Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jane Austen Girls

Imogen and I are Jane Austen girls. We've read just about every piece of Jane Austen's writing we can get our hands on. Imogen has even read all six of her novels. I though am horribly slack. I have only read five.

While wandering around the library looking at just about every section as we'd already ransacked the story section we found a wonderful shelf. Tucked in between books about Shakespeare and King Henry 8th and his six wives (not to mention all the computer program books and gardening books) we found a shelf devoted to Jane Austen and her books.

A tiny book caught our eyes almost immediately.

"The Jane Austen Handbook," the title announced and the subtitle said, "Proper life skills from Regency England."

So of course we pulled the book out immediately and flipped through it. How to dress properly, how to travel, where to travel, types of carriages, what an entail actually is, how to elope to Gretna Green, the book told us everything a young lady might want to know.

We popped the book into the already bulging bag of books we'd already collected. We scanned the shelf for more interesting books. A yellow and black spine stood out among the brown spines, the black spines and the boring grey ones.

"Jane Austen for Dummies," We read.

We had to borrow that one.

"The Jane Austen Handbook" was a great find. Soon after the library trip I curled up in the little patch of sun I could find that was free from cats and read it from cover to cover. I now know what a lady should be taught, what clothes to wear at what kind of day and that handkerchiefs were a relatively new inventions in Regency England.

"Jane Austen for Dummies" gave the ins and outs of Jane Austen's life, the original names of her books and her most memorable characters.

My favourite section was the most memorable characters. It wasn't really a surprise to find as Most Memorable Leading Lady Miss Elizabeth Bennet and as Most Memorable Leading Man Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice.

But Shock and Horror when I read the section on manners and found a list of Jane Austen's most gentlemanly heroes and those that failed to make it. Mr Darcy was listed among those that had failed. His fault was meddling where he shouldn't and insulting a lady to her face.

Having read the books on Jane Austen and her books I feel like trying the one and only novel that I haven't read before. "North Hanger Abbey" doesn't seem to me as nice as the others. Imogen read it and didn't like it as much as she did "Sense and Sensibility" and "Persuasion". Of course none of the other novels can ever be as good as "Pride and Prejudice". But it would be interesting to read it.

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