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.
There's another great social media site for book lovers, and it's called Riffle. One of the most delightful things about Riffle is the ability to create curated book lists of any kind, which you can share with other readers. Creating and reading these lists is delightful in and of itself, but even better is that it is an exciting way to discover new reads and share your enthusiasm for your own favorites.
Here is my very first list:
Been thinking about Shakespeare a lot lately, thanks to rewatching for the third or fourth time the entire three-season series "Slings and Arrows." If you have not seen it, make haste to Netflix or iTunes, because you are in for a treat.
Slings and Arrows is set in a fictional Canadian Shakespeare festival and is all about the alchemy of storytelling and theatre and the best and worst of human behavior. It's hilarious, touching, brilliantly written, and makes the language of Shakespeare, the subtext, the structure, all of it, come to life in a way I have never seen before. Here's a little taste:
Jane Austen (and all roads lead to Austen), whose deep and often comic insights into the highs and lows of human behavior led George Henry Lewes (and, according to him, Thomas Macaulay) to call her "a prose Shakespeare," clearly had an intimate knowledge of the Bard; even seemingly passing references to his works in her novels are fraught with subtext.
Consider Mrs. Dashwood's mentioning to Marianne that the family will defer finishing its reading of Hamlet till Willoughby's return, a return that will not come, and which will lead Marianne into an Ophelia-like attempt at self-destruction.
Or the teasing way in which Catherine Morland of Northanger Abbey is introduced as a girl of little learning but who has amassed a store of useful information from her reading. For example:...from Shakespeare she gained a great store of information - amongst the rest, that
---------"Trifles light as air,That
"Are, to the jealous, confirmation strong,
"As proofs of Holy Writ."
"The poor beetle, which we tread upon,And that a young woman in love always looks
"In corporal sufferance feels a pang as great
"As when a giant dies."
"like Patience on a monument
"Smiling at Grief."
Although Northanger Abbey is a comedy, none of these quotes is lightly chosen. Catherine will be both the object of jealousy and see her brother suffer from it, is deeply compassionate towards those who are suffering, and will be forced to find reserves of patience to endure the wait for the object of her own affections.
Did I ever say Northanger Abbey is Austen's most underrated novel?
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."
It's that time of year again, when women feel like total losers for being single or wait for their men to pass or fail the big Valentine's Day test. Will he screw up and totally forget, buy a cheap trinket instead of the one thing he knows you want, or, even more stressful and high stakes, will he finally pop the question?
Could there be anything more insane than this holiday that's supposed to be all about love?
I was watching the GREY'S ANATOMY Valentine's Day episode today, and one of the characters was a florist who was so exhausted and stressed from the V-Day rush that he accidentally crashed his delivery van into the ER.
Almost dying in service to Valentine's Day madness was a big wake-up call to this florist, who said he would never stress himself out over this holiday again:
"People call you up you know, they ask you, make something beautiful. Yeah, so some sorry schlep can forget they've been treated like crap every day of the year…Like my flowers are magic or something. But I bought it. Nearly killed myself trying to make sure everyone got their little miracle. What a joke. People oughta just stop being so awful to each other, you know? Leave me out of it."
My biggest takeaway from that speech? "People oughta just stop being so awful to each other."
Not bad advice. If we were good to the people we supposedly love every day, we wouldn't have to prove our love on that one day of the year. We could be more like Jane Bennet of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, or Catherine Morland of NORTHANGER ABBEY, or Anne Elliot of PERSUASION. In Austen, kindness is always rewarded, and often with love. Could there be a better recipe for happiness than that?
[Gazing at photos of gorgeous actors playing Austen heroes can also be quite helpful.]
One thing's for sure. Feeling entitled to love, or a certain type of bouquet, or a necklace, or a diamond ring, is a sure recipe for misery.
Just ask that lady in GREY'S ANATOMY who was furious at her admittedly clueless boyfriend for once again giving her a velvet jewelry box on V-Day without a ring inside. I won't spoil it for you if you haven't seen it. It's worth watching.
And so is almost every Jane Austen adaptation ever made for the big or small screen. So if you don't expect to get that perfect bouquet, piece of jewelry, or declaration of love today, be kind. To others. To yourself. Fire up the Blu-ray or the Netflix queue and watch BRIDE AND PREJUDICE or the Colin Firth P&P or the Gwyneth Paltrow EMMA (just a few of my faves) or PERSUASION with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds. Even better, read PERSUASION (my favorite Austen novel) or PRIDE AND PREJUDICE or NORTHANGER ABBEY or, let's face it, any of the six. You'll feel much better, I promise.
Be happy. And wish yourself a very happy Valentine's Day.
Posted at 02:35 AM in Austen movies, Austen Wisdom, Emma, Film, Good Works, Jane Austen, Literature, Love and Marriage, Men, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Relationships, TV | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Tags: Bride and Prejudice, Emma, Grey's Anatomy Valentine's Day episode, Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Valentine's Day
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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!
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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Last year, in the pre-Halloween season, Oxford professor Kathryn Sutherland (see NPR interview) claimed that Jane Austen's manuscripts were heavily edited for punctuation (egads, an altered semicolon!). Here's a piece in The Guardian about Sutherland's findings.
What's most interesting about this tempest in a teapot is that if one reads the two pieces linked above, plus this one in Language Log, Sutherland never once implies that heavy editing of punctuation detracts one iota from Austen's genius. Quite the contrary, in fact. She calls Austen "modern," "experimental," and says that her use of dashes for emphasis, for example, is not to be seen anywhere in literature until Virginia Woolf. This is praise, folks, not censure.
But analysts of all kinds pounced on these findings, concluding that Austen must not have been the brilliant stylist we know and love after all. Sounds like just one more attempt to assert that an unmarried clergyman's daughter who didn't mix in literary circles couldn't possibly write those novels on her own.
And now, just in time for the ghosts of authors past to rise again, comes ANONYMOUS, a movie all about how poor, low-born William Shakespeare couldn't possibly have written all those high falutin' plays. It had to be—wait for it—a British peer.
In this week's New Yorker, David Denby aptly called this theory the "dreariest of snobberies."
So what's scarier than trying to diss a dead author? The fact that such attempts keep rising up no matter how many times we think we've vanquished them. Sort of like the villains in the umpteenth installments of Saw, Scream, or Halloween.
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?
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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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)
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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And read this piece in the Telegraph by Jay McInerney entitled Beautiful Minds: Jane Austen's Heroines, in which "Jay McInerney, novelist and ladies' man, describes his serial crushes on Jane Austen's heroines - and how they shaped his romantic life."
[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.
Tags: All About Eve, Bette Davis, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Jane Austen, Jennifer Kaufman, Karen Mack, Laurie Viera Rigler, Literacy and Longing in L.A.
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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)
Tags: Complete Jane Austen, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Jane Austen, Jane Austen Today, Laurie Viera Rigler, Masterpiece Theatre
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