Friday, November 27, 2009

Double Review: Everything Austen Wrap-Up Double Feature

Happy day after Thanksgiving! I have much to be thankful for this year, and all year round. I had a great visit and houseful with my aunt & uncle's family in from Idaho. We had a great time the night before Thanksgiving eating lasagna (because the food HAS TO be vastly different from what we were about to pig out on), playing games, and chatting all night. It was a really nice time. That next day they headed to their son's house, and I headed to another aunt and uncle's home. It was a leisurely day, and delightful as such!

As for my reading, wow, has it suffered in the last week! It's okay, because I've had many great and wonderful things going on, but it still feels strange to not have read a single book in the past week! I'll be remedying that over the next several days, as I pick through a stack of over 24 books I have checked out for just this occasion. I did, earlier this month, finish the Everything Austen Challenge. This challenge made me realize that I'm quite an Austen aficionado. :) I still have several more books coming up that would fit this challenge. For my final two picks for the challenge, I read Jane Austen's most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice, and also Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler.

What is there to say about Pride and Prejudice that hasn't been said in a million different ways, by a million different devoted fans and readers? I'll resist giving a synopsis of this most famous novel, not only by Austen, but also by just about any author. There really is something that we readers love about Elizabeth Bennett, with her spunky ability to zing a proud Mr. Darcy, and the brooding compassion and love demonstrated by Mr. Darcy for Elizabeth. We love this novel. I really think that our love and appreciation for Mr. Darcy comes from an observation made by Anne in the series Anne of Green Gables when she remarks that it's not that we want a man that is bad, but could, but chooses not to be. It's somewhere in the fact that they KNOW about the badness, but show you their fortitude not to embrace it. While I think that the book takes awhile to get into completely, the plot builds in such a way that you get sucked in and have to keep reading...even if you already know what's going to happen. (For more information, see: Pride and Prejudice.)

I also read this book on my Kindle, which satisfies my 5th in the E-Book Reader Challenge.

Synopsis: In this second novel by Laurie Viera Rigler (not a follow up to Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict), we travel forward in time, not back to the Victorian Era. In Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict we find that Jane Mansfield has woken in our modern times as L.A. girl Courtney Stone. Not only must she navigate the fact that she is a completely different person, but also that she is in a time period where people can randomly talk through a handheld device, watch stories acted out in a box with a glass screen, and travel at excessive speeds in a metal object not pulled by horses! It all might seem overwhelming and is, when Jane learns that she has broken up with a scoundrel fiance, and is being comforted by a "friend" who her supposed friends also dislike. What's a girl to do?

Review: Out of the two books written by Rigler, this version was actually my favorite. I listened to this book on CD, and have to say that this was another audio book that I would actually recommend. I thought that the acting and reading voices were believable and engaging. Besides liking the audio version of this story, I also just really liked the story. Although time travel stories are getting old (at least in my opinion), I liked Jane Mansfield, and I wanted to see her happy and settled in our modern day. In the end, isn't that what's most important in a story, that you care about the characters? Overall, I really did enjoy the escape factor of this story. I may not read this over and over again, but it was a fun escape and a fun way to wrap up the challenge. (For more information, see: Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict.)

***These complete the Everything Austen Challenge. Pride and Prejudice was my own copy, and Rigler's audio book was checked out from the library.


  1. Congratulations on finishing the challenge! One of these days I'm going to have read Rude Awakenings!

  2. I was just discussing Pride & Prejudice this morning with my students. They had their test on P&P and Northanger Abbey back and male students (3 out of 17 in that class) got all bad marks while girls all had good ones. They started complaining that their bad marks were due to the fact that those literary works were actually "girls' stuff"! And there a very interesting discussion followed... So it is not true that there is nothing new to say abour P&P! You should have listened to my girls' defence of it!
    As for the Challenge, I have one task still to go. I also read RUDE AWAKENINGS last summer and, just like you,I thought it was fun.
    It's always nice reading you. A nice weekend!

  3. Sounds like your time with family was great and you had some excellent food!! I love P&P of course, but of the two Rigler books I liked the first one the best. Have a great weekend!!

  4. Congratulations on completing this challenge! I love Jane Austen and have such dreams of reading through her oeuvre and watching the corresponding films, but alas, I simply have not made the time to do it during this challenge period.

  5. Glad that you had such a nice Thanksgiving! Sounds like a wonderful time.

    Congrats on finishing the Everything Austen Challenge! Have always had a soft spot in my heart for Pride & Prejudice. Will have to take a closer look at Rude Awakenings, as it sounds like a fun read. Enjoy your weekend!

  6. You're just now realizing you're an Austen aficionado? :D

    Do you have your students read Austen in your classes? In my high school they didn't make us read a single Austen novel.

  7. @heidenkind
    Well, we (teachers) are definitely free to design our syllabus. In the last year of high school, in the so-called "licei", students study English literature from the 19th and 20th centuries and even contemporaries. We've got text books ( anthologies with a collection of different literary texts) and we choose among them. In the one we use in our school, we've got passages from Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. I avoid reading Austen in the classes made up of a mjority of boys. It would be "suicide"! It's not fair, anyhow!

  8. Buckeye Girl -- Thanks! I'm happy to have finished up, but it was so easy that it wasn't a stress. :)

    Maria Grazia--Yes, I could see how you might have great discussions on gender differences. Sounds like it stirred up great conversations!

    Staci--Thanks, it was fun.

    Molly--I know it can be tough fitting in all the great books we love and want to read! I've been big on all the follow up novels, so I can't say I've been doing well with the old standards when it comes to my personal reading!

    Alexia561--Thanks! You should give Rigler's novel a try. It's much like other "time travel" novels, and I actually don't think it pays any heed to Jane Austen other than a few mentions, but still fun to read.

    Heidenkind--Yes...just now figuring it out. :) I know you've mentioned it, but it wasn't until I smoothly wrapped this challenge up that I went, "Hey! You read an awful lot of these books!" Who would have thunk it! I don't read these with my students, but in senior English they read Persuasion. Austen isn't really covered a lot on the AP test (other than to talk about her use of "pastoral" images), so I can do that with just a film clip and move one to other novels they'll need. In other words, yes, we do teach one. :)

  9. Congrats on completing the challenge! I too prefered Rigler's second novel - so glad you liked it too!