Austenland

by Shannon Hale
read July 2006
Everything Austen Book Challenge #1

austenlandIt’s funny to be reading this and including it in my challenge list because I had every intention of reading it anyways. I bought it at Christmas, and I just haven’t gotten to it yet.

Now Stephanie comes up with a very cool challenge to inspire us all to “go Austen” and I had an excuse to put it ahead of my other books in the TBR pile.

First of all, I love Shannon Hale. I love her writing. This book was so unique and funny. It is short, to the point and I think there is a part of the main character, Jane, that most women can relate to.

Jane is in her early 30’s, single, and obsessed with Pride and Prejudice, particularly the BBC adaptation starring Colin Firth. Every relationship she has doesn’t work out because, let’s face it, who can stand up against Mr. Darcy.

Jane’s idea of love and how it should all work out is written out in Austen’s words. When her aunt suddenly dies and leaves Jane an odd present she is forced to confront her obsession head-on. She sends her on a vacation to England. Not just any tour of the English countryside, but a full immersion into a Jane-Austen-style-theme resort. I love it! I wanted to go as I was reading it!

 In her immersion in all things Austen, she connects with a part of herself deep inside and goes through a period of self-discovery.  She thought she knew what she wanted…but she was wrong.

I don’t care if I would look silly.  I would LOVE to go to an Austenlandish place for a few days.  What a fun way to get to play dress-up as an adult.  I have to praise Shannon Hale for the originality of this book.  It is a nice short read that flows well.  I like how it is written in limited 3rd person so we get a birds-eye view of every thing.

I LOVED this book.  I don’t say that about many books.  There are many I like a lot.  But this is one of the few I can say I loved.  There is something so real about Jane’s character and how many women are in love with being in love.  We can get so preoccupied with the idea of “love” that we don’t allow it to find us.  I loved Jane’s journey.  I loved Pembrook Park.  I don’t think I was or ever will be quite as obbsessed as Jane or some of the other guests, but wouldn’t it be so much fun!

I think that’s what it is.  There is a little bit of Jane (the character, not Jane Austen) in all of us.  The fantasy man, escapism, ideas of ideal romances.  Jane is a bit on the extreme side, but we can all relate to her.  I highly recommend this book to any Austen or non-Austen fan.  It’s a nice short read with plenty of substance.  One last note, this book is a totally clean read.  There is nothing that might make anyone squirm.  No language, sex scenes, etc. 

~Jenn

Bloomsbury
196 pages
ISBN- 1-59691-286-3
Genre- Adult Fiction (could be filed under chick-lit as I don’t see many men wanting to pick this one up)

I recently found out that my ATT Cable On Demand has, The Jane Austen Book Club, Sense and Sensibility, Emma,  and Becoming Jane all available right now.  So I’ve addded these extra movies to my list making it as follows: (Highlighted movies/books completed)

1.Austenland by Shannon Hale -Read July 2009.  I’ve wanted to read this for a long time and along comes a perfect challenge!

2. Pride and Prejudice BBC Miniseries -I’ve seen this a few times, but I don’t remember it fully.  It’s always worth another viewing.

3. Pride and Prejudice 2005 Movie Adaptation -I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast the two movie versions of the novel.  I was going to reread the novel, but I’m not sure how much Pride and Prejudice I can take!

4. Emma by Jane Austen -Of all the Austen novels, I remember this one the least, so I picked it to re-read.

5. Emma Movie Adaptation -I’ve started, but never finished this movie.  Again, I thought to compare and contrast would be interesting.

6. Pride and Prejudice and Zombiesby Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith -I have nothing to say other than…curiousity has finally got the best of me.  My biggest problem is the comment from the back; “…transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.”  To which I say “Hey!!!”  A little cheeky considering Jane Austen is still listed as an author…

7. Sense and Sensibility MovieAdaptation -Yay for free movies.  I have NEVER seen this so it will all be new to me!

8. The Jane Austen Book Club Movie -Again a free movie on my TV.  I hadn’t even heard of this but I read the description and it sounds good!

9. Becoming JaneMovie -YAY!  I wanted to go see this in the movies but my husband flat out refused.  Now it is FREE!!!!!  Of all of the movies I am most excited about this one.

I’m not committing to 12 just yet….but I will keep Mr. Darcy Vampyre in mind.  We will see.

For more information on the challenge, visit Stephanie’s Written Word.

Two down for this month!  I have a few books to read before I make an August selection.

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~ by jennifermorrill on July 12, 2009.

18 Responses to “Austenland”

  1. I definitely enjoyed Austenland, so I’m glad you did too! Great and thorough review. Best of luck with the rest of your list! (add 3 more, add 3 more…)

  2. I really liked Austenland as well (and think Shannon Hale is too cool)! If you wouldn’t mind, would you please link to this review on the Mr. Linky (which you can find when you click on the green Everything Austen tab at the top of my blog) instead of in the comments. That way everyone can see your progress!!

  3. Stephanie- I thought I did add him to Mr. Linky? Hrm. I will have to look again. Your blog has me busy and I like it. I’m connecting up all over the place. Now I have to go check. Did I goof and put it in the comments. I think I put my Jane Austen Book Club review there.

    Celia- I’m really thinking I can add 3 more. Id like to do at least 1 more book. I haven’t seen ANY of the movie adaptations. I’m going to see what my local library has.

  4. I’m glad you liked this book! I have it on my list to read. I haven’t seen the Colin Firth version of P/P so it looks like I’ll have to watch that before reading the book. 🙂

  5. It was definitely a fun and light read for me. I just thought it was a bit predictable there at the end, but still fun! The movie adaptations are great! So enjoy those as well!

  6. I agree, the ending was a bit predictable…but sometimes I like predictable. I’m glad you enjoyed it too. Like you said, nice, fun and light read.

  7. The BBC Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice is the ONLY movie adaptation of any Austen books I have seen. You could read it without watching it, especially if you’ve read the book, but there is something kind of sexy about Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy….

  8. hmmm, sounds like a good one. i’d like to visit a place like austenland.

  9. Aw, it’s so nice to read a positive review of Austenland… it always sounds so appealing to me, but then I read reviews that make me shy away from it! You’ve convinced me — I’m going pick it up soon.

    And I’m not sure if you’ve gotten a chance to watch it yet, but I absolutely LOVE “Becoming Jane” — hands-down one of my favorite movies of all time!

  10. Hi Megan- Thanks for stopping by! I have Becoming Jane on my DVR to watch…just haven’t gotten to it yet.

    I really enjoyed Austenland as a nice, short, easy and lighthearted read. I thought it was quite enjoyable. I hope you like it if you do decide to pick it up!

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