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Austen in August 2014: Master Post

austeninaugustIf there’s one thing I never get tired of, it’s reading Jane Austen. So when I found out that The Lost Generation Reader was hosting this year’s Austen in August reading event, I just had to join. Austen in August invites us to read anything Austen, from the novels, to reimaginings, to biographies. It’s a little too good for a weak-willed lit major to refuse. So let’s forget for a moment that this month is also my Back-To-Uni month, my I’m-Behind-On-My-Thesis month (which, to be fair, could also be applied to just about every other month so far this year), and my General-State-Of-Panic month. Anybody else feel an anxiety attack coming on? Don’t worry; I’m powering through the panic, and reading Jane Austen instead.

Although, to be honest, this month will actually be less about reading Austen’s books and more about her life. I thought this event would be the perfect time to finally read two books which I have long put off, for one reason or another: Austen’s letters, and A Memoir of Jane Austen by J.E. Austen-Leigh. Since these two books were already on my list, I’ve decided to focus on non-fictional accounts of her life and her reputation. So here is my reading list for the next month:

  1. Mansfield Park – It’s a clichéd choice, but let’s face it; it would be utter madness not to read it for the two hundredth anniversary. Also, I’d like to see whether I still hate it or not.* Completed; review here.
  2. Jane Austen’s Letters – The complete collection, edited by Deirdre Le Faye. Completed; review here.
  3. A Memoir of Jane Austen, by J.E. Austen-Leigh. Completed; review here.
  4. Searching for Jane Austen, by Emily Auerbach. Completed; review here.
  5. Jane’s Fame, by Claire Harman. Completed; review here.

Plus, you know, about twelve other books for class. But let’s just forget about them for a moment and focus on all the Austen-related goodness.

How about you? Is anyone else participating in the event? What sort of books are you looking forward to reading?

*’Hate’ is probably a strong word in this context. ‘Mildly couldn’t stand’ would probably be more accurate.

23 replies on “Austen in August 2014: Master Post”

I think Austen-reading is the best antidote for panic and stress! Thanks for your list, Majoring, I’ll be checking these out. Austen in August – what a great idea.

I agree with you about Mansfield P – it’s my least favourite, yet I still love it because… AUSTEN!


I guess most people find Mansfield Park the least enjoyable of Austen’s novels. I’ve read a few chapters so far, and I’m definitely finding it a lot better than I remember. Maybe I was just too young the first time I read it. :)

I reread MP last year. Your intro post could have been mine last year.
And guess what?
I now adore MP.
I think as we get older, we appreciate this one more as it is far more subtle, complex and nuanced than her other works.
The romance is not as glamorous or satisfying as P&P, S&S or Persuasion perhaps.
The quietness of Fanny’s life is not something I appreciated as a young person, even though I was just a shy as she was!

I look forward to your (older & wiser) review :-)

Good call taking the opportunity to read around Austen’s life. I love Mansfield Park, so I hope your re-reading experience is better than the first time you experienced it. I tried to read it loads of times in the past before giving it ago again a few months ago. I think I suddenly hit the moment where my head was open to it – poor Fanny Price isn’t the most adventurous of Austen’s protagonists.

That’s true! I’ve started reading it and I’m already liking it much more than I did the first time. I guess I was too young to appreciate Austen’s prose the first time around, so I’m looking forward to reading more.

I’m being very unambitious and only aiming to read one book: The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things. It tries to debunk some of the myths that have grown up around Austen’s life (partly through family histories like the Austen-Leigh). Very interesting so far! I would love to reread all the novels, but maybe next year.

That sounds like a great idea! I’ve had The Real Jane Austen on my to-read list for a few years, but I’ve never got round to it. I almost ordered it online to read this month, but then I decided to stick to books from my local library, and save my overstuffed shelves and under-stuffed wallet. :D

I think it’s one you might want to spend money on. I got it as an e-book from the library, which is fantastic for saving time and money, but I would like to look at a print copy so I can actually see the illustrations. I got on a roll and already finished my review — now what? Maybe I’ll take on Mansfield Park as well.

I can read Jane Austen over and over again! ‘Mansfield Park’ was one I despised as a teenager because I absolutely couldn’t stand Fanny but then I had to read it for University last year and now I have a whole new appreciation for it! Hopefully you’ll enjoy it more as well! I’ve got ‘A Memoir of Jane Austen’ at home but haven’t finished it yet, very interesting though! And Jane’s letters must be really fun, especially those to her sister! I hope you enjoy all of your reads :)
Juli @ Universe in Words

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