Around this time last year I started re-reading all of Sherlock Holmes. I'm not really sure why, except that I read all the stories when I was in eighth grade and it just seemed like a good time to do it again. The fact that every single novel and story was free on Kindle certainly helped. When I finally finished, I picked up Jane Eyre, which I probably should've read in High School but never got around to it. Pride and Prejudice followed and then a couple of non-sequiturs came (Howl's Moving Castle, Castle in the Sky) before I started Bleak House. Now, I'm about half-way into Bleak House and about a year into this weird Brit-Lit binge.
I've thought a lot about that while watching Star Trek: Voyager lately. In Season 2, for about three episodes, Janeway has gothic holo-novel she starts up anytime she needs to relax. The subject matter doesn't actually sound too relaxing. She plays a reluctant lover to a moody English Lord and governess to his children while trying to get to the bottom of his wife's supposed death. There's a lot of talk about tea and the piano forte and bonnets while a stormy sky lights up (what I can only imagine are) the rolling, eery moors outside the house. It's a weird place to "relax."
Still, there's something about falling into this period and style of literature that's both soothing and stimulating. I have a tendency to fall asleep a lot whenever I start these long, old novels but by about halfway through, I can't put them down. I like to think that if I had access to a holodeck, I'd be using it to slay monsters or hang out with Einstein or whatever but I'd probably do exactly as Janeway does: Pretend to solve a mystery while I drink tea and listen to the rain until it's time to go back to work.