Sunday, March 1, 2009

Jane and Me

So, I have a confession. Brace yourself ladies, but I have never read a book by Jane Austen. Ever.
I have seen several of the movies (which I realize doesn't count) and I hated every single one.

Since all my friends raved about Austen though, I dutifully pulled Pride & Prejudice off the shelf and dug in. I think I got partway into the second chapter before I had to give it up.
Please understand that it's not about the language or style (I read Shakespeare for pleasure and didn't have a problem getting through Dickens). No, it seems to be Miss Jane's stories themselves that disagree with me.

But then a few weeks ago I saw a movie. You can probably guess which movie it was:and (are you ready for this?) I loved it. I didn't really expect to love it, since I have never loved anything Jane, but I'd heard that it was really popular, and (since our tiny library mostly caters to the fishermen--ie, horror and violence) when I saw it on the shelf I snatched it up. And it was fabulous. I figure I should get my hands on the book since books are always better than the movies made from them, right?
So, due to the movie, I have decided to give Jane another chance. No matter how annoyed I was with any past experience, or how annoyed I may become in the middle of this one... I'm going to read the entire book. (And if I one day suddenly stop blogging, you may assume that I died from the experience.)
Based on JABC, I think have decided which book I want to read, however, I'd be very interested to hear your recommendations and favorites (and why you recommend or love them, of course!) If you're one of the few with whom I've already discussed this, and you already know my choice, no telling, ok?

I can still hate the regency dresses though. They make everybody look fat. Who thought of that style anyway? And the hair?! ewwww!


Katrina said...

I agree with you about the dresses and hair styles of that period. Oh well.
My favorite Jane Austin is Pride and Prejudice (maybe your added maturity and a greater degree of patience would help you try again with that one). My second favorite is Emma. I just love Jane's insights into the human character, and I love the humor in her books.

Kimberlee said...

I read a Jane Austen book either. No real desire too. I will look for an update to see how it goes for you.

Brooke said...

I have never had any desire to read Jane Austin... I think it would make my stomach turn!! I'm not sure if I've seen any movies or not, but probably not. I do, however, like the dresses, at least on women like Gwyneth Paltrow!! They don't look nearly as flattering on the average woman though. I'll be interested to see if you can plow through a novel... Maybe one day I'll do the same since I'm a bit more interested in the time period now than I have been in the past (The Work and the Glory series caused that interest!)

Samurai Mom said...

The brilliance of the regency dress is that it hides a multitude of faults.

I was reluctant to read Jane Austen too. Based off the movies the stories seemed trite and superficial. Then I read the books and learned how wrong I was. These books are about character and being wise.
Pride and Prejudice is my favorite, I like persuasion very much and understand Sense and Sensibility far too well.

Becky N. said...

LOL. I've never read any Jane Austen books either, though I've seen (and felt so-so) about most of the movies. Meh. I don't see the draw very easily.

But I'm with you! I really enjoyed the Jane Austen Book Club. And while it didn't induce me to read an Austen novel, it *did* cause me to try a new (to me) fantasy author... Ursual K. Le Guin. And I really did enjoy the Earthsea books very much!

(I don't like Regency hair, for sure, but I'm torn on the dresses.)

OH! And read Shannon Hale's Austenland sometime, maybe! That's a fun one. :)

Carrie said...

He he...I KNOW you were talking to me with that "no telling" comment!

My favorite is Northanger Abbey because it is really really funny. I also have to confess that I am pretty sure that I never finished P&P even though I was well on my way to finishing before I got distracted by Shannon Hale.

Elizabeth said...

My fave is Pride and Prejudice, I love all the movie versions (there's even a modern LDS version!). I tried reading it and I wasn't too into it. The other movies are ok, I don't care about them as much. You actually wanted to look fat back then- it meant you had some money and didn't have to work. Not to mention that if you got pregnant, then you didn't have to make a whole new dress.

sara said...

I've seen the stupid movie with Kiera Knightly in it. I didn't mind the movie but I just really don't like her.

I think I've read most of the books and I LOVE them. I think Jane Austen is so funny and clever and lucky to be in a family that encouraged education for women and such in that era. She really did have a great understanding of people.

Jamie said...

I've read a couple Jane Austen's books and I find them rather boring. I don't understand the big draw. I do really like the 6 tape (VHS) P&P movie, and now I'll have to check out The Jane Austen Book Club

kathirynne said...

I love Jane Austen. I have a degree in English Literature (pronounced "lit-rature" ;)), and even helped write a Jane Austen curriculum for the English department at my university.

I would start with Emma. The characters in Emma are much more likable than the characters in P&P, and it's a much quicker read.

And, if you don't like Austen, you don't like her. It's okay.

Abby said...

Hello, I'm new to your site and I've been browsing through your posts. They're great!

Anyway, I couldn't help but comment when I read this one and just wanted to tell you that I've read almost all of Jane Austen's books. For someone like you who hasn't really caught the love for them that much, I would recommend Northanger Abbey for a first read.

It's shorter than Austen's other works, and it's got a spooky/mystery twist to it that I really enjoyed.

Anyway, I wish you luck in your endeavor to like Jane Austen.

And thanks for all your great blog posts! We seem to have similar interests (I'm LDS, am trying to get pregnant after just having a miscarriage, and love crafty stuff, too.) Oh, by the way, I love that ear warmer that you knitted. Super cute.

Take care!

Jessica said...

I hated Pride and Prejudice when I read it (ouch) ten years ago and decided then and there I was done with Jane Austen. Then I got married and my Mother-in-law turned out to be a big Austen fan! It took me five years, but I finally decided to give her a chance (Austen, not my MIL), figuring that I am a different person now and perhaps my tastes have changed. Low and behold, I actually enjoyed Sense and Sensibility (so much better than the movie!), although I'm still having a tough time getting through Pride and Prejudice - I think I might just give up and move on to a different one...
Anyway, I think it is a great idea to give Jane Austen another chance - even if you decide you still hate her, you'll know you've given her a fighting chance to win you over!

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