Someone asked me the other day if I was doing Austen in August this year. The answer is … yes. But between the ever unpredictable Astronaut, job-hunting (found one!) and other pressing offline matters, I am a little behind. This year’s Austen in August will be smaller and shall most likely be tailing into September and even possibly beyond. Still, I’ve been enjoying revisiting my personal Austen back-catalogue and as an advance preview, I wanted to share my Austen targets for this year – please feel free to make reasonable suggestions!
This book’s author sent me a copy of this nearly a year ago, shortly after my son’s birth. Accompanied was a really lovely note and for that reason alone, this one has been high up on my list. But given that it also comes with a recommendation from Paula Byrne, author of two of my favourite Austen biographies, it seems like it is well worth checking out.
I admit it. I’ve read this already. It’s so … daft. For a book so blatantly idiotic though, it inspired a lot of thoughts and so I’m looking forward to sharing what I think. Spoilers however – my main takeaway is to wonder why on earth modern readers always assume that they need to rediscover sex on Austen’s behalf. There are no ‘lost sex scenes’ because the sex is always right there on the page – you just need to pay attention!
Mary Bennet is having a really good few years. After reading The Forgotten Sister a few years ago, I have now found two different Mary-centric spin-offs to investigate further. I read Janice Hadlow’s The Strangest Family and absolutely loved it so I’m really hoping for another Longbourn here.
I remember being really disappointed when I didn’t get a review copy of this last year so when I spotted the Kindle edition, I decided to take a closer look. Another Mary story, this one also takes a look at Kitty who in my view is the real forgotten Bennet sister.
I found this in a charity shop quite a long time ago and it has since languished unread. I feel a little wary of a book that fictionalises the life of Jane Austen herself as being potentially disrespectful around the life of a ‘real’ person. This seems really strange though given how avidly I read historical fiction. Where exactly do I draw the distinction? Is it that Jane Austen was a private citizen whereas (to pluck a random example), Henry VIII was not? Either way, this looks a promising read.
The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen
A real Austen in August cheat here – it isn’t even released until September! But I’ve got it pre-ordered and I am interested in how it is already getting a fair amount of review hype. Jane Austen and time travel seem to be becoming very popular so I’m looking forward to investigating this very specific sub-genre further.
I watched the film Becoming Jane and loved it. Saw it in the cinema. Swooned over James McCoy. Saw it again about a week later. Swooned once more. I never read the biography upon which it was based though. These days, I have my own view as to the film’s realism (I think we all know Miss Austen Regrets has more of a basis in reality) but I am interested to find out about the source material.
I’ll be honest – I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. I bought it during a glorious trip to Mr B’s Emporium last year and then I didn’t run Austen in August and then I had a baby and my brain was too fried to appreciate it. Not everyone gets excited at the prospect of thirty-three essays on the subject of why Jane Austen is brilliant but I certainly do.
The Borough Press’ Austen Project has run badly out of puff with only four out of the six books updated and no new releases since 2016. Sigh. It all started so well with Val McDermid. Still, the completist in me wants to see it through to the end. Plus, I’ve never actually read anything by Alexander McCall Smith and I don’t quite know how that happened. So here goes.
I couldn’t do Austen in August without going back to the original books but I also couldn’t decide which one to pick. So I asked Boy Who Reads Not A Lot whether I should go with Mansfield Park or Northanger Abbey (he has read neither) and he picked this as abbeys are better than parks. Hmm. Northanger Abbey is the one I was warned off as a child and which I only read for the first time at eighteen so I don’t have as extended a history with it as I do with the other five books. What will that mean for the reread?
A year (nearly) into parenthood, I’m still finding it a challenge to have time and energy at the same time when it comes to blogging so it’s exciting to have a plan together to do some Austening over the next few weeks and months. If anyone else wants to join in, it would be lovely to have company!