Category Archives: Jane Austen

A Bibliophile Goes Shopping

I went shopping today at a used item store. Of course, after I looked at the clothes, I went over to browse through the book section. AND THEY HAD AN ENTIRE SET OF JANE AUSTEN!!! and Jane Eyre. and Phatom of the Opera. Cyrano de Bergerac. Shakespeare’s plays. THREE Pride and Prejudice’s. And they were so cheap! I desperately wanted to buy them.

But there’s no more room on my bookshelves. *sigh*

When I couldn’t fit books vertically on the shelves anymore, I started putting them on top of each other. Then I put some of my books in a box under the bed. And then they started appearing everywhere; on the windowsill, on every little stand or table, on chairs, etc.

Yep, they were just about everywhere.

At least Cicero should be proud of me. He did say “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” (one of my favourite quotes, by the way)

Okay, so I admit, I really couldn’t resist those books at the store. In the end, I ended up buying  “A Man For All Seasons” and “Brideshead Revisited”. They are now proudly occupying the dining room shelves. Despite the fact that those shelves are already overflowing.

Ahh, the life of a bibliophile.

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Reading List

Books I plan to read someday, sometime (in no particular order):

1. Persuasion- Jane Austen

2. Eragon- Christopher Paolini

3. The Three Musketeers- Alexandre Dumas

4. The Count of Monte Cristo

5. The Prince and the Pauper- Mark Twain

6. Pygmalion- George Bernard Shaw

7. Captain Blood- Rafael Sabatini

8. Emily of New Moon- L.M. Montgomery

9. Hamlet- William Shakespeare

10. North and South- Elizabeth Gaskell

11. Screwtape Letters- C.S. Lewis

12. A Tale of Two Cities- Charles Dickens

13. They Loved to Laugh- Kathryn Worth

14. Ivanhoe- Sir Walter Scott

15. Lorna Doone- R.D. Blackmore

16. Sense and Sensibility- Jane Austen

17.  The Swan Kingdom- Zoe Marriott

18. The Enchanted Castle- Edith Nesbit

19. As You Like It- William Shakespeare

20. Nicholas Nickleby- Charles Dickens

21. Little Dorrit- Charles Dickens

22. Alex O’Donnell and the Forty Cyber Thieves- Regina Doman

23. Why Catholics Are Right- Michael Coren

24. Prove It! Series- Amy Welborn

25. Gone With the Wind- Margaret Mitchell

26. Mara, Daughter of the Nile- Eloise Jarvis McGraw

27. Emily Climbs- L.M. Montgomery

28. Emily’s Quest- L.M. Montgomery

29. The Blue Castle- L.M. Montgomery (yes, I like her books. A lot)

30. The Interior Castle- St. Teresa of Avila

31. Don Quixote- Miguel de Cervantes

32. A Gown of Spanish Lace- Janette Oke

33. Edmund Campion- Evelyn Waugh

33. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall- Anne Bronte

34. The Silmarillion- J.R.R. Tolkien

35. Rob Roy- Sir Walter Scott

36. The Bride of Lammermoor- Sir Walter Scott

37. Dressing With Dignity- Colleen Hammond

38. The Phantom of the Opera- Gaston Leroux

39. Catholic in Philadelphia Court- Martin de Porres Kennedy

40. Ella Enchanted- Gail Carson Levine

41. Hattie Big Sky -Kirby Larson

42. Orthodoxy- G. K. Chesterton

43. Idylls of the King- Tennyson

44. Enemy Brothers- Constance Savery

45. Escape From Warsaw- Ian Serraillier

46. Rebecca- Daphne du Maurier

47. Confessions of St. Augustine

48. Antigone- Sophocles

49. Phantom Tollbooth- Norton Juster

50. Sun Slower, Sun Faster- Meriol Trevor

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Mansfield Park

    Mansfield Park is the fourth Jane Austen book that I’ve read so far. I love it! One of my favourite books ever!! How ironic that my two favourite Jane Austen novels are Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park, her least popular and most disliked books, respectively. I can see how someone could dislike Mansfield Park, it is darker than Austen’s other books and perhaps at some times depressing. But the characters are so wonderful, and the storyline in my opinion, very interesting, I could not put it down! I was addicted, even when I was not reading it, I couldn’t stop thinking about Fanny and Edmund and Henry and all the other characters. They seemed so real, and I felt that Fanny and I had a lot in common. For instance, we’re both shy and don’t talk much (I’m generally not much of a talker, but sometimes I can talk like crazy. Especially when I’m tired. Then I talk, and chatter, and giggle- nope, you don’t want to be around me when I’m tired! But I’m getting carried away. Back to topic.) And Fanny considers herself “grave” and while I wouldn’t describe myself as such, I often don’t succeed in being funny, even if I try. . . She’s a stark contrast to Emma Woodhouse, for example, who is quite popular (that’s not the right word but what I mean is sociable) but Fanny isn’t unsociable, she just doesn’t make friends as easily. So in those respects I can identify with her. But first I should explain the story.

Fanny Price lives with her rich uncle and aunt, and four cousins: selfish Tom, kind and considerate Edmund, vain Maria, and the youngest Julia. The story begins when Fanny is about 10 years old and she comes to live with her realtions because her family is so poor, and homesick and lonely, she is miserable most of the time. But when 16-year old Edmund shows compassion for his little cousin, they grow closer and closer, becoming very close friends and confidantes over the course of 8 years. Then Fanny falls in love with her gentle, caring cousin, but his affections are directed towards someone else. [*Warning: SPOILERS!] The” Someone Else’s” brother, Henry Crawford, flirtatious and full of worldliness and vanity,  makes up his mind to make Fanny fall in love with him, but she remains strong and refuses to be decieved as she has seen others fall for his attentions and then left heartbroken. Henry ends up falling in love with Fanny himself, but she continues to refuse him, because she loves Edmund. Just as Henry is beginning to acquire gentleness and more kindness during his pursuit of Fanny, he does a terrible thing that will cost him the loss of any chance of Fanny ever returning his affections.[*End of Spoilers]

 

Oh, Henry Crawford. . .how could you??? So charming and determined in the pursuit of the only woman he thinks could ever make him happy, Fanny, he was, in my opinion, impossible to dislike, particularly when he comes to visit her in Portsmouth where she is staying with her family. It was one of my favourite parts of the book! Fanny, pining for Mansfield and all the friends she has there, is at first startled at Henry’s appearance at her doorstep, but soon begins to notice how much his manners have improved. Now, if only he had taken her advice and gone to (well, I forget the name of the place, but it was somewhere where he was to help the poor or something) perhaps he would have gotten her to love him after all! Arghhhh!!

I fell in love with Edmund when he was so kind to Fanny when she was homesick, at the start of her life in Mansfield. He seemed so human, not as dashing and romantic as Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley, but the sort of character I’d be most likely to meet in real life. He is so nice to Fanny, but it is extremely aggravating when he doesn’t have the sense enough to fall in love with her. And then at the end, when she tells him she’s loved him the whole time. . . Edmund!!

The first three quarters of the book were absolutely delightful, but near the end was when it got a bit depressing. But of course, there’s a Happily Ever After for Fanny and Edmund- perhaps not so much for several of the other characters. I thought there should have been more with Fanny and Edmund at the very end, when he tells her he loves her, IMO, the scene was a bit too short and could have used spme more dialogue. Still, the book is definitely something worth reading and thinking about. Personally, I loved it and I am so extremely happy to have read it!

-Elestyn

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Emma

   A couple days ago I finished reading Emma by Jane Austen. It was one of the books on my reading list, and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t like the first half all that much, but then it got better, with Emma’s personality changing along the way (thanks to Mr. Knightley!)

 Emma is the story of a young lady whose hobby is matchmaking. After making a successful match for her friend Miss Taylor, Emma proceeds to find a husband for her 17-year old friend Harriet and gets into some scrapes in the meantime. I found Emma to be a somewhat annoying, meddling character at first but fortunately she improved in the course of the story. It was refreshing to read Jane Austen again, I haven’t in quite a while, and I look forward to reading Mansfield Park soon!

I would probably give Emma four stars out of five. Definitely worth the read!!

Emma and Harriet

I also just watched the 1996 movie starring Kate Beckinsale. I was quite pleased with the film. Emma (Kate Beckinsale) was absolutely perfect, I don’t think she could have been better! But then I haven’t seen any other versions of the movie, so I guess I’m not much of a judge. Mr. Knightley was not completely what I had imagined. It seemed to me that he almost had a worse temper than his brother John who is known for his grumpiness, and I can’t say I found Mr. Knightley to be quite as handsome as he is described to be in the book.

Ohhh, don’t even get me started on Frank Churchill, however!!! He was even more charming than I had pictured him in the book and had the most awesome curly hair and amazing eyes ever! But most of the other characters could have been played by better actors, IMO. I’m not saying the acting was bad, on the contrary, I considered it pretty good, but the actors could have been better chosen. Although I was delighted to see Olivia Williams playing Jane Fairfax. She made a very pretty, quiet Miss Fairfax, very close to what she was in the book.

The script also stayed close to the book, and the movie contained all the important parts, so overall, I was happy with this version. I’m hoping to watch the Gwyneth Paltrow version sometime soon, it will be interesting to see a blonde Emma after Kate Beckinsale’s lovely dark hair.

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15 Books I Simply Must Read

I love to read. I could spend days on end with my nose stuck in a good book. I often lament the fact that there’s so many books out there that I want to read and not enough time to read them all! But here are 15 of the books I most want to read. It’s my goal to read at least half of the books on my list before the year is over.

1. Emma- Jane Austen

2. Mansfield Park

3. The Three Musketeers- Alexandre Dumas

4. The Count of Monte Cristo

5. The Prince and the Pauper- Mark Twain

6. Pygmalion- George Bernard Shaw

7. Captain Blood- Rafael Sabatini

8. Emily of New Moon- L.M. Montgomery

9. Hamlet- William Shakespeare

10. North and South- Elizabeth Gaskell

11. Screwtape Letters- C.S. Lewis

12. A Tale of Two Cities- Charles Dickens

13. They Loved to Laugh- Kathryn Worth

14. Ivanhoe- Sir Walter Scott

15. Lorna Doone- R.D. Blackmore

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