I always love Jane Austen week here! (And not just because it reminds me that my mom’s birthday is also December 16 and I need to remember to get her a gift…) It gives me a chance to revisit these books that mean so much to me, and maybe do a little re-reading and reminiscing.
My “first” was Emma. I found an old, yellowed paperback copy at my grandmother’s house, it had a girl in a pretty dress on the cover so I decided to give it a try. I had already read some Heyer and a few Barbara Cartlands, so I knew a little about the Regency period (enough to know I loved it and wanted to live in that world, though not at that point much “real” history). I love, love, loved the story, and immediately ran to the library to find the rest of the Austen novels, plus a bio! I was amazed to find out the author had been dead over 200 years and wasn’t a writer working right then, her characters seemed so real and vivid to me. Some of their concerns were different from mine (marrying asap and to the right man, since there is no other choice!), some I could relate to (parents can be sooo annoying!), but the characters at their core seemed like people I knew and wanted to spend time with, and that has never changed.
Last night I went to a jazz concert, and listened to a 15-minute version of a song I love (“Take the A Train”), and heard things in it I never had before, and realized Austen has much in common with this other love of mine, jazz music. There are always variations on a theme in Austen, things that keep popping up on re-reading that I never saw before, things that resonate with me at different ages, and that means her books always repay revisiting. That’s her rare genius. And since I’m getting ready to get married on Saturday (a core concern of all Austen characters!) I am thinking I need to re-read some Pride & Prejudice or Persuasion to make sure I’m ready…
All commenters on today’s blog get put in the drawing for our grand prize (a $50 Amazon giftcard!), but I am also giving away an adorable Jane Austen puzzle! It would make a great holiday gift if you have an Austen fan in your life (or a great gift to yourself!). How did you get hooked on Austen? What was your “first”? (You never forget your first!!)
My “first” was Pride & Prejudice. But I’ll talk about that more on Friday!
My first (book and dvd) was Pride and Prejudice. And it’s still my favorite!!
I love your comparison of hearing a jazz standard in a new way weith re-reading Jane Austen. There is always something new if you open your senses. Wonderful!
My first owas Pride and Prejudice in school, but the first one I voluntarily read was Sense & Sensibility. When I revisted P&P, my real first, I realized how much I had overlooked on that forced read. I could answer all the questions the teacher posed, but I didn’t really GET it until I read it for sheer pleasure. Now when I teach JA now and then, I try to focus on what identifies modern young ladies with her characters — instead of treating it like a stale old tale. The more we change, the more we remain the same!
Congratulations on your future nuptials !! I agree with you about rereading Austen and the nuances I seemed to have missed the first 20 times read her books.
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!
My first was P&P, but the A&E TV version. We never read Jane Austen in school nor did I think to pick up any of her books. However, after watching this wonderful show, I finally read P&P for the first time and just fell in love with everything Jane!
My first Austen was Pride and Prejudice. I absolutely loved Elizabeth Bennet and wanted to be just like her–smart and witty, and just pretty enough. The next book I picked up was Sense and Sensibility, and regretfully I disliked Fanny Dashwood so much that I didn’t get past the first chapter. Fifteen years passed before I picked up another Austen novel.
Pride and Prejudice
Actually my “first” was a set of Jane Austen note cards, with the quaint pictures and lovely quotes. I then read Pride and Prejudice and watched a couple of the more recent movies. Total bliss! Thanks for the giveaway.
Congrats on your upcoming wedding. My first was “Persuasion.” I actually saw the movie version with Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root first and then I picked up the book.
Many happy felicitations on your upcoming nuptials. Such an exciting time in your life. Ok, I agree with you. My favorite-bar none-Jane Austen book has to be Emma. I went through a period (10 years) where I read this book every single spring. Believe me, my copy is in tatters, but I still have it. It saved my sanity through graduate school. It’s such a beautiful story and simply an expression of our ability to be recreated or “reborn.” LOL! FYI-another favorite book of mine is A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz. Prof. Deresiewicz discusses several Austen novels and what they mean to him and why they matter! Truly enlightening. Enjoy and Happy Holidays to everyone.
Pride and Prejudice was my first Jane Austen while in high school. The first read was slow, but then I got an idea of the rhythm of the language and the humor from the A&E movie….I read it three times after that! Then I moved on to her other novels. I must say that I have a soft spot for Northanger Abbey…maybe because I love gothic novels as much as Catherine Morland! 🙂 Or maybe because I love Henry Tilney? Hmmm…*sigh
Pride and Prejudice was my first Austen. Unfortunately I came to the world of period romance rather late in life. I don’t know where these books were when I was younger, but I never saw or heard much of them. My mom never had time for reading, and for some reason few of my english classes had us read the classic books. I am making up now for all the really good books I missed.
Pride and Prejudice was my first Jane & I guess it’ll always be my favorite, perhaps because of it. I got hooked from the very first line & reread it often. I think I was about 14 or maybe 15 when I came across it. Not realizing that I would compare most romance heroes with Darcy from that day on.
Believe it or not, I’ve never read anything by her. Please don’t throw stones at me!
My first was Pride and Prejudice the movie and read Mansfield Park at Uni, which I adored. I ran the gamut of emotions with Mansfield Park and was totally exhausted by the end of the book. It was thoroughly worth it! I have since enjoyed Emma, revisited P & P and am looking forward to meeting new characters in Jane Austen’s other books. I am totally hooked. Have a wonderful and safe Christmas everyone.
my first time in your lovely new home! found out via newsletter and hastened on over. my first austen was P&P, at a time when I was young enough not to understand the true meaning of prejudice. I thought it was something specifically to do with racism. So naturally I was a little confused reading the story!
Pride and Prejudice was the first Jane Austen story I read and it is still my favorite.