Jane Austen July: My TBR

Inspired by a favourite BookTuber, Claudia of Spinster’s Library, I want to take part in the Jane Austen themed readathon that’s always such an entertaining production among parts of the BookTube community. Although I won’t do all the challenges exactly as they are probably meant to be done, as some of them don’t suit me at the moment. So here are the prompts and how I plan to fulfill them:

1. Read one of Jane Austen’s six main novels.

I’ve read all of Austen’s main novels, but don’t own all of them. I’m seriously tempted to get the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of all the novels (including Lady Susan) in one paperback with French flaps and deckled edges – but it’s currently not available with Amazon and I couldn’t find a second-hand version in Germany (there are tons in the UK, but with shipping cost and Brexit uncertainties it’s not worth the hassle). I don’t want to buy a different new copy of a title l don’t already own and have decided to reread Persuasion because I think I haven’t read it as often as any of the others. I don’t remember any details, so it’s time for a reread.

2. Read something by Jane Austen that is not one of her six main novels.

I’m not feeling the vibe to do that. I want to read Lady Susan eventually, but at the moment I kind of want to wait until I can get the special edition (see the point above) that I have my eyes on. So, I had a brainwave and decided to look for a good fanfiction on Archive of Our Own. I used to read a lot of fanfiction in all sorts of fandoms, though never in the Jane Austen fandom. Well, I found one that sounds good: Dragon’s Choice, by vix_spes. It’s Persuasion-inspired and a cross-over with Naomi Novick’s Temeraire series (which I also like). I read the first few paragraphs and it seems well-written, so this is what I’m going for. Not really meeting the prompt, but who cares?

3. Read a non-fiction work about Jane Austen or her time.

I’m extremely not feeling the urge to read anything that fits this prompt. I’ve got a copy of Claire Tomalin’s biography of Jane Austen, which is great, but I don’t want to reread it. But this prompt inspired me to look up Tomalin on Amazon, and I found that she has written an autobiography. I’m going to read that. It’s called A Life of My Own. I’m hoping that someone who writes biographies will have a interesting approach to her own autobiography. It’s not fulfilling the challenge, but it’s inspired by the challenge, as I would otherwise not have come across this autobiography at this moment in time. Rather tenuous a connection with Jane Austen, but it kind of counts, right?

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4. Read a retelling of a Jane Austen book.

I’m not reading one of those either, but something closely related. I’m going to read The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow, which I have wanted to read since last year. I’m also going to read Death Comes to Pemberley, which is a crime novel by P.D. James. I love P.D. James and have read all her novels but found earlier this year that I had never come across this one. It’s been languishing on my bookshelf for a couple of months and I’m really looking forward to it. Both of these books are set in the world of Pride and Prejudice. That should definitively count, don’t you think?

5. Read a book by a contemporary of Jane Austen.

I’m going to pick up the poetry collection Eighteenth Century Women Poets: An Oxford Anthology, edited by Roger Lonsdale. I won’t read the whole collection in July (it’s 600+ pages) but I felt that a bit of poetry would be a great complement to all that prose on my July TBR.

6. Watch a direct screen adaptation of a Jane Austen book.

I know that I’ve seen adaptations of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, but not of Emma. I’m going to watch the adaptation of Emma with Kate Beckinsale in the title role mostly because it’s free on Amazon Prime and I currently don’t feel like paying to see the more recent film from last year. Also, the most recent adaptations aren’t necessarily the best ones. I do want to see the other one sometime.

7. Watch a modern screen adaptation/retelling of a Jane Austen book.

I’m going to go with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It sound kind of fun. I like Jane Austen and I like Zombie films – it could be hilarious and thrilling. I also want to watch Clueless, which I have never watched before. It’s currently also free on Amazon Prime (but only for the next five days, so I’m going to have to watch it this weekend).

As you can see, I’m interpreting some of these prompts rather loosely, but that’s part of the charm of the endeavour (that’s my argument if anyone asks). I’m excited about starting the challenge, but I want to finish reading The Iliad by June 30 first (I’m only half-way) and I still have to read 100 pages of The Tale of Genji this month.

Some good news: my Partner has managed to get an appointment for the Biontech/Pfizer vaccine at his place, tomorrow actually. And I have managed to get mine through work and it’s next Tuesday, with the same vaccine. We also have the appointments for our second vaccinations in early August. I’m so happy! Hope it all works out fine, with only mild reactions.

We’ve had a lovely rainy day today. My favourite kind of weather, pleasant temperatures, a bit of rain, a lot of green and thriving plants, no thunderstorms. Curious Dog and I had a pleasant morning walk. I didn’t have to work, as it’s Friday. I didn’t have to cook, because I made a big pot of soup yesterday that lasted for today as well. I’ve done my grocery shopping for the weekend (except that I forgot a couple of vital things that I will need to pick up tomorrow). Tomorrow Partner is returning, after getting his vaccination (unless he feels unwell), so I’m happy for that as well. Today has been a very good day – hope yours was too.

Keep safe, world.

5 thoughts on “Jane Austen July: My TBR

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