Tag Archives: Jane Austen

Persuasion- Jane Austen


Persuasion was my May read for the To Be Read Pile Challenge

Synopsis (from amazon)

Spendthrift baronet Sir Walter overlooks Anne Elliot, his middle daughter, as he’s more concerned with his good looks and social ranking. Anne’s mother died years ago so and her sisters are not close to the refined, sensitive Anne, who appears destined for spinsterhood at age 27. She pines for Frederick Wentworth, however, and life takes an unexpected turn when Frederick re-enters her life.

 

Review

 

It’s taken me too long to get around to writing this review…after all it’s June now.

 

Part of that is that I really feel I have nothing to say on Persuasion. I’m sure I remember people telling me it was their favourite Austen…but I was also sure that it was in the comments when I reviewed Northanger Abbey– which it isn’t. It did say in the comments that they are two very different books- which they are. I really liked Northanger Abbey. It was humourous, and a little gothic. Persuasion was much more serious. It had a little light relief in form of Anne’s family. However generally I found Mary annoying (she was a bit like Mrs Bennett of Pride and Prejudice- but without Mr Bennett to make her seem funny), and Sir Walter shallow. I could see how they could both be light and funny- I just didn’t experience them that way.

 

I did like Anne though, and that’s what kept me reading.

 

Probably my least favourite Austen so far

 

3/5

 

Buy it:
Kindle (free!)
Paperback (£5.43)

 

Other Reviews:

 

Did I miss your review? Leave me a link in comments and I will add it here.

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Emma- Jane Austen


This book was read as part of The Rory List

Synopsis (adapted from amazon)

Beautiful, rich, self-assured and witty, Emma Woodhouse delights in match-making those around her, with no apparent care for her own romantic life. Taking young Harriet Smith under her wing, Emma sets her sights on finding a suitable match for her friend.

Review

Why is it I can’t find a none spoilerish synopsis of Emma?

Reportedly Austen said of Emma that she was a

‘heroine whom no one but myself will much like’

and I must admit at least when it comes to my own opinion of her that I must agree. I did not take to Emma the character at all. She was such a snob. And just generally judgemental, she decided who she liked at didn’t before she even met them, and then of course when she got to know them she could only find things to support that. (Highlight for spoiler) and she did not deserve Mr Knightly, who was probably my favourite character in the whole book, but maybe he was good for her.

Overall though I did enjoy Emma. I found it rather amusing, especially when Emma was just so clueless but convinced that she was right. It kind of feels mean to laugh at her but sometimes you rage at her, so you know it’s good to be able to laugh at her.

Incidentally I now realise why the film Clueless (which is based on Emma) is called Clueless.

3.5/5

Buy it (cheapest options listed):

Kindle (free)

Paperback (£1.99)

Hardback (£6.74)

Other Reviews:

Booketta’s Book Blog

Reflections of a Fine Book Connoisseur

Have I missed your review? Post me our link in comments and I will add it here

 

Just for the fun of it

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On Covers, Readership and The Bell Jar


Recently there has been lots of fuss around the new cover for The Bell Jar (see above). Lots of people have been saying that the cover doesn’t reflect the book, that it makes the book look unsubstantial, that it has an aura of chick-lit around it.

Really this post isn’t about The Bell Jar cover as such, but I feel seeing as it’s what has inspired this post then I should at least make my own feelings on this known. So, in brief. I can see how the cover can be seen as being chick-lit like. The lipstick, the pretty woman, the mirror. However I think if it’s a chick-lit cover then it’s chick-lit about a sad woman, I mean look at those lips, look at that reflection. If it does indeed attract chick-lit readers then once they see the image closer up then they will see that it is different, but may be interested enough to look further.

Anyway Faber & Faber answered the concerns this week. Key in their reasoning was the idea of a new readership, a reader who…

will enjoy its (The Bell Jar’s) brilliance without knowing anything about Plath’s other work.

There’s a certain deja-vu about it all. What was it that Bloomsbury said of the new editions of Harry Potter? What did Headline say of their new ‘chick-lit style’ Austen covers? It always seems to be finding a new readership, but does it work?

Well there could be quite a shock for people who pick up The Bell Jar based on its new cover, especially if they are reading it based solely on the cover image. Whilst I can personally see a sadness there is it just because I know The Bell Jar? If I knew nothing of the Bell Jar would I pick it up expecting something light and easy? Even having read the blurb (which gives no real allusions) would I still expect everything to turn out perfectly (because, you know, there aren’t sad endings in chick-lit)?

Even if this new cover gets people to buy The Bell Jar who wouldn’t have previously will you actually be getting a new fanbase (for want of a better word)? How many of these people will give up when they don’t get what they expected and how many will become Plath convertees*? I imagine that there would be people who wouldn’t have considered Plath before who find they actually enjoy The Bell Jar so look into her other works, However I also imagine that there will be people who go for The Bell Jar expecting something else and feel a little like they have been tricked.


After all that’s what a new cover is about isn’t it? About making a book appear differently. I don’t really think that the new cover for The Bell Jar is too bad for this but whilst Jane Austen is in a way the mother of chick-lit the chick-lit style covers do suggest something other than a classic. If you live in a hole and have never heard of Jane Austen you may actually think they are your stereotypical chick-lit books based on the covers (see right). Just don’t ask me what type of hole you can live in to have access to chick-lit but still not know who Jane Austen is.

So what do we think? Are different covers a good idea because they might bring new lovers to old books? Are they just a trick which might get up sales for a bit but ultimately lead to nothing? Or are they just an attempt which will never do anything?

Have you ever bought a book based on a new cover?

 

 

 

*yes, I do realise that convertee is not a real word, but it works, so I’m keeping it

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Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen


Image from Amazon

This book is featured on The Rory List

Synopsis (from Amazon)

The pride of high-ranking Mr Darcy and the prejudice of middle-class Elizabeth Bennet conduct an absorbing dance through the rigid social hierarchies of early-nineteenth-century England, with the passion of the two unlikely lovers growing as their union seems ever more improbable. One of the most cherished love stories in English literature, Jane Austen’s 1813 masterpiece has a lasting effect on everyone who reads it.

Review.

I have ‘known’ Pride and Prejudice for a long time both through the BBC series and the more recent Keira Knightly film, and that’s without mentioning all the modernisations (like Bridget Jones’ Diary), so I have been meaning to actually read it for a long time. Why have I never read it before? Well I don’t tend to have the best of experiences with classics, I gave up on my last one, Vanity Fair. The Hunchback of NotreDame got thrown across the room. I struggled through Rachel Ray, and regretted not giving u. I only liked Jane Eyre in retrospect and was never that into Wuthering Heights.

In fact pretty much the only classic I have enjoyed (that wasn’t written for children) was my first Austen, Northanger Abbey. Not long afterwards in the hope I had found a classic writer I actually enjoyed I started Emma, but on reading a little decided I wasn’t really in the right mood, so I left the classics until now.

So was Northanger Abbey just a flux? I was a bit worried it would be as it’s known as the ‘different’ Austen novel. Certainly it is very different from Pride and Prejudice but still I liked this at least as much. Just as with Northanger Abbey I found that I was laughing a lot more than I had expected. I loved Lizzy. She comes across so much smarter and wittier, and even more caring than she does in either filmed adaptation and while I had liked Lizzy in both (probably more in the BBC version) I got to know her in the same way the book allowed me to (certainly that is probably something that is generally easier to do on the page than on film, but that’s a discussion for another time I think.).

Generally I knew what to expect from the book, in some ways it made it easier to read because in areas when I felt the book was getting a little slow I knew it couldn’t be long until a bit I knew. In other ways though it made it harder to read, because I was eager for those bits. Luckily it has been a while since I had watched Pride and Prejudice so while I wasn’t exactly surprised by events it did occasionally take reading about them to remind me. The one thing I really expected though was for the novel to be told from Lizzy’s point of view and actually that wasn’t so. Certainly you saw much into Lizzy’s mind, and that’s part of the reason that she was such a well constructed character, but you also see a fair bit into Darcy’s mind and to a lesser extend the rest of the Bennett family. Really that was what made the novel for me. Yes, the story is great, but has inspired so many stories that it has become predictable. However the was the characters were written so you could almost be another member of the Bennett family was what made it special.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (free)
Paperback (£1.99)
Hardback (£4.54)

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It’s that time again


Yes it’s time for the hop again. The book blog hop is a great weekly event which helps bloggers to meet one another hosted over at crazy-for-books.com.

Every week Jennifer asks a question this week she’s asking about our favourite newly discovered authors.

For me it’s Jane Austen. Not exactly a new author but I read my first book by her just 3 weeks ago and enjoyed it much more than I expected to and can’t wait for her next one (as in her next one I read…I’m not expecting anything actually new from her!).

Read my review of Northanger Abbey.

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Northanger Abbey- Jane Austen


Synopsis (from Amazon)

At Northanger Abbey Jane Austen’s charmingly imperfect heroine, Catherine Morland, meets all the trappings of gothic horror and imagines the worst. Fortunately she has, at hand, her own fundamental good sense and the irresistible but unsentimental hero, Henry Tilney.

Review.

This is the first Austen I’ve ever read, and one that I’ve been wanting to read for quite some time. I’ve had a bit of a bad relationship with classics in the past, the only one I can say I’ve enjoyed (other than children’s stories) is Jane Eyre- and that I didn’t really enjoy until after I had finished and studied it, which made me think a bit about it and appreciate it more. It was this relationship that made me hold off on Northanger Abbey until now, I really wish I had tried it sooner though. I found it funny, and clever, and (at least in comparison to other classics) easy to read. I really liked Catherine, she wasn’t perfect, she was nieve, and fanciful, and once she got an idea in her head there was no way she could get rid of it. But she was trusting, and sweet and faithful too. I didn’t like Isabelle, she seemed full of herself, and selfish- or maybe more self serving [highlight for spoiler]even before all the stuff with James. I found the ending a little abrupt but that was probably the only thing I didn’t really like. Maybe I’ve just been reading the wrong classics up till now.

Out of interest does anyone know if Persuasion is any way related to Northanger Abbey? The original edition was apparently a sort of double bill with both books and I thought there might be a reason.

4.5/5

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