"It seems queer to be writing letters to somebody you don't know. It seems queer for me to be writing letters at all--I've never written more than three or four in my life, so please overlook it if these are not a model kind." --- Daddy Long Legs, Jerusha Abbot

Dear Readers,

I have come to the realisation that I very much love reading 'letter-books', as I call them. I only wish there were more of them, because I have read, and possibly reread, all of those I am aware of. (Except Dear Enemy which I'll read very soon.) My love for letter books started with Daddy-Long-Legs. I remember the Sunday when I found it for 0.00£ as an e-book on Amazon and 'bought' it on my kindle. I started reading, and became more than hooked from the first letter Jerusha Abbot wrote to the long-legged stranger she adopted as a friend and baptised adorably as 'Daddy-Long-Legs.' I didn't stop reading till I had finished it - I took the book down to dinner... it was that good. It still is one of my favourite books to this date, and if you haven't read it, I implore you to. No, in fact, I insist upon it.

Then I heard about "Dear Mr Knightley"... a sort of modern Daddy-Long-Legs, apparently, with a mad Jane Austen fan as the main character. Of course I was going to buy it and read it and love it. I have to admit, I don't adore 'Dear Mr Knightley' but I'm still very fond of it, and proud to own a copy. Also, the cover is gorgeous, and the hero, Alex, is a darling. I love reading Samantha's letters. They aren't always the quaint, adorable, innocent and hilarious letters that Jerusha Abbot writes; but they are great fun to read. Her character has a lot of depth and the fact that she has to write letters to a stranger is really good for her, because she needs to empty her worries and her heart onto someone.

I read The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society (I know, it's a mouthful, but isn't it the most original title ever?) several months later, AND IT WAS OFFICIAL. I love love love letter books. The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society or, as my friend Emma and I call it: "The Guernsey book" (cuz no-one's got time to write the entire title, right? Life is busy and time doesn't stop) - is amazing. I recently reread it and loved it even more. It's one of my all time favourite books, (despite some things about it I don't really appreciate.) I raved about it on Goodreads; and promised myself that one day, I'll make myself a Literary society and write a letter to someone who used to own a book I own.

'The Guernsey book' has a huge place in my heart... it's just... blahh. It makes me so happy. The characters are all so special and unique; and the letters that go to and fro and create a whole beautiful story... it just warms my heart. It's probably the cleverest book I know of. (Thou must read.)

I was delighted when I was able to buy 'Ain't we got Fun' on kindle; with the Amazon vauture I won through Melody's Christmas story contest last Christmas. I had wanted to read it for quite some time because it looked adorable and it's a letter book. The book is basically the correspondence between two sisters, Bess and Georgiana, as they find happiness in their daily lives during the Great Depression. I loved it - again, it warmed my heart. Another letter-book I've read is 'Lady Susan', by Jane Austen, and oui, I really liked that as well.

I think part of the reason why I love letter-form books is that I'm a curious person by nature, and that reading other people's letters therefore makes me feel happy... because one normally doesn't get to do that. :-P Also, letter books are always funnier and more drawn-back and casual than normal books; and they mean stamps and envelopes and ink and people sending information, gossip and love to each other via paper and words and sentences. It makes me so HAPPY.

Celebrating my love for these, I wrote myself a novella called 'Nonsense, you aren't dead,' written in letters form. It has a very dramatically sad ending, and I am featured in it as the antagonist (no, really), but I flatter myself when I say that it is rather fun to read, although without a doubt rather silly. In a childrens' book I once wrote, I featured a lot of mean letters between two kids who are forced to be 'pen-friends.' The book is called 'Pen-Enemy.' I want to write a another letter-form book sometime soon - they are so much fun to write, and it gives you such a boost on creativity, because there are so many options about styles, characters, and who writes to who, and so on.

The goal for this letter for you is the follow question: Do you know any other letter books? Because I really want  to read some other ones; ones I've never heard of. (Don't say 'Dear Enemy' by Jean Webster, because I know about that one, and I plan to read it very soon. :-)) So... if you have any more letter-book recommendations... go and tell me, please! (Interesting letter-collections from famous people are welcome too, although I am aiming for works for fiction with a plot and everything. :-P)

Yours very truly and very devotedly and very lovingly,
Naomi xxx

PS What do think of a long quote as a blog title? It's kind of weird, but letters embrace weirdness so I'm going to go with it.
PS And yes, the pictures in the post are SO staged, but LET ME. :-D (Also, the letters in the pictures are from Emma, and aren't they diviiine?)


What I thought of "Love and Friendship"

1. It's VERY FUNNY. Probably the funniest Jane Austen movie I've ever seen. I laughed a lot - there was always someone laughing in the room for at least one of every five lines or something.

2. Sir James, Frederica's unintended, is my favourite. He's completely stupid (and he's no SOLOMON) but he's hilaaarious and he just steals the show with his, "Oh, it's Churchill - put alltogether like that! I saw a Church, but I didn't see a Hill, you see. Haha!" and his, "How jolly. Tiny green balls. What are they called?"

3. Kate Beckinsale was EXCELLENT in her role as Lady Susan. Like, woow-you-are-a-GOOD-actress-like-Emma-Thompson-level-actress. Every line sizzled in mean-ness and witty-ness and dry Janeious humour.

4. Oh yes - Lady Susan is not nice. I disliked her strongly, but yet I enjoyed her presence on screen. She's definitely Jane Austen's most 'evil' protagonist - and ugh, my heart goes out to her dear daughter, Frederica. I'd rather have Mrs Bennet as a mother than Lady Susan Vernon. Mrs Bennet is stupid - Susan is most definitely not. She's too clever for her own good.

5. Frederica is a DARLING. I felt really sorry for her; and I wish the love story between her and Reginald had been more developed. 

6. Reginald deCourcy was a dream, but I'm kinda of disappointed that he proposed to the one and only you-know-who. I wish he had been attracted to Frederica from the very start, because they were so good for each other. I'm glad he seemed very much in love with her in the end, though. Their wedding was cute. (He was cute.)

7. I loved the way the characters were introduced. It is unlike anything I've seen before in a movie.

8. I loved Reginald deCourcy's sister; and her husband, Charles. They were really cute and sweet. (The sister (forgot her name) reminded me of Caroline Lee from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved sometimes, though. But then like 90 times nicer. Still.)

9. The LINES. SO many of them were so so funny. 
"Go sir! Or I shall have you whipped." "Outrageous! Have you never met him?" "Oh no, I know him well - I'd never speak to a stranger like that."
"Do you know the fourth commandment?" "Thou shalt not..." "No, it's a thou shalt. Not a thou shalt not. That's what lack of education does for you."
"What a delightful family pose."

10. The little ginger pastor was really sweet. He was my brother's favourite. :-P

11. I didn't like Susan's American friend. She was a nuisance. Her husband; Stephen Fry (too old to rule and too young to die) was funny, but not as funny as I had expected. (This is Jeeves. He could have recieved funnier lines.)

12. Mrs Mainwairing was very well acted. Her crying faces = PRICELESS.

13. I HATED the Mainwairing-plot, though. Thus, I disliked the ending, and I was disappointed in it. Like, COME ON WHAT. And aww-noo-what. :-P Also, it was too fast. And wierd. And just... I didn't like it.

14. Why did people treat Susan and her daughter as if they were the same age?! They swapped fiancées!!

15. All in all, it was a very good movie. Not excellent and amazing; I have to say. It wasn't very romantic; and there weren't any characters that really warmed my soul and that I loved to bits, and I was disappointed with some things - but I would recommend it, and gosh - JANE AUSTEN IS HILARIOUS. I love her. :-)


Guess what I'm going to see tonight?


I rarely go and watch stuff on 'the big screen' (last time was Belle 2013 which was AMAAAAAZING and I cried) (and I stop using italics now, because gosh, annoying right) - and I rarely see Jane Austen movies that are BRAND NEW and I've never seen an adaptation of Lady Susan - SO I AM EXCITED YES. (Also, have I anticipated this movie for more than a year now? I think so.)

It happened like this: Last Sunday, when we went to Church, I saw Love and Friendship was in the big city cinema there. I freaked out and said I had to watch it. Problem being: that cinema is not very close home, and also, it's a huge-popular-cinema so ticket is expensive, hello. Back home, it went on to the website of our 'little' (it's not bad, though! I do love it) local cinema and WAAAHHHH Love and Friendship is there, too! Jane Austen is everywhere AND THIS IS SO MUCH FUN.

I was going to see it, I said. Mhm, yeah, I said. 

But then I saw it was only going to show two more times. Yesterday evening, and this evening. I freaked out with Mama, because that's what mothers are for, right. I don't know why I freaked out, because it was fine - it was still showing! - I could go!

But there was ONE more problem. (This is my life. ONE more little problem. :-P SO TYPICAL.) My Mum couldn't go with me because it was late and she needed to be home and take care of the lil' ones (Daddy is off to England for a few days with one of my brothers, you see), so I needed to find another chauffeur. (And no, I wasn't going to cycle to it. Who feels like cycling at 10 o'clock in the evening when you've just seen a probably-amazing Jane Austen movie in the cinema?!)

My older brother, nice as he is, thought the idea was an absolute waste of money. He doesn't hate Jane Austen, but he obviously thought it wasn't worth it. (Sometimes boys are weird.) But my mother expressed a novelty idea. She suggested I'd email this couple at Church who live kind of nearby, and ask them if they wanted to come with us. (Two of my siblings are going to watch it with me.) You see folks, they love Jane Austen too. I wrote to them, and they replied in like, two seconds with a yes. (I bet they're just as excited as meeee. :-P)

So anyways - boring story time over. :-P The message of this blog post is: I'm GOING TO SEE LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP!!!! :-)


Announcing... Downton Abbey Week!

T'is decided; I'm going to DO it! :-) My 'week' for this year, 2016, is going to be Downton Abbey based. And it's going to be a whole lot of fun; even for you girls and boys who haven't seen this glittering TV masterpiece yet. (I will make you watch it. Just you wait and see, boys and girls. Just you wait and see.) I will talk about my darling characters, the swoony outfits, the HOUSE, and  a lot of Matthew Crawley. I haven't got any posts written yet, but I have so many ideas - and it's going to be so much fun!! 

Let's do this: Spread the love with the buttons!! Give them a little space in your sidebar, with a link to my blog, will you?
Coming on the 21st of August is... the Downton Abbey Week!

(Aren't they pretty? I'm quite proud of them.)
(Now off to write blog posts... :-P)


Q & A - zee answers, but then written down, and just me.

Our laptops, side by side.(Mine's the one with the Downton Abbey picture. :-D)
In lack of the promised podcast, which has vanished in clear air, here are my answers to all the questions you dear peoples left for Emma and I. It'll have to do for now; even though it's written down, and even though it's just me - and even though there's no genius, insanely talented personality next to me.

I'm going to answer the questions in the snappy, quick and short way because gosh, my to-do list is piling up and up by the day, and I have to squeeze this in my morning. (I make my own rules. I'm terribly bossy.) Also, I NEED to get some writing done, because I haven't done anything serious writing-related since summer started and that's almost as shocking as Matthew Crawley being killed off on Christmas day.

What has been your favourite thing/activity to do together?
Visiting libraries is what we did the most of. That, and watching Downton Abbey Season Two.
Did you have any cultural shocks on coming to America?
Not really shocks, like, 'HEEELP GUYS THIS IS SCARY'-shocks. :-P But yes, I suppose I have noticed things such as, 'Wow everyone loves their trucks around here' and so on.
Favourite thing about summer?
Ice-cream and strawberries and holidays.
Could you tell us a funny/unexpected story or moment that happened?
Well, here's a funny one. (We think it's funny; you might think it's the meh-est story about two friends being together ever.) Emma and I were walking around in some touristy place, and we walked past a hotel with a very very long porch. At one side of the porch, sitting on a chair, was a man. On the other side of the porch, sitting on another chair, was another man. And they were having a conversation. I don't know why, but it was so funny - they were yelling stuff like, 'Hey! Where are you from?' (We just wanted to tell them to sit next to each other and moderate their tones. Make life easy for yourself, mates.)
Can you try to imitate each other's accents for us??
We did, and it kind of sort of worked. Apparently my American accent is funny.
How much of what you talk about is books/movies/tv show related? 
I'd say about 99%. (Just kidding. Maybe 50%. :-P) (We did really talk about other things. No really.)
Are you near the same height?
Indeed so. I am just the sliiiiightest bit taller. (10 days older, you know.)
Who of you is more like Anne, and who more like Diana?
Diana's a chump, but both of us flatter ourselves when we say we are more like Anne. We have the imagination, and all that.
Do you have a movie/book you enjoy bashing together?
We have loads. (Especially Narnia.) We also bash a lot of movies we haven't seen yet but we just know  we won't like, like Star Wars. (WAIT LET ME SHOW YOU A PICTURE):

Did you develop any inside jokes? 
Sure. It's humanly impossible to not develop inside jokes when you're staying at someone's house for three weeks. Some of our inside jokes are: "Feel Better Josh!" (from a Blimey Cow episode) and "Take the book. Then we can talk about it. And then we can talk about LIFE, and how we feel about it." (from Fiddler on the Roof) and the word "wedding" in Anna Bates' voice. Just don't ask.
Naomi, what was the oddest thing about America to you?
The oddest thing about America to me will always be the politics. (This is when Emma told me to shut up, and I did.) 
How late was the latest you stayed up together? 
About twelve? Because there was a party. Really though, we've been good about going to bed fairly on time. Because the next day there's a new day and we don't want to be dead tired, and we want a morning, sooo.
What's your favorite/least favorite thing about America?
Favourite: The people. They are the kindest and warmest ever. Belgians are like iceblocks. Least favourite: Those two people running for president; you know you know.
How many movies/TV shows did you all watch?
Okay, so. Here's what we watched: Downton Abbey Season Two (alllmost all of it), Downton Abbey Season Six Christmas Special (I DIED because DA is OVER), Miss Potter, Austenland (we didn't finish it; it was too weird), Somewhere in time (I actually loved it), The Journey of August Ru- King (the Ru bit is an inside joke. Apologies), an episode of the Waltons, an episode of Little House, and the first two episodes of The Paradise (which we LOVED. Sam is our favourite.)
So to answer your question: About nine different things.
What do you think of the accents here in America? Cool? Not cool? Weird? Amusing? Uncultured?
Cool. Dey is cool. (Some are weird, but most are cool.)
What was your favorite of the activities you and Emma did together?
Barnes and Nobles, and going dancing. 

Was the weather very different from the weather in Belgium, or about the same?
About the same.
What's one thing about America that you wish you had back home?
English Country Dance groups. Emma has one she goes to about every week, and I've been going with her - and it's so much fun.
What's one thing that you could DEFINITELY do without?
Ha. *stares* *whispers* The Politics. (Not that it's all rose-coloured politics-wise around my countries right now.)
Do you have anything you'd like to say to other internet best friends who are praying they get to meet each other someday?
We did have very wise words, and those were: Don't give up! We thought it would never happen, but then somehow we got to meet in person as seventeen-year-old-girls! Also, have fun while being apart: the friendship is super precious like that, too. Write cool long emails, have chat sessions, and send letters. Be creative, and be there for each other. :-)
Were you homesick at all, Naomi?
Near the end, yes. But it wasn't too bad - I tried to live in the moment and seize the day and just enjoy my stay as much as I could.
Did you two stay up late most nights, or did you go to bed at a reasonable time?
Preeeetty reasonable, I think.
Were you ever bored during your visit??
No, actually. We always knew what to do. Sometimes we had to talk about what to do, but we always knew what. Our to-do list was a long one.
Did you find out anything new about each other that surprised you?
Not reeaaally. Well, Emma has a very funny voice she uses to talk to her bunnies, and her cat, and I didn't know that. :-P
Can you do your best Dowager Countess impersonation? 
We did; and mine was terrible. Emma's was gold as she imitated the Dowager trying the phone.
Can you tell us a joke? 
Yes. Yes, we can. (Oh you mean, you want us to tell you one?)
Give us your best attempt at an Australian accent!!
Personally, I am terrible at that; but I can say, "G-day mate. My name is James" pretty well. Emma can say "Jessica" in an Australian accent, because of some movie she watched.
What is a particular habit or quirk etc that you were surprised to find out about each other?
Really -- there isn't anything is particular. But Emma did say that she loved the find out what my laugh is like; and that it's very 'high.' (#Accuratedescription.)
Strawberries or (whipped) cream?

Will you pretty please sing for us????!!!!!
Darn it, you missed Emma's solo of On My Own. It was really good. I WANT EMMA'S VOICE.
Which one of you is more outgoing?
We're both pretty similar, but maybe I'm slightly more outgoing, especially with strangers.
How many strawberries have you consumed today?
Probably a lot. We basically ate loads every day. Say nothing and I'll be your friend forever.
What did you and Emma think of each other when you first saw each other (like at the airport)? THE FIRST THOUGHT.
Darling, there wasn't a "thought." If there was, it looked something like this, "AQUEIUQSGHQGHEQUTQRUTGQRUGQRUIGQRUG. WAIT WHAT."
What do you think of Emma's family, house etc.?
Ahhhhh I love them and I love it
What literary characters do you think you are most like?
Emma's answer for this was Lizzy from the Lizzy Comes Searching books by Lynda Byler. (And gosh, I relate to Lizzy too, so much.) My answer was Alice Grace Ripley from Wonderland Creek.
What period drama character's wardrobe do you think you would love to have? 
Scarlett O'Hara's wardrobe was my answer because IT'S SO MUCH FUN. (Emma's answer was Kerri Russel's from 'The Magic of Ordinary Days.')
Would you believe me if I told you cookies were picked from trees by a chipmunk and sent to the supermarket in a tiny plastic rocket? 
This question. 10/10. Emma believes you, I don't.
Did people comment much on your accent?
Um, yes. Once a man asked me how I was, and I said, "I'm fine thank you." And he said, "Oh, just keep talking. I could listen to you all day." I thought that was funny, because I've never even particularly liked my voice/accent that much! Also, at Emma's cousin's graduation party, a little boy came to me and asked me if I came from London. That tickled me. :-P
What did you think of American food?
I do have to admit most of it is more sugared/salted, but around Emma's house we had strawberries and it was delicious. :-)
Talk about the bunnies!!!
*Naomi hands microphone over to Emma* (Well, there are six. Cotton is the only boy, and he's Emma's favourite. There's one black one, and her name is Mammy. For reasons. The remaining four are called, um: Brett, Ashton, Phemie and... and... I FORGOT. Emma, say it in zee comments.)
What movies did you watch together that one/both of you hadn't seen before?
I watched several movies I hadn't seen before, but one we both hadn't seen was The Paradise. I LOVED it. Man, it's PRETTY.

Ok, so when will you meet again?
Hahaha. Well, there a no plans yet, but Emma would love to come and visit my place. So who knows, maybe the following year.
Secondly, what would the Darcys call their children?
Probably Henry, George and Jane, HA. Or something like that.
Thirdly, what has been your favourite American meal!?
Sadie's mint ice-cream. Just... so GOOD. (Yes, that's a meal. Be quiet.)
I would love to hear about your firsts (first word, first time on a plane, first kiss, etc)
My first word was probably 'Mama.' My first time on a plane was on the fourth of June, and it was exciting and tiring and I had a dreadful headache so that was fun. My first kiss was when I was like, five minutes old and my mum smothered my face with kisses. In all respect, it was disgusting.
Did you have more fun perusing Emma's movie collection or book collection? Were there any shocks about movies/books she did and didn't own?
Ha, no, there were no shocks. I knew her bookcase and movie collection almost by heart. And yes, I had a lot of fun in both domains - we probably used more of her movie collection than her book collection to pass our time, though.
Are there plans in place or forming for Emma to come visit you?
Not plans, but yes, ideas. :-)
What kinds of interesting food did you try out? Was there anything that grossed you out? Or that you that made you say, "I'm going to take this idea home with me and share it with my family and friends!"
Sadie (Emma's sister)'s ice-cream! I made it for my family two days ago, and they loved it just as much as I did. #Hit.

Thanks for all the questions guys!!