“Doesn’t every girl wish she could find her Mr Darcy?” – Cover
This 2012 book jumped at me from the New Release shelf at Kinokuniya book shop in Sydney (also spotted in Dymocks, Castle Towers, Castle Hill) and I just couldn’t say no. At (AU)$26.99, it’s not necessarily the cheapest read in the world, but it stacks up fairly nicely when it comes to originality, with a title that stands out from the Austen fanfiction crowd.
Our main character, Kate, a freelance journalist, suddenly finds work is getting very tight (something that journalists in Australia are feeling, with Fairfax and News Limited cutting their numbers). Her Grandmother passes away, she is about to be evicted, and she realises she needs to get her finances under control. In pursuit of an article about how girls in the 21st century can bag a rich man, akin to our Elizabeth Bennet, and with the encouragement of her own grief and desperation, Kate decides to do it herself. ISBN: 978-1-444-74283-1
A Jane Austen Education – How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, And The Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz
“Like Elizabeth Bennet, I had found my freedom.” – William Deresiewicz
This book is the type of read that makes you go “Why didn’t I think of it like that?”. It is not only gorgeous on the cover (who doesn’t love paper dolls?) and offers plenty of new and personal insights into how you can interpret the works of Austen, but is gorgeous on the inside too. I found a slight battered hardback version for about $5 at my local haunt Basement Books in Central Station, Sydney. You can also pick it up from Amazon for under $20 (and get the wonderful sneak preview read).
Mixing academic writing, textual analysis and a lovely running commentary on Jane Austen set within an autobiographical framework this is a different take on being a Janeite. Deresiewicz, an Austen scholar, explains from the start that he was once a cynic of Austen’s work (and a bit of a self-admitted pretentious git) because of the ‘girly’ connotations surrounding books such as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, but after reading them and studying them – breaking through the tedium – it dawned on him just what it is that Jane is saying, and why she is as intelligent and interesting as the rest of us think. This book spans his life from student-hood onwards and ends like a Jane novel would.