Kicking off the Austen Catch-Up Project
By Deborah Yaffe, Jan 4 2016 02:00PM
The first days of the new year are a time for bracing confessions of inadequacy, so here’s (one of) mine: I’m a lazy Janeite.
Every month or two, I notice a glowing review of a newly released Austen-related book, and I think, “I should buy that.” Or a Janeite acquaintance mentions the insights she gleaned from a classic work of criticism, and I think, “I really should have read that.” Or my Google alert tosses up a link to an obscure Austen-themed game or puzzle or straight-to-video adaptation, and I think, “That sounds fun. I should check it out.”
And then life -- with its laundry and its work deadlines and its tempting romance novels -- intervenes, and I never get around to any of it.
But now it is 2016! The air is fresh! The slate is clean! I will do better! And to ensure that this time I really will, I’m putting my private resolutions into bloggily public form and announcing my year-long Austen Catch-Up Project.
Subject to change, it’s going to go something like this, with blogs to announce my results along the way:
Jane Austen on film: Starting slow. . .
Jane Austen’s life: Biographies I meant to read but never did
Jane Austen’s times: History I really should know more about
May: Read Jane Austen’s England: Daily Life in the Georgian and Regency Periods (2013), by Roy and Lesley Adkins (reviewed here)
June: Read In These Times: Living in Britain Through Napoleon’s Wars, 1793-1815 (2015), by Jenny Uglow (reviewed here)
Jane Austen fanfic: Because it’s summer
Jane Austen criticism: Scholarly works I’m embarrassed to admit I haven’t read
October: Read A Revolution Almost Beyond Expression: Jane Austen’s Persuasion (2007), by Jocelyn Harris (reviewed here)
Jane Austen miscellany: Because it’s holiday time
November: Play "Marrying Mr. Darcy: The Pride and Prejudice Card Game" (reviewed here)
Even for as lazy a Janeite as I, reading nine books, watching a TV series, cooking a meal and playing a card game -- all in the course of a year -- shouldn't be that hard, right? Of course, along the way I'll undoubtedly rack up more AustenDebt, in books unread, shows unviewed and games unplayed -- but then there's always 2017. . .
Very ambitious for sure. I really enjoyed - and continue to go back to -- "Jane Austen's England:Daily life in Georgian & Regency Periods. Shows what real life was like for the vast majority of people at that time. Good luck - I guess multitasking - i.e. watch videos whilst preparing meals, doing laundry, etc.
Happy New Year.
Thanks, Maureen -- I'm glad to get a good review for at least one of the items on my to-do list!
The Year of Emma is a great time to draw up an ambitious reading list. I like this one very much, Deborah, and I'll be interested to read your thoughts on all of these. Not sure if I can stand the suspense, though, while I wait to hear what you think of my book! All the same, I like that you chose September, because that's when the book was published (and also because Sept. 8th is International Literacy Day, and my birthday).
Well, Sarah, at least by the time I see you at the next JASNA AGM I will no longer be worrying that you're going to ask me if I've read it. :-) Besides, I've heard it's excellent, so I'm looking forward to it.