Staff Picks: Behind the Walls – Secrets, Scandals and Survival Past and Future Tense

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If you are missing Downton Abbey, try these DVDs that focus on real British and Scottish families, estates and stories:

Great Houses with Julian Fellowes

The creator of Downton Abbey visits two historic estates with enough secrets and scandals to rival that other well-known household. Burghley House was the home of William Cecil,  a name familiar to those of you who enjoy watching and reading about the Tudors, Queen Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots.  Through rare archives and historic documents, he traces stories of people both upstairs and downstairs revealing long-lost events.  In Goodwood House, the backstory of the first Duke of Richmond would rival any regency romance.  Another historic moment related to this estate involves the ball before the Battle of Waterloo, and how the Dukes of Richmond came to own Napoleon’s personal chair which he used in the battlefield. Along the way,  Lord Julian has a devil of a good time sussing out these and other tales.

Great Estates of Scotland

Enjoy an intimate look at four grand places to explore, with engaging interviews of aristocrats such as the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Campbell Clan at Inverary Castle.  Open to the public, it was featured in a Christmas episode of Downton Abbey as “Duneagle” castle.  KincardinGreat Estates of Scotlande Castle near Aberdeen, will remind viewers  of Monarch of the Glen in all the various projects to keep the castle financially afloat.  Rosslyn Chapel will be familiar to fans of the DaVinci Code.  And Prince Charles oversees the restoration of  Dumfries  House.  For more grand houses, try browsing in DVD 728.8 SEC for programs about Althorp, Chatsworth, Highclere Castle and Hampton Court.

∼ Fran, Manager of Collection Services, Warrenton central library

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I revisited this classic (I originally read in school a long time ago) and enjoyed  it much more than when I had to read it for school.”Fahrenheit 451″ was published in 1953.  The themes Bradbury wrote back then, with the advancement of technology, are scarily similar today.

Fahrenheit 451When Beatty was explaining to Montag about why they burn books, I was like, WOW!  Ray Bradbury was clearly a man ahead of his time.  The two major themes are resistance to conformity and use of the media to control people. I think the biggest theme is what happens to society when we stop thinking, stop questioning, wondering or feeling.  Of course, books are a great way to get you thinking, wondering and feeling.  And the best place to get books is at your local library!

∼ Debbie M. , Library Associate, Technical Services Dept., Warrenton central library

Looking for other book ideas? Book listsreviews from our book clubs and favorites from library staff are great resources when searching for your next book. Or stop by the reference desk at your local library.

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