Read "The Remains of the Day." Read it slowly, luxuriously. Read it 50 pages per week if you'd like to replicate the serial drama viewing experience. Kazuo Ishiguro's note-perfect 1989 novel is a close study of Stevens, a proper English butler, and his between-the-lines affection for the housekeeper at Darlington Hall, his place of employment. If you're thinking of "Downton's" Carson and Mrs. Hughes, well, yes, the similarities have been noted. But "Remains" is much more than that. It's a tale, almost a lampoon, of the British stiff upper lip, the ability to bury feeling under what is known as duty. It's an allegory for changing times not nearly so heavy-handed as "Downton's"; Stevens' employer at Darlington in the book's present day, 1956, is an American with a taste for "bantering," a skill in which Stevens dutifully strives for improvement. And it is a piece of writing as good as you will ever find at matching its tone to its subject matter. Both are dignified, upright, reined-in, and both throb with sub rosa feeling.