@werewolfbarmitzvah Howard! Or Harold, for which Hal is a nice nickname. There are a lot of little Maxes running about but I'm also fond of Maxwell.
Wonderful, wonderful piece.
My mom and I have a great relationship now -- balanced, loving, etc., though I should call her more and specifically call her more often to talk about HER life. And we didn't have any big traumas when I was growing up, just the typical teenage nastiness and the things I will never stop regretting having said/done.
But it's weird to me that we went from "as your teenage daughter, I am going to be routinely thoughtless and occasionally deliberately cruel" to "as your adult daughter, I love you completely and I will do anything to spare you any kind of hurt or harm" with...literally no processing/intermediate steps in between. I just went to college and came home a better person and I never apologized and we never discussed what a horrible brat I was from the age of 13-18. Is this normal? Is the point of adult life to do penance for the teenage years? Why are teenagers so awful? How do parents love their unpleasant teenaged kids?
Oh man, I spent a couple weeks effectively alone in Shanghai about five years ago and it was fascinating and shaking and really good for me (not to reduce a vibrant city to its effect on me me me). Your perspective on what the art deco-y built environment actually means is great -- that didn't occur to me as I wandered around the French concession.
All the food is wonderful, but I especially loved the roasted sweet potatoes you could get from guys with coal stoves in pushcarts. Those remain the Platonic Form of sweet potato to me and I have never been able to recreate them at home even though they are literally an unadorned baked potato.
On Getting Guns
@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Her now-fiance gave her a ring and a gun! Sadly they were separate items, but an engagement ring with a tiny pistol mounted on it would be an excellent way to propose to a spy.
On Getting Guns
One of my coworkers recently got engaged and received on that occasion the traditional diamond ring and pistol with laser sight and monogram.
@JanieS Ah, that reminds me -- The Blue Flower, by Penelope Fitzgerald.
@funfetti I Capture the Castle, but also We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and all the James Herriot books like All Creatures Great and Small AND The Age of Innocence AND A Year in Provence AND Emma(all of which are obvious and probably already on your shelves, but!)
@highfivesforall For sure. What do we think the new foxes will be? Deer, maybe? [unless deer are already cool? aaah, I can't keep up]
2. Pride and Prejudice
4. Northanger Abbey
5. Sense and Sensibility
Fragments, drafts, Sanditon, etc.
39. Mansfield Park
@photoalice Yes, seconded. Thanks for the follow up, and thanks for bringing Emily into the conversation!