Gazette Weekly #2: Jane Austen July

Welcome to Gazette Weekly a new feature I started at The Bookish Context last month which functions as a periodical wherein I discuss my weekly escapades and anything that catches my fancy! Today I am delighted to share my plans for Jane Austen July hosted by Katie @ Books and Things, Marissa @ Blatantly Bookish and Claudia @ Spinster’s Library. It is a month-long readathon, all about reading Jane Austen and related works, an absolute treat for Janeites!!

Jane Austen July

The Challenges

  1. Read one of Jane Austen’s main six novels
  2. Read something by Jane Austen that is not one of her main six novels
  3. Read a non-fiction work about Jane Austen or her time
  4. Read a retelling of a Jane Austen book
  5. Read a book by a contemporary of Jane Austen (ie, 1775–1817)
  6. Watch a direct screen adaptation of a Jane Austen book
  7. Watch a modern screen adaptation/retelling of a Jane Austen book

My Experience Participating Last Year

What I Read

  • Mansfield Park: I had first read this as a teenager but had trouble being invested enough to complete it. However, giving it another chance as an adult helped me to appreciate how different it was from Austen’s other novels. This is mostly because it was less romance-centric, I think I will need to re-read it a couple more times to truly grasp the intricacy of the characters. Fanny Price has my newfound respect as she embodies the admirable qualities of steadfast devotion and quiet strength which I have come to value.
  • Lady Susan: I found this to be a highly entertaining read. The central character is not one what we would call a “good” person. This epistolary novel reads like a soap opera with immense family drama amidst the manipulative schemes of our protagonist.
  • The Other Bennet Sister: I cannot express my love for this novel often enough! As I mentioned in my Year in Books: 2020 Edition post this was an unexpected delight for me as it captured the essence of Austen’s writing style. For those who adore character-driven narratives, I highly recommend this!!
  • Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance: It made me question our sensational and romanticized perception of books in the historical romance genre. This novel did not shirk away from discussing the darker side of gentry life.

What I Watched

  • Sense and Sensibility(1995): This brilliant adaptation made me like the novel more, the nuances of their personalities and relationships along with Austen’s characteristic wit and charm was captured beautifully. Picturing some of the main cast playing such diverse roles in the Harry Potter series goes to show their versatility as actors!
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary: I am probably the only one on the planet who did not like the movie. It was highly anticipated by me after so many positive reviews and I was even interested in giving the book it’s based on, a try. Sadly I do not think the humour was to my taste and I really cannot fathom the reason for it to be considered a Pride and Prejudice retelling when it has nothing to do with the source material!

Plans This Year

What I Want to Read

  • Persuasion: If slow-burn romances with years of mutual pining and giving love a second chance appeal to you, then look no further because no novel does it better! Being my third-most favourite work by Austen the experience of re-reading it will be further enhanced as I intend to participate in the read-along taking place from 22nd to 31st July, the details of which can be found in the Goodreads group.
  • Sanditon: I had avoided picking this up before on account of its being unfinished. However, seeing that I have resolved to read every piece of writing by the author, now seems like as good a time as any.
  • Evelina: While trying to find a novel by Austen’s contemporaries this particularly stood out to me, although I am a bit daunted as the audiobook is 18 hours long!!

My topmost choices for the non-fiction prompt are Jane Austen at Home, the gorgeous cover and the promise of a closer inspection of the influences of Austen’s home life on her writing voice was what drew me to this novel. Whereas, A Visitor’s Guide to Jane Austen’s England appears to be a fascinating exploration of the socio-cultural facets referenced in her novels answering questions such as “Were all unmarried affluent men really ‘in want of a wife’? Would ‘taking the waters at Bath and other spas kill or cure you? or What would you wear to a country ball or a dance at Almack’s ?”

  • Susan: A Jane Austen Prequel: The premise of this book sounds utterly compelling, imagining Lady Susan in her youth in this unique cross-over where several characters from the Austenesque universe come together sounds like something right out of every fan’s imagination!
  • A Murder at Rosings: A retelling of Pride and Prejudice interwoven in a murder mystery! This debut novel seems designed to be a perfect fusion of all my favourite genres and is one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I am eagerly looking forward to getting to both of these this July.

What I Want to Watch

Emma (1996) is the adaptation with Gwyneth Paltrow in the eponymous role and one which has been on my to be watched list for a while now. From Mansfield with Love, which is a highly recommended web series that I have heard does justice to the original.

Jane Austen’s works are my ultimate comfort reads and the beauty of her writing lies in the reader being able to gain new insight with every read. I do not think I will ever tire of the world she has created no matter how many times I re-read her books! If you share my enthusiasm then make sure to join in for Jane Austen July.

Adventures in the Blogosphere

On the above note, I acknowledge that like Mr Darcy my socially awkward self ‘certainly have not the talent which some people possess, of conversing easily with those I have never seen before.’ However, as Elizabeth Bennet aptly supplies, it is in large part from lack of practice. Therefore, this month I will make a greater effort in blog hopping and stepping out of my comfort zone to interact with fellow bloggers in the community. To aid this endeavour, I signed up for the Comment 4 Comment Challenge by Gayathri @ Elgee Writes which will help me make more blogging friends and to achieve the goal ‘leave no comment un-replied and un-returned’.

Also, I would like to show my appreciation for The Silver Petticoat Review a literal treasure trove and absolute go-to for recommendations of books, tv shows, movies and more for lovers of historical romance.

  • Linking up with: The Sunday Post is a blog news meme hosted @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share a post to recap the past week on your blog and share news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead. 
  • It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted @ The Book Date. It is a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week.
  • Sunday Salon hosted @ Readerbuzz is a place to link up and to share what we have been doing during the week.

And that’s a wrap for this week, see you again next weekend!

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Do you enjoy reading novels by Jane Austen, if so what other fun events do you participate in to engage with like-minded people?

Would you recommend any other retellings or novels with similar themes and writing that I might enjoy?

Feel free to share your weekly updates post or chat with me in the comments below!!

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