22 Places In The UK that Jane Austen Fans Must Visit

BuzzFeed compiled a list of beautiful places that every Jane Austen fan should visit. And if I had the money, I would be hopping on a plane right now. Check them out (not in any particular order):

1. Jane Austen House Museum, Hampshire

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No list can be complete without putting the Jane Austen House Museum. I’ve been there twice and I love it! Apart from the interesting historical artifacts, you have the gorgeous surroundings to make it a perfect outing.

2. Chawton House, Hampshire

Chawton House, Hampshire

Located not too far from the Jane Austen Museum, Chawton House was the house of Jane’s brother Edward. Now, the house’s library is open to visitors along with the gardens..

3. Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire

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Where Jane Austen is buried.

Continue reading “22 Places In The UK that Jane Austen Fans Must Visit”

New to Jane Austen? Try These on For Size

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Top Ten Tuesdays, by The Broke and the Bookish, is on hiatus until August but that doesn’t mean the lists have to stop!

2017 marks a bicentenary year for Jane Austen and what better way to celebrate her life than to read her great works! But with six terrific novels and a few great minor works  new Austen readers may have trouble wondering which novel to read first. Don’t worry. I am here to make sure that you have the correct head start. To begin your Austen adventure start with:

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Pride and Prejudice

It’s cliché to start with this novel but not only is it Austen’s best work, it truly shows Austen at her best. Her wit and humor are really the highlight of the story.  And you get to meet one of Austen’s famous heroine: Elizabeth Bennet!

 

 

 

Continue reading “New to Jane Austen? Try These on For Size”

BritBox…An Anglophile’s Dream Come True

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Not only am I a fan of British Literature, I am a huge fan of British TV shows. I always take the chance to watch (or rewatch) any shows that come from across the pond. That’s why I was ecstatic when I found about BritBox, a new streaming venture, created by the BBC and ITV, that consists of a large catalog of TV shows from these networks for US customers. For $6.99 a month, you’ll be able to watch classic episodes like Doctor Who and Fawlty Towers and modern/current episodes like EastEnders and Coronation Street. You will find hours of entertainment with this great streaming service!

And BritBox even has something for book lovers! Their video library consists of great TV shows that were adapted from books. Because honestly, who does a great literary adaptation, other than the British? Here are some great examples:

Continue reading “BritBox…An Anglophile’s Dream Come True”

Top Ten Tuesdays: Characters I Didn’t Click With

Top Ten Tuesdays

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish. Today’s post is:

Ten Characters You Just Didn’t Click With”

This took awhile since I had to differentiate between characters I disliked and characters I didn’t click with:

51oYEfb+0WL._SL3001 & 2. Rachel and Amy Watson from The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

Amy was clingy and whiny and Rachel was just depressing all the time. Probably one of the reasons I didn’t like the book that much.

 

 

 

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3. Frank Churchill from Emma by Jane Austen

He is not as bad as George Wickham and I understand that he needed to conceal his engagement with Jane Fairfax…but you’re telling me he couldn’t find another way to hide it other than flirting with another woman, especially in front of his fiance?

 

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4. Kim from Don’t Get Me Wrong by Marianne Kavanagh

Understood where she was coming from but had hard time feeling sorry for her, especially when some of the problems that were caused were of her own doing.

 

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5. Edmund Bertram from Mansfield Park by Jane Austen 

He is not a bad character. It’s just…I feel that Fanny deserved better. I am rereading Mansfield Park now so maybe my perception of him will change.

 

 

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6. Robinson Crusoe from Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Both him and the book was soooo boring!

 

 

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7. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 

She was just a very bad narrator. It was difficult for me to get through the story because of her.

 

 

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8. Lemuel Gulliver from Gulliver’s Travles by Johnathan Swift

Same reason I gave for Robinson Crusoe.

 

 

 

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9. Shea Rigsby from The One & Only by Emily Giffin 

Maybe it was the type of relationship that she was pursuing but I just couldn’t emotionally click with Shea like I usually do in Giffin’s other novels.

 

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10. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Sometimes his passion for revenge got the best of him.

 

 

 

What characters did you not click with?

 

A Misunderstood Heroine – Book Review: Emma by Jane Austen

Format:  Paperback

Published:  1816

Pages: 432 pages

Genre:  Fiction & Literature, Classics, Romance

 

 

 

I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like”

–Jane Austen

That quote cannot be any truer, especially when talking about a character like Emma Woodhouse. Emma is definitely unlike Austen other heroines. And it is no surprise that a lot of people are not to fond of the novel due to Emma’s personality. But in spite of Emma’s many, many flaws, Emma is still one of my favorite novels.  Continue reading “A Misunderstood Heroine – Book Review: Emma by Jane Austen”

No, Pops: Book Review of Emma: A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published April 7th 2015
Publisher: Pantheon
Genre: Fiction, Romance
From Goodreads:
The summer after she graduates from university, Emma Woodhouse returns home to the village of Highbury, where she will live with her health-conscious father until she is ready to launch her interior-design business and strike out on her own. In the meantime, she will do what she does best: offer guidance to those less wise than she is in the ways of the world. Happily, this summer brings many new faces to Highbury and into the sphere of Emma’s not always perfectly felicitous council: Harriet Smith, a naïve teacher’s assistant at the ESL school run by the hippie-ish Mrs. Goddard; Frank Churchill, the attractive stepson of Emma’s former governess; and, of course, the perfect Jane Fairfax. This modern-day Emma is wise, witty, and totally enchanting, and will appeal equally to Alexander McCall Smith’s multitude of fans and to the enormous community of wildly enthusiastic Austen aficionados

Calling all Jane Austen fans!

Revolt!

We have another horrible Austen adaptation on our hands brought to us again through the Austen Project. It was complete torture for me to continue with this one. But I am stubborn and I always try to finish a book, no matter how bad it is. People told me that it wouldn’t be good and it received poor reviews on Goodreads but I guess I just wasn’t prepared on how bad it would really be.

Let’s begin with the start of novel. How do you begin a novel with little or no mention of the main character?! This went on for at least 60 pages. You had to deal with tedious descriptions on how far Mr. Woodhouse’s hypochondriasis could go and going into too much detail on Ms. Taylor’s background. With all this unnecessary details, you never get the feel or the connections for that characters which is vital for a beginning of a story. And when Emma did finally enter the scene, most of the time you get a description of her education background, not her upbringing. That is another problem with this work: the characterization. Unlike with Austen’s original work, you get a personal connection with the characters. I did not get here. I think McCall Smith was trying so hard to mimic Austen’s characterization style but going into too much unnecessary details severely hurt his chances.

I am now writing a character that no one but myself will much like”

That is what Jane Austen said to described Emma Woodhouse and it is clearly true. I had discussion with friends and others where Emma is their least favorite Austen novel. But while Austen’s Emma was a snob, underneath that superior attitude was a compassionate soul. You did not get that with Smith’s Emma. In this novel, Emma is completely unlikable. She’s selfish, condescending, sexist (her views on love and marriage are outdated), small-minded, basically, and excuse my language, a total bitch. In Austen’s work, Emma and her father have a close relationship and she cares for him deeply. Here, you don’t get that sense here. You find yourself wondering how it McCall Smith perceived Emma’s relationship with her father turned into this dysfunctional relationship.

The depiction of Emma’s and Harriet’s relationship was really out there. Smith implied that Emma’s initial attraction was of a sexual nature. He enforced this theory by having Emma painting Harriet’s portrait nude. I don’t know where and why Smith decided on this interpretation. But if you are going to have a character who is so set against being in love and only marrying for money to having sexual desires for a woman, at least try to be consistent. This theory just really didn’t fit in with the story and just added to the problems  of the poor narrative structure.

But the thing that really irked was Emma and Mr. Knightley’s relationship, or I should say lack there of . A relationship that is the main focus of the story and the characters have a total of THREE conversations throughout this 368 page novel. How are we, the reader, suppose to believe that these two characters fall in love when they have little interaction with one another? There was no jealous sentiments due to Emma’s close relationship with Frank Churchill (another lacking relationship). I don’t think Smith and the rest of the world were reading the same Austen novel.

I could go on and on with the many flaws with this book. But, then I would be like this novel, dragging on to unnecessary means. I can’t judge Alexander McCall Smith’s status as an author because this is the first book I ever read by him and I don’t think this is the right book to judge him fairly on. That being said, I don’t think McCall Smith truly didn’t either read or understand Emma. In order to do any adaptation of an Austen novel, whether it is a modern adaptation or continuation of the original, you must have a real passion for not only the novel but the author as well. I just did not see that here. I believe that Smith lacked the personal connection that most of us Austenites have and that flaw gave him less determination to this narrative justice. You can see that with an article he did a month ago, viewing the passion for Austen as an industry. Also, authors have to remember when doing a modern adaptation of a 18th century, most of the ideals that were common during the time may not be relatable to the 21st century. For example, Mr. Weston’s reasons for giving up Frank Churchill were plausible during Austen’s time. But I have hard time believing that in the year 2015, a father, who just lost his wife, would just easily give up their only child, when he had the means to support him. Smith could have changed that part of the story.

The Austen Project and Harper Collins, I implore to you. STOP doing this project. It is not working. Like I said before, you are sullying up Austen’s hard work. Your intentions may have been true but sometimes bad things come out of good intentions.

So if you love Jane Austen and the novel Emma, don’t read this book. If you love Austen but you didn’t like Emma, don’t read this book. If you are just a fan of reading overall, don’t read this book. You shouldn’t put yourself through this torture. If you want a good modern adaptation of Emma, watch Clueless. I’m going to be like Emma and say that Clueless is far superior than this travesty.

Now I have to go reread Emma and forget that this torture ever happened.

Overall Rating: 1 out of 5 stars.

(NOTE: To my British readers, Do you call your father “pops”? Emma call it her father that and I didn’t know if it was a common thing to say. It was very annoying half the time)