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Bits and Bobs (Vol. 15): The Anglophile's Bookshelf

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Britbooks_l

Britbooks_lWe’ve already talked up UK adaptations, now let’s chat about our top British books. Or at least the ones we’re reading right now. My goal: Get PopWatch readers’ awesome suggestions on what to read during my upcoming vacation while recommending a few gems myself.
            
Me first. I know I once vowed to read only Agatha Christie for a year, but I’ve cheated. My No. 1 mistress: M.C. Beaton and her Agatha Raisin whodunits. Agatha is like Miss Marple with a drinking problem, pack-a-day habit, and major man lust. In fact, I think she may be living my dream life — aka residing in an English country cottage and solving murder mysteries. Beaton’s latest installment, A Spoonful of Poison, in which Aggie gets mixed up in a deadly jam-tasting contest, is pretty terrific — a must read. After finishing it, I went old school with the P.G. Wodehouse short story collection Plum Pie, starring the wonderful butler-master duo Jeeves and Wooster (who will always be Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie in my mind), among others.

Next up from P.G. for me: Something Fishy, another savvy lampoon of the idle rich, thanks to Overlook Press’s fancy new Collector’s hardbacks. They’re totally snazzy, totally classy, and totally Wodehouse. But I’m now deep into Mil Millington’s Instructions for Living Someone Else’s Life, a novel about a cocky 25-year-old ad man who goes to bed drunk one night and wakes up 18 years in the future as his flabby, none-too-happy middle-aged self. It’s a wonderful, funny, and sad trip about how the years just fly by. Unfortunately, I had to buy it from amazon.co.uk as it’s not available in the States, but Mil’s previous three books (Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About, A Certain Chemistry, and Love and Other Near Death Experiences) are. I can’t say enough about this author (I’m famous for giving his books as presents). He’s a master of hilarity, angst, and male-female relationships.

But enough about what I’m into. What’s English, Irish, Welsh, or Scottish on your bookshelf? A bit of Rumpole anyone? Isabel Dalhousie mysteries? Vanity Fair? Martin Amis, Ian Rankin or Sophie Kinsella?

After the jump, your Bits and Bobs calendar for the week.

Monday (Oct. 20): Check out the plethora of Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, and Russell Brand clips at BBC Worldwide’s YouTube Channel.
Tuesday: Jason O’Mara visits Regis and Kelly. (Here’s a warmup.) The 2003 BBC Version of The Other Boleyn Girl, featuring Life On Mars‘ Philip Glenister and Californication‘s Natasha McElhone, hits US DVD.
Wednesday: Ever wished you could also watch UK commercials? Check out the crazy collection at TellyAds.com.
Thursday: Colin Farrell stops by ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12:05 a.m.
Friday: See McKenzie Crook and Mark Heap in the BBC comedy short <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KznmiLqltA
“>House Hunting Goths

Saturday: Listen to Russell Brand’s radio show and watch his latest viddycast. Watch the Doctor Who episode that got Michael Slezak crazy about Carey Mulligan on BBC America at 7 p.m. AbFab co-creator Jennifer Saunders stops by The Graham Norton Show on BBC America at 10 p.m. Coldplay joins Jon Hamm on NBC’s Saturday Night Live at 11:30 p.m.
Sunday: Listen to Jarvis Cocker sub for Stephen Merchant on BBC Radio 6 Music’s The Steve Show.