only read about 75 pages and, while I'm enjoying it, don't see it actually 'inspiring' Downton Abbey... it may have provided some good material though.

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  6. I'll admit that if I had seen this book in a shop or in the library, I probably wouldn't pick it up. However, I think that after seeing your post on it here, it sounds very interesting and I would like to check it out. Thanks for introducing me to it!

    New to your blog!
    Stephanie @ Stepping Out of the Page

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    1. Stephanie - Thanks for visiting! I learned about this book through my library's Wowbrary service and put my name on the list right away :-)

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  7. I've yet to watch the program, but have it ready to go.

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    1. Nise' - Set aside a weekend and start watching Downton Abbey. You won't regret it!!

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  8. I still haven't watched Downtown Abbey. I know I will be addicted to it once I've seen it so maybe that is why I've waited. This memoir sounds very appealing to me as well.

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    1. Kathleen - Downton Abbey will hook you in with just an episode or two. You really need to set aside a weekend and start watching. Then read this memoir ;-)

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  9. This book looks so interesting....I'd love to read about life in the 'manor' from the view of one of the servants. I hope you enjoy this, JoAnn. I'm looking forward to your thoughts!

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    1. Amy - This may be the first memoir I've read from the perspective of the servants. I'm enjoying it very much!

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  10. This looks so fascinating! Downton Abbey has definitely resulted in an interest in all things upstairs/downstairs. I wonder what Jullian Fellowes will do next? (By which I mean, after Downton Abbey's third season.)

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    1. Diana - I'm hoping for a fourth season ;-) but will definitely be interested in any Fellowes future projects.

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  11. This one is so on my list of must reads!! I really liked that intro and isn't it amazing how back then so many could make that penny stretch big time???

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    1. Staci - There are some fascinating passages on how they viewed the 'upstairs people' as different, even as young children.

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  12. Yes, I'd love to read this! I hope you'll post more recommendations of this sort just to tie us over to Season 3. It's a long wait. And, it's interesting that this is a memoir, not fictional. So, all the more valuable since we can know the facts, albeit I don't mind any imaginary creation by Julian Fellowes.

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    1. Arti - The nonfiction angle of this book has really drawn me in. Season 3 seems so far away...

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  13. I've just checked and our library system has this on order - I've added myself to the waiting list.

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    1. Lisa May - Hope your wait isn't very long. The hold list for this book was huge here, but I'm still surprised how quickly I moved up to the top.

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  14. I read this and liked it very much. Downton Abbey looks more idyllic than this book though. This was tough work.

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    1. Mystica - She really did work hard. I was surprised at the long list of duties they handed her at the first house... enough for six people!

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