Love at First Page

I don’t believe in love at first sight and if you start talking about it, I’ll likely roll my eyes at you and sigh in your face (rude, I know). However! When it comes to reading, I do believe in love at first page.

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Book Review: Eligible

Eligible
By Curtis Sittenfeld

My Edition:
Hardcover, 492 pages
2016, Random House
ISBN: 9781400068326

The Bennets have come to modern America, Cincinnati, to be precise. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet reside in a crumbling old Tudor, with Mary: currently unemployed and working on yet another Master’s degree, Kitty: currently unemployed and attending a local CrossFit gym with Lydia, and Lydia: currently unemployed and attending a local CrossFit gym with Kitty. Liz and Jane have managed to escape to New York where they work as a magazine writer and yoga instructor respectively. But their father’s recent heart attack has brought the eldest daughters back home where they meet Chip Bingley, recently finished with a stint on a reality dating show and working with Fitzwilliam Darcy at a local hospital.  

I wanted to kick off Austen Month with a retelling of my favorite Austen novel, Pride and Prejudice. I’ve heard this book has mixed reviews, but I enjoyed it immensely and while it wasn’t perfect, I think it’s a fantastic modern adaptation.

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Judging A Book By Its Cover: Pride and Prejudice (XIII)

This is my weekly post where I highlight and appreciate cover designs and the general physical appearance of books. We all judge book covers to some extent. I can’t say that I’ve ever decided against a book with terrible cover art if I liked the sound of the plot, but I have purchased special editions of books or multiple editions of books based on their cover art. If book covers didn’t matter, publishers wouldn’t put out so many beautiful editions!

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Judging A Book By Its Cover: Jane Austen Omnibus

This is my weekly post where I highlight and appreciate cover designs and the general physical appearance of books. We all judge book covers to some extent. I can’t say that I’ve ever decided against a book with terrible cover art if I liked the sound of the plot, but I have purchased special editions of books or multiple editions of books based on their cover art. If book covers didn’t matter, publishers wouldn’t put out so many beautiful editions!

This gorgeous, incredibly heavy, Jane Austen omnibus was a gift from a friend (who blogs about Star Wars, upcoming movies and other nerdy things if you’re interested) and I love the simple, elegant cover design. This is the 2012 Race Point Publishing edition. Cover and slipcase designed by Ziga Media and an introduction by Jennifer C. Garlen. It contains all Austen’s novels, plus Lady Susan and some extras. ISBN: 9781937994181. Some photos also feature my adorable page flags by Girl of All Work.

Judging A Book By Its Cover: Pride and Prejudice (XII)

This is my weekly post where I highlight and appreciate cover designs and the general physical appearance of books. We all judge book covers to some extent. I can’t say that I’ve ever decided against a book with terrible cover art if I liked the sound of the plot, but I have purchased special editions of books or multiple editions of books based on their cover art. If book covers didn’t matter, publishers wouldn’t put out so many beautiful editions!

Eventually I will take pictures of books other than my many copies of Pride and Prejudice, but for now here are some vintage editions. One is another Signet Classics from 1980, and the other is a Pocket Books edition from 1940. The cover (the one with the hands) was one I’d never seen before until my friend gifted it to me! Typically I see a copy online (ususally on Instagram) and add it to my covet list, so it was a delight to see one that was unfamiliar to me.

Judging A Book By Its Cover: Pride and Prejudice (XI)

This is my weekly post where I highlight and appreciate cover designs and the general physical appearance of books. We all judge book covers to some extent. I can’t say that I’ve ever decided against a book with terrible cover art if I liked the sound of the plot, but I have purchased special editions of books or multiple editions of books based on their cover art. If book covers didn’t matter, publishers wouldn’t put out so many beautiful editions!

Yes, more Pride and Prejudice! I don’t think I’ve posted even half my collection. Sad to say, I just don’t consider some of my editions to be worthy of a Judging post. But I do still have more up my sleeve – not to mention the ones I haven’t purchased yet! These are two of my more recent purchased and it’s a bit of a bummer that neither has any illustrations, but they both have lovely cover art. First up we have the fabulous Scholastic edition I found on my honeymoon in Aruba. It’s one I’ve never seen before too! I love the Rorschach feel over the cover art. Published in 2015, ISBN: 9781407158518. The green edition is from Signet Classics and it’s a sturdy little copy that I would actually read (yes, some of my copies will be kept pristine). Published in 2008, ISBN: 9780451530783.

Book Review: Celebrating Pride and Prejudice

Celebrating Pride and Prejudice
By Susannah Fullerton

My Edition:
Hardcover, 225 pages
2013, Voyageur Press
ISBN: 9780760344361

This work examines the language, setting and characters of Pride and Prejudice and how Jane Austen’s creation has come to be so beloved. It discusses the myriad of sequels, prequels and spin-offs written in admiration of her work, as well as the various TV, movie and theatrical adaptations, and even touches on the merchandise that has become available, all long after the respected author’s lifetime.

I’ll say right now, if you really love Pride and Prejudice and you just want to know more about the work and what it has inspired, then read this book. If you’ve never read the book or you weren’t a fan, I’m not sure why you’d pick this up.

Reading this book is sort of like studying, mixed with a slew of facts that would be useful in a P&P themed trivia night. For myself it was also a pretty useful source for Austen-inspired reading (added a few books to my Amazon wishlist) as well as a handy guide to those works that might not be worth pursuing.

It was interesting to read about what other writers thought about Austen’s most famous work and I especially liked hearing that A.A. Milne (of Winnie-the-Pooh fame) thought that if you didn’t enjoy Pride and Prejudice there was something wrong with you. Apparently he smuggled a copy of out of his school library (which didn’t allow borrowing?!)  to read at night and that image just makes me smile.

The book has a chapter dedicated to the various translations of Jane’s work and made me remember how fortunate I feel to be able to read the book in its original language. Just reading about how hard it can be to accurately translate the first sentence of the book, because of the many meanings of certain phrases and the difficulty in conveying Jane’s wit, made me wonder how the book reads in other languages.

Even on film, it can be hard to capture the original source – Elizabeth and Darcy sometimes fall flat, Lady Catherine is constantly portrayed as too old, Mary becomes a caricature, the scenery is wrong, etc. Pride and Prejudice holds a sort of magic for its fans that can never be captured by any other writer or medium.

I certainly learned a few things about the style of Jane’s writing that I never picked up on before and I think it will add to my next re-read. If you’re a big fan, pick this up!

It also has illustrations throughout the book:

Nostalgia Watch: Jane Austen Movies

nos·tal·gia [no-stal-juh] – noun:

A sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

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Long before I was reading Jane Austen’s novels, I was watching films based on them. To be honest, I probably didn’t realize Sense and Sensibility was a novel the first time I watched the movie adaptation starring Alan Rickman. Alan Rickman was the sole reason I borrowed that movie from the library – well, actually, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet also had something to do with it, but Alan was the key factor in my interest.

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I mean, look at that sultry stare!

This film, directed by Ang Lee was released in 1995 with a screenplay by Emma Thompson (which is news to me!) Apparently it took Thompson five years to adapt the novel for the screen, but I think she did a wonderful job, and her writing won an Oscar, so I can’t be the only one to think that!

But I recall borrowing S&S from the library repeatedly (until some years later when I had my own copy on DVD) for my Alan and regency romance fix. I mean, who doesn’t love a helpless lady being carried through the rain by a hot man?

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Yes, I used to wish that was me.

After this, I moved on to the BBC mini-series of Pride and Prejudice (also from 1995) starring Colin Firth, because in high school my quest for hot (albeit older) British men was (and still is) unstoppable.

However, it turned out that the six part, five and a half hour (probably incredibly faithful) adaptation was not handsome enough to tempt me! *cough* I mean, it was boring. All Firth’s beauty couldn’t get me more than a few hours in. I hadn’t read the book yet and I think that’s part of what failed to keep my interest. I think I’ve attempted to watch it once since that first time and still never finished.

Mr. Darcy is grumpy because I’m missing out on the iconic lake scene, which is most certainly not in Miss Austen’s novel but is most certainly appreciated by female fans. Perhaps this month I’ll actually manage to watch this…

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It was some years later before I started my next round of Austen inspired films. This time, I actually read the book first: Bridget Jones’s Diary. Excellent book, by the way. And wouldn’t you know, the film has a couple of my old favorites, and no strangers to Austen films, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant!

Directed by Sharon Maguire, 2001

This film provided me with a more modern Darcy that I could really get behind. My memory is fuzzy, but I don’t think I’d read Pride and Prejudice yet, but this film did give me a good idea of what the plot contained. Now, having read the book, I know Bridget is not the modern adaptation of Lizzie Bennet, however she’s a more relatable character for viewers than a literal translation of the original.

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Me, in bed, watching Bridget Jones

I’m not sure how I discovered it, but Bride and Prejudice had me instantly interested. Still not sure if I’d read the novel at this point, but who wouldn’t love a Bollywood rendition of the classic?

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I’ll admit, I’ve never see another Bollywood film, so I’m not sure if this is at all true to the genre, but boy is this movie fun. I went right out and bought this on DVD too. This was released in 2004 and I wish I’d been able to see it in theaters.

Bright colors, song and dance, possibly the most obnoxious Mr. Collins type of all time, and another pretty sexy Darcy…what’s not to love?! Seriously, check it out.

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Now, I know I read Pride and Prejudice and solidified my love for Jane Austen before I found another great British min-series – Lost in Austen. This beauty is from 2008 and lets Darcy lovers watch their fantasy unfold when main character Amanda gets the chance to walk right into the world of Pride and Prejudice. She even makes Darcy recreate the infamous lake scene from Colin’s series (and now I’m really wondering why I haven’t dedicated six hours of my life to watching that…)!

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This movie was a fun spin on P&P especially because Amanda doesn’t just magically replace Lizzie, Lizzie jumps at the chance to explore the modern world.

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Next comes the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice which I was late to watch because I’m not a Knightley fan (I just think she’s bland and has a fish mouth, but she gets great roles!) and Darcy wasn’t an old British man. But I have to admit, they did a great job with the adaptation. They even put in a nice kissing in the rain scene (not in the book, but should be) and a kiss at the end as well (also not in the book and really should be!)

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He’s a bit young, but still a decent Darcy

Last, but not least in my Austen related film journey is Austenland – another fun adaptation from 2013. It’s also a book, on my TBR this month, but who knows if I’ll get to it?

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In this film, adorable Keri Russell pays to attend Austenland, a sort of interactive Austen lovers getaway, where you can immerse yourself in the world of her novels. Only Russell doesn’t have the cash that it takes to get the best package, so she’s treated much like one of Austen’s middle class heroines.

There’s plenty of cute guys in it too!

So tell me…

Any films here that you particularly enjoy? Or any cinematic Austen adaptations you think I’m missing out on?