March: Reading Jane Austen
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I have the Norton Critical Edition of Sense and Sensibility - had been planning on reading through all the Norton editions of Austen for a while so that's a good chance to get started.
The Penguin Classics edition of Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon and the Oxford World's Classics edition of Catharine: and Other Writings are lined up - I had read most of these but not for a while so I am planning on reading them this month.
Jane Austen for Dummies for a non-fiction book (I was quite impressed from some of the other books in the series so I will give it a try) and I am searching a biography of Austen and/or a good non-fiction book about her books. Any recommendations?
I'm contemplating a reread of Pride & Prejudice, inspired largely by our recent viewing of the glorious 1995 miniseries. We saw it on Blu-ray (!) and it was like a new movie. Fantastic.
ETA: so I just did!
As for Peter Leithart's book... every time I see a title like that, I cringe. I can read religion-biased works but I tend not to if I have the choice. How religion biased it is? I kinda like your review but I still have my doubts...
PS: And if I manage to read all that in March, it will be a miracle... I might be still revisiting this thread in mid-November ;)
The problem is that I like your review a lot. :) So I might as well get that one as well :)
Edit: Missed a 'be'... need to proofread before posting :)
I've been listening to Northanger Abbey (read by Anna Massey) for what seems to be months! (Because it probably is months, I'm not a great listener. :) It's a charming tale, and was the first Austen I ever read, many years ago.
AnnieMod: I really enjoyed the Jane Austen Penguin Lives biography by Carol Shields. It's not too long, either. And if you just want to glory in Austen's writing, try A Fine Brush on Ivory by Richard Jenkyns.
Also, AnnieMod, since I know you enjoy comics too, you might want to check out Graphic Classics: Gothic Classics, vol. 14 -- it has a graphic version of Northanger Abbey as well as one of The Mysteries of Udolpho (the book mentioned several times in Northanger Abbey) and a short poem by Jane Austen. And there's also some interesting non-Austen-related adaptations in there as well!
I recently re-read Lady Susan, this time as an audio book, which was a rewarding experience as it was wisely done with multiple readers, giving even more voice to each letter. I also downloaded audio versions of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility so one of those will be up shortly.
I also recently read Kipling's short story The Janeites, which is a fun read for Austen fans, although it takes a couple of readings for it to be really clear -- trying checking out some critical takes on it, too (for instance, http://www.kipling.org.uk/rg_janeites1.htm).
:) I already got all comics that are Austen based (that I knew of... I am still looking)
Pocket Classics 59 from 1984 - which is essentially an illustrated retelling of Pride and Prejudice
Plus Marvel's two finished series - "Pride and Prejudice" and "Sense and Sensibility" (they are doing Emma now and I am getting the issues as they are issued).
I am not sure about the Gothic Classics - I am not a big fan of parodies in most cases so I skipped it for now - I have no plans to read the Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters as part of the month reading or at all - classics should be left alone if you ask me. May still pick the Gothic Classics up though.
And I picked some more non-fiction while I was at that so will start posting about that.
In the meantime - 2 volumes read from Sense and Sensibility... and I enjoy it even more than I did back in school.
PS: Grabbed it anyway so will see how it goes
I'm also reading a book of quotes by G. K. Chesterton and I loved what he had to say about Austen:
"Jane Austen was born before those bonds which (we are told) protected woman from truth, were burst by the Brontes or elaborately untied by George Eliot. Yet the fact remains that Jane Austen knew much more about men than either of them. Jane Austen may have been protected from truth: but it was precious little of truth that was protected from her."
I enjoyed Northanger Abbey much more than I have ever done before as the reading brought out the humour much more than reading from the page did. I think my real prejudice against NA is that it was the first Austen that I read, at the age of 12, at school, under the supervision of a dreadful English teacher.
Usually my favourite is Persuasion with P&P close behind but my audiobook of P&P is read by Emilia Fox, who, although very good, is not as good as Juliet Stevenson so P&P has moved down the scale of favourites.
I have been reading the six major novels frequently for over 30 years now and have been surprised that my opinions have changed by the audiobooks.
Having a Kindle is a joy in that it means I'll never be caught out without an Austen novel to hand!
ETA I'm reading Emma at the moment.
I am usually on a cycle of rereading a random novel from Dickens, Austen, Asimov and Agatha Christie every so often (strange group of authors, I know). It's like meeting an old friend again and knowing what happens next allows me to see these small nuances that I had dismissed the previous time as unimportant... and that are actually quite important
Mum's a big fan of 19th century female authors - she's currently reading some Mrs Gaskell, I think it was, or maybe a Bronte - and she reads a Jane Austen each year.
Add to that A Fine Brush on Ivory: An Appreciation of Jane Austen (review here) which was interesting and I seem to be doing just fine with the reading this month :)
And after I read both versions of S&S, I actually decided to read something I had not read yet - the shorter works. So started with Lady Susan - which turned out to actually be quite amusing - so different from any of the novels but so Austen-like in some ways.
Isn't Lady Susan fun? I should reread that.
Yep. I like quite like the epistolary novels. So the way it is done works. Add to that the fact that Lady Susan is the most unlikeable person I had read about in a long time and it becomes are hilarious read. Too bad that she got her wish at the end (or variation of it anyway) - if there was a work where I really wish Austen had not pushed the marriage ending, that's the one.
I finished two more books:
Jane Austen: a Life by Carol Shields (Review here) which despite being a pretty nice biography made me wonder if some authors edit their text. You cannot start a book with one idea, do something else in the middle and finish so away from where you started that you make your readers go check if they remember Chapter 1 properly. Ignoring that (and I always fail to understand why authors seem to find it necessary to tell us what they are trying to do -- go ahead and do it and leave the reader to judge what you are doing), it is a good book actually - short and sweet and well-researched.
Lady Susan, The Watsons and Sanditon (Review here) is one of those books that everyone that enjoys Austen should read. I liked all three pieces - Lady Susan is hilarious, The Watsons is a great beginning that I wish had been finished (but then I am not sure that Emma and Mansfield Park would have looked exactly as they look today) and Sanditon is just the sketch for a novel but even as such it is delightful.
I think I am mostly done with Austen for the month - I will probably read more later this year but for now I feel like I need to change subjects a bit :) Although I might still go through the For Dummies book and even through the short fiction collection.
Oh, I enjoyed the book -- it is a good book and the author's style is working for me. It is just these small thingies that really got to me (I actually went and reread the first chapter after I finished it -- just to make sure that I am not mixing two books).
It is a good book - it just has its... faults. As most books do. :) And in most cases I doubt that people will take notice in the rambling of the author - that is a book about Jane Austen and as such, it is a good one. It is just the whole book as a package that is kinda.. strangely failing :) And it is really a few sentences that frame the work wrongly a bit.
But I am wondering, why do I so easily forgive Captain Wentworth when he really is rather mean to Anne? I don't remember the details of his apology, but it'd better be a doozy.
I don't think my library has her reading the books, because when I borrowed the audio of Northanger Abbey it has Anna Massey reading. She's quite excellent, I'm just not a great listener! Too easily distracted by shiny things. I need a book and blinkers to keep the rest of the world at bay most days. (Don't actually have the blinkers, though.)
Hm. "There" when it should have been "their". Tsk tsk.
Recently I watched the lovely Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet/Hugh Grant version of Sense & Sensibility . . . marvelous every time!
Digital audiobook narrated by Kate Reading
One of the best opening lines of literature: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
I thought it was okay when I read it in high school. I re-read it shortly after the BBC mini-series came out and really appreciated it. I’ve seen several film adaptations. And now I’ve listened to the audio version.
It's no wonder this is a classic. Austen is simply the master of dialogue. The way in which the characters interact brings them to life. From Mrs Bennet’s hysterics, to Lydia’s self-centered teen-aged giddiness, to Mr Collins’ simpering diatribes, to Jane’s cautious and measured observations, to Elizabeth’s outrage and clever responses to Darcy and Lady Catherine de Bourgh, the dialogue simply sparkles.
Kate Reading does a marvelous job narrating the audio book. Her pacing is good, moving the action forward at a satisfactory clip. She gives each of the girls a sufficiently distinct voice that I was never lost in dialogue between sisters. Of course, she has the advantage of Austen’s skill with writing each of these characters with a unique speech pattern.