Saturday, 4 July 2009

Jane Austen Challenge - I could never resist this!!!

Stephanie at Stephanie's Written Word is hosting her very first challenge, starring one my favourite writers, Jane Austen. The Everything Jane Austen Challenge, lets you choose 6 things, any thing with Jane - about her, by her, featuring her or her characters in some way - from July 1, 2009, to Jan 1, 2010. This means anything - one challenger is making a quilt and making three recipes from the Jane Austen Cookbook. So, if you have a needlepoint cushion featuring Jane in some way, hidden away, or have been waiting for an opportunity to watch the entire 6 hours of the best version of Pride and Prejudice ( the one featuring *Colin Firth* and Jennifer Ehle), or watch the entire oeuvre of Jane Austen movies/tv productions available, now is your chance! Stephanie has a wonderful list of Jane-related books and movies also availabe on her site to choose from.

Well, I had two books to read, and was wondering which of the films I wanted to see or novels to reread when, miracle of miracles, at the old used bookstore I used to work at many eons ago - the Bookmarket - I found an out-of-print book that I had given up on finding a few years ago: Letters to Alice, On First Reading Jane Austen, by Fay Weldon.

I think I might have made an audible sound of joy. There is no other way of describing that 'eep' 'eeek' 'oh' and 'ah' mixture that escapes when I first see a book unexpectedly, and joyfully. That book went into my hand and I clutched it all the way home. I'll talk about the other books another time, but this was such a thrill to find. I don't have the book with this cover - I'd give a lot to find that editon!! - my edition (Coronet) alas does not have the cover available on, as it's an English paperback version. It's nothing like that, but does feature Jane on the cover. And, it's about reading Jane Austen and writing. How to be a reader, and how to be a writer. Perfection.

So, this is my Jane list:

1. Letters to Alice, on first reading Jane Austen - Fay Weldon
2. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
3. Persuasion - Jane Austen
4. What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew - Daniel Pool

1. Persuasion - version with Ciaran Hinds and Anne Root
2. Lost in Austen

I don't own Lost in Austen yet, but I've found a video store that carries it.

Now, for those of you who think they want to do more than 6 things with Jane this year, there is already a mini-challenge: one of Stephanie's challenge acceptees, Austenprose, has created a mini-challenge to read or do something with 12 things featuring Jane: Everything Austen Challenge xTwo!! I'm a double winner here - I can easily do 12 things featuring Jane in 6 months! And I've found a new blog that is all about Jane Austen's writings! *sigh*

Of course, what I really want to find is the Jane Austen Cookbook. I saw it years ago in a bookstore and didn't buy it, and now I'm regretting it....actually I regretted a few hours after leaving the bookstore not picking it up. And I haven't seen it since!
Oh dear. I went to, and it was there. Oh dear, I bought a copy. Hmm. I'll figure out some way to explain it to my wonderful husband. So, when it arrives, I will be making two or three recipes from it. There, I'll tell him I needed it.

So, now that I have given in to the dark side (Empire Strikes Back is playing on the tv in the background today, for my daughter. I've given in to the dark side! Or maybe it's the light, nothing about Jane is dark side!!!), I think I will also join the Everything Austen X Two challenge also.

So my 12 things featuring Jane Austen are to be chosen from this list (I am beginning to realize that I need some room to choose what I feel like reading or seeing, or I feel too pinned down and this is supposed to be fun!) now:


1. Letters to Alice, on first reading Jane Austen - Fay Weldon
2. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
3. Persuasion - Jane Austen
4. What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew - Daniel Pool
5. Jane Austen: A Life - Claire Tomalin (a re-read)
and from among:
6. The Private Diary of Mr Darcy - Maya Slater
7. Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict - Laurie Viera Rigler
8. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict - Laura Viera Rigler
9. Jane Austen Ruined My Life - Beth Pattillo
10. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

1. Persuasion - version with Ciaran Hinds and Anne Root
2. Lost in Austen
3. Pride and Prejudice (Keira Knightley version, I don't have Colin and Jennifer in DVD yet)
4. Northanger Abbey (latest ITV version which I loved)

The Jane Austen Cookbook - Maggie Black, Deirdre Le Fayre
- 2 recipes

There. Everything Jane, indeed, for the next 6 months!!!


Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Love the Jane Austen cook book.... now I am thinking I may need it... ahhhh.... maybe I can just look on line for Jane Austen recipes..... :)

One Persons Journey Through a World of Books

Anonymous said...

Love the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice. A little while ago my daughter and I thought about making a quilt for her room that reflected what she called her 'girly Jane Austen side and her angsty gothy teenage side', she also summed up her life as 'somedays are Jane Austen days and somedays are Bronte days'. Anyway we talked about a quilt that would have a black backgound but with flowers and embroidered on the quote about 'pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked', (hope I got that right), we never did get around to making that maybe we should. I love Austens letters, they are amongst my favourite Austen writings.
There are so many books out there that utilise Austens stories and characters. I was just in a bookshop this morning with my daughter and there was a whole shelf, Bell, commented; 'wow, up market fan fic.'
Totally get the joy of discovery in second hand book shops. And the Austen cookbook, what kind of recipies I am intrigued?
Do you think the dramatisations enhance the books? I liked Emma Thompson's version of Sense and Sensibility for that reason. I also really liked the BBC version of Elizabeth Gaskells North and South, for that reason also, maybe the rather attractive Richard Armitage had something to do with it. I saw from an earlier post that you are also a fan of that one. Anyway have fun with Austen.

brideofthebookgod said...

This is where I have a confession to make - I just can't get on with Jane Austen at all, she leaves me totally cold (except perhaps for Northanger Abbey, but even then...)

Michele said...

You know, if you want it badly enough, you can order the book from the Amazon UK website. I know this isn't an issue with Jane Austen, but we've done that with all of the Harry Potter books so that we can read the original text (the US versions are "Americanized").

bermudaonion said...

It looks like you're going to have a lot of fun with this one. Good luck!

JaneGS said...

Okay, so the harder challenge might be to go 6 months without doing anything Austen!

I just signed up to "be" Henry Austen at an upcoming JASNA meeting on siblings, so I am going to be reading the Claire Tomlin bio along with some articles that focus on Henry.

The Letters on First Reading Austen is one of the first Austen paralit books I ever bought and is due for a reread...but I remember liking it. Daniel Poole's books have some accuracy problems, but they are fun to read.

My daughter just finished P&P&Zombies, and enjoyed it...I'll be eager to see if you do the same!

I also loved the new NA--need to watch it again!

Enjoy your challenge.

Susan said...

Sheila: I thought I could look online too, but it was on sale on, so I bought it!!! lol I think I'll share a few though, for the challenge!

BookPusher: I think your daughter speaks for all of us, we all have some Austen days and some Bronte days! I really like that quote! :-D
I'll let you know when the Austen cookbook arrives. I think there will be a demand to copy a few onto a post so everyone can try one or two!! lol

I haven't decided if the dramatizations enhance or annoy me more, because something - some favourite part or another - is always left out in any version of any of them I watch! The Colin Firth one comes closest to catching it all, because it had 6 hours to do so. I've read everything but Mansfield Park, and seen all the different versions put out in the last 20 + years by BBC and ITV. So I guess I do like the tv productions. they let me see what the setting is like - the clothing, fashion, table settings, decor, that kind of thing. And the hand touching - if you notice, in almost every book, at some point their hands meet. Also in North and South, which I just watched again Saturday night! *Richard Armitage* is so good in that roll! I swear I hear his voice now and I start drooling a little....

bride: that's ok! there's so much I don't like, I think Jane Austen is someone a reader either gets or doesn't, like Jane Eyre/Brontes, or Charles Dickens or George Eliot. I still like you!! lol

Michele: we had a copy on the Canadian version of Amazon, so I ordered it :-) thanks!

bermudaonion: thanks! I think I will.

JaneGS: I was thinking of you when I saw this challenge! as you say, it's more of a challenge for you not to read anything Jane for 6 months!!!

I hope you have fun being Henry. Have you ever been Cassandra? or Jane herself?

Wasn't the new NA fun? I do so love the man who plays Henry Tilney, and oh yes, I haven't bought it yet, but it just might find its way home soon too. I'll let you know how the challenge goes and how I like everything. Thanks!

Becca said...

Well, I may have to add Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen to my list for Everything Austen...that sounds simply too delightful to pass up.

Susan said...

Becca: doesn't it, though? I'll let you know when I read it - it's top of my Jane Austen pile. I just need an expanding window of time now to read all these books!!