Jane Austen: Sense and Sensibility

‘The more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!’

Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.

This edition includes explanatory notes, textual variants between the first and second editions, and Tony Tanner’s introduction to the original Penguin Classic edition.

It’s no surprise that Pride and Prejudice is an all-time favorite of mine. So many of us fell in love with Mr. Darcy at a young age, and we just never really let go of that crush. But I’ve had a hard time getting into some of Austen’s other books. Emma I like, but everything will always fall short of P&P.

Sense and Sensibility probably would have been better titled as Nonsense and Secrets Destroy Your Life.

I.

Was.

So.

CONFUSED.

Everyone is love with the wrong person in this book, which seemed that it would have been solved simply if they would stop keeping secrets from everybody else. Oh, this person is engaged already to this person, and this person is engaged already to this person, but not really because no one knows it and they aren’t ACTUALLY engaged, he just has a lock of her hair.

WHAT THE WHAT.

The only honest person in the whole freaking book is Colonel Brandon–who I might be even more in love with now than Mr. Darcy. If we all had a Colonel Brandon in our lives, we’d all be SO much better off.

Instead we all have Willoughbys and Wickhams.

By the end of this, I was skimming, so I took to Hulu to watch the 2008 version–and it made much more sense in movie format. Still, the only real result is that I fell even more in love with Colonel Brandon, and everyone else seemed much more the mess. Of course, in true Jane Austen fashion, it all turns right in the end, but goodness she does like to torture her lovers, doesn’t she?

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Hey ya’ll! Did you know I am now on Snapchat? You can find me at Username:  hmills96. Come follow me for weird book thoughts, random cooking escapades, and of course all my nerdy fandom obsessions!

 

What are you currently reading?

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Winter by Marissa Meyer

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

ReadWomen:  I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

Graphic Novel:  Nimona by Noelle Stephenson

Reread:  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

For Study:  The Ramayana by Ramesh Menon

Legends/Poems:  Chasers of the Light by Tyler Knott Gregson

Legends/Poems:  The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser

 

What did you just finish reading? 

 

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Brilliant Story by Troy Blackford

Persuasion by Jane Austen

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

Someone Like You by Barbara Bretton

Dylan by Norah Hess

 

Persuasion

I knew it had to happen sooner or later, though I had hoped it never would.

Jane Austen has finally failed me.

This is not my first time reading Persuasion, although it is the first I’ve made it the whole way through. Of the four JA novels I’ve read so far…this is by far the worst. I never expected to have to battle so hard to finish one!

What can I say about it, really? Persuasion is just boring. So much so that it couldn’t hold my attention for more than a few line before my mind wandered to something else (mostly Hamilton lyrics, tbh) and so I kept having to read pages over again. I think, had I not already started and stopped so many times already, I might have done so again. But, I was determined to at least finish this time…even if that meant skimming.

By the end, I was ready to just read the Wiki plot summary and call it a day. So, that’s exactly what I did. I’m not ashamed. Sometimes as a reader, that’s just what you have to do to finish a review.

I do want to know, though, do any of you have a Jane Austen novel that you particularly struggle with over the others? What did you think of Persuasion?

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Agnes Grey

Most book lovers have heard of the Bronte sisters. And it’s pretty hard to be a romance loving biblophile without reading at least Jane Eyre OR Wuthering Heights…if not both. Charlotte and Emily are famous names in reading culture. Their tropes are everywhere, from the dark and brooding Heathcliffe-like teen boys in YA EVERYTHING, to the plain Janes of this world who go unnoticed but have so much to offer.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that there was a third Bronte sister, Anne. I’ll admit, she’s missing from my shelf too, as I look up at my two beautiful Barnes and Noble Leatherbound copies of the two books above.

But this weekend, I sat down with Agnes Grey, and I fell just as much in love with Anne Bronte as I did with the more recognizable sisters, and I wonder why she is not just as famous.

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At it’s base, Agnes Grey the basic 1800s story of a young girl from a family on the outskirts of society, who decides to become a governess, and falls in love with one of the men she meets along the way. Pretty typical baseline for that period.

However, there are some things I want to point out that interested in the characters and the story:

1. Mrs. Grey could have been rich. She came from a wealthy family, but fell in love with a poor man, and even though her father disowned her, she married him anyway.

2. Agnes was the youngest child, and doted on. When her family needed money, she decided she was going to become a governess to help earn it, even though her mother and sister told her they would handle the situation and she should stay home and be idle. She was determined to help.

3. I’m not sure if they had a diagnosis for “sociopath” in the 1800s, but the first children certainly showed signs of it. The older boy, Tom, liked to trap sparrows and pull their heads and wings off for sport, because “he was not a bird and so he couldn’t feel what they felt”. His father even encouraged this behavior. His sister was much the same way. It was very alarming. I was very glad that the book was not staged around that house for long.

4. I loved Mr. Weston. He was just so sweet and friendly, really quite adorable in how he just wanted to spend time talking with her, without being a bumbling fool like some guys can be in these novels.

 

I could go on, but it’s just a sweet, simple novel. Nothing overly complicated or twisted or dark. I was expecting something a little more gothic, because of her sisters’ writing styles, but this is really nothing like that. The romance is almost set up more like a Jane Austen novel, but with much less drama. It made for a very nice Sunday afternoon.

 

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Mansfield Park

When I added Mansfield Park to my TBR list, I was excited because I was finally going to get to read a third Jane Austen novel. I’ve read Pride & Prejudice a million times, and Emma twice now, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten so far.

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Or so I thought.

Apparently, I’ve picked this book up before, and read at least the first half. I had major book dejavou. I remembered Fanny and William and Edward. I remember the play being practiced. That was about as far as I got though, everything after that was unfamiliar.

I was expecting another romance from Austen, similar to the above two books. So when Mr. Crawford started playing for Fanny’s attention in the second half…I figured he’d win in the end. After all, Darcy and Mr. Knightley were both pretty patient, right?

But Mansfield Park is really a completely different book, really more relatable to something you’d see in a 90s teen movie than in an 1800 romance. You have a young woman with social anxiety who just wants to be helpful and loving to everyone she meets. Her best friend of course is in love with the popular girl. PG’s brother is a flirty stud (see:  fuckboy) who all the ladies want, but when Fanny gets a new dress she suddenly becomes beautiful in his eyes and he “must make her fall in love with him” before he leaves in two weeks. Fanny doesn’t trust him, doesn’t want his attention, and when he screws up, some how that’s her fault. (See again:  fuck.boy.)

Ah well, it all turns out ok in the end, as Jane Austen novels always do. I liked this one, though. Definitely not what I expected at all, and it makes me even more excited to read the rest of her books, if they are all going to be so different.

 

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Emma

It is no secret that Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books. However, I am sadly lacking in most of Austen’s other books. Some I’ve started and haven’t finished, and some I just haven’t got to yet.

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I have a matched pair of P&P and Emma, but this is only my second read through of the latter. It just does not measure up to my beloved OTP. I feel like Jane Austen made a list of every single thing she found ridiculous in her gender, and said “OK, that’s my main character.” Emma is vain, selfish, spoiled, and dense.

I was having a really hard time getting through it and then I realized…Holy Crap this book is Clueless.

 

Mind blown. From then on, I just started comparing all the characters and it made it so much easier to read. Who knew that silly 90s movie would make literature fun? As if!

Comfy Read

If I were more photogenic, you’d get a super cute picture of me, curled up in a blanket in my favorite reading spot, with a topknot and a cup of coffee. Some kind of pinterest/tumblr/instagram type shit.

Instead, you get a picture of Pride and Prejudice hanging out in said reading spot. Sorry guys. I’m lame today.

Also, it’s like 90 degrees today. In October. Welcome to Dallas in the fall.

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Trees of Reverie September Readathon Daily Bookish Challenges Day Fourteen

You’ve just started to work at a bookstore or library – what are your top ten go-to book recommendations?

  1. Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
  2. Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
  3. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin
  4. The Thorn Birds by Colleen Mccullough
  5. Secret Garden by Frances Burnett
  6. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  7. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  8. Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
  9. Quiet by Susan Cain
  10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Treesofreverie June Read-A-Thon: Questionnaire | Part 1

Home sick today, so I’m curled up with R on the couch while he watches the World Cup. Thought I’d take some time and answer these questions, since I can’t concentrate on much else.

  • 01. Where will you be sharing your bookish updates for the Treesofreverie June Read-A-Thon? Here! Some of my other challenges on Instagram have also been tagged with the Trees hashtag, if it’s a book I’m reading for this, but for the most part, all of my posts will be on this blog, which also feeds into Tumblr.
  • 02. How did you start book blogging? What got you interested in starting, were there particular blogs that influenced or encouraged your decision? (If you don’t have a book blog, are you interested in starting one?) I was just exploring Tumblr, when I read The Happiness Project. I was seeing book blogs, and I wanted an outlet for book discussion, so I started this. I can’t believe how much feedback I’ve gotten, it’s been so much fun.
  • 03. What’s your ultimate book-inspired holiday? What would you do and would you take anyone with you? Has a particular book or author inspired this? Most of my vacations are more food related than book related, but I do always imagine Italy in an Under the Tuscan Sun sort of way, and France as Julia Child describes it. My vision of countries are very much influenced by the memoirs I’ve read.
  • 04. Which five authors (dead or alive) would you invite to a dinner party and why? Who do you think would get along and what would you talk about? First and foremost, Ernest Hemingway. I would LOVE to have a drink with him. Julia Child is another, because, obviously, she would do the cooking, and I think she would be hilarious. I’d love to hear about her travels as well…and Hemingway and Child might be interesting together actually. They both had pretty “live life to the fullest” perspectives. Jane Austen, because…obviously. George RR Martin so I can get inside his head. I want to know what the heck makes that man tick. John Green, because he’s just SUCH a nerd, and I’d like to have someone to geek out with.
  • 05. What were the last three books you recommended to someone and why did you choose these particular books to recommend? If your last recommendations were a large list shared all at once, then pick three books. The only book I really remember recommending (other than here on the blog) is the Kingkiller Chronicles. I’ve been telling everyone I meet to read that. Most people in real life ask me for book recommendations, then don’t ever take me seriously, because I have such an extensive list. I’m sure I’ve told people to read TFIOS too.
  • 06. Describe your perfect reading experience. Paperback, Hardback or eBook? Genre? Where are you reading? Alone or in company? Indoors or outside? Season? Weather? What time of day? Snacks? Give me a sunny, just warm day, in the shade. Preferably alone, but maybe somewhere I can watch people. A bottle of wine opened on the table, with some good cheese to munch on. A fantastic old book, well worn with that musty old smell.
  • 07. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion. What are your thoughts on negative comments and reviews on books? Does it make a difference for you if they involve any constructive criticism or feedback? The interesting thing about the book blogging community is that we all get a different experience from the books we read. It’s like tasting wine. No one person is going to taste the same glass of wine the same. We all have a different perspective. It is ok to disagree. That said, I think sometimes, the disagreement turns into hate, and that’s not ok with me. There is a difference between conversation and persecution. We need to be careful in how we treat our fellow bloggers. I would much rather see this community as a place of friendship than a place of war.
  • 08. What would your ultimate dream book collection include? What would it look like and how would you arrange your books? I’ve always dreamed of having one of those really old school Victorian smoking jacket studies. You know what I’m talking about. Where the lord of the manor would retire in the evening to his brandy, amongst his wood paneled shelves with books rising to the ceiling. They were a thing of awe. At least in our imagination today. Ever since I saw the Beast’s library (which was white instead of brown), I have wanted a library like that. 
  • 09. What are your biggest book-related pet peeves? Why do these things bother you more than others? I am very contradictory when it comes to my books. I break my spines, because there is absolutely nothing wrong with a well loved book. It needs to feel good in my hands. But, I will absolutely NEVER NEVER NEVER ruin the pages with ink. That is an abominable sin in my eyes. And I will never buy a used book that has been inked. (Which was really sad because I found a copy of The Great Gatsby the other day for $1…only to find someone had underlined over half the book…for SHAME!) I also use bookmarks instead of dogears.
  • 10. What are some of your favourite things about people who read books? These may be generalisations or relate to a specific person. I love how we all just geek out over the smallest details. I always thought it was just me, until I discovered this wonderful community online. Hermoine’s dress was BLUE not PINK. Arya has LINES in this scene, you idiots. We memorize not just quotes, but “insignificant” characters’ names, eye color, birthdays. We know who dies when and how and why. We know what author is going to be in what city and how to get in to see them. And we are obsessive about collecting not just books, but the specific copies of books in a series so everything matches on our shelves. And even though many of us are introverts, get us talking about the books we love, and we will not shut up.

Favorite Author

What is my favorite author?

Is that a trick question?

I don’t have one.

Yes, I’m serious.

Source:  The Relentless Reader

I don’t have one. I have several. Austen, Hemingway, Wolfe. Michael Cunningham. Regina McBride. Ann Patchett. Wilde has now been added to the list. Countless authors who I’ve only read one of their books but I loved with a passion, and they are on my Goodreads list to read more and I just haven’t gotten back to them yet. John Green up there is probably on that list too now.

Why can’t I narrow it down to just one? Geez. They all have different qualities that I love. Every book is different and each means something to me at a different point in my life. And every time I reread them, I love them in different ways.

It would be like picking a favorite topping on my pizza, or a favorite beer.

And yes, I know some people like ONLY pepperoni, and ONLY Bud Lite. That is so totally not my style. Sometimes I want mushrooms and a Belgian. And sometimes I want hot peppers and a red ale. Or maybe a porter, or a triple or….dammit now I want a beer.

It’s almost the long weekend folks!