Books: November 2009 & Giveaway Winner Announced

  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (audio) (reread)
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (review)
  • Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler (review)
  • Thursday Next: First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde (review)

Not to shabby by my standards.  Especially considering how busy November ended up being for me.

And the best news? I didn’t buy or otherwise acquire any books this month.  I guess I’m saving up for the Christmas haul.

Finally, it’s time to announce the winner to my Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict giveaway.  First let me say that I really enjoyed reading all of your responses and hearing what you all would do if you suddenly woke up in Regency England. I used a random number generator to pick the winner, and that person is:

madwoman-doing-cartwheels

Send me an email with your address and I’ll send you your book.  If I don’t hear from you by December 15, I’ll pick another winner.

Everything Austen #3: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and GIVEAWAY

I finished Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler (my third item for the Everything Austen challenge) this week.  Here is the blurb from the publisher:

After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up to find herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy?

Not only is Courtney stuck inside another woman’s life, she is forced to pretend she actually is that woman; and despite knowing nothing about her, she manages to fool even the most astute observer. For her borrowed body knows how to speak without slaying the King’s English, dance without maiming her partner, and embroider as if possessed by actual domestic skill.

But not even Courtney’s level of Austen mania has prepared her for the chamber pots and filthy coaching inns of nineteenth-century England, let alone the realities of being a single woman who must fend off suffocating chaperones, condom-less seducers, and marriages of convenience. Enter the enigmatic Mr. Edgeworth, a suitor who may turn out not to be a familiar species of philanderer after all.

Confessions was a nice, quick read.  I didn’t love it, but I did enjoy it (I really wanted to love it since I planned on doing a giveaway, but it is what it is).  The first-person narrator took a long time to get used to (I don’t like being stuck in people’s heads), but the idea is interesting.  How many of us Austen fans have not dreamed of living in Regency England and attending balls, being courted by rich suitors, and traveling to Bath.  But in these fantasies, have any of us considered the harsg realities – how do you bathe? what happens when you get your period? how are you treated when you are sick?  These are the things Courtney experiences (along with the balls and the suitors and Bath).  It made me glad that I can sit in my 21st century apartment reading about Jane Austen’s era instead of actually experiencing it.

And now for the giveaway!

Since Everything Austen is all about the giveaways, I will be giving away my copy of Confessions of a Jane Austen addict to one lucky winner.  All you have to do is leave a comment below saying one thing you would do (or dread doing) if you woke up in Regency England.  For an extra entry, tweet about it or mention it in a blog post and let me know.  The contest will be open until the end of the month (Midnight EDT November 30) and is open to international readers.  I will announce the winner in my November Books post.  Good luck!

Everything Austen #2: Mansfield Park

Back in July, I joined the Everything Austen Challenge hosted by Stephanie’s Written Word.  You can read about my challenge list here.  So far I have not done a good job convincing myself that I will actually finish the challenge as originally planned (or at all).  It is the middle of October and I’ve only completed two items.  I’m having a hard time getting through Pride and Prejudice and don’t want to push it because I love the book too much.  There is no way I’m going to be able to read both the original and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by the end of the year.  But, I will keep doing what I can and maybe swap out a few books for movies in the end (I feel like a high school student).

I did watch Mansfield Park recently.  I really didn’t care for the book when I read it last year, so I wanted to give the story another chance to gain my good opinion.  I can say that I enjoyed the movie more than the book, but I’m still not in love with it and it is still by far my least favorite Austen novel.

In order to make the movie likeable at all, they had to make Fanny Price likeable.  She drove me crazy in the book and they changed her in the movie.  But by making her stronger, I think they failed to show how much she loved Edmund all her life.

Speaking of, the whole cousins-raised-as-siblings love story didn’t make me feel as uncomfortable as reading the book did.  I actually found myself cheering for them.  And the scene when they are driving back to Mansfield Park and they hold hands and Edmund falls asleep on her shoulder – it gave me butterflies.

A few of the things that I liked best about the book were changed.  Her relationship with her brother – that was changed to her sister.  Sir Thomas’ interest in her when he returns from Antigua was there but not really.  And some of the character quirks in Mrs. Norris’ awful ways and Mr. Rushworth’s self-love.  Also, I don’t remember the slave-trade playing a large role in the book but perhaps I overlooked it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I watched this movie over a period of three days and was getting ready for work or ironing throughout the whole thing, so I may not have gotten the full movie experience.  But I’m glad I saw it and got a chance to reevaluate Mansfield Park.  Perhaps I don’t dislike it quite as much as I used to.