Tag: Author: Jane Austen


So You Want to Read… (Jane Austen)

Posted 12 August, 2015 by Lianne in Lists / 13 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a new monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂

Happy August! I hope your summer (or winter, depending) has been fun and wonderful. For this month’s So You Want to Read… I decided to go with Jane Austen (author tag). Thought it was a good time, especially as there is the event Austen in August happening right now 😉 Many of you know that I’m a big fan and reader of Jane Austen’s novels; I first encountered Jane Austen in high school, where we studied Pride & Prejudice for grade 11 English. But it wasn’t until university when I went back to her books and absolutely fell in love with them (and from there braching out to the other classic authors).

So without further ado, here’s my recommendation of what order you should read her books in. There’s no right way to do it, of course, and it really depends on what interests you as a reader, but for new readers, maybe you want to try it this way?

  • Pride & Prejudice (review) — Surprised? There’s a good reason why Jane Austen’s most famous novel gets first billing on my recommended order list. The main protagonist, Elizabeth Bennett, is witty and vivacious and headstrong, and the dialogue is quite electric (as is the narration, now that I think about it). It’s quite the story of mannerisms and characterisations and class and family so yeah, it’s a good place to start.
  • Northanger Abbey (review) — Jane Austen’s earliest novel that was published posthumously. It’s certainly not as complex as her later novels, so why did I rank it so high up my recommended order list lol? Simply put, it’s because of it’s simplistic storyline and just the fun of it all that I ranked it pretty high for new Austen readers to check out. Yes, some of the late 18th century pop culture references might fly over your head, but it’s the characterisations and reactions are relatable and it’s just all around fun. Not to mention the lead character is a reader with quite the active imagination 🙂
  • Persuasion (review) — This was the last novel Jane Austen more or less completed before she passed away and certainly the most mature of her body of work. It’s also my personal favourite from the six because of everything about it–from the characters to the themes to the contemplative nature of the story to the letter at the end (you’ll know what I speak of when you get to it) 😉 I’m surprised more people haven’t read this book, it’s absolutely amazing (and the first time around I couldn’t put it down because I just had to know how things would turn out).
  • Emma (review) — Personally not my favourite Austen novel of the six but I can see why people love it (I’ve only come to appreciate the book only more recently). Emma Woodhouse playing matchmaker with the people in her community, resulting in misunderstandings and hijinks all around. I ranked it where it is because it’s still more accessible than the remaining books I will be listing (plus, Mr. Knightley is such a hoot 😛 ).
  • Sense & Sensibility (review) — I love S&S but I learned the hard way that it’s not quite an easy book to recommend to readers, even if they loved P&P. I remember the first time I read it that the language used is and felt a little older than P&P and later novels, and I admit, it can be a little dry. But the story is fantastic, the characters are great, and if you get to this book I encourage you to try to stick through it because it’s such an amazing story with a lot to think about and great character dynamics and the nature of human emotions and passions.
  • Mansfield Park (review) — I love Mansfield Park and like S&S it pains me to rank it rather low on the list of which order to read her books in but this book is pretty different from the others in that it’s much more inclined towards social commentary and character study. It’s also a lot longer (I think–not that this should be a deterrent 😛 ). Many Austen readers do not find Fanny as sparkling or as witty as Elizabeth Bennet or Emma Woodhouse or as passionate as Marianne Dashwood but I urge you to stick through this book. The family dynamics are absolutely intriguing and Fanny is a very strong character in her own way.
  • Her other works (Lady Susan, Sandition, etc.) — And when you’ve run out of her books to read and want to read more of her books, there are her incomplete works (which Penguin Classics does have compiled–at least the larger works). Lady Susan is complete and is a very interesting story as it’s all told in letters. Sandition and The Watsons were pretty promising but alas, she died before she could write any further. They may be incomplete and leave you wanting but they are nonetheless worth checking out because they’re quite different from the above, completed novels.

I hope this recommended order list of books helps if you’re interested in revisiting or reading Jane Austen for the first time! What’s your favourite Jane Austen novels? Which would you recommend for first-time readers (or in which order)? Or which books have you been meaning to check out?

Commentary: Mansfield Park…Again

Posted 24 July, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 14 Comments

Mansfield Park
By: Jane Austen
Format/Source: Paperback; my copy

Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny’s uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation. As her female cousins vie for Henry’s attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary’s dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords’ influence and finds herself more isolated than ever.

I took to re-reading Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park some time ago; it’s definitely one of her books that I re-read the least. It’s not because I don’t like it–I love it–but I guess it being the lengthiest of her novels factor in there somewhere. Anyway, one of the reasons why I love this novel is that, while it’s not as flashy as Pride and Prejudice (review) or romantic and melancholic as Persuasion (review) but it is probably the most thought-provoking of her books to me. I don’t often recommend Mansfield Park to new Jane Austen readers (see my So You Want to Read… feature for next month), but I do recommend it overall because it’s just so rich a novel. And re-reading it this time around brought out the questions…as well as the feels 😛

Random note before I proceed: I don’t own the Penguin English Library edition of the book, but isn’t the book cover for it so pretty? <333

SPOILERS if you haven’t read the book!

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Commentary: Mansfield Park

Posted 14 March, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

Mansfield Park
By: Jane Austen

Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny’s uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation. As her female cousins vie for Henry’s attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary’s dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords’ influence and finds herself more isolated than ever.

Mansfield Park is often listed as the least favourite amongst Austen readers. Although I haven’t read this book as often as the other novels, I’ve always enjoyed it. It’s not as sharp and witty as Pride and Prejudice (commentary) or as funny as Emma (commentary) but the characters and their circumstances are so multi-faceted, I love the dynamics that go on in this book. I saved it for last in my re-read of Jane Austen’s completed works if only because I know there’s a lot going on in this book ^_~ Contains spoilers ahead!

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Commentary: Emma

Posted 27 January, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Emma
By: Jane Austen

Beautiful, clever, rich – and single – Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected.

I’m going to be honest here: Emma is my least favourite from Austen’s books. I had the hardest time getting into it from all her books and when I finally got around to reading it from start to finish, it just dragged (and Emma honestly irritated me but a good half of the novel) until the last five chapters.

But here I am, re-reading it again (for the first time). Maybe I missed something reading it the first time; maybe I wasn’t in the mood for the novel then. Let’s see if this re-read changed my experience with reading this book ^_~ Contains spoilers ahead!

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Commentary: Persuasion

Posted 26 December, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

Persuasion
By: Jane Austen

At twenty-seven, Anne Elliot is no longer young and has few romantic prospects. Eight years earlier, she had been persuaded by her friend Lady Russell to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a handsome naval captain with neither fortune nor rank. What happens when they encounter each other again is movingly told in Jane Austen’s last completed novel.

Persuasion is hands down my favourite Jane Austen novel. It was the only novel by her that I found equally thrilling as well as touching, poignant and full of all sorts of feelings–I could not put the book down, I had to find out what was going to happen to Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth next. I love it so much that I’ve written two articles on the characters (one for Costume Chronicles, the other for Femnista). I also own and have watched the 1995 and 2007 adaptations of the book (review). It never fails to get me all <3 and I often turn to it if I’m in the mood of something lovely or a pick-me-up or something light or a change of pace. Contains some spoilers ahead!

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