What will they think of next?
What will they think of next?
Musings of a Book Lover posted their Top Ten Books For Those Who Love Jane Austen. And Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict is on the list! Check it out for ten great book recommendations and more in the comments!
It's a list for people who have stuff like this:
Technorati Tags: Austen-inspired books, Austenesque books, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Journeys of John and Julia, Musings of a Book Lover, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, The Bookworm blog
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Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by me,
and The Journeys of John and Julia: Genesis (book one of a series) by Aurelia
From a really wonderful interview in the Goodreads Young Adult Book Club with Aurelia Haslboeck, author of THE JOURNEYS OF JOHN AND JULIA: GENESIS (book 1 of the series):
The most difficult part for me [about writing] is having the discipline to sit down and do it. There is really nothing romantic about the process of writing itself.
I'd like to think that my characters all speak for themselves and I only take dictation.
Talk about getting yourself out of the way! Seriously the best advice ever. I am definitely going to remember this.
The holidays may be over, but you can just feel that January let-down in the air. The wonderful Esther Lombardi of About.com's Classic Literature blog has the cure: Reading. So read away all those expectations that weren't met, the wish to do it better next time, that pressure to make the resolutions stick. Read, read, and be happy!
By Corrie GoldmanThe Humanities at Stanford
Fascinating article. Seems that reading makes us smart. And reading Austen makes us smarter (I can take liberties with the findings if I want to.)
But what's really fascinating to this reader is that the folks conducting the study chose "Mansfield Park" for t their test subjects. "Mansfield Park," with which many Janeites have a love-hate relationship, and which has caused many a flame war on Austen forums.
Personally, I've grown to admire it, but I cannot help but wonder why they didn't choose a more popular read, such as "Pride and Prejudice" or "Persuasion."
Another thought: Has anyone ever tried to think, let alone read, for pleasure or study, inside an MRI? It's sort of like having a jackhammer next to your head. A jackhammer that laughs at noise-cancelling headphones and says, "As if."
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
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"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
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It takes me about three minutes of cocktail party chat to sell The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After as the perfect graduation present to any father of a young woman in her teens or early twenties. Why? Well, they're men, and they love their daughters. They know male psychology from the inside, and they're terrified that the young women they care about -- educated and polished, extraordinarily competent in so many ways -- will lose in the battle of the sexes. Not in education, or sports, or the world of work, but in the bedroom.
Good to see this in a prominent place. Echoes much of what I've been thinking for a long time about the relationship wisdom of Austen's novels. And gave me new things to think about:
For example, I would not have thought it an advantage that the large parties and lack of one-on-one contact of Austen's day was an advantage in getting to know a man. But Kantor brings up a very valid point: "Keep enough distance so you can see the guy in perspective...without getting so close that they became prematurely "attached."
My interpretation? Instead of falling into bed on the first or the fifth date, you get to see him in action at a large, public event, such as a picnic (Mr. Knightley at the Box Hill fiasco), or a dance (Mr. Knightley gallantly asking Harriet to dance), or at a party (Willoughby acting as if he hardly knows you and paying his attention to another woman).
Anyhow, THE JANE AUSTEN GUIDE TO HAPPILY EVER AFTER sounds great, and I'm happy that someone wrote it!
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.
It's always exciting to see one of my novels on a best-of list at this time of year. This year, CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT appears on Amused by Book's Favorite Books of 2011 list.
I love the scope and diversity of this list, which includes JANE EYRE and BOSSYPANTS. Who wouldn't want to be in the company of Charlotte Brontë AND Tina Fey?
(Can you just picture the cocktail party conversation?)
Thank you, Amused by Books.
We all like to escape into a good novel and enter the lives of our favorite characters, especially during the holiday season.
But did you ever wonder what your favorite characters read when they feel like entering another world? (There are no limits of time period.)
For example, in Book One of THE JOURNEYS OF JOHN AND JULIA, a brilliant new fantasy series by debut novelist Aurelia, one of the characters curls up with my novel RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT.
From this comes my 2011 Holiday Readathon challenge:
Choose a character from one of your favorite books, and ask yourself which novel he or she would turn to for the perfect getaway read. (Remember: Time period is no limit--let your imagination go wild.)
Post your answer to enter my Holiday Readathon Giveaway.
Two lucky winners will each win two novels: THE JOURNEYS OF JOHN AND JULIA IN CHAPTER ONE: GENESIS by Aurelia, and RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT by me.
THE JOURNEYS OF JOHN AND JULIA IN CHAPTER ONE: GENESIS is sure to become one of your absolute favorite novels. It is is a must-read, whether or not you win this giveaway.
Secretly guided by a magical collective of superbeings called The Twenty-Two, a pair of teens crack open the door to another reality—and unwittingly awaken the sleeping beast of their nemesis-to-be, the beyond evil Niem Vidalgo Oten.
“Cool new series…Anyone who is a fan of 'Heroes' will definitely enjoy Genesis.”—Tim Kring, creator of the NBC TV series "Heroes"
TO ENTER, YOU CAN:
Post your answer here in the form of a comment.
Post your answer on my Facebook page.
Post your answer on my Twitter feed with the hashtag #Readathon.
Post all three, and you'll have three chances to win THE JOURNEYS OF JOHN AND JULIA IN CHAPTER ONE: GENESIS and RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT.
This giveaway is open to the US, UK, and Europe. Ends Sunday, Dec. 4 at midnight PST.
Good luck, happy holidays, and don't forget to sign up for the Holiday Readathon at WhoRuBlog, aka Holiday Readathon Central!
Technorati Tags: Aurelia, Aurelia author, Holiday Readathon, Jane Austen, Jane Austen Addict, Laurie Viera Rigler, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, The Journeys of John and Julia, The Journeys of John and Julia in Chapter One: Genesis, The Journeys of John and Julia: Genesis
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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.
From my Goodreads shelf:
The Journeys of John and Julia in Chapter One: Genesis by Aurelia
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"Get ready for the adventure of your life. This masterful debut novel will have you turning pages long into the night and contemplating them well after the story ends. Or shall I say begins? For "The Journeys of John and Julia: Genesis" is but the first installment of what promises to be a brilliant series. The author weaves a shimmering tapestry with words, populates it with unforgettable characters, and ushers us into a world that is by turns magical, frightening, and ultimately empowering."
And if you're a Heroes fan like I am, this blurb from Heroes creator Tim Kring will really send you over the edge:
“Imagine a life off the grid and all the comforts it offers to a teenager. When John and Julia, the 13-year-old heroes in this cool new series find themselves without signal in ‘backwards’ Cedarwood Ridge, it becomes apparent that they need all their energy to battle unspeakable evil forces while receiving superhero-training by a collective of magical beings. All totally useful stuff, since their and our entire future may be at stake. Anyone who is a fan of ‘Heroes’ will definitely enjoy Genesis.”
By the way, what I didn't mention in my own review is that the characters in The Journeys of John and Julia also have really good taste. In fact, one of the characters is curled up with Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict. And you know what? Jane from Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict stayed up all night with The Journeys of John and Julia. And so did Wes. It's a perfect book for a young lady from 1813. And a guy from 2011. And kids and teens like Wes's teenage niece Emma, who's been telling all her friends to read it.
As Jane Austen put it in Northanger Abbey:
Alas! if the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard?
Technorati Tags: Heroes, Jane Austen, Jane Austen Addict, Northanger Abbey, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, The Journeys of John and Julia, The Journeys of John and Julia by Aurelia, The Journeys of John and Julia in Chapter One: Genesis, Tim Kring
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Do you turn to a favorite novel for escape? Check out my guest post on Fiction Therapy at the Chick Lit Central blog, and enter the giveaway:
Two lucky winners will each receive a personally inscribed copy of RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT.
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Check out my guest post on chicklitclub.com, where I explore the comic parallels between Helen Fielding's BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY and Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. And Fielding's amusing deviations therefrom.
Except that in the book it was a diamond-patterned jumper and bumblebee socks.)
"My idea of good company, Mr. Elliot, is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation…"—Anne Eliot, in Jane Austen's PERSUASION
Last week I had the great pleasure of connecting with a group of clever, well-informed people in Delhi, India. A book group. Via Skype video call.
This was the most geographically distant (8,000 miles from my home) and diverse book group I've chatted with so far. Members hailed from Denmark, Scotland, The Netherlands, England, Sweden, New Zealand, Dominican Republic, and the USA. A twelve-and-a-half-hour time difference meant that while these lovely ladies were raising their wineglasses, I was saying "cheers" with my cappuccino.
What was most inspiring about this group is that the members are a beautiful example of how a love of reading can bring people together, no matter where they are coming from, geographically or otherwise.
[From left, Ada from Domican Republic, Sarda from New Zealand, Pia from Sweden, Tessa from London, Dieuwke from The Netherlands, Mette from Denmark, and Hazel from Scotland. Linda from New York is missing from the photo but present in spirit. Not present in the photo but giving expert technical assistance were Shona (Scottish) and Pat (South African), Hazel's daughter and husband.]
The group was delightful, and our discussions fascinating. As this was a group of expats living in Delhi, they could all relate on a very personal level to the fish-out-of-water theme of my time-travel/body-switching/Austen-inspired novels.
Thanks, ladies, for inviting me into your living room!
Have you invited an author to your book group? I'd love to hear about your experiences.
October 2011 will be the bicentenary of the publication of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, and My Jane Austen Book Club is hosting a blog tour to celebrate.
Each month a different author will post on My Jane Austen Book Club about Sense and Sensibility. Along with the post there will be a monthly giveaway: your comment on the blog will give you the chance to win a book or DVD.
Here's the schedule:
1. January: Jennifer Becton Marriage and money in Sense and Sensibility
2. February: Alexa Adams Sense and Sensibility on screen
3. March: C. Allyn Pierson Inheritance laws and their consequences in Sense & Sensibility
4. April: Beth Pattillo Lost in Sense and Sensibility
5. May: Jane Odiwe Willoughby: a rogue on trial
6. June Deb of Jane Austen in Vermont
Secrets in Sense and Sensibility
7. July: Laurie Viera Rigler Interview with Lucy Steele
8. August: Regina Jeffers Settling for the Compromise Marriage
9. September: Lynn Shepherd
The origins of S&S: Richardson, Jane Austen, Elinore & Marianne
10. October: Meredith @Austenesque Reviews
Sense and Sensibility fanfiction
11. November: Vic @Jane Austen's World
Minor characters in Sense and Sensibility
12. December: Laurel Ann @Austenprose
Marianne Dashwood: A passion for dead Leaves and other Sensibilities
If you comment on Jennifer Becton's upcoming post at My Jane Austen Book Club, you'll be entered in the giveaway of The Three Weissmans of Westport by Cathleen Shine. This novel, published by Picador, is a new modern re-telling of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.
Many thanks to Maria Grazia of My Jane Austen Book Club for hosting this blog tour. See you all at Barton Cottage!
Technorati Tags: Alexa Adams, Austenesque Reviews, Austenprose, Beth Pattillo, C. Allyn Pierson, Jane Austen In Vermont, Jane Austen's World, Jane Odiwe, Jennifer Becton, Laurel Ann Nattress, Laurie Viera Rigler, Lynn Shepherd, My Jane Austen Book Club, Regina Jeffers, Sense and Sensibility, Sense and Sensibility bicentenary, The Three Weissmans of Westport
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Today is Jane Austen's 235th birthday, and each of the bloggers listed at the end of this post, including myself, are posting tributes and challenges and offering lots of fabulous prizes.
Leaving a comment here = one chance to win. The more blogs on the tour you comment on (see list below), the more chances you have to win.
My part in the Jane Austen Birthday Blog Tour begins today, 12/16, and ends Wednesday 12/22 at the stroke of midnight, PST. Other bloggers on the list may end a bit earlier or later. All bloggers will submit the names they draw to our host, who will draw the winners from those names on 12/23.
To enter my giveaway, please leave a comment below. And if you're inspired to do so, feel free to include your birthday wishes to Jane Austen .
Here are mine:
Dear Miss Austen,
On this occasion of your 235th birthday, I would like to thank you for all the wisdom, laughter, and insight that your stories provide. Your words have been a constant guide and an abiding inspiration in my life.
I wish that you could know how many millions of people you have made happy with your stories. I wish that you could see the films that have been adapted from your books. I wish that you could read all those sequels, continuations, and inspired-bys. And I wish I could buy you a birthday drink* (or seven) to help you over the shock!
*By the way, did you know that there's a drink named after you? They say it can be quite a restorative.
With gratitude I remain your humble servant,
Laurie Viera Rigler
LIST OF BLOGGERS PARTICIPATING IN THE AUSTEN BIRTHDAY BLOG TOUR:
Adriana Zardini at Jane Austen Sociedad do Brasil
Laurel Ann at Austenprose (who created the Austentini recipe)
Vic Sanborn at Jane Austen's World
Katherine Cox at November’s Autumn
Karen Wasylowski at her personal blog
Laurie Viera Rigler (that's me) at Jane Austen Addict Blog
Lynn Shepherd at her blog
Jane Greensmith at Reading, Writing, Working, Playing
Jane Odiwe at Jane Austen Sequels
Alexa Adams at First Impressions
Regina Jeffers at her blog
Cindy Jones at First Draft
Janet Mullany at Risky Regencies
Meredith at Austenesque Reviews
and our host, Maria Grazia, at My Jane Austen Book Club
Books – (signed copies):
Posted at 12:05 AM in Austen Wisdom, Blogs, Books, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Contests/giveaways, Film, Food and Drink, Jane Austen, Literature, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict | Permalink | Comments (77) | TrackBack (0)
Technorati Tags: Bespelling Jane Austen, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Darcy's Passions, First Impressions: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice, Intimations of Austen, Jane and the Damned, Jane Austen Birthday Blog Tour, Jane Austen birthday bloggers, Jane Austen birthday giveaway, Jane Austen's birthday, Murder at Mansfield Park, My Jane Austen Book Club, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, Willoughby's Return
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Shop till you drop? How about you read till you need...to read some more! Really, is there anything better to take the edge off all that holiday stress than a good book?
WhoRuBlog is hosting a fabulous Holiday #Readathon, Dec. 2-5, and the Jane Austen Addict Blog is joining the fun. My mini-challenge for the Holiday #Readathon is:
Name your favorite holiday comfort read and tell us why it works for you. Enter your answer as a comment here on the blog OR as a tweet @austen_addict. Winner of this draw will receive personally inscribed copies of both CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT and RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT. ENTER BY MIDNIGHT PST DEC. 5.
Go to WhoRuBlog and check out its beautiful mini-challenge that is truly in the spirit of holiday giving. See the wonderful list of bloggers who are holding their own mini-challenges, including lots more giveaways. And there's a Twitter party, too, on December 5th. Why not sign up for them all!
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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
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I am reading a lovely book by my friend Debbie Tenzer, called DO ONE NICE THING. If you've ever felt overwhelmed by all the suffering in the world and felt powerless to do anything about it, this book will help change all that.
Because there is something you can do. Even if you're as
busy as most people are in this crazy multi-tasking overly scheduled world.
Even if you don't have deep pockets.
From grocery shopping for a sick friend to organizing donations of canned goods to a local food bank to making a $25 micro-loan that changes a life in a remote part of the planet, there are dozens of accessible Nice Things that you can do in this book.
So what does all this have to do with Jane Austen? Aside from the fact that in my world, everything has something to do with Jane Austen?
A lot, actually.
Jane Austen had plenty to say about everyday acts of kindness towards our fellow humans. Ladies of Austen's class were expected to care for the poor and relieve their sufferings through gifts of food, money, and clothes, and through personal visits to needy families in the parish.
But that didn't mean one had to be a saint then--or today--in order to Do One Nice Thing. Nor did one have to be a saint in Jane Austen's day. Consider the vain, deluded, matchmaking-obsessed heroine of EMMA. Helping those in need is one of the qualities that make her loveable in spite of her flaws:
Emma was very compassionate; and the distresses of the poor were as sure of relief from her personal attention and kindness, her counsel and her patience, as from her purse.
Even the relatively impoverished, disabled Mrs. Smith in PERSUASION was making thread-cases that she sold in order to help those less fortunate than she.
Contrast that with the selfishness of Elizabeth Elliot in PERSUASION, who, upon hearing that her family is in debt and must make reductions to its customary state of luxury, responds as follows:
Elizabeth, to do her justice, had, in the first ardour of female alarm, set seriously to think what could be done, and had finally proposed these two branches of economy, to cut off some unnecessary charities, and to refrain from new furnishing the drawing-room.In Jane Austen's world, kindness did not end with charitable acts to one's neighbors. Care for the well-being of one's friends and family was as essential then as it is today. Which is why the selfish and miserly John and Fanny Dashwood of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY are comic figures as they debate John's deathbed promise to his father to help provide for the dying man's widow and three daughters.
Says Fanny Dashwood of the widow and children's financial
"Five hundred a year! I am sure I cannot imagine how they will spend half of it; and as to your giving them more, it is quite absurd to think of it. They will be much more able to give you something."
Despite Austen's skewering of the selfish and miserly, she
is always practical in her sensibilities. Take this line from Emma:
"If we feel for the wretched, enough to do all we can for them, the rest is empty sympathy, only distressing to ourselves."So stop distressing yourself and do something. Just DO ONE NICE THING. Start here. Start now. You'll feel so much better. And more important, you will spread happiness to others. And they to others. And so on.
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.
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Many people are surprised when I tell them that I grew up in a house with only a handful of books. Neither of my parents were readers—my mother has, in recent years become a voracious reader—but luckily back then there were three ways by which I was able to indulge my incessant need for books: the bookmobile that visited my neighborhood, the library bus that took me to my local public library, and my school library.
[Two kinds of bookmobiles: One from the Meridian Library in Meridian, Idaho; and the other from the Camel Book Drive in Kenya. For more information about the wonderful Camel Book Drive,* and to see how you can help, click here.
For me, the library was a magical place where smiling ladies handed me the keys to endless doors that opened onto exciting new worlds and infinite possibilities. Libraries were the place where I discovered the sanctuary of story. The wonder of imagination. The power of the word.
Were it not for libraries and librarians, I would not be who I am today. Which is why I will always be grateful to librarians, library support staff, and all the generous folks who support these sanctuaries and champions of reading.
And so I am particularly excited to be doing a reading and signing of RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT at Glendale Public Library. This is a particularly vibrant, exciting place with lots of community events and a dynamic staff whose mission is "to enrich life, foster literacy, inspire intellectual curiosity and stimulate the imagination."
And they're also a lot of fun.
So take a break from the heat and have a glass of iced tea with me at Glendale Public Library. I look forward to seeing you there!
Thursday, August 20
Reading and Signing of RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT
Glendale Public Library Auditorium
222 East Harvard Street, Glendale
Click here for a map.
Click here for parking.
*Author Masha Hamilton wrote a beautiful novel about this real-life camel book drive called The Camel Bookmobile. I highly recommend it!
What does that mean, you might ask?
BrantFlakes is the blog of author Marilyn Brant, whose upcoming Austen-inspired book, ACCORDING TO JANE: A NOVEL ABOUT PRIDE, PREJUDICE, & THE PURSUIT OF THE PERFECT GUY, comes out October 2009. ACCORDING TO JANE is already a winner—it won the 2007 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements.
So what is AustenFest?
Here is the AustenFest lineup:
6/24/09: Kim Wilson, author of TEA WITH JANE AUSTEN and IN THE GARDEN WITH JANE AUSTEN, which is nominated for a 2009 Regency World Award for Best New Nonfiction.
6/26/09: Abigail Reynolds, author of THE PEMBERLEY VARIATIONS series of novels.
6/29/09: Laurie Viera Rigler (that's me), author of RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT, which comes out June 25; and CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT, which is nominated for a 2009 Regency World Award http://www.janeausten.co.uk/awardsurvey.ihtml for Best New Fiction.
Although Marilyn Brant won't be doing a Q&A herself, she just received the ARCs of ACCORDING TO JANE and will be giving away at least one of them.
Each of these authors is giving away at least one book, so be sure to go to AustenFest to enter!
Technorati Tags: Abigail Reynolds, AustenFest, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Laurie Viera Rigler, Marilyn Brant, Marilyn Brant, Regency World Awards, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, Syrie James
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Another giveaway: Send an email to Austenblog (see rules here) by noon on December 21 to be eligible for a random drawing. The winner will received an inscribed copy of CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT.
Even if you don't win the book, you'll be happy you stopped by Austenblog, It's the perfect respite from holiday madness and one of my favorite spots in the Janeiverse.
Check out my guest post at Book Club Girl, which is one of my absolute favorite blogs. I talk about giving books for the holidays and, in particular, giving a book by Jane Austen.
If you post a comment at Book Club Girl by Thursday, December 18, you'll be eligible to enter a drawing for one of two signed copies of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, which I'm giving away in honor of the holiday season and Jane Austen's birthday (that's today, December 16th).
[This is my second guest post for Penguin USA's blog.]
Ever assume that the protagonist of a novel is a self-portrait of the author? I have.
I make the author-equals-protagonist assumption so often that I have to laugh at myself when I catch myself at it. For example, I was happily reading Literacy and Longing in L.A., the story of a bibliophile who uses books for comfort and escape (oh how I could relate to that), when my fuzzy cocoon of protagonist/author/me kindredness broke open upon the protagonist's announcing her dislike for Jane Austen. What?! My favorite author scorned by the book-loving heroine of a book I really like?
After the initial shock passed, I reconnected with the heroine. After all, poor misguided thing, look what she was missing out on: Jane Austen. It didn't even occur to me that her tastes might not be shared by her creators, coauthors Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack. In fact, when I was about to meet Jennifer and Karen as my fellow panelists at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, I actually felt a bit of trepidation. Would these Austen-hating authors snub me? After all, the title of my novel, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, says it all.
No, I told myself, that's just plain silly. And of course, they were absolutely lovely. To my surprise, Karen Mack even mentioned the Austen thing during the panel. It seems that she and Jennifer had received quite a lot of angry emails from Jane Austen devotees berating them for their lack of literary taste. Karen wanted it on record that although her protagonist had no use for Austen, both Karen and Jennifer love her.
I was duly chastened. Not that I was one of the people who had fired off an angry email (nor did I have an impulse to do so). But I, like them, had not questioned my assumption that author equals protagonist.
As an author, I should have known better. After all, many a reader has assumed that at least parts of Courtney, the protagonist of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, are exactly like me. And I don't mean just her taste in books. The question is usually couched in polite language, e.g., "How much of Courtney is you?" But I imagine what they really want to know is do I thrive on high drama, consider vodka to be one of the four basic food groups, and can I "be had," as Bette Davis famously quipped in All About Eve, "for the price of a cocktail, like a salted peanut."
Notice I'm not answering the questions. [Pauses to sip from huge martini glass.]
See? You fell for it.
Here is the real answer: Authors are like actors. We step inside the minds of the characters who speak to us, we hear what they say, and we become them, we live inside their worlds—while we are writing, that is. Not that we don't think about them all the time when we're away from our desks, hear them inside our heads, see scenes unfolding. But we still know the difference between them and us.
At least I hope we do.
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[You can read my guest post here or on Book Club Girl. In any case, check out Book Club Girl, a priceless resource for anyone who has a book group, wants to start a book group, or just loves to read. ]
I was en route to Jefferson, Texas to give a reading of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict to the Pulpwood Queens Book Club when
the flight attendant announced that he wasn't quite sure our landing
gear was working. There probably wasn't anything to worry about, he
said, though I later learned that the Shreveport Fire Department was
out in full force to greet us just in case. Hands gripping the armrest,
I turned to the woman sitting next to me and said, "Why did they have
to tell us that?" She shrugged. And so I said some prayers and then
went back to my book; I was reading Emma.
If those last twenty minutes of flight time were to be my last twenty
minutes alive, I would go down reading Jane Austen. Sure enough, Austen
took me out of myself, out of my fears, and into Highbury, where Emma
danced with Mr. Knightley at the Crown. And before I knew it, the plane
was safely on the ground.
Like the protagonist of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict , I use Austen as comfort, guidance, and a cure for a host of ills that come with modern living. Unlike her, I found myself transported not to Regency England, but to Beauty and the Book, the headquarters of the Pulpwood Queens, and the only beauty salon/bookstore in America. Their motto? "Where tiaras are mandatory and reading good books is the rule!" At Beauty and the Book, bookshelves lined with must-reads face racks of RedKen products, and stacks of the club's monthly picks are flanked by hairdryers. Tiaras and other rhinestone goodies are also on offer. One thing that struck me was the absence of gossip magazines, the typical reading fare of hair salons. Then again, there is nothing typical about Beauty and the Book. If you want to read while you're getting your hair done, there are plenty of choices, but they don't include accounts of celebrity divorce and who made a fashion faux pas on the red carpet.
At the meeting, book club members, most decked out in tiaras, some sporting the club's signature hot pink T-shirt, seat themselves in hairstyling chairs to tuck into fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and other Southern delights they've cooked specially for the occasion. Kathy Patrick, the original Pulpwood Queen and author of the upcoming Pulpwood Queens' Tiara-Wearing, Book-Sharing Guide to Life, is the charismatic and benevolent ruler, making announcements, encouraging everyone to fill a plate and get comfy. This group is here to have fun, but first and foremost it is there to fulfill Kathy's mission, which is "to get the world reading."
And so the readings and discussions began. This month there were two selections, and so I not only got to read and discuss Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, I got to meet Masha Hamilton and listen to her read from her wonderful novel, The Camel Bookmobile, as well as hear about the real Camel Book Drive she's launched as a result of writing her book.
When the last bite of chocolate pie had been consumed and the last of the tiara-wearing Queens filed out the door, Masha and I were in for yet another treat: hair tips from Kathy, who showed us some cool tricks for last-minute special looks. As I left this enchanted place, I wondered, What would Jane Austen think of Beauty and the Book and The Pulpwood Queens? I'm convinced she'd love them. For one, the Pulpwood Queens live up to what Anne Eliot said in Persuasion: "My idea of good company... is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation." The Queens are definitely my idea of good company--truly a delightful group of women who were full of questions and stimulating ideas. As for their Jefferson, Texas venue, I am reminded of the circulating libraries of Austen's day, often fashionable places where patrons could borrow books for a fee, and which also sold jewelry and other trinkets. If they had offered hairstyling, too, they might have been nearly as perfect as Beauty and the Book.
Book Club Girl Here: Laurie, this sounds like it was great fun and I'm glad you got to meet Masha Hamilton too! I grabbed some photos from your site and here's a link to all the rest of them.
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