Watch Downton Abbey, Season 2: A Scene from Episode 7 on PBS. See more from Masterpiece.

In yesterday’s blog post the Dangerous Library Book Pushers suggested reading ideas to help you pass the time until Season 3 of Downton Abbey begins in 2013. Today we look at more ideas:

Looking to live the English Country Life?

  • I Capture the Castle (Dodie Smith) A coming-of-age story set in a decrepit castle in the English countryside. You will be captured too.
  • Cold Comfort Farm (Stella Gibbons) Also a decrepit setting, Cold Comfort Farm churns with dysfunction until orphaned socialite Flora arrives.

Fascinated by class distinctions?

  • Below Stairs (Margaret Powell) The non-fiction account of the kitchen maid who inspired Upstairs, Downstairs.
  • Maisie Dobbs (Jacqueline Winspear) Intelligent and intrepid, Maisie Dobbs goes from housemaid to World War I nurse to private investigator.
  • Snobs (Julian Fellowes) By the creator of Downton Abbey, Snobs is set in the present but contains characters of the same type. Think Cousin Violet.

Looking for authors contemporary to the period writing about the manners of the day?

  • Agatha Christie: Falling in with the prevailing attitude of distain for film stars and admiration for the gentry Christie’s gentlewoman sleuth, Miss Marple, can pinpoint anyone’s place on the British social register.
  • Evelyn Waugh: A prolific satirist Waugh chronicled the lives of the British upper classes.  Both Decline and Fall and Brideshead Revisited describe the English scene of the 1920s and 30s.
  • Edith Wharton: Although writing about Americans, Wharton is every bit as concerned with social niceties as the Granthams. The setting, characters, and plot of Age of Innocence would have been familiar to Cora, Lady Grantham.

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