Jane Austen discussion

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What has reading/loving Jane Austen meant to you?

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message 1: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 47 comments I am interested in seeing what reading in general as well as reading/loving Jane Austen means to you.


message 2: by Kim (new)

Kim | 181 comments For me it's no matter what is going on in your real life - whether it be stress, sadness, joy - there is a cast of characters waiting to lift your spirits and take you away from all of your problems. Reading (especially Jane Austen's novels) let me escape my world even for a short time and take me to a place with amazing love stories that you just can't help but be happy after reading!


message 3: by Emma (new)

Emma | 2 comments Jane Austen's books are like old, slightly battered friends I keep on my bedside shelf. When I'm feeling lost and alone, Jane Austen, maybe even more so than any of my other favourite novels, is always a great comfort. I don't think I can put it any more articulately than the poster above me :)


message 4: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 47 comments Emma wrote: "Jane Austen's books are like old, slightly battered friends I keep on my bedside shelf. When I'm feeling lost and alone, Jane Austen, maybe even more so than any of my other favourite novels, is al..."

I agree, sometimes my books know me better than any of my friends.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

This is not an "easy" question to answer. I just enjoy going back to Jane's books over and over again. The stories and characters are so rich and varied and never disappoint. And with each reading I find something new or something familiar that enhances the experience.

I think reading should engage the imagination and touch your heart in some way, and Austen's books certainly do this for me.


message 6: by Morgan (new)

Morgan (pvintagedesign) | 3 comments I find that whenever life gets hectic, I turn to Jane Austen. Her books are like old friends, they will always be there and they will never change. I know that this makes me sound like a recluse who curls up with my books at the slightest hint of opposition, however that is not the case. I just like a little reprieve from the chaos every now and then :-)


message 7: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 47 comments Morgan wrote: "I find that whenever life gets hectic, I turn to Jane Austen. Her books are like old friends, they will always be there and they will never change. I know that this makes me sound like a recluse wh..."

I don't think you're a recluse, just a romantic at heart. I need my quiet Jane Austen time!


message 8: by Charmless (new)

Charmless (mysocalledreads) | 21 comments Her books remind me that, for us to understand the complexities of the human condition, literature doesn't have to be a crude duplication of reality.


message 9: by Usako (new)

Usako (bbmeltdown) | 226 comments It reminds me that troubles are timeless. What women faced then in some way they face even today.

They're my happy reads or happy movies -- that means when my life gets chaotic, I turn to them to slow down my heart and brain.


message 10: by Samantha McNulty (new)

Samantha McNulty Austens books take me back to when the world was simpler, and where the pace was slower.


message 11: by Usako (new)

Usako (bbmeltdown) | 226 comments Absolutely, Sam.

They liked to take long walks. I miss doing that when I lived in Europe. There's something relaxing in being able to take a walk starting from your own backyard instead of driving to a location solely to walk.


message 12: by April (new)

April | 7 comments Troubles are timeless,I really appreciate your these words while I'm in such a mess.


message 13: by April (new)

April | 7 comments Tanja wrote: "It reminds me that troubles are timeless. What women faced then in some way they face even today.

They're my happy reads or happy movies -- that means when my life gets chaotic, I turn to them t..."


Troubles are timeless,I really appreciate your these words while I'm in such a mess.


message 14: by Usako (new)

Usako (bbmeltdown) | 226 comments You're welcome April ^.^

I hope that you're able to crack an Austen and the words lighten your burdens for a while.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Tanja wrote: "You're welcome April ^.^

I hope that you're able to crack an Austen and the words lighten your burdens for a while."


Try Northanger Abbey, if you need something to help you laugh. :)


message 16: by April (new)

April | 7 comments Thanks for your recommandations,Tanja and Jeannette.I'm convinced to read all of Austen's works and I'll be starting S&S today,which has been in my handbag before Lunar New Year.It's time for me to get back to books and keep balance to work and life.

And thank YOU again.


message 17: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 47 comments Tanja wrote: "Absolutely, Sam.

They liked to take long walks. I miss doing that when I lived in Europe. There's something relaxing in being able to take a walk starting from your own backyard instead of drivi..."


I went to school in Kirksville, MO, a really small town. We walked everywhere and there was just a simpleness to life that there is not now. I miss it. I think that reading Austen and thinking about a simpler life is one of the things I enjoy most.


message 18: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) I agree with a lot of what has already been posted: Jane Austen's novels are a form a comfort, a means of escape, and a way to relax. It is so amazing how no matter how many times I read each novel, I am anxious over how each conflict will be resolved and whether or not the heroine will live happily ever after (although since her novels end with a wedding we really have no idea!). As I read these old friends, I laugh out loud, roll my eyes, and escape to a time and place that I will I could really escape to.


message 19: by Dhara (new)

Dhara Mehta (tulsitree) | 23 comments Jane Austen's novels allow me touch the past. I seem to have the same pleasures as some teenager in 18th century. Although, I am not of English origin my great-grandfather taught English literature back in 1900's in India. So I am "communicating' with him through her. Last but not least, I identify with her characters. Different times, different places but human beings and emotions don't change.


message 20: by Samantha McNulty (new)

Samantha McNulty Dhara wrote: "Jane Austen's novels allow me touch the past. I seem to have the same pleasures as some teenager in 18th century. Although, I am not of English origin my great-grandfather taught English literature..."

I totally agree.


message 21: by Harriet (new)

Harriet | 53 comments There are many reasons why Jane Austen's novels mean so much to me. Her novels are an escape from reality amongst so many other things and I think of her as my hero. But in a practical sense of the phrase, I don't think I'd be where I am now without her. Mansfield Park was the first classic I ever read off my own back, and although I had been a bookworm before then, it was MP which made me start taking my reading more seriously - now I'm at uni studying English Lit (and History) and one of my two options for life post-uni is teaching English Literature. And for me, Jane Austen IS English Lit.


message 22: by Lindz (new)

Lindz (miss_bovary00) Like everyone else JA is an old friend. The second classic I read off my own back. The first was Little Women. But I keeping going back to Jane. It's like catching up for coffee with an old friend.

But every time I re-read Pride & Prejudice I get something different out of it. First time it was the love story, second time it was the humour, third it was the manners and the characterisations, and last time it was the subtleties of the narration and some of the subtext.

Oh she is one of my best friends.


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

I like your description, Lindz!


message 24: by Rachel, The Honorable Miss Moderator (new)

Rachel (randhrshipper1) | 673 comments Mod
Reading and enjoying Jane Austen's novels has meant a lot to me, but I think it can all be distilled down to being entertained, having my belief in love supported, and connecting me to others who love her work. They're just such a multilayered thing to be a fan of-- the settings, the romance, the characters, all of it!


message 25: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 2 comments All during High School, I was never able to comprehend most classic novels. It was entirely frustrating. Even during College I had a hard time. After graduating College I made a Bucket List, and I was determined to read a novel by Jane Austen. I had seen the movie Sense and Sensability and The Jane Austen Book Club - not the same I know. But I had never seen any version of Pride and Prejudice, and that is where I decided to start. I immediately fell in love with the story. After I finished reading it, I had never felt more accomplished in my life. Not only did I understand what I read, but I enjoyed it more than I would have ever thought possible. It was an increddible story about family, life in that time, love, manners, status, etc. What has reading/loving Jane Austen meant to me? More than I could ever put into words - it touches me inside and out.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Kristen wrote: "All during High School, I was never able to comprehend most classic novels. It was entirely frustrating. Even during College I had a hard time. After graduating College I made a Bucket List, and I ..."

That is a great story, Kristen! You gained a sense of accomplishment and experienced a wonderful story at the same time! Good luck and enjoy your Bucket List!


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) Reading Jane Austen is like encountering your very best friend after a lengthy period of absence. Austen's novels, as cliche as it sounds, are timeless. These novels are the finest fiction in the English language, containing touchstones to the most basic of human emotions; mixed with witty dialog. Not a word is wasted, not a phrase out of place. Any serious reader can place themselves in each and every situation and see and feel themselves. Like the Bard, she speaks to the human heart and the human soul. This is why I read and re-read Jane Austen. Cheers! Chris


message 28: by Lani (new)

Lani (lani14) | 57 comments Christopher wrote: "Reading Jane Austen is like encountering your very best friend after a lengthy period of absence. Austen's novels, as cliche as it sounds, are timeless. These novels are the finest fiction in the..."<

I would agree. And I like Ms. Austen because her characters are people you know or want to know. Everyone wants to be (or thinks they are) Lizzy or Anne Elliot. Yet, even the back characters are carefully written. Mr. Collins is definitely the office snark and Lady Catherine, the society matron. We have a few of those in the South. Mrs. Bennett could be my mother with a few modification. I laugh out loud when I read about "her nerves."

A Jane Austen novel is an old cozy cardigan: warm, comforting and inviting taken with a cup of tea, nothing is better for my "nerves." LOL



message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

A Jane Austen novel is an old cozy cardigan: warm, comforting and inviting taken with a cup of tea, nothing is better for my "nerves." LOL

I like that, Lani! :)


message 30: by Sigrid (new)

Sigrid Ruyter Smolan | 14 comments I agree with Chris absolutely 100% I could have written something like that myself :)
Jane Austen opened a whole new world to me. Some time after I moved to Oxford 5 years ago, when I was about 14, I began reading Pride and Prejudice. It was the first Jane Austen book I ever read, and it was the biggest (In more than one aspects of that word) book I'd ever read. I absolutely adored it. I was caught up in the world of the Bennets, and I sometimes found myself living in that world in my thoughts too. I think it helped me find my place in England, so to say.. it helped me a lot with my english, and it was a great part of why I fell in love with England.
I finished reading it on the day I left, and I cried so much because I had to go back home to Norway. After this though everything English has been a great part of my life. I love English literature and especially Jane Austen, and I want to study the English language and literature some day :)
I suppose Austen has changed the way I look at the world in some ways too :)


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

That's an amazing personal story Sigrid. You are probably one of the few people who actually cries at the end of Pride and Prejudice. I would love to visit the places Jane wrote about someday, especially Lyme Regis and Bath.


message 32: by Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (last edited Apr 21, 2010 07:57PM) (new)

Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) Sigrid wrote: "I agree with Chris absolutely 100% I could have written something like that myself :)
Jane Austen opened a whole new world to me. Some time after I moved to Oxford 5 years ago, when I was about 14..."


Thank you so much, Sigrid, for the wonderful compliment! As unmanly as it might sound, I too have shed my fair share of tears over her novels; most especially Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility; but there are episodes in each of her brilliant novels that move me as no other works of fiction ever have, or probably could. In all honesty, Patrick O'Brian's books are a close second for evoking the feelings associated with sheer human emotion. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful personal comment, Sigrid! Cheers! Chris


message 33: by Genius (last edited Apr 25, 2010 04:39PM) (new)

Genius | 1 comments I just loved Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. This is meant the world to me and inspired me to start some of my own writing as well. There's just something about her writing that makes is seem well magical. But unlike magic Jane Austen's books are something you can relate to in real life, I mean in some way every one has their own Mr.Darcy or Lady Catherine .
I wrote about her in my blog: http://journeytoabook.blogspot.com/
check it out!


message 34: by Sigrid (new)

Sigrid Ruyter Smolan | 14 comments Jeanette: Jane Austen's novels are an exception to the rule. I usually don't crie when reading. but I have a thing for happy endings :P and P&P had such a great ending, and because of "my story", I crie :)

there's nothing unmanly about shedding tears when reading novels, I think :)
Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility are the two Jane Austen novels I haven't read iet, but I'm really really looking forwards to reading them:)
It's just about impossible for me to pick a favourite amongst her novels. I love them all, and like you said, they move me too like no other novel or author ever have or could. it must be magic :)
I think maybe Dickens comes as a second though.
I'v never read anything by Patrick O'Brian, but if you recommend him, I will check him out. Do you have any favourite novels my him?
Just so you guys know, you are actually the only ones I've actually shared this with ;P This place is the only place I can find people who are so caught up in litterature as I am :D

I will check out your blog Genius ;)


message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

Sigrid, be prepared to cry when you read Persuasion! It has the most lovely and moving ending of all Jane's books. I tend to cry during movies, happy or sad!

We are planning a June read of Patrick O'Brian. Christopher, through his eloquent and persistent pleas, convinced us to select "Master and Commander" for group discussion in June. You should join us then!

I'm glad you found our group, Sigrid. There are quite a few people in this group who share your feelings! :)


message 36: by Sigrid (new)

Sigrid Ruyter Smolan | 14 comments I'm really looking forwards to it, I really am ^^
but I already know part of the story, and I think I'll love it.
I tend to cry during movies as well, especially when there's a happy reunion ;P

I would love to read Master and Commander! Is that a Patrick O'Brian novel? If it is, I will try to join you, I will just have to get hold of the book first..

I really like this group :)


message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

Master and Commander is the first in the series by O'Brian.

We are glad to have you here! :)


message 38: by Sigrid (new)

Sigrid Ruyter Smolan | 14 comments I've added it to my to-read-list already ;)


message 39: by Abigail (new)

Abigail (AbWatkins) | 7 comments I get lost in the way Jane Austen writes. i'm pulled away from my hetic teenage life to one where the problems and scandals are so different from today's. These women are real.. they aren't just people Jane created from thin air.. they are her. Each character is a piece of Jane Austen- the only difference? She gave them hardships and troubles that all resulted in happy endings. I get so into the books. I laugh, I raise my eyebrows in surprise and in the end of all the novels, I have cried. Eliza Bennet, Mr. Knightly, Fanny Price, all of them.. they know me much more than anyone else. That, is why i read Jane Austen.


message 40: by Pragya Tiwari (new)

Pragya Tiwari | 2 comments I feel emotionally elated when I read them. My favorite is Persuasion, obviously not as big hit as P&P, but it makes you feel more close to reality. Its like Jane is telling us her own story. All the characters feel so special in all her books. I see what they see, feel what they feel...not all novels have such an impact! And most importantly they make you realize that even with all the conditions applied (like Lizzy felt when she considered her future with Darcy), life is beautiful :)


message 41: by Veronica (new)

Veronica Reading an Austen novel takes me into a world that no more exists except in my dreams. It gives me a few moments to forget present and glide into the quiet and serene past. I feel relieved of all problems and above all, the English language is so beautiful that i am enticed in its magnetic pull.


message 42: by Gemma (new)

Gemma | 25 comments There's a fresh, bright quality about Jane Austen's work that keeps bringing me back to her. Some of her characters are downright despicable, but that only serves to make the lovable ones even more endearing. What I love best is seeing a reflection of my own world in these novels that makes them seem all the more real and timeless. Women have come a long way since Jane's time, but it's a thrill to know that her work is still as popular -- more so, even -- as it used to be.


message 43: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum Maybe women have come a long way -- we certainly run more than the women of Austen's time -- but at heart we are the same humans that we've always been. Some "downright despicables" have run through my life and I'm betting I'm not alone on that one! And, yes, Gemma, as you've pointed out, I think they have served to make my loved ones more dear to me. Take away the manners, the dress, and the time that they had at their disposal, and I think we have... ourselves!


message 44: by Megan, Moderator & Ardent Janeite (new)

Megan | 724 comments Mod
Karlyne wrote: "Maybe women have come a long way -- we certainly run more than the women of Austen's time -- but at heart we are the same humans that we've always been. Some "downright despicables" have run throu..."

I agree with you both Gemma and Karlyne. Austen's characters really speak to us because we know them - we have met the cads, the snobs, the stupid, the mean and petty and the very decent people. Her themes of finding happiness, love, contentment, meaning and security in life are not that much different than what most of us strive to find in our own lives today. Austen continues to be very timely because she is writing about the same emotions/fears/dreams we experience today.


message 45: by Kathleen (last edited Aug 12, 2010 07:17AM) (new)

Kathleen | 20 comments I agree with almost everyone above..haha! I have been really stressed as of late with an impending move 9 hours from my family and friends, moving in with my long distance boyfriend finally and quitting my job in search of a new one. The only thing that completely calms me is Jane. A novel or even one of the movies...just the characters, the setting and how they interact is so calming and keeps me sane. They will always be my go-to books not matter what :)


message 46: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum Friends in books are so calming. They don't mind when we put them on the shelf. They stay true to themselves no matter what, and that lets us stay true to ourselves. What would we do without our Austen friends?!


message 47: by Birdie (new)

Birdie | 24 comments Reading Jane Austen reminds me about what really matters: love, honesty, integrity, loyalty, and self-respect. I can probably add a few more. :) Anyway... I find that comforting.


message 48: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Reading Jane Austen puts one in a different set of circumstances, and it is a mini-vacation from whatever problems you may be dealing with, Whenever I read Austem, I come back to my world in a better frame of mind, it is pure escapism.


message 49: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum I find that Jane refreshes my belief in a thinking humanity, and that makes me come back to the world in a better frame of mind, too, Robin. Rather than thinking of it as pure escapism, though, it tends to make me believe that somewhere, somehow, there are witty, literate, intelligent and caring people out there. And they will always defeat the Sir Walter Elliots and the Caroline Bingleys of the world! I believe it, I do, I do! (Ok, I admit it. I've been called Pollyanna before)


message 50: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Yes, I meant escapism in a good sense, if there is one. But it tends to relax my mind it is almost like doing something physical and you are in the zone, ya know what I mean?


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