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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Jane Austen Novels for August and September--Join James!

James of "James Reads Books"(see sidebar) is hosting a month-by-month read-a-long of all of Jane Austen's novels. He began the program in July, when he sponsored  Sense and Sensibility. Follow the preceding link to see his introductory post to the read-a-long.

In August, the chosen title is Pride and Prejudice, and I have decided to re-read it. (Yes, still in tune with my goal to return to favorite authors.) My last reading of P and P was junior year in (gasp!) high school, 48 years ago--can it be that long ago? Ouch! A Penguin edition arrived today and I'm already onto reading Chapter 7. I find the films of Austen's novels, as entertaining as they've been, to be very distracting to Austen's intentions, her language, her themes, everything. So Colin Firth and all the rest are absolutely banished from this house until later in 2018! 

In September, James is hosting Mansfield Park,  the Jane Austen novel that I have never read, the book she believed was her best, the most complex thematically, and in honor of that, I cashed in a gift card to order the Harvard University Press hardcover edition of Mansfield Park: The Annotated Edition, edited by Deidre Shauna Lynch, which was published late in 2016. It is a colorful coffee-table book and it arrived today. It's not only a beautiful book, but for a coffee-table book it's extraordinarily readable, unlike some overly florid annotated editions. A regular paperback copy of the novel arrived today as well so I can read it alongside the annotated edition. (Sometimes, at least for me, beautiful annotated editions with gorgeous photographs and sidebar criticisms are apt to distract me from a work of art, so I plan to read several chapters of the paperback and then go over the annotations afterwards.) I'm very enthused about this. 

August is the month of Doldrums or the "Dog Days," so I'm hoping someone out there might enjoy reading along with us.


6 comments:

  1. Hope you enjoy Mansfield Park--it's good and much funnier than its reputation. I cannot imagine going 48 years between P&P readings, but I confess that I haven't read it in roughy 15 years because I was saturated by it.

    Austen is a perennial favorite, but everywhere these days.

    Happy reading.

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    1. So much has been debated about themes and issues in Mansfield Park, that I'm sure I'll find it fascinating. The coffee table edition is gorgeous!

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  2. I read Pride and Prejudice for this read along also, and I am now working on a post about it. I am always daunted by trying to write up my thoughts on a classic. I was not sure how I would feel about the book after all this time, but I loved it.

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    1. Hi Tracy,
      You are so far ahead of me! I'm less than 100 pages into Pride and Prejudice. And I know precisely what you mean about writing your thoughts about a classic, and a super-classic at that. It is daunting--but you write your book reflections, reviews, and discussions so well, in my opinion, that I think you should go with your gut and what you loved so much about the book "after all this time." Hmmm...I guess that's what I will probably do. Best wishes!

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  3. Thanks for plugging this Read All A-Long here. I've decided not to try to come up with something original to say about each book. It's all been said so many times before. Instead, I'm just going with my reactions to each one, what I enjoyed about them, and what it was like for me to read them. I'm trying to keep it all fun.

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    1. Your thoughts are mine, exactly. I agree with you that personal reflections on such a well-known classic are the way to go.
      However, that's how I approach most of the books I discuss.
      And FUN is what I've had so far with this read-a-long.

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