Whether you hate it or you love it, it's fun to read in a group of Austen-crazy folk! Go ahead, talk amongst yourselves, discuss!! And sign up at Austen in August headquarters.
Whether you hate it or you love it, it's fun to read in a group of Austen-crazy folk! Go ahead, talk amongst yourselves, discuss!! And sign up at Austen in August headquarters.
It's that time of year again: Austen in August! Giveaways, chats, best-of lists, read-alongs, movie-viewing parties, and more! It's like a two-week slumber party where it's all-Austen-all-the-time, and you don't even have to leave your computer.
Want to join the fun? Head on over to The Book Rat to see the official invitation. You can sign up now if you want to contribute a guest post, giveaway, or other fun stuff. Or you can just visit The Book Rat from August 18-31 for daily Austen activities and freebies. I'll be posting and giving away books, along with lots of other Austen lovers.
See you at Austen in August!
2 winners will receive signed copies of both Austen Addict books, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addictopen to US/CAN/UK Ends September 5thFill out the Rafflecopter to enter!Make sure to leave your answers to Laurie's quiz in the comments (or whether you answered mostly A/B)
| | |
I just found my new favorite dessert! Thanks to Shelf Awareness for the link.
"The love for Jane Austen related entertainment may not always appear to be in vogue but as they say,it never dies,it only multiples. To that end,let us look at a few of the latest displays of Austenmania that possess a decidedly modern twist..."
The whole post is a must-read if you'd like to sample the latest treats in the Janeiverse, including The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, The Jane Austen Academy, The Jane Austen Guide to Life, the LOL Jane Austen is My Homegirl Rap, and a fab shout-out for our very own Sex and the Austen Girl.
Definitely satisfied this Austen addict. Thanks, Living Read Girl!!!
Technorati Tags: Jane Austen, Jane Austen Is My Homegirl, Jane Austen pop culture, Living Read Girl, Sex and the Austen Girl, The Jane Austen Academy, The Jane Austen Guide to Life, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
| | |
"The world of Regency romantic historical fiction has undergone quite a change in the last few years. While the traditional regency, which I consider that I write, continues to occupy (mainly in e-book form) a corner of the market, the large, sexy, duke-ridden romances have taken over the print market."--Lesley-Anne McCloud
Click the link above to read the whole post in The Regency World of Author Lesley-Anne McCloud, including a shout-out for CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT and RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT (thank you, Lesley-Anne!), and an intriguing list of reading recommendations.
[The Assembly Rooms in Bath, taken in 2002 (not 1802; I wish!)]
Posted at 08:32 PM in Austen Addiction, Austen-inspired books, Blogs, Books, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Regency England, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Technorati Tags: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Laurie Viera Rigler, Lesley-Anne McCloud, Regency England, Regency fiction, Regency novel, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, time-travel fiction, time-travel novel
| | |
The author of THE PRIDE AND PREJUDICE MOVIE COOKBOOK sent me a copy, and though I haven't tried any of the recipes yet, it looks like so much fun that I just had to share.
Playfully riffing off text from the novel and scenes from the movie versions of Austen's most beloved novel --and adding teensy dashes of culinary history just for fun--author Anne Derry has concocted a host of P&P-inspired recipes that evoke the Regency but are nevertheless fashioned for a 21st-century palate.
Just to give you a taste:
There's The White Menu (in honor of the white soup need for the Netherfield ball).
There's an entire series of recipes with the key ingredient being Guinness stout, inspired by the banter between Lizzy and Darcy on whether poetry is indeed the food of love and Lizzie's declaring that it is only so if the love is "fine, stout, [and] healthy."
There's even a zombie cocktail. And of course as Charlotte was wanted about the mince pies, there's a recipe for that as well.
Bon appetit, and please don't invite Mr. Collins to dinner. You may just get stuck sitting next to him.
A sneak preview of this exciting collection of short stories inspired by Austen, including a bit of my story, Intolerable Stupidity, in which Mr. Darcy sues people like me and my fellow anthology authors!
JANE AUSTEN MADE ME DO IT (Ballantine) is coming to a bookstore near you on October 11.
Please join me on May 21 at 2 PM at the Sierra Madre Public Library for a fun-filled afternoon. I'll be talking about Austen's timeless appeal and the genesis of my two Austen-inspired novels. Which could be considered semi-autobiographical, if they did not involve time travel and body-switching.
Hope to see you there! That's 2 PM, May 21. In whichever century you like.
Sierra Madre Public Library, 440 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA
Posted at 06:44 PM in Austen Addiction, Austen Wisdom, Austen-inspired books, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Jane Austen, Libraries & Librarians, Readings & Talks, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
| | |
As anyone who reads the fabulous Austenprose already knows, the cover of the upcoming anthology, JANE AUSTEN MADE ME DO IT, is official. And gorgeous.
What a privilege to be in the company of all these wonderful authors. I am very grateful to Austenprose's Laurel Ann Nattress, editor of JANE AUSTEN MADE ME DO IT, for inviting me to contribute. And most of all, I cannot wait to read all of these stories!
| | |
A very sweet surprise in my inbox: In addition to a lovely email from a 16-year-old reader named Tara, she made this Polyvore collage inspired by CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT and RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT.
I could definitely see curling up in that robe and reading NORTHANGER ABBEY (gotta get ready for the JASNA AGM coming up end of October. Or watching CLUELESS. Again.
Thank you, Tara!
Check out Part 2 of my interview at the lovely Maria Grazia's blog, My Jane Austen Book Club, in which I talk about--you guessed it--Jane Austen, SEX AND THE AUSTEN GIRL, and the Austen Addict novels.
Speaking of which, enter a comment with your email address at My Jane Austen Book Club, and you will have a chance to win either a signed copy of RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT, or a signed copy of CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT.
Enjoy, and good luck!
Posted at 08:00 AM in Austen Addiction, Austen movies, Austen TV series, Austen Web Series, Austen Wisdom, Austen-inspired books, Blogs, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Contests/giveaways, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, Sex and the Austen Girl | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
| | |
Yes, we at Austen Addict Central have a vested interest.
Because we're bursting with pride that both this blog and one of our books RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT, have been nominated. Click on the badge below to go to the polls!
And don't forget to check out our web series, SEX AND THE AUSTEN GIR!
| | |
Stephanie's got lots of choices for challenge participants, from Austen's own works to Austen-inspired novels (like those by yours truly) to sequels and continuations, movies, and even crafts.
I wonder if taking English country dance lessons counts? Or playing with my Jane Austen Action Figures??
And did I say there were lots of giveaways?
Here's what I'm going to do (not necessarily in this order):
Oh, and I want to read so many others on this list. I don't think I can keep it down to six!
Tip: If anyone's looking for a really fun, lovely Austen nonfiction, Margaret Sullivan's JANE AUSTEN HANDBOOK (also on Stephanie's list) is excellent. And did I say funny? There's one line on page 92 that will make you howl with laughter.
Make haste to the Everything Austen Challenge II!
Posted at 01:52 PM in Austen Addiction, Austen-inspired books, Books, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Contests/giveaways, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, Sense and Sensibility | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
Technorati Tags: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Everything Austen Challenge II, Jane Austen, Jane Austen Handbook, Margaret Sullivan, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, Stephanie's Written Word
| | |
Here's my first guest post on the Babelgum Blog to introduce Jane Austen and Sex and the Austen Girl.
If you haven't yet seen Sex and the Austen Girl, the web series inspired by the Austen Addict novels, Episode 4 has just posted today. In fact, Episodes 1-4 are all ready for your viewing pleasure.
New episodes post every Monday. Only on Babelgum.
Posted at 03:20 PM in Austen Addiction, Austen Web Series, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Jane Austen, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, Sex and the Austen Girl | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
| | |
When Paula Dacker, a librarian friend (whom I wrote about here in a previous post), gave the Marvel PRIDE AND PREJUDICE graphic novel the thumbs-up, I knew I had to get a copy. And it did not disappoint. From the girlie-magazine-like cover with headlines like "Bingleys Bring Bling to Britain" and "How to Cure Your Boy-Crazy Sisters" to the scrumptious illustrations by Hugo Petrus, it was a blast. Adapter Nancy Butler did a fine job of retaining the sense and integrity of Austen's inimitable prose while at the same time condensing and compressing the action to fit within the graphic novel form.
The bottom line? PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, Marvel version, is a fine and fun way to introduce new readers to Austen, a gateway to the full book that will crack the code of Austen's language for contemporary readers who can't quite penetrate the style--or fear that they can't.
And for those of us who feel at home with Austen's texts in their pure form, this Marvel version is nevertheless pure fun. Some may ask--if they haven't already objected to the inherently abbreviated form of a graphic novel--why another PRIDE AND PREJUDICE? Do we really need another movie, another play, a Broadway musical (fingers crossed), and now a graphic novel?
To which I reply, Can there ever be enough ways and forms to say "I love Jane Austen"?
I just read JULIET, NAKED by Nick Hornby who, along with Zadie Smith, is my idea of a contemporary Jane Austen. Both Hornby and Smith make profound observations of human nature, give us romance without sentimentality, have a divine sense of humor, and are simply masterful storytellers. In my writing workshops I inevitably read passages from various Hornby novels and Smith's ON BEAUTY as examples of the best in contemporary fiction.
For this reader, JULIET, NAKED brought to mind some of the online discussions that occur amongst Austen's most devoted readers. A central premise of the book is that no matter how much the admirers of an artist's work examine that work, study it, parse it for meaning, and become "experts," they can never acquire irrefutable proof that the creator felt a certain way or had a particular type of experience at the time she created it. Bottom line is it's nothing more than speculation. And speculation is often wrong.
In JULIET, NAKED, one of the characters, Duncan, spends a good deal of his time on a web forum holding forth on the hidden meanings and nuances in the songs of a rock singer-songwriter named Tucker Crowe, who mysteriously dropped off the grid back in 1986, causing his small band of devoted followers to speculate endlessly on why he left and what's been going on in his life since his disappearance. And most of all, what was behind JULIET, the album that Tucker was promoting when he dropped out of sight. Annie, Duncan's girlfriend, puts up with Duncan's obsession, but when Duncan posts a review of a newly released album of JULIET demos—an unadorned set of tracks that the fans dub JULIET, NAKED, Annie decides she's had about enough of Duncan's prosings about Tucker's genius. And so she posts her own review. And, miraculously, she is rewarded with a correspondence from the real Tucker Crowe, who periodically reads Duncan's forum and chuckles at the inaccurate conclusions therein.
I've often wondered what Jane Austen might say about the assertions, online and otherwise, about what she did or did not mean when she wrote a particular line or character because of what she did or did not experience or feel. Because, after all, no matter how much we think we are experts on Austen, it is really all just speculation. No one but Austen can know what she meant, felt, believed, or experienced at any given moment in time. No one but Austen could tell us if a certain character espouses Austen's own beliefs. And it is never a given that an author believes what her protagonist believes. Or that what happens in a novel resembles what happened in the author's own life. Even Austen's letters—like all letters--are just snapshots of the moment she wrote that letter, and thus only indicate what she felt or believed at that given moment in time. We cannot even take the words in those letters at face value, for the reader of much of them, her sister and closest friend, Cassandra, would get the ironies and subtext and in-jokes and tone in a way that we can only dream of—and speculate about.
One thing we can be sure of—and this is the greatest gift of any great storyteller or songwriter: The words and music and characters and stories that we love have deep meaning for us, based on our own personal experiences, beliefs, and aspirations. That is how we make these most beloved works our own. As Karen Joy Fowler said very wisely in her novel, THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB, "Each of us has a private Austen." Or in Nick Hornby's JULIET, NAKED, a private Tucker Crowe.
Do read JULIET, NAKED—it's a beautiful, funny, thoughtful book.
| | |
My friend Kathy Strong—that's Dr. Strong to you (she recently received her Ph.D. from USC in English with a specialty in eighteenth-century British literature; and yes, I'm bragging) made me this fun necklace—a one-of-a-kind piece.
Unfortunately the photo doesn't do it justice. The setting is a bottle cap, the little portrait and letters are affixed to the concave side with resin. And can you read what it says? "Addict."
In short, the coolest piece of Austen-inspired jewelry I've ever seen.
Don't you think she should sell these? I wouldn't mind not being the only person in the world proudly wearing this "Addict" necklace! And yes, that's a double negative. Dr. Strong would likely disapprove.
The theme of the Spring Meeting of JASNA-SW, the Southwest Region of the Jane Austen Society of North America, was "A Day of Pride, Prejudice, and Politics," and I had the good fortune of being on the program with a stellar group of speakers:
First, there was Dr. Charles Lynn Batten, the UCLA professor about whom I've been hearing for years. The conversation with my fellow Austen addicts usually goes like this:
"You mean you've never heard Lynn Batten speak?"
A disbelieving shake of the head and pitying look follows.
Well, now I have heard Dr. Batten speak, and he is not only exceedingly knowledgable and insightful about Jane Austen, he was also downright hilarious. Dr. Batten's talk was called "Jane Austen: Conservative or Liberal?" His verdict: Austen was most likely a moderate Tory.
My opinion? I see his point, which is far more well-researched than my own belief, which is, quite simply, that Jane Austen had exactly my politics and beliefs. Same favorite colors. Would have like the same movies, too. As Karen Joy Fowler put it in THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB, "each of us has a private Austen."
Then there was Margaret Horwitz, JASNA's Traveling Lecturer, who gave an illuminating talk called “The Legacy of Her Voice: Ethics and Wit in Austen’s Novel Pride and Prejudice and Its Filmed Adaptations." Dr. Horwitz's talk made me want to go back and watch both the BBC mini and the 2005 movie (as if I need an excuse) to see all the symbolism in props and camera angles that Margaret pointed out in her lecture.
As for me, I gave the very first public reading of my upcoming novel, RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT. If I am to judge by the laughter in the audience, then everyone was having as good a time as I did.
If that wasn't enough fun, there was a white elephant sale of – you guessed it—Jane Austen related books and tschotschkes. I spent $60 on 12 back issues of PERSUASIONS, the wonderful bound journal of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Such a deal! My bookshelves are groaning. But I'm all smiles.
Posted at 12:32 PM in Austen Addiction, Austen movies, Film, Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), Pride and Prejudice, Readings & Talks, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, Writing Life | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Technorati Tags: Charles Lynn Batten, Jane Austen, JASNA, JASNA-SW, Laurie Viera Rigler, Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, Margaret Horwitz, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte, Syrie James
| | |
How early should one start?
Opinions vary, but I'd say you can't go wrong reading Pride and Prejudice to a two-week-old baby. That's what I did when I visited my niece, and there were none of those "what is an entail" or "why doesn't Jane just text Bingley when she's in London" sorts of questions. In fact, my reading lulled her into a deep, soothing sleep.
Some believe in starting even earlier. Just ask Cherilynne Perdigon, daughter of the school librarian at my nephew's elementary school. She began reading Austen to her daughter Sybilla in utero. Sybilla is now 14 months old, and mom's still reading her Austen. I imagine by the time she is five, she may be saying things like, "Kinderdance? At an assembly such as this it would be insupportable!"
[My niece enjoying the beneficial effects of having Pride and Prejudice read to her.]
Naida of The Bookworm, an excellent book blog I recently discovered, interviewed me for her blog and is giving away two personally inscribed copies of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict.
Winners will be announced Monday, September 15 by The Bookworm.
"Are you going to be on Oprah?"
This is the first thing friends and family will ask any soon-to-be-published author.
It's very sweet that our loved ones have so much faith in us. However, it's sort of like asking, "Are you going to win the lottery?"
Consider the numbers: Since 2002 Oprah has chosen anywhere from one to five books per year. Grand total so far for 2008: One book. Even in the earlier years of Oprah's Book Club, when Oprah would choose as many as eight or nine books per year, it was still a long shot. After all, there are 175,000 books published every year.
Clearly, having your book chosen by Oprah is the holy grail of publishing good fortune.The books Oprah chooses are instant #1 New York Times Bestsellers. But more important than the glory Oprah's Book Club bestows on authors is the service it does for readers, for Oprah has single-handedly done more to revitalize adults' interest in reading than just about anyone. For that we all owe her a debt of gratitude.
About a month ago, one of my readers, a lovely woman named Christina, gave me something more important to dream about than getting the call from Oprah. Christina got me thinking about Jane Austen getting the call from Oprah or, more precisely, an entire community of surrogates known as the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) getting the call from Oprah.
It just so happens that JASNA will be descending upon Oprah territory in October 2008 and would love nothing better than to bring Austen to Oprah's audience.
Why are the Janeites coming to Chicago? Every October, Jane Austen addicts convene in a different city for JASNA's Annual General Meeting. It's wall-to-wall, nonstop Austen: breakout sessions, plenary speakers, poster sessions, panels and performances, a Regency Emporium where Janeites can buy Austen-related books and other goodies (and this year, rent costumes), a banquet, and a Regency ball, complete with English country dance and a whole lot of us dressed in costume. In other words, if you're like me, you feel like you died and went to Austen heaven.
I can't think of an author more Oprah-worthy than Jane Austen. After all, Oprah has always been big on self-help and self-discovery, and in my opinion, one couldn't ask for a more comprehensive and entertaining set of self-help books than Jane Austen's six novels. Every time I read them I learn something new about myself, including discovering more ways to "make sport for my neighbors, and laugh at them in my turn." After all, it is Austen's sense of humor, coupled with her keen observation of human nature, that make her stories timeless.
Here is what Christina envisions for a special Oprah show (fears, actually, because sadly Christina cannot afford the trip to Chicago, what with gas prices being what they are, and therefore she'd miss out on being in the studio audience):
"Oprah will do a special show that week just on the Jane Austen phenomenon and have an audience full of JASNA people and give out cars and iPods to everyone—and first editions of P&P to a special audience member with the winning ticket under her seat—and have Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen [the two Mr. Darcys from the last two film versions of Pride and Prejudice] and Rupert Penry-Jones [Captain Wentworth from the latest Persuasion movie] as surprise guests—and then end the show by sending everyone to England for a Jane Austen tour!
Alas, I will bitterly watch it all on TV, green with Caroline Bingleyesque envy!"
Okay, maybe cars and first editions and transatlantic travel are a little excessive. But surely Oprah could give everyone in the audience the Penguin edition of the complete works. And the guest line-up is certainly do-able. In costume, of course.
I would suggest adding Jennifer Ehle and Keira Knightley as guests, so that the two Mr. Darcys can have their Elizabeth Bennets by their side. Hey, dueling Lizzie and Darcys! As for the JASNA folks bringing entertainment value to the mix, William Phillips, one of the coordinators of the JASNA AGM, spoke at last year's AGM, and he was brilliant--charming and funny and informative. And William is just one of the many bright and sparkling speakers and storytellers who will be at the AGM. Another thought: Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club, would also be an excellent guest—brought down the house with her witty speech at the 2004 AGM.
As for me, I'll be happy to be in the audience and offer up all of my swag to the lovely Christina.
What a show. Oprah, we await your call.
Posted at 02:02 AM in Austen Addiction, Austen Wisdom, Book Clubs, English Country Dancing, Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), The Jane Austen Book Club | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)
| | |
by Laurie Viera Rigler, author of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict
[This is my guest post for Jane Austen Today.]
What? No more weekly doses of Austen on PBS? Fear not, my fellow addicts. Help is here. All you need to do is follow this ten-part program.
Re-reading Austen's six novels (or reading them for the first time) will of course play a big role in this program. Ah, but what accompanies each read will make your experience even sweeter.
1. Try Northanger Abbey for your first post-Masterpiece read. Why Northanger Abbey? One reason could be that it was the first of Austen's novels to be accepted by a publisher—who then couldn't be bothered to publish it. Idiot. Thumbing your nose at such stupidity is one reason to read it first. Another, even better reason, is that NA's a fun way to shake off the post-Masterpiece blues.
• After you read the book, see what it's like to be Catherine Morland, the heroine of Northanger Abbey. How? Drive or walk around your city or town and pretend you are seeing it from the point of view of someone who has never been there and finds it fascinating and exciting. See? You're experiencing your world like Catherine experienced the city of Bath. If you're hard pressed to find something exciting or fascinating about your world, go into the nearest flower garden and learn to love a hyacinth. Or just think about how a young woman from the late eighteenth/early nineteenth century might respond to some of the modern technological wonders you take for granted. Like hot showers, for example. Flush toilets in every house. Mascara. Tampons.
• Then, top off your newfound sense of wonder and appreciation for your world by firing up your DVD player with the 2007 adaptation of Northanger Abbey* starring J.J. Feild and Felicity Jones. There. Aren't you feeling better already?
• *Ready for more? Try the 1986 adaptation of Northanger Abbey. Though it's unpopular with a lot of Janeites, you might, like me, find it entertaining.
2. Read Sense and Sensibility.
• After you close the book on Elinor and Marianne, imagine what happens next. (We all know these characters are real and keep living their lives after the books end, don't we?) Here's a fun situation to ponder: What happens the first time Edward and Elinor go to London and have dinner at Edward's mother's house—and are sitting across the table from Lucy and Robert? What do they talk about? Imagine Elinor sitting in the drawing room after dinner with Mrs. Ferrars and Lucy. And here's another one to consider: Should Marianne, or Mrs. Dashwood, ever confront John Dashwood about his broken promise to help them financially? If you were to write that speech, what would you have Marianne say? Or should the Dashwood ladies let John's own guilty conscience do all the work?
• Now that you've survived all those Dashwood/Ferrars family reunions, reward yourself with a screening of the Ang Lee/Emma Thompson Oscar-winning Sense and Sensibility (1995)* And while you're at it, order yourself a large pizza, chocolate cake, and/or a trough of margaritas. Yes. This program is definitely working.
3. Read Pride and Prejudice.
• After you read the book, imagine that you are Elizabeth experiencing your first visit to Rosings as Mrs. Darcy. (Lady Catherine has cooled down by now and consoles herself by hoping that her nephew will be so fortunate as to become widowed at a young age and redeem himself by taking a second wife, i.e., Anne de Bourgh.) Amuse yourself by observing the gyrations of Mr. Collins when he and Charlotte join the Rosings party for dinner. As Elizabeth once said to Mr. Darcy, "Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can."
• But wait, there's more. It's time to watch the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle P&P mini again (one can never watch it too many times), and/or the 2005 movie with Keira Knightley, depending on whether your idea of Mr. Darcy is Colin Firth or Matthew MacFadyen or both. The 1995 mini is a great excuse to have a pajama party (where I grew up, we called them slumber parties). And one is never too old to have a slumber party. Send the kids away for sleepovers and banish any curmudgeonly significant others. Then, bring in lots of goodies, because five hours of viewing requires a great deal of fuel. There's all that fencing and swimming and dancing and taking refreshing turns around the room. I'm getting exhausted just thinking about it. No matter which film you watch (or even if you watch both), be sure to buy the soundtrack of the 2005 film and play often. It's stunning.
4. Read Mansfield Park.
• Even if you're a reader who can't quite warm up to Austen's heroine Fanny Price (I feel your pain, but do give her some time; she grew on me after awhile), you can have a lot of fun thinking about how this book could have ended but didn't. For me, that's the most fascinating, thought-provoking aspect of Mansfield Park. As Patricia Rozema, director of the controversial 1999 adaptation of Mansfield Park, put it in her screenplay, "It could have all turned out differently, I suppose. But it didn't." With that in mind, imagine what would have happened if Edmund had married Mary Crawford, and if Fanny had given in and married Henry Crawford. Happy marriages? Reformed rakes? Or a disaster?
• As compensation for the lack of a truly satisfying Mansfield Park film (see below)*, you get to watch the lovely 2007 BBC mini of Sense and Sensibility instead. I know, it's Sense and Sensibility, not Mansfield Park, and you just saw it on TV, but who cares? It's worth seeing again. It'll make you feel good. And isn't that what this program is all about?
*I'm one of the minority of Janeites who liked the 1999 Patricia Rozema adaptation of Mansfield Park, but I liked it more as a story inspired by Mansfield Park than as an adaptation per se. Rozema's rendering of Fanny Price is more like the director's idea of a young Jane Austen than the protagonist Jane Austen wrote for Mansfield Park. And Rozema's vision of the story's subtext is pretty dark. But then again, the book itself is perhaps the least "light, and bright, and sparkling" of Austen's works. By the way, there is a fascinating article on this film by Kathi Groenendyk in JASNA's journal Persuasions: As for the latest adaptation that aired on PBS, it has such a truncated version of the story that one wonders how anyone who didn't read the book could figure out what's going on. Mrs. Norris, Fanny's main nemesis, has mysteriously turned into a bland creature. And Fanny Price looks entirely too 21st-century and wears cleavage-baring day dresses (none of this is the fault of the actors, but still). As for the 1983 BBC mini, the heroine is more faithful to the book than its companions. However, while the principal actors are unquestionably talented I couldn't quite see some of them in their roles. And it's got that static, video-on-a-stage feel of early BBC productions that I find challenging to watch.
5. Read Emma.
• After you finish the book, play a little game called "Emma, Reformed Matchmaker." You'll need to play with a single friend (preferably a single friend who would like to be in a couple). Each of you sits down and writes a list of qualities that your friend's perfect, future mate should possess. Do not reveal what is on your lists until both of you are finished writing. Now share. You may be surprised to find that your lists differ greatly. When you read your friend's list, refrain from exclamations of horror unless one of the items on that list includes "must be incarcerated in a maximum security prison." Now, give your list to your friend to take home with her. Tell her she is free to cross out whatever she doesn't like on your list and keep whatever she does like. Or burn the whole thing. If she cares to share her final list with you, you may keep your eyes open for appropriate candidates and discreetly point them out to her. That's "point them out," not shove them in her face. Remember, you are "Emma, Reformed Matchmaker." If your friend doesn't care to share her final list, then graciously wish her all the best in finding her dream partner and promptly change the subject. Then, take her to Ford's (or local emporium of your choice) to buy a new dress. Or draw her picture. Without a potential mate watching the proceedings. See? You're a better, happier human being already.
• Now that you've had a successful run at self-improvement, Jane Austen-style, you deserve to have an Emma film festival. That's three very clever films indeed: The Kate Beckinsale/Mark Strong-starrer, the Gwyneth Paltrow/Jeremy Northam movie , and the brilliant Clueless, starring Alicia Silverstone and directed by Amy Heckerling. Three fabulous films means you get to invite at least three friends over to have a viewing party or slumber party. And stock up on provisions, for a private screening of three films, without sitting down to supper, [would be] pronounced an infamous fraud upon the rights of men and women.
6. Read Persuasion.
• After you finish the book, amuse yourself by imagining whether or not Mrs. Clay will indeed become the next Lady Eliot. If she does, will Anne and Frederick, or any of her family, ever visit Sir William and Lady Eliot? How will Mary's health survive it? Or Elizabeth's pride? Or on a pleasanter note, will Capt. Wentworth allow his wife on board his ship? If so, what exciting places will Anne visit?
• Watch the lovely, 1995 adaptation of Persuasion starring Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds. Optional: the 2007 version of Persuasion. Although Austen's story is compressed into a scant 93 minutes in the latest version, this one is also worth watching, particularly if you love Rupert Penry-Jones as much as I do. Besides, the DVD restores the small but significant bits that were cut from the PBS broadcast.
7. Join the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) and mingle with fellow Janeites at local and national meetings. I know what you're thinking, and yes, the rumors are all true. It's a cult. We have a secret handshake. We aim for total world domination. Okay, you can stop sweating now. I'm kidding. Really. JASNA is a community of warm, welcoming, fun-loving people who love Jane Austen and love getting together and talking about their favorite author with like-minded people. Like you. There are local reading groups (think Jane Austen Book Club, but usually with more than just the six Austen novels), regional get-togethers with fascinating speakers, entertainment, and delicious food, special screenings for members, and annual general meetings (AGMs) in a different city each year with talks and panels and workshops and English country dance lessons and a banquet and a Regency ball. At my first AGM I thought I'd died and gone to Austen heaven.
8. Watch a film that's so life-affirming and joyful that it merits a place of its own on this list: Bride and Prejudice, Gurinder Chadha's Bollywood-meets-Hollywood tribute to Pride and Prejudice. It's way better than a year's supply of antidepressants or a gallon of Absolut martinis. Hint: This one merits a party or at least inviting one friend over to watch with you. First, order in Indian food. Then, before popping in the DVD, unearth floaty scarves from your wardrobe or nearest accessory emporium, and keep them on hand to wave around while you dance along with the various musical numbers. Be sure to buy the soundtrack and play it in your car or on your iPod while commuting to work the next day. I feel better just thinking about it.
9. Now that you've got that Indian groove thang going, try English country dancing. Then you can watch all the movies set in Jane Austen's time again, and at the ballroom scenes you can dance along. There are many places to learn English country dancing, and from my experience, the people are friendly and welcome beginners, and there's no need to bring a partner with you. Some dance societies hold regular dances and even annual balls. In Southern California, check out Vintage Dance & History. Nationwide, go to the English Country Dance Webring and the Country Dance and Song Society.
10. Finally, take a trip back in time to Regency England. No, I haven't lost my mind. I have, however, written a novel that will transport you to 1813 England. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict is the story of a modern L.A. girl and Austen fan who wakes up one morning as an Englishwoman's in Austen's time. As of April 29, Confessions comes out in paperback, which means the fare to Jane Austen's world becomes even more affordable.
Posted at 12:38 AM in Austen Addiction, Austen movies, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Emma, English Country Dancing, Film, Food and Drink, Games, Jane Austen, Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), Literature, Mansfield Park, Masterpiece PBS, Music, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, The Jane Austen Book Club, TV | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
| | |
I hope this finds you well and happy and indulging in Austen!
Great news for all Austen lovers awaits us in the new year: Masterpiece Theatre’s Complete Jane Austen begins in January with four new adaptations, plus rebroadcasts of the Kate Beckinsale Emma and the inimitable 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries starring the man in the wet shirt, Colin Firth.
Canada's public station, TVO, has cool clips and commentaries on these exciting new productions. (If you get TVO you don't even have to wait till January to see three of the new films. You can watch Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion on TVO beginning December 16, which also happens to be Jane Austen’s birthday.)
In the meantime, consider taking a break from holiday stress (or feigning work at your desk ) while eying an array of all your favorite Austen movie trailers and clips. And if you dearly love a laugh, watch some of these, too.
Wish you’d come to one of my readings instead of washing your hair that night? Check out this Authors @ Google’s video of a reading at Google’s Ann Arbor offices, which was one of the highlights of my book tour. Imagine working for a company that cooks you a delicious lunch every day and brings in authors to read you stories during the workday. Where can I sign up?
Speaking of unusual venues, how about a hair salon that’s also a bookstore? That’s Beauty and the Book, the Jefferson, Texas headquarters of The Pulpwood Queens Book Club, another exciting stop on the tour. What would Jane Austen say about such a place? Read my guest post on Book Club Girl and find out.
Coming up this month: Satellite Radio interview on XM 163’s Sonic Theater-“This is Audible.” If you don’t have XM, the interview will be available on audible.com for free download. Just type in keywords "This is Audible," "Josephine Reed" (the delightful interviewer/program director), and "December 2007" to find the download. Exact broadcast date will be posted here as soon as it’s available.
In the meantime, let’s all enjoy the holiday season and raise our glasses to Miss Austen on December 16. And while you’re making your lists and checking them twice, consider giving your favorite Austen addicts a round trip ticket to 1813 England for the mere price of a book (or six-CD unabridged audiobook, which just got a glowing review in Publisher’s Weekly).
May this holiday season and the coming year bring you much happiness,
Posted at 10:50 AM in Austen Addiction, Austen movies, Author Videos, Book Clubs, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Jane Austen, Masterpiece PBS, Readings & Talks | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Technorati Tags: Authors @ Google, Beauty and the Book, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Jane Austen, Josephine Reed, Laurie Viera Rigler, Masterpiece Theatre Complete Jane Austen, Pulpwood Queens Book Club, This is Audible
| | |
[BS: The great thing about Jane Austen fans is the myriad of reasons they come to Jane. Some come for the clothes, stay for the satire. Others seek the social skewering but discover the empathy. And, yeah, there a few who figure if it's good enough for Colin Firth... Today, we welcome Laurie Viera Rigler, whose novel Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict captures the beauty of loving Jane while indulging in the ever-tantalizing "what if"]The decision to write Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict wasn't exactly a decision. It happened like this: I was standing in the kitchen of the house I used to rent in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles, and I saw, in my mind, the opening scene of my book unfold. I saw a twenty-first-century woman who, like me, reads and rereads Jane Austen's six novels. Unlike me, she wakes up one morning in the body and life of an Englishwoman in Austen's time. I couldn't stop thinking about her, and finally I decided to write down what I saw. Once I opened that door, there was, of course, a good deal more to her story.
[BS: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict is available at bookstores right now, and Laurie Viera Rigler's website is a treasure trove for fans of Jane, ready-to-become fans of Jane, or just people who understand the value that comes from wasting time on a really fun site. Laurie is also making appearances in support of her novel.]
| | |
Welcome to the janeaustenaddict blog. I’m hoping you’ll click on the Contact page of my site or post a comment to this blog and tell me about your own addiction to Austen.
To get you started, I'll tell you a little about my own ungovernable passion. At any given season of the year, I am reading at least one of Austen’s six novels. I cannot imagine ever not wanting to re-read Austen. Why? Aside from the lure of the exotic--carriages, English country dancing, and men in tight knee breeches--there is the comfort of the familiar. Knowing that Anne Eliot will always pierce Captain Wentworth’s soul and that Lydia Bennet will be stuck with George Wickham for the rest of her life makes everything right in my world.
Knowing what’s going to happen doesn’t make reading the book for the umpteenth time any less exciting, and herein lies the true allure of Austen. Every time I read one of her novels, I learn something new about myself and about the people in my world. Jane Austen is the keenest and funniest observer of human nature of any author I know. In fact, that is what makes her books timeless, despite the bonnets and balls and carriages. Human nature hasn’t changed a bit since Austen’s day. “But,” as Elizabeth Bennet said, “people themselves alter so much, that there is something new to be observed in them for ever.” That is why I can read Pride and Prejudice twenty times and get something new out of it every time. I am a different person before each reading, and by the time I reach the end of the book I am changed by it yet again.
And then there are the movies. They may not be as true to the books as we Janeites wish they could be, but we sure love the eye candy. I know I do. It's enough to make me wish I could transport myself into that world, that is, the clean, sparkling, Hollywood version of that world...
The Roman Baths in Bath: a portal to another time?