Mid Week Quote: Jane Austen

Hello!

During the recent heat wave that we have been going through I have been constantly thinking of this quote by Jane Austen so I thought I would share it this week.

“What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.”

Jane Austen

Happy Reading

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Mid Week Quote: Jane Austen

Hello!

I hope everyone is having a good week so far. My chosen quote this week is by one of my favourite authors, Jane Austen.

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” 

Jane Austen

Happy Reading

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Lady Susan and Other Works by Jane Austen (Review)

Lady Susan and Other Works by Jane Austen

Blurb

This collection brings together Jane Austen’s earliest experiments in the art of fiction and novels that she left incomplete at the time of her premature death in 1817. Her fragmentary juvenilia show Austen developing her own sense of narrative form whilst parodying popular kinds of fiction of her day. Lady Susan is a wickedly funny epistolary novel about a captivating but unscrupulous widow seeking to snare husbands for her daughter and herself. The Watsons explores themes of family relationships, the marriage market, and attitudes to rank, which became the hallmarks of her major novels. In Sanditon, Austen exercises her acute powers of social observation in the setting of a newly fashionable seaside resort. These novels are here joined by shorter fictions that survive in Austen’s manuscripts, including critically acclaimed works like Catharine, Love and Freindship [sic], and The History of England.

This edition includes:

Frederic and Elfrida

Jack and Alice

Edgar and Emma

Henry and Eliza

Love and Freindship

A History of England

The Three Sisters

Lesley Castle

Evelyn

Catharine, or the Bower

Lady Susan

The Watsons

Sanditon

Review

This was the only work by Austen I had left to read and as I usually like to start the New Year with an Austen book I decided it was high time to read this collection of works and complete the set. 

I was really excited to read Austen’s juvenilia work and I was not disappointed. I was also really frustrated that so much was left unfinished. I knew it would be unfinished but I so desperately wanted to know how the stories ended. 

Austen’s juvenilia stories were hilarious and you could really tell they were written by a girl who had not seen a lot of the world yet but was starting to get a good understanding of people. At times you could really see the true magic of Austen’s wit starting to develop and make itself known. There are a great deal of fainting ladies in Austen’s juvenilia works, they are either fainting on the sofa, on the floor, basically all over the place and for very little reason. One thing we do learn though is that it is better to run around like a lunatic than faint in bad weather because running around keeps the cold away and fainting will make you catch a chill with mortal consequences. 

One of my favourites in this book was A History of England. I loved Austen’s clear love of Mary Queen of Scots and hatred of Elizabeth I, she is forever putting down Elizabeth I and praising Mary Queen of Scots at every opportunity. The history is not accurate and it is clear that Austen has made up quite a bit of her facts with hilarious results. There are also no dates but the monarchs are in chronological order. The added illustrations by Cassandra Austen were an added bonus. 

Lady Susan I struggled to get into to begin with due to the story being written in the form of letters but once I got used to it I loved it. Lady Susan is quite a character and one I imagine people with any sense would steer clear of. She has a quite a reputation but men pay no heed to this reputation because of her way with words and her beauty. Thankfully, most women can see through this scheming character. 

I could go on and on about how much I loved this book and there really wasn’t any story that I did not enjoy. It was so interesting to see Austen develop as an author and I loved her little dedications for each story. I give this book a massive 5 out of 5 Dragons and will definitely be reading it again. 

🐲🐲🐲🐲🐲

Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

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About the author

Jane Austen born 16th December 1775 died 18th July 1817 was an English novelist known for her six major novels. Austen’s novels are known for social comedy and accurate depiction of human relationships.

This review is part of my Classics Club challenge. Please click the link to see my list of 50 books.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Goodreads Monday: 24/01/2022

Goodreads Monday is hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners.  All you have to do is show off a book from your TBR that you’re looking forward to reading.

Hello!

I hope everyone has had a good Monday so far. I haven’t had much teaching today which has meant I could do bit of reading and have a lovely walk. Tomorrow is a busier day for me so will probably mean less reading but I am still hoping for a nice walk to clear away the cobwebs.

I am continuing to use my Goodreads Monday posts to feature a book on my Classics Club List as that makes up quite a bit of my TBR pile at the moment.

Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home in Portsmouth, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with her cousin Edmund as her sole ally. During her uncle’s absence in Antigua, the Crawford’s arrive in the neighbourhood bringing with them the glamour of London life and a reckless taste for flirtation. Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen’s first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound.

This will be a reread for me but I last read Mansfield Park in 2014 so it will be nice to read again and refresh my memory.

Please drop me a comment if you have taken part in Goodreads Monday and I will head over for a visit.

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Goodreads Monday: 17/01/2022

Goodreads Monday is hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners.  All you have to do is show off a book from your TBR that you’re looking forward to reading.

Hello and happy Monday!

I have decided for my Goodreads Monday posts I will feature some of the books I have on my Classics Club List.

This collection brings together Jane Austen’s earliest experiments in the art of fiction and novels that she left incomplete at the time of her premature death in 1817. Her fragmentary juvenilia show Austen developing her own sense of narrative form whilst parodying popular kinds of fiction of her day. Lady Susan is a wickedly funny epistolary novel about a captivating but unscrupulous widow seeking to snare husbands for her daughter and herself. The Watsons explores themes of family relationships, the marriage market, and attitudes to rank, which became the hallmarks of her major novels. In Sanditon, Austen exercises her acute powers of social observation in the setting of a newly fashionable seaside resort. These novels are here joined by shorter fictions that survive in Austen’s manuscripts, including critically acclaimed works like Catharine, Love and Friendship [sic], and The History of England.

This edition includes:
– Frederic and Elfrida
– Jack and Alice
– Edgar and Emma
– Henry and Eliza
– Love and Freindship
– A History of England
– The Three Sisters
– Lesley Castle
– Evelyn
– Catharine, or the Bower
– Lady Susan
– The Watsons
– Sanditon

This is the only Austen I have never read so I am looking forward to reading it and seeing what her writing was like as a younger less experienced writer.

Please drop me a comment if you have taken part in Goodreads Monday and I will head over for a visit.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Emma by Jane Austen (Review)

Emma by Jane Austen

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About the author

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Jane Austen born 16th December 1775 died 18th July 1817 was an English novelist known for her six major novels. Austen’s novels are known for social comedy and accurate depiction of human relationships.

Blurb

Emma Woodhouse is one of Austen’s most captivating and vivid characters. Beautiful, spoilt, vain and irrepressibly witty, Emma organises the lives of the inhabitants of her sleepy little village and plays matchmaker with devastating effect.

Review

This is a reread for me and thankfully a better read than when I first read it in 2002. I must admit when I first read Emma I swore never to read it again as I really did not enjoy the book. However, this year I plan on giving some books another chance and this was the first one on the list. In 2002 I rated this book 2 out of 5 stars.

I really enjoyed reading this book for about the first third of the book but I must admit the middle did drive me a little insane. It comes across as long winded and rather overly written and I must admit I just wanted it to get to the happy ending.

The second time of reading I felt rather differently about the characters, I still disliked the Elton’s greatly and found Frank Churchill a spoilt brat who should never have been forgiven for his awful behaviour. Mrs Bates I felt very sorry for living in ever increasing poverty and with a daughter who means well but does not give anyone a moment’s peace. Miss Bates’ dialogues I will be honest I skipped over in places because they just made me cringe.

Mr Woodhouse bless him was more of an old fuss pot than I remembered but he made me smile. Emma was her annoying vain self but thankfully Mr Knightley as usual rescued the situation. Harriet I found very endearing this time and it was nice to see her journey through the book.

I must admit I enjoyed Emma but my rating has only increased slightly to 3 out of 5 Dragons. I will be watching the new film adaptation this year to see if it beats my favourite  adaptation starring Gwyneth Paltrow. Still my least favourite Austen novel but I do not hate it and would read it again.

Purchase links

Waterstones

Book Depository

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The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne

The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne

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About the author

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Paula Byrne is a British author and biographer with a PHD from the University of Liverpool. Byrne is married to the Shakespeare scholar Sir Jonathan Bate.

Blurb

Who was the real Jane Austen? A retiring spinster content with quiet village life? Or a strong-minded woman who chose to remain unmarried and to fashion herself as a professional writer?

Bestselling biographer Paula Byrne uses objects that conjure up a key moment in Austen’s life and work – a vellum notebook, a topaz cross, a writing box and a bathing machine – to unlock the biography of this most beloved author. The woman who emerges is far tougher, more socially and politically aware, and altogether more modern than the conventional picture of ‘dear aunt Jane’ allows. Byrne’s lively book explores the many forces that shaped Austen’s life and her long struggle to become a published author, and brings Miss Austen dazzlingly into the twenty-first century.

Review

As I think I have mentioned before I discovered this book in the hotel room where I was staying in Bath over New Year and I began reading it there and bought a copy of my own from the Waterstones in Bath. I must confess that I am not the best at reading non-fiction but this book read really easily and did not seem like a biography. Whilst reading it, I have been using the lovely card we had on New Year from the hotel as a book mark as shown in the picture below.

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From the first chapter of this book I was hooked, I loved the the way it was laid out, each chapter focusing on an object owned by Jane Austen. I enjoyed how Byrne linked everything together with Austen’s life, her letters, her adventures, and her novels. Byrne has quite clearly spent a great deal of time researching Jane Austen and reading all of Jane Austen’s novels.

I found this biography to be quite an easy read that did not require too much brain power to get through. I find some biographies of famous authors quite in-depth and difficult to read and I have to dip in and out of the book. This book flowed easily and I read it fairly quickly. The only thing I disliked was how Byrne put across Austen’s opinions, when really nobody knows for sure what her opinions were and Byrne is clearly making educated guesses. I would much rather she had kept to the cold hard facts and opinions that Austen expressed in her letters.

I did find Byrne was rather obsessed with Mansfield Park but I did not mind this too much as it has encouraged me to read it again, as it has been some time since I have read it. I would also like to read Lady Susan as I have never got round to reading it but own two copies of it.

My favourite chapters were actually the last two chapters The Royalty Cheque and The Bathing Machine. The Royalty Cheque I enjoyed because it showed Austen making a living from her novels and enjoying some of her own success. I also did not realise that the Prince Regent was such a fan of Austen’s novels and that Emma was dedicated to him and Austen paid for and had a special three volume set of Emma given to the Prince Regent which is still today in the Royal Collection. It is the little facts like this in the biography which makes the book such a joy to read. The Bathing Machine made me giggle quite a bit I must confess, the idea of ladies being fully covered in clothes and going for a swim or a paddle around if they could not swim to be quite funny but also dangerous. I do not think the freezing temperatures would have done the bathers any good at all.

I truly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to any Jane Austen fan, I have already recommended it to my sister, who introduced me to the works of Jane Austen when I was little. It is an excellently put together biography which links together beautifully and the illustrations and photos are excellent. I have given this book 4 out of 5 Dragons.

Lady Book Dragon

 

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Bath

I thought I would share a few snaps of my trip to Bath. This was my third visit to Bath and will not be my last as I just adore the place. This trip I visited some of the haunts that Jane Austen would of also frequented when she lived there from 1801 to 1806. I wish I had taken more snaps but I just enjoyed taking in the history and beauty of it.

The Assembly Rooms

The Fashion Museum inside The Assembly Rooms

Georgian Dresses

 

The House Jane Austen Lived In!

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Lady Book Dragon

Happy Birthday!

A Big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Jane Austen!

Born this day in 1775.

I love Jane Austen. I have read and reread all her books numerous times. She is my comfort blanket, when I feel down or stressed or just need a bit of reassurance I turn to Jane Austen. Each time I read one of her books I see it in a new light and discover new things.

The first book I read was Sense and Sensibility which I read on a 9 hour car journey to visit my sister in Scotland. I think I was about 9 or 10 years old at the time and I was hooked. I then went on to read Pride and Prejudice and her other works but I must admit I only read Mansfield Park in the last couple of years.

My favourite Jane Austen read has changed over the years it was Sense and Sensibility, then it was Pride and Prejudice for a very long time but I must admit in the last couple of years it has been Persuasion. I think it must be an age thing and how my reading and tastes have developed. Although, I openly admit my least favourite book is Emma because I struggle with the heroine but I have decided in 2019 I will give Emma another go.

I will also be paying my traditional Jane Austen pilgrimage to Bath next year as well. I know she did not particularly like Bath but I just love it and love thinking about how she used Bath for part of the backdrop of Persuasion.

Anyway Happy Birthday Jane Austen and thank you for writing such amazing books, which mean so much to me.

“If a book is well written. I always find it too short.”

Jane Austen

I could not agree more Jane Austen, as your books are way too short for my liking.

Do you have a favourite Jane Austen novel? Please drop me a comment with your favourites and why. Thank you.

Lady Book Dragon.