I will admit upfront that I'm not one for small talk. I'm not good at it and I don't particularly enjoy it. You could argue that one is a consequence of the other, but I just feel that there's seldom anything of interest to be gained from, say, exchanging pleasantries about the weather. Unless the …

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Confession time: I'm a bit of a sucker for 19th-century stuff. I'm especially fond of Victorian and Victorian Gothic things in particular. It was an interesting period of time, steeped in its own brand of melodrama characterized by elegant fashion, not-so-elegant living conditions, and downright horrifying medical practices. I think what intrigues us about it …

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