Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Need an excuse for a nifty new book? Just say Jane Austen Made Me Do It!

Blogger Laurel Ann Nattress has shared her love for the works of and inspired by Jane Austen for a long while now with her website Austenprose and is now blessed to spread that love through the printed word.

Jane Austen Made Me Do It is an anthology of short stories by many of the best known and newer authors in the Austen related field,gathered together here by Laurel's editing hand. This set of twenty two tales all have a Jane Austen theme to them but some can be categorized by the path they chose to take the reader on for their preferred tour of Austenville.

One type of story found here is what I would call "Getting Into Character",which involves either expanding upon the back story of certain fictional folk,both major and minor, or imaging what happens to the main cast once the original book is over.

Naturally,there are a good number of Pride and Prejudice stories such as Amanda Grange's "Mr. Bennet Meets his Match"(which shows us the courtship of Lizzy Bennet's most seemingly mismatched parents)and "Letters to Lydia" by Maya Slater that sheds a little extra light on Charlotte Lucas' seemingly shy younger sister.

However,Emma also gets a bit of attention from Monica Fairview's "Nothing Less than Fairy-Land" and to my delight,Persuasion is granted an embarrassment of riches with several charming tales that enhance the source material most respectively. Two of my favorites include "Heard of You" by Margaret C. Sullivan that focuses on one of the happier marriages in the book,Admiral and Mrs. Croft and Jane Odiwe's "Waiting",a lovely look at the beginnings of Anne and Captain Wentworth's romance as they prepare to announce their renewed love to her family:

Another story style that some of the authors went with could be considered to be "Featuring Miss Austen",by having Our Dear Jane as the central character or in an influential cameo role. Syrie James has fun with the former in "Jane Austen's Nightmare",where our literary heroine meets some of her creations in dream land,only it's not as pleasant as she expects.

Adriana Trigiani brings Jane to the twenty first century in "Love and Best Wishes,Aunt Jane" while Diana Birchall keeps her in the past with "Jane Austen's Cat",where Jane amuses her nieces by relating Mansfield Park to them with an all feline cast.

One of the sweetest of this bunch is "Jane Austen and the Mistletoe Kiss" by Jo Beverly,that has a very Sense and Sensibility situated family that feels the need for romance(and a surprising one at that!) during the Yuletide season. Thanks to the timely appearance of Jane Austen,the power of love is given a much needed boost with some timely advice:

Last but miles away from least,we have "Modern Day Jane" stories that showcase the lingering spirit of Austen's work upon her readers out in our everyday reality. A couple of them have actual spirits,or ghosts if you will,on deck like Lauren Willig's "A Nightmare at Northanger" and "The Ghostwriter" by Elizabeth Ashton.

Others integrate Jane in very inventive ways,much like the 1960s school teacher in Janet Mullany's "Jane Austen,Yeah,Yeah,Yeah!" who gets a group of girls in detention hall more interested in S&S by comparing the men in it to their favorite band,The Beatles.

Another tale already has a teenager wanting to bring Jane Austen more into his high school life as a viable clique in "What Would Austen Do?" by the mother-daughter team of Jane Rubino and Caitlin Rubino-Bradway(they're planning to develop this story into a full fledged novel and based upon what I've read here,this sounds like a great book in the making).

Some of the stories aren't so easy to put in a box,which is to their benefit. A pair of fine examples of this are Laurie Viera Rigler's "Intolerable Stupidity" that has lawyers in love during a trial that puts the writers of Austen inspired books and movies at the mercy of Lady Catherine as the presiding judge and "The Love Letter" by JAMMDI contest winner Brenna Aubrey that has a medical student reconsider a lost love due to receiving a page torn out of a certain Austen novel mysteriously in the mail.

The desire to have an Austen inspired life is well displayed on every page in this book and it not only makes you want to reread the novels,it gives you the urge to gather up some friends to dish about them with as well:

Jane Austen Made Me Do It goes on sale tomorrow and is in paperback,so you have plenty of sensible,along with entertaining, reasons to pick it up. Chances are,you may be making more trips to the bookstore with this one as your pleasure in meeting some of these authors for the first time will encourage you to seek out their other work. That's the magic of Austen,her literary legacy has allowed so many to use her art as the gateway for telling their own story:


Georgie Lee said...

Wonderful blog post. Thanks for brigning my attention to this book. I will have to get it.

lady t said...

Thanks,Georgie-I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did:)