Stephanie Burgis
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Good news for wolves, and a fun biography
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Via Alma Alexander, I woke up this morning to find the coolest news: wolves have returned to Washington, for the first time since the 1930s! You can watch a slideshow of the discovery, see a picture of the adorable wolf pups playing with a scent lure, or listen to the pups' sounds. I was grinning all the way through!

And I just finished a really good read, Valerie Grove's Dear Dodie: The Life of Dodie Smith. Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle is one of my very favorite novels, and of course as a kid I loved The Hundred and One Dalmatians (both the novel and the movie), so it was fascinating to read about Dodie Smith as a person and learn more about her primary career as a playwright. (And now I really want to see Dear Octopus, her most famous play...) Valerie Groves's biography is entertaining and compelling throughout - one of the very few biographies I've ever read that made me feel like I could not put it down - and it was doubly interesting to read Dear Dodie so soon after reading Agatha Christie's autobiography, since Smith and Christie were of a similar generation but had such wildly differing backgrounds and lifestyles, even when they were both living in London.

Agatha Christie, despite coming from a family of straitened means, was raised to be a lady, including a season as a d├ębutante in Cairo where her mother hoped for her to catch a husband. Dodie Smith, on the other hand, grew up in a lower middle class Manchester family and trained at RADA as an actress. Afterwards, she fell in with a group of other impoverished young actresses and artists all living in a women's hostel called the Three Arts Club:
The Three Arts girls initiated Dodie into their soulful conversations on the Club roof while the sun set over Baker Street station, and their shared midnight feasts of sticky brown Veda bread. They were aptly named flappers. Dodie and friends certainly flapped, fluttering their eyelashes under cloche hats, flicking their skirts and flouncing off on their heels, trainee femmes fatales hoping for tempestuous love affairs.

So much fun to read about! I still have no intention of writing any books set in the 1920s or '30s (although of course I used to say the same thing about the Regency period, so One Never Knows)...but I do really enjoy reading about that period.


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