Saturday, June 4, 2011

Blogher Book Club Review - A Jane Austen Education


A Blogher Book Club Review:
A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter, by William Deresiewicz

I admit I was never a fan of Jane Austen.  When I was required to read her novels as a high school student, I found her writing long and tedious.  I was more of a fan of the Gothic tales of the Bronte sisters, such as "Jane Eyre" and "Wuthering Heights."  They were dark, mysterious tales full of romance and danger, and Austen's works seemed bland in comparison. Yet many of my friends found Austen's novels enthralling, and now I see countless bloggers extolling the wonders of her books and the influences she had on their lives. That is why I was very interested to read William Deresiewicz's book that was provided to the Blogher Book Club Readers by Penguin Group.  I wanted to see the lessons that Deresiewicz, who was a a graduate student in Columbia University at the time he first read Austen, learned from her books, and exactly what I missed. 
 
Please CLICK HERE to go to the Blogher Book Club page to read my review.

 I also look forward to reading all the reviews for A Jane Austen Education  at The Blogher Book Club, as well as other books in the book club, I hope you will too!



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34 comments:

EliFla said...

I really love both Bronte and Austen books!! HAve a nice weekend, hugs, Flavia

Annesphamily said...

I just love to read! I am trying to finish two difficult books. One is the Jan Karon Father Tim series where he is in Ireland with his wife reading old journals. The language is hard to catch and you need to read and re read it! Argh! The am in the middle of a Japanese prison camp in WWII. I had to stop, I was physically getting upset from reading it. It is, of course, a true story! The book was written by the author of Seabiscuit. That girl can write a book! My middle girl is a fan of all English lit. She is even learning the old Englsih language. That is some serious stuff! Thanks Pat! You are the very best! Anne

Pondside said...

Funny, but as a teen I was also more enamoured of the Bronte books. As an adult I've come to appreciate Jane Austin too. Heading over to read your review......

Vee said...

Oops...denied. (Can't read your review.) Movies based on Jane Austen's work are great. The books I find insufferable. Yes, much more a fan of "Jane Eyre," though "Wuthering Heights" is in the same category (for me) as Jane Austen. Guess I'm not a classics kind of gal.

Oh, I'm trying to read the same book that Anne is reading...In the Company of Others. Just finished chapter 1 and now, reading her comment about how challenging it is, I'm growing concerned.

podso said...

Enjoyed your review and interesting that he is causing an interest in trying to read them again. I do admit I prefer the movies, though there is much in the books and in her life that is worthwhile reading. I have yet to see the move, but plan to reread Jane Eyre soon ... it was a favorite of mine all the way back to high school when it was required reading. I have never forgotten it.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

The review is now LIVE!! :)

To all those who like to read --the Blogher waiting list to become a book reviewwr is open to ALL --even if you are not in their ad network. You get a free book and will be paid for the review.

Go here to see more:

http://www.blogher.com/blogher-book-club-waiting-list-open-all?from=bookclub

Old Kitty said...

Yay for you fab review!! Wonderful to read, thank you!!

I have to admit too that I was never ever a fan of Jane Austen. I do agree that I was probably much too young and being made to read her books at school helped contribute to my dislike!! But on the otherhand, I loved the Brontes and Charles Dickens! I wasn't too young to read them!

I do adore all the film/tv adaptations of her books though. It's made me want to read them again - particularly sense and sensibility but then the film for me was miles better and I still am not enamoured with her books. Oh dear!! But I'm glad they've taught
Mr Deresiewicz how to love though! Take care
x

Pondside said...

Thanks for re-posting the link - I got in the second time and enjoyed your review.

podso said...

Thanks for the tip. I'll check it out!

Vittle me this... said...

Not a huge fan, but I may have to reconsider!

Jenny said...

What a cool thing to do! I love how you find all these amazing things to do with your life!

Grace said...

I love to read! That was a very good review. I adore Jane Austen. Grace xoox

Ginny said...

A good review! I, too, spent my teen and younger years reading the Gothic romances, always a different heroine in a new mansion running outside in the nighttime rain in her nightgown. Moors and governesses abounded. Also horses and dour housekeepers. But I digress....I think Austin makes a much better period piece movie than book. Say with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson...

Jojo said...

I just posted about some of my summer reading. Off to read your review before I decide whether or not to add it to my list.

Sarah said...

Pat, this sounds fascinating. I'm off to read your review. ~ Sarah

Jeanne said...

Hello Pat, I am about to go to bed but I wanted to see what you were up to. I will visit the Blogger Book Club later. I didn't know it existed. While we are in Maine I am READING and loving the fact that I have time to read. I know this book has been around but I just finished 'Memoirs of a Geisha' I can tell you it was a compelling read. I didn't see the movie when it came out. Darn.
I have read Jane Austin's books and enjoyed them but the old classics that you mentioned are much more exciting. I think it would be interesting to know what someone thinks and who studies Jane's books and then get the reviews of them. Is that what you are doing? It's late and I wasn't clear about it. Smile.

Tomorrow is another day,I'll be back!!!
Hugs, Jeanne

Houseelf said...

Hi Pat like you I am a Brontifan. I was given the works of Austin when I was ill as a kid and ended up reading them back to back in a week. As a result to me so many of the characters are formulaic in my head, and resemble historic Mills and Boons. I think it is probably time I re-read them as an adult. I still have the book so no excuses.

steviewren said...

Very good review, Pat. I've never read Austen, but I love the movie adaptations. I love her clever wit and sharp observations of humanity. Like you, I loved reading Jane Eyre when I was young...all that angst and drama.

Yvette said...

I am going to be reading this. Thanks for posting about it, Pat. Welcome to book blogging! I am a big Austen fan. My favorite book of all time is PRIDE AND PREJUDICE - big surprise. :)

I'd choose Austen over Bronte precisely because of the reason you give for doing just the opposite. All that gothic gloom and doom was a bit much for me.
Though I loved JANE EYRE and still do, to this day.

Annie said...

Very cool . Going now to read your review!
:)

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Very interesting! I went over to read the review but I couldn't comment. I enjoyed my visit though! ♥

Splendid Little Stars said...

That sounds like an interesting book! I'll go check the link...

Ola said...

And I amd Jane Austin's fan-their literature is so relaxing, funny and realistic at the same time:)

Ⓙ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

I was a Bronte sisters fan myself....but Austen was okay.

I'm always a bit put off by the masses when they tout the endless fabulosity of anything....I call it "The Blockbuster Syndrome" (after movies with record breaking sales).

I never like blockbusters. I never fit on bandwagons.

I have noticed how many Austin-ites there are out in Blogland.....and, while I'm a voracious reader, I'll take the road less traveled by....(I know, that was Frost.) :)

Tracy said...

LOVED your review, Pat! I've been a HUGE Jane Austen fan since my early teens... so I have to add this book to my reading list. I r-read at least one Austen yearly... LOL! I've long love the Bronte sister works as well. All English literature has held a fascination for me. :o) Fun post, my friend... Happy Week ((HUGS))

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Thanks everyone for your comments!

To comment on the Blogher Book Club page you must register on Blogher, but it's free and easy to do and it will enable you to enter all future discussions and contests going on their web site.

Carol said...

I only read Jane Austen when it was required reading. I enjoyed your review, Pat, I would try again and perhaps have a great appreciation, maybe my book club will pick an Austen book next.

Claudia said...

Excellenbt review, Pat. In general, I prefer to just read the author and not books about the literature - but this intrigues. Very good quotes. Writing them down! I have spent many delightful hours in Jane Austen's company. I adapted P&P for teens - it took 3 years, so we became best friends, because I had lots of things to ask her. I also look at adapting some of her ther novels. I will take a lot at this book - for grins and lessons learned! (Oh - and for fun!)

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Pat...I just skipped over and read your review. Great job.

“What fills our days should fill our hearts, and what fills our hearts should fill our novels." I like that quote! I'm not sure I have ever read a Jane Austin novel from cover to cover. Maybe I should.

Theanne and Baron said...

Hi Pat...not sure I'll read A Jane Austen Education...however I've been reading Jane Austen's books on my Kindle and I'm inspired to read more of them. (Yes I'm an Austen fan!) Enjoyed your review...thanks for sharing!

Kathleen said...

LOL, Carol never reads the books but goes to the meeting to socialize!

The one required reading that about did me in was Vanity Fair...bleck.
I was always an avid reader, but some of those books the nuns picked out were deadly!
Do you use a Kindle? I have an ipad but haven't figured out how to get the free books from my library yet, and I am not paying for books! Need the $ for gas! ( and dishes :) )

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Hi Pat,

I just finished reading Persuasion last week! I'm a huge Austen fan, and I've only started reading her in the last several years. I never had to read her or Bronte in h.s. I also love Bronte, and Jayne Eyre is a favorite, I've read it twice and I'll probably read it again!

I'm looking forward to Mr Deresiewicz book on Jane Austen and I will check out the Blogher sight!

Have a wonderful week!

Mary

Oliag said...

I started with Jane Eyre when I was 12 and quickly gobbled up everything by the Brontes, Austen, Eliot, Trollope, Dickens, and on and on...Loved it all! This book sounds intriguing and I will check out the reviews...

Lisa@GrandmasBriefs said...

I enjoyed your review (and commented on BlogHer). I really liked this book and said so in my review, which will be posted next week. Then I read a couple others from folks who absolutely hated it. So funny how we can see things so differently. But I'm glad you and I both liked it! :)