Friday, 31 July 2009

Quote of the Week- Week 67

I have stuck with our faithful friend Emma for this weeks quote as there are an unlimited number of gems that everyone should have the pleasure of enjoying.
This quote is taken from Chapter 5 when Mr Knightley and Mrs Weston are discussing the friendship between Harriet Smith and Emma. Mrs Weston believes it to be a beneficial thing for both Emma and Harriet but Mr Knightley finds the opportunity to comment on Emma's faults.

"Emma has been meaning to read more ever since she was twelve years old. I have seen a great many lists of her drawing up at various times of books that she meant to read regularly through--and very good lists they were--very well chosen and very neatly arranged--sometimes alphabetically and sometimes by some other rule. The list she drew up when only fourteen--I remember thinking it did her judgement so much credit that I preserved it some time; and I dare say she may have made out a very good list now. But I have done with expecting any course of steady reading from Emma. She will never submit to anything requiring industry and patience and a subjection of the fancy to the understanding."

I have to say that I completely adore the last line; its so Emma! He completely 'gets her' with such a descriptive and beautiful set of words.
And this line definitely makes me chuckle as I have to confess, I am a list writer and I have been known in my time to avoid the task at hand by writing a list, clearly describing the actions required to complete the task!

We have tended to favour taking pics from the Kate Beckinsale version of Emma (for TV) so I have chosen a great pic from the Gwyneth Paltrow film version (both 1996 productions).

Pic: Emma and Mr Knightley

Monday, 27 July 2009

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict

This is a very belated review of another excellent book from Laurie Viera Rigler. Rachel has reviewed Laurie’s previous book (Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict) exactly two years ago, the post can be found here. For those who have not read the first book and are interested in jumping through the second book directly, I have to advise against it, for it’s important to know the previous plots to fully understand the story in ‘Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict’. It is possible, of course, to enjoy ‘Rude Awakenings’ without first reading ‘Confessions’, but I still think it increases the chance of being confused.

Okay, so in Confessions, a young Californian girl Courtney Stone woke in the body of a young Regencial British Jane Mansfield. The year was set back nearly 200 years, from 2007 to 1813. Rachel has explained everything in her review, so I won’t reiterate the plot here. I have to say though, that I really enjoyed Confessions; I remember reading it in one night, couldn’t put it down, and had to wake up dizzily the next morning from the lack of sleep. I do admit that I was a bit confused with the ending, for [spoilers for those who haven’t read Confessions], it seemed that Courtney had totally forgotten that she was Courtney. Instead, she was now 100% a believer that she was Jane Mansfield instead, living happily ever after with her ‘Mr. Darcy’, a dashing man named Edgeworth who was the real beau of the real Jane Mansfield. How about Jane herself then? How was/is she doing in 2007?

Now, Rude Awakenings catches the tails of this body/life switch. But instead of 2007, Laurie moved the year forwards to 2009. Could it be because it would be much up to date to talk about California in 2009 than 2007? Perhaps because it was more tempting to include up to date stuffs like the amazing development of United States politics a.k.a. Barack Obama than talking about the previous administration? I’d like to think so… for I see no reason for Courtney to have her head injured in a swimming pool in 2007, switch body with Jane in 1813, and then Jane of 1813 woke up in Courtney’s 2009 body. Courtney’s friends kept suggesting that the (assumingly same) swimming accident pool had triggered Jane’s, eh Courtney’s, senses to take a leave of absence, so logically, Jane should wake up in 2007 as well, instead of 2009.

Anyway, aside from that hiccup, I think Rude Awakening is an excellent book. What I enjoyed the most was Jane’s different perceptions of what is right or wrong, agreeable or disagreeable, beautiful and not beautiful. Jane Mansfield was totally amazed at the many convenience of 21st century, including the wonderful brassiere that was non existent in the early 19th century. She thinks that Courtney’s body is beautiful, complete with the slender swells, and her appreciations upon her ‘own’ body makes her friends happier, for they always attempted to make Courtney realize how beautiful she is, just as she is.

Jane was also bedazzled by the gigantic portions of modern breakfast (funny, I always thought Regencial breakfast as extravagant as well, judging from Pride & Prejudice etc…) and thought that modern humans tend to waste so much food and garbage (that I agree!). And what amazing inventions are computer and internet! Google is just incredibly helpful for Jane to understand Courtney’s world and traditions, even to understand various leaps in human history (I wonder if Jane would ever decide to visit her old village in England… the village still exists per her Google search). And wouldn’t it be fun to see how Jane addresses the amazing shopping trend called Ebay? She might decide to order a Regencial dress online and get addicted with online shopping! (speaking of true experience here…). Oh, and to find herself living the life of another Jane Austen fan, who possesses not only the authoress’ complete novels but also the adapted movies as well! What a joy! To quote Miss Bates: ‘Lovely, lovely, lovely!’

But there are other, more pressing matters for Jane to consider. Was it right for her to go out with a man without a chaperon, even if the said man claimed to be her good friend Wes? Was it even right for her to kiss another man who claimed to be his former fiancĂ©? What about living together and premarital sex? And why – most importantly – does she have to live Courtney’s life as Courtney lives hers? What lessons must she learn?

And this sets the book to another psychological level, as Rachel also admitted in her 2007 review. Does Jane experience reincarnation or mere delusions? Will she ever wake up one day in her own body again? Meanwhile, how does she earn her own bread, now that she decided to quit her old, miserable job? Would it be proper indeed, for a gentleman’s daughter to work at all? What of Frank, Courtney’s former fiancĂ© that kept begging her to forgive and accept him back? What of dearest Wes?

As I hoped, Rude Awakenings does a good job in tying up loose ends from the Confessions (which, I should have known, were left behind intentionally for a sequel). Apart from the 2007/2009 confusion, that is. But no matter. Jane learned a lot of herself, learned new things for her self development. Of the new meaning of independence. Of being a true woman. Of holding her own in the rough life of 21st century. Of cellular memories and the power to choose to be happy; to break old patterns. For she, as all Austen heroines, as Jane Austen herself, finally chooses to empower herself. To set herself free. To be independent, to be happy.

So I guess in the end, I am very thankful for Laurie to have written the book. I’ve written a personal post here, based on the lessons I received from this book (and from other books). And allow me to cite some very impressive quotes from Rude Awakenings here:

‘Today’s women are no less desirous of love, and marrying for love, than they were in [Jane’s] time. But they, like so many women before them, simply fear it is an unattainable goal. And thus they settle for what fleeting pleasures they can find, creating an endless cycle of pleasure, despair, pleasure, despair, ad infinitum.’ (p. 278)

‘In the eyes of love, there is no past.’ (p. 281)

‘Each of us has the power to create heaven or hell, right here, right now.’ (p. 284)

With that note, what’s left for me is suggesting that you should buy the book. Or at least, borrow your friend’s copy if the Amazon’s copy is slow in arriving. It’s an enlightening experience.

Pic: Cover to 'Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict', from

Update 28 July09:
Laurie has just emailed me to thank for the review and to explain about the 2007/2009 stuff. This is her reply verbatim: "Nowhere in the first book is the year 2007 ever mentioned, except on the copyright page. Besides, as the fortune teller told Courtney, time is not linear."

Ah, I see now. I think Rachel and I just assumed 2007 because Confessions was written in 2007. Time is indeed not linear, but if Laurie did mention 2007 in her book, then it would be harder to bring Jane right into 2009 with Courtney's exact chronological life (including the cancelled wedding and swimming pool accident). So it's really good on Laurie's part not to mention the year 2007 at all in Confessions, deliberate for sequel or not!

Of course if she did so, we can always go to the alternative timeline. As a Star Trek fan, it wouldn't be so hard for me to accept it...

Maria's lovely wallpaper!

Maria of Sweden has been very productive as of late. In addition to the lovely banners, she also made this simple but charming wallpaper for us all to use.

I love the feeling that it was taken from Jane Austen's old diary... withered and yellowish (brownish, even), but so full of memories. Its size is 1024x768 px; but Maria can also make the 1280x800 pixels upon request.

Thanks so much, Maria!

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Becoming Jane Banners!!

We would like to say a HUGE thank you to Maria for making such fantastic Becoming Jane banners for use on the blog.
I have to say they are exceptional and she has made a great choice in images. My favourite is Jane poised over the fence.

As you can see Icha has already displayed the first banner at the top of the page and this will be rotated with the other in due course.

Thanks again Maria.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Jane Austen Quote - Week 66 by Linda

From Chapter 43 in “Pride and Prejudice”, Elizabeth Bennet and the Gardiners are at Pemberley where they are joined in their walk about the grounds by Mr. Darcy. It appears that Mr. Darcy’s attitude towards the Gardiners is quite civil.

Elizabeth said nothing, but it gratified her exceedingly; the compliment must be all for herself. Her astonishment, however, was extreme, and continually was she repeating, "Why is he so altered? From what can it proceed? It cannot be for me -- it cannot be for my sake that his manners are thus softened. My reproofs at Hunsford could not work such a change as this. It is impossible that he should still love me."

In the margin of my paperback, I wrote, “Do reproofs really work?” Under that I wrote, “On a healthy mind!”

To understand my thinking, you must realize that I have known quite a few people, and I won’t mention their gender, to whom one could talk for a million years and they would not hear you. They “know” everything! But then I realized that Mr. Darcy was not suffering from the ailments of those persons I know. It amazes me how many of human nature’s idiosyncrasies appear in Jane Austen’s novels. It says one more time that people have not changed in hundreds of years.

When will we ever learn?

Linda the Librarian

Pic: Fitzwilliam Darcy (Colin Firth) and the Gardiners, PP 1995, from this site.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Jane Austen Quote Week 65

Those of you who subscribe/follow or site would have received the previous quote I posted earlier about Mansfield Park. A very gorgeous quote… which unfortunately has to be deleted for it has been posted in February, as shown here. We were doing house cleaning in BJ Fansite, placing each quote into one of Jane Austen’s book (or letter), but I haven’t done that particular one for MP. Hence, I made this silly mistake, completely unaware that Michelle has posted it earlier. My apologies Michelle, and to you all.

Now, after the said hiccup, let’s move on with the replacement quote, part of which due to time constrain I have to steal from the very left bar of this site. Luckily, I was the one who placed it there, and since it has never been discussed in this manner (under the Jane Austen Quote of the Week, I mean), I have no guilt whatsoever to reiterate it here.

The Watsons, Part 1. Emma Watson was talking to her elder sister about her other sister named Penelope who stole the elder Miss Watson’s lover Purvis. The quotes were taken from, for my copy is in the office.


"Not much indeed -- but you know we must marry. I could do very well single for my own part; a little company, and a pleasant ball now and then, would be enough for me, if one could be young forever; but my father cannot provide for us, and it is very bad to grow old and be poor and laughed at. I have lost Purvis, it is true; but very few people marry their first loves. I should not refuse a man because he was not Purvis. Not that I can ever quite forgive Penelope."


"I am sorry for [Penelope’s] anxieties," said Emma; "but I do not like her plans or her opinions. I shall be afraid of her. She must have too masculine and bold a temper. To be so bent on marriage, to pursue a man merely for the sake of situation, is a sort of thing that shocks me; I cannot understand it. Poverty is a great evil; but to a woman of education and feeling it ought not, it cannot be the greatest. I would rather be teacher at a school (and I can think of nothing worse) than marry a man I did not like."


Of course at that time, being a governess (or a school teacher) is considered rather ‘less’ than being a gentlewoman of no profession. But I see that Jane Austen’s writing here was true to her heart. Although here we may find the authoress’ belief that there may be someone better behind the corner, still in her unfinished novel there echoes the same persistence not to marry, unless for love. Strong, wonderful woman.

Side note: Had Jane Austen finished The Watsons, it would be a very interesting novel. I read it a while ago without truly devouring it, and I'd like to re-read it again, carefully this time.

Pic: Cover to The Watsons & Emma Watson, by Jane Austen and completed by Joan Aiken, from Barnes & Nobles. I'd like to know if anyone has read it, and what you think of it?

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Jane Austen Quote - Week 64 by Linda

I picked up “Sanditon” again and found another treasure in Chapter 7:

I have read several of Burns's poems with great delight," said Charlotte as soon as she had time to speak. "But I am not poetic enough to separate a man's poetry entirely from his character; and poor Burns's known irregularities greatly interrupt my enjoyment of his lines. I have difficulty in depending on the truth of his feelings as a lover. I have not faith in the sincerity of the affections of a man of his description. He felt and he wrote and he forgot."

I had certainly heard of Robert Burns, the poet, but could not remember any specifics about the man or his works. So I went to Google to dig up some dirt on his character and ‘known irregularities’.

Miss Austen and I seem to have the same propensity to judge a writer’s works by his/her character. I like to know a bit about a writer as I read what she/he wrote. Well, I found the ‘dirt’. It appears that he was a bit free in his love life by bestowing his heart among several ‘ladies’. Miss Austen and I would hardly approve, I dare say. Therefore, we conclude it must have ‘tainted’ his works. Not only that, but also I noticed that he wrote with a Scottish accent, which I have a bit of trouble translating. Well, I have certainly been forewarned and shall take a bit of care if I happen to pick up a Burns book, or should that be “burns his book”? I shall leave it for you to determine! And please, do not think that I have any prejudices against the Scots, for I am part Scot myself. Any enlightenment you may have on this subject is most welcome.

Linda the Librarian

Pic: Robert Burns, from dontwastewine

Friday, 3 July 2009

Jane Austen Quote of the Week- Week 63

This week it is actually more a scene which I have chosen; it is a hilarious and truly adored scene from Pride and Prejudice and I dont believe we have included it in our quote of the week as of yet.

I have decided to quote parts of the scene where Mr Collins attempts to propose to Lizzy. One of my favourite elements is Mr Bennet's response to Mrs Bennet's stress. I have highlighted some of my favourite lines from the passages taken from this scene displayed below:

"Oh! Mr Bennet, you are wanted immediately; we are all in an uproar. You must come and make Lizzy marry Mr Collins, for she vows she will not have him, and if you do not make haste he will change his mind and not have her.''
Mr Bennet raised his eyes from his book as she entered, and fixed them on her face with a calm unconcern which was not in the least altered by her communication.
"I have not the pleasure of understanding you,'' said he, when she had finished her speech. ``Of what are you talking?''
"Of Mr Collins and Lizzy. Lizzy declares she will not have Mr Collins, and Mr Collins begins to say that he will not have Lizzy.''
"And what am I to do on the occasion? -- It seems an hopeless business.''
"Speak to Lizzy about it yourself. Tell her that you insist upon her marrying him.''
"Let her be called down. She shall hear my opinion.''
Mrs Bennet rang the bell, and Miss Elizabeth was summoned to the library.
"Come here, child,'' cried her father as she appeared. "I have sent for you on an affair of importance. I understand that Mr Collins has made you an offer of marriage. Is it true?'' Elizabeth replied that it was. ``Very well -- and this offer of marriage you have refused?''
"I have, Sir.''
"Very well. We now come to the point. Your mother insists upon your accepting it. Is not it so, Mrs Bennet?''
"Yes, or I will never see her again.''
An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. -- Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.''
Elizabeth could not but smile at such a conclusion of such a beginning; but Mrs Bennet, who had persuaded herself that her husband regarded the affair as she wished, was excessively disappointed.
"What do you mean, Mr Bennet, by talking in this way? You promised me to insist upon her marrying him.''
"My dear,'' replied her husband, "I have two small favours to request. First, that you will allow me the free use of my understanding on the present occasion; and secondly, of my room. I shall be glad to have the library to myself as soon as may be.''

I love this brief window into the personality and character of Mr Bennet; it is enlightening. Jane almost keeps him in the shadows and then wham, he appears with the delivery of such classic lines. A fascinating character.

Slightly later in the scene, Charlotte Lucas has come to visit the family for the day and we get the completely contrasting and slightly imposting character of Mrs Bennet in full bloom!

"Aye, there she comes,'' continued Mrs Bennet, "looking as unconcerned as may be, and caring no more for us than if we were at York, provided she can have her own way. -- But I tell you what, Miss Lizzy, if you take it into your head to go on refusing every offer of marriage in this way, you will never get a husband at all -- and I am sure I do not know who is to maintain you when your father is dead. -- I shall not be able to keep you -- and so I warn you. -- I have done with you from this very day. -- I told you in the library, you know, that I should never speak to you again, and you will find me as good as my word. I have no pleasure in talking to undutiful children, -- Not that I have much pleasure indeed in talking to any body. People who suffer as I do from nervous complaints can have no great inclination for talking. Nobody can tell what I suffer! -- But it is always so. Those who do not complain are never pitied.''

The last line, "those who do not complain are never pitied" is actually the line which drew me to think of the whole scene. In the last few weeks I have been going to a series of interviews in search of a new job. I realised afterwards when the first few returned to me with disappointment that I did not want pity. I never want pity. So I continued to think only in a positive light and see the rejections as a chance to work on what I had done wrong. Yesterday I had an interview and I got the job which I am very happy about. So this line is very wise and something we should all adhere too.

Pic 1: Mr Collins