Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

I grabbed this while I was at my parents' house. It's about a modern-day woman who lives in Los Angeles waking up one morning to find herself in Regency England living a life straight out of a Jane Austen book. At first, she thinks it's a dream because she fell asleep the night before while reading Sense and Sensibility, but as the days go on and she doesn't wake up from the dream and starts having memories that belong to this other woman, she starts to question more and more what is going on. And the book never really makes it clear what has happened - whether it's a dream or she has magically switched lives or what, and that's fine.

The interesting part of the book, which is at best a fluffy airplane read, was the culture clash of putting a 21st Century woman into Regency England and having her cope with chamber pots and limited bathing and need chaperones to go on walks and sleeping in disgusting road-side inns. Oh and having to be bled to "cure" her of her perceived illnesses.

Through all of this is a love story, that's supposed to be along the lines of Darcy and Eliza, but it isn't. It's formulaic, but it's still fun.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

I'd heard a lot of chatter about the book, and my sister had read it, so when I saw it at the bookstore, I couldn't help but grab it.

And it was just OK. I wasn't expecting great literature, but somehow I thought it would have a little more to it. Once you get past the gimmick of mixing zombies into the world of Jane Austen, the book doesn't really work that well. The author uses a lot of the original text, but then he changes bit and pieces here and there for no real reason other than he can. It's like watching a movie of your favorite book and having the actors say the wrong lines - it's jarring.

Plus, the author assumes that everyone reading already knows how P&P ends, so he puts in little hints about Eliza and Darcy and has them say things that are completely out of character, zombie killers or otherwise.

It's a good airplane book, but that's about it.

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

I saw this book on display while at the bookstore with a friend a few weeks ago, and I snatched it up. I LOVED this book when I was about Ella's age, and I bought it hoping she would, too. But before I handed it over to her, I re-read it.

I still love the book, although the mystery of the statue plays a much smaller role in the story than I had remembered.

When I was nine, the idea of running away from home and living in a museum really appealed to me, and it still does. I'd love to spend a night or six living someplace so grand and filled with treasures, whether it's a museum or Hearst Castle.

I've given the book to Ella, but she hasn't started it yet. My sister bought her Holes, and she's been busy reading that. Perhaps I'll start reading this book to Lily in the meantime.