Jane Austen Ruined My Life

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My sister has requested/demanded that I let her make a special guest comment in which she is going to mock my reading/blogging habits. And since I'm an accommodating blogger (who is lazy enough on weekends to be perfectly willing to let someone else write some of my blog entry) I've agree.

Special comment:

Dear Angie's Readers,

You all look so nice. You didn't have to dress up just for me. But I'm glad you did. I thought it may interest you to know a little bit more about Angie's "process," specifically I think you should know that when she's weaving her Book a Day magic, Angie hauls armfuls of crap from room to room. The crap includes, but is not limited to: her book, paper, pens, an inkless pen, a writing board that she's had since the 90s, and a label-free bottle of water (she finds the labels offensive.) "But she's creating a blog," you say. "She needs supplies." Well, dear Angie's readers, I would like to be able to tell you that this habit originated with the blog. Sadly, I cannot, for it predates the blog . . . by decades (this culminated in one incident, circa age 8, when she felt the pressing need to pack a calculator for a trip to an amusement park.*) While the pile of crap may not seem like a lot, Angie transports the crap in question with her EVERYWHERE - and I do mean everywhere, whether she's in a large house, a one bedroom apartment, a hotel room, a boat, a cabana on the beach in Hawaii (no, seriously), the car, on a picnic, or in the backyard. In short dear Angie's readers, the process isn't always pretty** but the end result is the blog you've come to know and love.

*Note from Angie: My feeling at the time was that you never know when you might need to calculate something. I mean what if I got there and needed to calculate something and I didn't have a calculator around - well, that would have been a disaster.

**Another note from Angie: Hey, that "it's not pretty" remark better be about my crap and not about me.

Today's book, "Emma Grant, the heroine of Pattillo’s first outing, has a major beef to settle with her literary heroine, Jane Austen. Austen’s novels taught Emma, a college professor, to believe in happy endings, but her own happy ending goes up in flames when she discovers her husband, Edward, in the arms of her teaching assistant, after which the two have her professionally discredited by claiming she plagiarized a paper. Disillusioned and disgraced, Emma flees the U.S. for her cousin’s house in England after being contacted by Gwendolyn Parrot, an elderly woman claiming to be in possession of a stash of lost Austen letters. Rather than simply handing over the letters, Mrs. Parrot sends Emma on a succession of tasks that gradually reveal a secret about Austen’s life previously unknown to scholars. Along the way, Emma reconnects with Adam, her former best friend whom she fell out of touch with after marrying Edward."

Shallow thoughts:

  • I was hesitant to read today's book because I feared it would follow in the same vein of other Austen-inspired books I have read in the past, that try (and fail) to write in the same style as Austen. But, the author of today's book wisely chose not to go down that path and as a result I was able to enjoy the book without making constant comparison's to Austen's writing style. And I did enjoy today's book - it was light and fun without being totally fluffy and mindless.

  • Favorite sentence, "One sentence of Pride and Prejudice and I was hooked like a junkie who had to keep coming back for a fix." - I think it will be obvious to my longtime readers as to why I love that sentence. For those of you who are new to my blog, I give you this link.

  • I had another horrifying moment mid-way through reading this book when the plot began to feel waaaaay too familiar, and I became convinced that I had already read this book for the blog. I'm beginning to feel like a broken record with that one - I think this is about the fifth or sixth time this year that I have done that. So I ran to the computer, while hyperventilating along the way, and discovered that the reason why the plot seemed so familiar is because the plot is similar to the plot of The Bronte Project which I read earlier this year, but today's book was so much better than that book.