Friday, March 16, 2012

Jane Austen Guides/Biographies Part 1

The Jane Austen Handbook


My city holds a Jane Austen festival every year, and I have been privileged to attend two of them. The author of this book gave a talk during the first one, and my grandmother bought me a signed copy. This books is a humorous guide to Jane Austen's time, and I enjoyed it very much and continue to enjoy it. It is tinged with a touch of modern consciousness, but not enough to drive me wild (unlike the third book I will mention). This little adorable hardback offers information about all sorts of practices from the period regarding everything from inheritance to marriage to balls to servants. It also contains a brief description of all of Jane Austen's works as well as a brief biography. There is a glossary of terms, lists of movie adaptations, and lists of other resources as well. I would highly recommend this book although I think you should find a way to borrow it, so you won't have to sell it if you don't like it (again, this is because of the third book in this post). It is perfect for skipping through after you have read it in its entirety.


101 Things You Didn't Know About Jane Austen


With a title like that I was skeptical, but it was from Half-Price (sigh), and I am not exactly a Jane Austen expert yet, so I bought it. I was pleasantly surprised as the book had more information than I would have expected it to offer. If you have studied Jane Austen extensively, I would not recommend it-you might not benefit much, but for those who have only read brief biographies, I think borrowing this book would be a good move.


Jane Austen: An Illustrated Treasury


Don't be drawn in by the cover-beauty can be deceptive after all! I seriously dislike this book. I have never yet returned a book before, but I am most definitely going to sell this back to Half-Price when I finish reading it. I first saw this book at Barnes and Noble, and the pretty color, intriguing layout, and items in the envelopes together made me desire to get the book at some point. I snatched it up when I saw it at Half-Price little thinking that I could even wish to return it. I always hate modern stances on historical things, and this book certainly takes a modern stance. I cannot stand how people cannot grasps different points of view. You simply cannot judge a different time period by the modern way of thinking-people thought differently then.There is no attempt to appreciate morals and historical differences; the authors has a condescending "we know better" attitude. That is gall number #1. Gall number #2 is the interpretation of the novel; would you mind just taking the novels as they are, woman? You don't know what she was trying to say, and it is presumptuous of you to state with fact that certain trivial things are "lessons" rather than simple descriptions of daily life at the time! The book does not really have much to offer with regards to biographical information; it is mostly reviews/descriptions (fanciful ones in my opinion) about each of the novels.


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