Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Summer I Spent with Jane Austen by Tamara of Traveling with T

Today we welcome Tamara of Traveling with T!  Austen is one of my fave authors so this post thrilled me!


A couple of years ago, I confessed a huge #literaryconfession: I had never read a book by Jane Austen. Oh, I knew the basic plot line of Pride and Prejudice (having watched bits and pieces of the various movie adaptations) and I knew Mr. Darcy’s classic lines. But, the actual sitting down and holding the book in my hand, I did not know.

Cue Twitter: I virtually met this great group of people on Twitter who were HUGE Jane Austen fans. The more I talked to them, the more they encouraged me to give Jane a chance (but they were totally not judge-y of the fact that I had not read ole Jane). So, finally- I sat down and pulled up Jane’s Pride and Prejudice on my Kindle and began to read. And read. And read some more.

At one point, in the book, I believe I hollered out “Jane, ole Jane, did you not have an editor? Did someone not think that removing some of these pages would be a good idea?” (I’ll pause while you get your smelling salts). I considered sitting the book down several times. I may have even muttered sentences such as “This is why I don’t read classics. It takes me too long to get into the flow of the language.” At less than 300 pages, I figured it would not take me that long to read ( I read 300 page books ALL THE TIME!) But the language, gee good golly, the language- I just wasn’t taken with it.

Until I was.

I finally get to the part of the book where Darcy proposes to Elizabeth- and from then on, I’m loving it. I’m interested. I want to know what happens next.

By August, I had finished Pride and Prejudice (not reading all the time- I did set the book aside several times to pick up other books that were tempting me with their luscious covers) and I began to think about Jane and all that she was saying in Pride and Prejudice. And, truly, how universal the themes of Pride and Prejudice are- love, secrets, betrayal, and family.


In the end, even as I bemoaned Jane and the so flowery language of her time- I was a better person for sticking with the book and spending my summer with Jane. 



14 comments :

  1. P&P was standard text for English Lit courses when i was growing up (I remember my English teacher bemoaning the fact that it took the BBC to get us into Northanger Abbey)...

    The prequels/sequels have been of mixed fortune - Longbourn by Jo Baker I thought was great; Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James - shit Austen book, great P. D James; Follies Past by Melanie Kerr was an ok prequel

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    1. I took American Lit in college (in the summer!) and we got to watch all the movies like Moby Dick, Little Women, etc. P&P did not get a mention- although Wuthering Heights may have.

      I may one day get to prequels/sequels- but I'm not sure!

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  2. I have to admit that I haven't read Jane Austen either and I even picked up a copy of Pride and Prejudice while in London last year! You've tempted me to read it so it just doesn't look pretty on my bookshelf!

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    1. YES! The books are so lovely looking! It was a good read- once I got into it (but it took a long time AND it was not an easy read!) I can't wait to hear what you think!

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  3. I confess that I have not read Jane Austen either. I am encouraged by your post to give Pride and Prejudice a try!

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    1. WHOO! I'm a book pusher :) :) Yay!!!!!!

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  4. I felt like you did and read P &P a couple years ago and jusr like you was grumbling through the first 3/4 of the book. Until when I all of a sudden stop and couldn't put ot down.

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    1. I'm so glad I wasn't the only one who felt like that. I told my cousin how I felt and she was all "that's so wrong to feel about Jane Austen" But I'm all about shooting it straight from the hip & telling how I feel- AND JANE NEEDED TO EDIT A BIT. :) :) Thank goodness for the magic moment where I got into this book or else me and Jane would have parted on not so friendly terms :)

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  5. I was late to the party too, T. And like you, it took awhile for me to get used to the slower pace. My friend gave me The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins. Took me forever to get through that one! Feels good when you finish though, doesn't it?!

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    1. YES! YES! YES! Once I finished- I was all Superwoman like- "I am woman, hear me roar"!!

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  6. Me too - late to the Austen party :) I finally listened to the audiobook and loved it. I have a print copy on the shelf just in case I want to read it again. Oh, both the BBC version and most recent movie adaptation are in my dvd collection.

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    1. Ooh, I never thought abt listening to the audio version. Now I wonder if I might have liked that better. I have the latest movie version with Keira Knightley (but the BBC version is always on one of those satellite channels!)

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  7. I'm glad you gave this a try, even if it didn't turn out to be your thing. I actually love Jane Austen's writing style and the style of most other classics. I think the language is beautiful :)

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  8. This is where I must confess that I have only read one Austen and that was actually an audiobook of Pride and Prejudice. To be honest, I am not one of those raving Austen fans, but I will say that I am glad that I read it and someday, I may pick up another of her books.

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