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Someone tell me which Jane Austen to read

(82 Posts)
Flamesparrow Sat 18-Jul-09 18:01:16

The woman has never appealed. I have started P&P several times but never gotten very far (although a lot of that could be down to it being one of those budget books that just feel horrible blush).

I am tempted to just say sod it and go for the Zombie version

(Tis for book group)

RedLentil Sat 18-Jul-09 18:04:25

Well, Persuasion is the best I think for a book group, not least because it is about a woman with a bit more experience under her belt than some of the other ones (she has lost love and then has to engage with it again).

Always a big hit when I've taught it too.

It really is fantastic, and has gone down well every time I have taught it to reluctant undergrads.

I'm sure Janeite will be along soon with more advice [smil]

ReneRusso Sat 18-Jul-09 18:04:51

They are not easy reading if you're not used to it because of the language and style - very long winded sentences. You could try Emma. Its very funny. But if P&P didn't do it for you then maybe Emma wouldn't either.

RedLentil Sat 18-Jul-09 18:05:18

Ah, well my post is garbled but the novel isn't grin

seeker Sat 18-Jul-09 18:09:26

Northhanger Abbey is funny.

Mansfield Park is a good talking point because it has the most irritating heroine in literature.

Pride and Prejudice is a good starting point though because the story's pretty well known now.

Persuasion is my personal favourite.

treedelivery Sat 18-Jul-09 18:09:27

Emma or Persuasion. Put the man you fancy most in the title role and it all flows much better grin.

RedLentil Sat 18-Jul-09 18:12:51

The advice I always give to my undergrads when they attack a novel from a historical period they don't know well is to start by listening out for the voice.

So, read page one- when you get bogged down, later on on the page, go back to the start of page one. Do this until you have read up to page 3 by which time you will have tuned in.

Persuasion is a bit extra tricky as the first para is a bit of a contemporary in- joke ...

Maybe at the end of the previous meeting you could do para one together as a collective toe-dipping exercise.

Tell them it starts with an in-joke about a nobleman obsessed with himself. Then ask them to think about what Austen's view of Walter Elliot is.

This exercise might help them to get a grip on her tone and method in readiness for the fantastic story to follow.

(Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, in Sommersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect, by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs, changed naturally into pity and contempt, as he turned over the almost endless creations of the last century - and there, if every other leaf were powerless, he could read his own history with an interest that never failed - this was the page at which the favourite volume always opened: ELLIOT OF KELLYNCH HALL)

8oreighty Sat 18-Jul-09 18:14:06

Pride and Prejudice - stick with it but Persuasion is really adult, very sexy...sort of an older love story. I didn't really like Emma...

OrmIrian Sat 18-Jul-09 18:15:03

All of them! ASAP grin

Northanger Abbey is a good way in iirc. Emma?

brimfull Sat 18-Jul-09 18:15:16

god none they're all shite imo grin

roisin Sat 18-Jul-09 18:16:07

Emma, definitely. You hvae to read Emma first. It's funny.

Flamesparrow Sat 18-Jul-09 18:18:00

It is a case of we go away and read any austen and then talk about it iyswim.

Love all your clashing opinions - especially ggirl and orm!!!

roisin Sat 18-Jul-09 19:09:35

Emma, emma, emma!

Longtalljosie Sat 18-Jul-09 19:40:35

I think the first one I read was Sense and Sensibility.

But you could be right about the budget books, especially if the language is unfamiliar, it will be so much harder with the type all squeezed and badly laid out. Buy yourself a nice Penguin Classic or similar

DuchessOfAvon Sat 18-Jul-09 19:50:48

Nooo! Persuasion, Persuasion, Persuasion.

Mrs Musgrave is hilarious, Anne's sisters are hideous and Captain Wentworth is dreamy. P&P is my teenage romance book but Persuasion is my grown-up romance.

Flamesparrow Sat 18-Jul-09 19:52:26

Persuasion is seeming the most appealing so far

Duchess - I am getting much more enthused by your options than my own wink

gigglewitch Sat 18-Jul-09 19:54:17

Emma's my all time fave smile
Quite entertaining, and doesn't take things too seriously.

DuchessOfAvon Sat 18-Jul-09 19:55:12

Wot - my sci-fi/fantasy nightmare on t'other thread? Please, help yourself!

I am a JA girl through and through.

Flamesparrow Sat 18-Jul-09 19:56:23

I am more sci fi and fantasy, so have loads of options for that choice My book group did that just before I joined though

Hassled Sat 18-Jul-09 19:56:59

I saw the title and thought "Persuasion", and it seems I'm not alone . DD is reading Emma as her first Austen and seems to be enjoying it. Once you get used to the language, it just becomes normal.

popsycal Sat 18-Jul-09 19:58:06

well i quirtte like mansfield park.... hmm

Flamesparrow Sat 18-Jul-09 19:58:33

Language doesn't normally bother me with books (well, Trainspotting was a struggle...), I think that the quality of my P&P did have a lot to do with it.

Will go find a decent version of Persuasion

janeite Sat 18-Jul-09 20:02:24

Oh Flame - please, please give her another go. I think you'd like 'Northanger Abbey' the best but 'Persuasion' is beyond gorgeous. I think you'd really appreciate the humour and the gothic elements of Northanger Abbey.

MmeDanversAMangeMonIpod Sat 18-Jul-09 20:04:45

Loads will disagree with me but I really like Mansfield Park, it's quite different to the rest and touches on some wider themes as well as the romantic ones.

Aside from that P&P and Persuasion are fantastic

Or for sth a bit different how about Lady Susan, not as well known as the others but it's quite short so may suit?

HumphreyCobbler Sat 18-Jul-09 20:07:25

Mansfield Park is my favourite too.

I like them all though.

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