Skip to content

Becoming Jane Austen. Me?

June 26, 2009


Recently, my husband and I were sitting in a dark movie theater waiting for the feature to start. We were subjected to that awful habit theaters have now of playing advertisements for niche T.V. shows that the average movie viewer has no intention of watching, outside of that second. Nevertheless, show them they do and so we found ourselves watching the trailer and  “backstage pass” features for the television version of Ten Things I Hate About You.

I was instantly horrified.

“Shakespeare is rolling over in his grave,” I muttered to my husband.


Big sigh. Launch rant. “It’s just that the movie by the same name was supposed to be, it was, a retelling of Taming of the Shrew. How can you make a t.v. show about something that was over and done with after two acts? A movie is one thing but this, oh this is just gross. I can’t believe it. I—“

“That’s what people do, Pam; they retell stories.”

This would have gone on, on my side more than his as I was clearly more adamantly freaking out, but we were interrupted by a change of scene. An advertisement for something about an Austen or a Bronte (or was it a Darcy?) flashed across the screen. A little voice inside of my head said, “You’re not upset about that, now, are you?” It occurred to me, sitting there, that I was not the only one who saw her favorite stories rehashed over and over again.

It may be that I have very little interest in Austen and so I don’t defend the upheaval of her cannon. I was then, thankfully, distracted from two hours of fantastic Terminator fun by rolling criticisms in the back of my head.

Why haven’t I read Austen? I’ve read just about everything else. I once tried to read Mansfield Park but I still have the $1.29 left on my library balance as a result of forgetting the book existed for well over a month. Certainly if my beloved William is retold over and over, then there must be some merit in the only second most prolific subject of remakes.

It just isn’t my normal fare and I can’t find motivation to get into it (please see library fines). Lo and behold (please stop rolling your eyes, at least in front of me) the book bloggers (stop that!) have a solution. Stephanie of Stephanie’s Written Word has created The Everything Austen challenge.

Participants are asked to chose six Austen related media pieces to read or watch between July 2009 and January 2010. I thought it best to start with the originals so I’m going to go with three starters and three spin offs.

1. Pride and Prejudice
2. Emma
3. Mansfield Park
4. Pride, Prejudice and Zombies by Sean Grahame-Smith
5. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
6. Becoming Jane Austen by Jon Spence

If you know me at all, you know that this will be the very definition of a challenge but I hope I’ll walk away from it a little bit more enlightened. I need a little romance in my reading life so why not consult the master? Wish me luck; here I go!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 26, 2009 11:26 am

    All good choices! Welcome to enlightenment! 😉

  2. Meredith permalink
    June 26, 2009 11:31 am

    Well, Pam, I would like to encourage you in this endeavor. Austen is one of my favorites, particularly P&P. Although her books are often treated as a sort of lite-Harelquin novel of the 1800s, there is a lot of satire and social commentary. I hope you enjoy it!

  3. Cathy permalink
    June 26, 2009 12:37 pm

    Great idea! The wit and sarcasm of Austen makes these a great read.
    I think you should put Sense and Sensibilities before Zombies. You will enjoy Zombies much more after you thoroughly enjoy Austen.

  4. June 26, 2009 1:15 pm

    So glad you are joining in! Happy reading!!

  5. Amanda permalink
    June 27, 2009 12:21 pm

    I definitely love Clueless, which was based on Emma. That is such THE 90s movie!

  6. June 28, 2009 1:56 pm

    I felt the same way when I saw that ridiculous television promo! So glad I’m not the only one out there!

    Miss Remmers

  7. June 29, 2009 10:19 am

    Nice list. I wanted to put Pride , Prejudice and Zombies on my list but some how ended up with Jane Austen Book Club.

  8. sdechantal permalink
    June 30, 2009 10:07 am

    I am going to have to check out this challenge… I have never read her. I want to. I want to be part of that crowd that can say, “What? Jane Austen? Oh yes, I loved _____________, wasnt it simply outrageous when _________________….”


    Anyway, thanks. I will see if I can get in on this. 🙂

    One Persons Journey Through a World of Books

  9. iwriteinbooks permalink*
    June 30, 2009 10:25 am

    Oh yes, do join! She’s not what I usually pick up but I think I would if I had an excuse. So here’s my excuse. Let me know if you ended up joining in!

    Shona, The Jane Austen Book Club is on my list, too. There are just too many for one challenge, I think.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: