You know how there are some books that transport you...make you feel as you finish it like you're lonely, like you've just left your best friends? Not all books that I enjoy do that to me and I'm not sure what the key is. Jane Austen always does it, others such as Abraham Verghese's Cutting for Stone, and lately, Tan Twan Eng's Garden of Evening Mists also had that effect. Even Louise Penny's mysteries sometimes have that effect. (Yes, mysteries are a guilty pleasure of mine). It's not location, since those novels take place in England, Ethiopia, Malaysia and Quebec respectively. I suppose it is the quality of the writing, the depth of the characters, as well as the well developed sense of place.
Lately, I've had nearly the same feeling after watching some of the British TV series. First it was Downton Abbey, then I got hooked on Call the Midwife. Besides the excellent writing, I think I like these because I read too much Dickens, Austin and Hardy when I didn't have a social life in high school and so the British characters became my stand-in friends.
This summer, my sister turned me onto Doc Martin, which I found on Netflix and then in the library (Netflix didn't have all five seasons). My husband, who generally isn't as enamored of these series as I am, also got hooked on Doc Martin....we binged over the summer, being transported to the quirky town in Cornwall with this patient-hating yet sympathetic doctor. It's really wonderful...very funny.
The best series create interesting characters, who aren't just caricature of a "type". In that vein, I have a new fix: Last Tango in Halifax on PBS. It started about 3 weeks ago but I just discovered it this past week. It takes place in Halifax England (not Nova Scotia) and is about two elderly people who reconnect on Facebook, and their families. The first episode is fairly good, setting up the premise and the characters, but the second episode is what hooked me. The characters are real and flawed but it is wickedly funny as well. I have my DVR set up for the rest of the series, having caught up by watching it online at the PBS site.
I will be taking the weekend off from blogging and will do some site housecleaning...I've gotten some good feedback and will be working on making the site more readable from iPhones, adding a site email address, and hopefully adding another travel page or two.