Sunday, February 3, 2013

Book Talk: My Jane Austen Experience

My Jane Austen experience began a couple years ago when I was about thirteen or fourteen. I had just finished watching the movie Lost in Austen where a modern day women finds herself between the pages of Pride and Prejudice. Her presence causes the whole plot line to become twisted and jumbled. This movie made me curious to how the story really went. And if the girl in the movie read it when she was thirteen, why couldn't I? After searching on amazon for a few minutes, I got my copy of Pride and Prejudice. It was agonizing going to the mailbox and seeing no yellow envelope sitting there waiting for me. When it finally came, I instantly dropped everything and began reading.

I was really confused at first. The writing was complicated and I wasn't used to it. Over time, the language became understandable. I actually comprehended what was going on. Eventually, I couldn't get enough. After devouring Pride and Prejudice, I moved onto Sense and Sensibility, and so on. I recognized the wording and how things Austen's style. Soon enough, it became easy to me as I stormed through all of Jane Austen's work.

Being really young, I didn't know everything. That's understandable, right? So if you're willing to undertake the challenge of reading Austen, here's some helpful tools that might help you through it.

First of all, I went through a year-long phase that I would only read modern day adaptions of Jane Austen books. My favorite one's were. . . 

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg. Don't let the cover fool you. It's not a girly and pretty-in-pink as it looks. In this book, there's a girls' private school called Longbourn Academy and Lizzie Bennet is a scholarship student who shares a room with her best friend, Jane. They meet Charles Bingley and Will Darcy in the neighboring boys' school. I love this book and it's actually sad how many times I've read it. It's also great for piano players and romantics.

The next book sort of mixes time travel with Jane Austen. It's Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler. Jane Mansfield, who lives in the early nineteenth century, has switched bodies with Courtney Stone, a modern day woman. I liked this book a lot better than the first one, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. You do not need to read the first book to read this one, they are two totally different stories.

This book should be your right hand man when you read anything Austen. Even if you can read Austen with ease, it's really fun to read through and even better if you've read all the books. It's The Jane Austen Handbook: A Sensible Yet Elegant Guide to Her World by Margaret C. Sullivan. I read this after I read Austen and I was surprised how funny it was. It has categories like How to Become an Accomplished Lady, and How to Ride Sidesaddle. It's anything that you need to know about the Regency period. I remember reading the How to Dress page and it said that Jane probably went commando. That made me burst out laughing and I got some weird looks. Just the thought of a literary idol that didn't wear underwear made me giggle.

If you are a fan of Austen, here's some really fun books that I thoroughly enjoyed. Lost in Austen by Emma Campbell Webster, (not the same things as the movie) where you can make your own Austen adventure and you keep track of points that ultimately choose whether you have a good or bad ending.

Anything by Amanda Grange is fantastic, she has many different books that are the journals of the Austen heroes in their perspective.

If you want to test your Austen knowledge, then you should check out So You Think You Know Jane Austen? by John Sutherland and Deirdre Le Faye. I tried to answer some of the questions, and they're tricky. Pay attention to the details, that's all I have to say.

Have any of you read Jane Austen? If so, when did you start?

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