British classic, YouTube parodies top distractions

In the early days of the pandemic, I turned to Dan Brown.

I mean, if the fate of the world rests on Robert Langdon's ability to decipher the next location where a killer will strike, that doesn't leave much time to worry about whether I should wipe down my groceries, does it? Plus, since my husband had purchased several of his books years ago, they were conveniently available on a book shelf near me.

I hadn't thought much about Brown since I binge-read "The Da Vinci Code" the week before the movie premiered in 2006. Since March I've read all of his Robert Langdon novels. I can barely keep them straight, because the story lines are all so similar, but they certainly kept my mind off of coronavirus for several weeks this spring.

Brown still has some books I've yet to read, but I've been in the mood for something different lately. Where do I find relief from stress and worry these days? In the words of Jane Austen and the humor of the Holderness family. An unlikely pair, to be sure, but a satisfying one.

Austen might not be quite as prolific as Brown (perhaps because she was writing by hand!). But she too has quite an offering of novels, most of which I also can find on a bookshelf in my house. With my copy of "Pride and Prejudice" on loan to my best friend, I chose "Sense and Sensibility."

The opening line certainly does not live up to "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife," but "Sense and Sensibility" offers many jewels nonetheless. Among my favorite passages are those when Mr. and Mrs. John Dashwood have hilarious discussions about how much he should help his late father's second wife and her three daughters. After pages of witty dialogue they inevitably arrive at the same answer: not much.

Despite their lack of resources, the two oldest Dashwood girls, Marianne and Elinor, are not interested in securing a man of fortune. The men who do capture their interest, as is often the case with Austen, are not free to marry them, at least not at first. And so the story goes.

In addition to being quite lovely on their own, Jane Austen novels have the added benefit of being adapted into many fine films (including the 1995 film starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet as the Dashwood sisters, which I plan to watch this week.)

When I'm looking for a quick pick-me-up, I'm never disappointed by a video from the Holderness family. I first encountered this hilarious crew when my husband sent me one of their videos about parenting. I thought they had been spying on us! They cemented our admiration in November 2014 with their "All About that Baste (More Butter!)" parody of the popular Meghan Trainor song.

The pandemic has given them an unbelievable amount of material, for videos like "Bored in the USA," "Quarantine Queen" and my current favorite, "Hamilton Mask Up."

Some people really hate them, I learned this week, but I find their lyrics smart and their videos really, really funny.

So there you have it. A little romance and a little frivolity. Sounds like the perfect pairing to survive the fall - or at least September.

- Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected].

Author Bio

Author photo

Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean