Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (Bloggerversary Challenge)


Mansfield Park (Penguin Classics) by Jane Austen | Jorie's Store by Amazon

Title: Mansfield Park
Author: Jane Austen, Johanna Ward
ISBN: 9781441796394
Length: 16 hours, 47 minutes
Publication Date: Mar 08, 2005
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Genre: Novel of Manners
Source: Harris County Public Library

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Reasons for Reading: Alongside annual challenges I inflict upon myself, I also like reading at least one Jane Austen novel. This year, I added Austen’s Mansfield Park to the ballot. Mansfield Park received the most votes (out of all contenders) and I requested it from Harris County Public Library (HCPL). I listened to the eAudio on my Nook.

Summary (A little background): Austen sets up the story with three sisters: Lady Bertram, Mrs. Norris, and Mrs. Price. Lady Bertram married well. Mrs. Norris married a parson. Mrs. Price, however, married a naval officer. Shortly after the Prices’ marriage, Mr. Price becomes wounded and then pensioned as a Lieutenant at half pay. (Reminding me of the Three Little Pigs!) The Prices follow this by having nine children. Affecting the appearance of a caring parson’s wife, Mrs. Norris suggests to Lady Bertram that the Bertrams take on one of the Price kids to live with the Bertrams at their home, Mansfield Park. Ultimately, ten year old Fanny Price goes to live at Mansfield Park.

(Story Time): Fanny grows up with her four older cousins – Tom, Edmund, Maria (pronounced Mariah), and Julia. With the fine exception of Edmund, the Bertrams treat Fanny like a poor, stupid relation. Her Aunt Norris is probably worse on this front than the Bertrams. As years pass, Fanny’s gratitude for Edmund shifts to a deep romantic love. Things remain the same until the Crawford Siblings appear on the scene. Herein lies the discovery of Fanny’s true character.

One Thing I Learned from this book: Mansfield Park stands out among Austen’s bibliography. Austen’s works bridge the Age of Reason and Romanticism but this particular novel leans more towards pragmatism.

What I Liked: I prefer Fanny to Emma any day! While she and Edmund may seem like a set of wet blankets, I find her sweet, clever, and authentic.

What I Disliked: Well, some of these characters were absolute jerks! They think one act of altruism covers them for life.

RR - Green

 

 Rainbow Rating: Green – Parental Guidance 

Song: J.S. BACH, Harpsichord Concertos BWV1052, BWV1053, BWV1056, BWV1054, I Barocchisti

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Jane Austen’s Emma (Revisited Challenge)


 

Title and Author(s):  Jane Austen’s Emma (Read by Nadia May)
Release Date: Jul 18, 2006

Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.

ISBN: 9781441797339
Hours: 15 hours, 18 minutes
Source: eBranch Harris County Public Library 
* 1001 Books Book

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Reasons for Reading: I read Jane Austen’s Emma for the first time in 2008. However, I didn’t review it. So, earlier this year, I posted the Revisited Challenge. One of the winners was Emma.

Summary: Ever heard that proverb “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”? Well, it certainly seems to be the case with the “handsome, clever, and rich…” Emma Woodhouse. Emma’s mother passed away before Emma could remember her and her elder sister, Isabella Knightley has a family of her own to rear. She was reared in the nice estate of her old, doting father and a kindly governess, Miss Taylor. The only person who calls her out on anything is her brother-in law, George Knightley. When Emma sets up Miss Taylor with widower Mr Weston and they marry, Emma deems herself a matchmaker. Mr. Knightley tries to talk her out of pursuing this pastime but she continues to do so for her naive, new friend Miss Harriet Smith. So, Emma’s idle mind leads Emma to numerous misadventures of the heart.

One Thing I Learned from this book: Emma, which appeared in 1816, was the last novel published during Austen’s lifetime

What I Liked: I actually liked Mr. Knightley and Emma’s rival, Miss Jane Fairfax. The writing, of course, was genius.

What I Disliked: I didn’t like Emma very much. Yet, I found her very sympathetic. I didn’t want anything bad to happen to her. What do you think of Emma Woodhouse?

RR - Green

 

Rainbow Rating: Green – Parental Guidance 

Song:  Sam Cooke – Cupid

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Revisited: Fiction Winners!


Flickr CC | Happy Birthday Windows 7 | Photo by tsand

You voted!  Revisited Fiction Results:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Emma by Jane Austen

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

There was a 3-way tie between a few of the winners. So, these 5 books will be reviewed before the end of 2013!

Happy 235th, Miss Austin!


Flickr CC | mischief mari with jane austen teapot cookie | Photo by: mischiefmari

Here’s to one of the mother’s of the modern novel. Please check out a couple of my reviews of Miss Jane Austin’s works:

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice


*1001 Books Book

Austen, J., & Gibson, F. (2000). Pride and prejudice. Recorded Books classics library. Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books. 9780788749148

I was on one of my bursts of wanting to read more of the 1001 Books list when I saw Austen’s Pride and Prejudice among the audiobooks shelf at one of the HCPL branches. Since so many of my friends and colleagues raved about this book and I enjoyed Bride and Prejudice, I finally listened to Austen’s great novel of manners.

In early nineteenth century England, the Bennet family faces the daunting consequences of fee tail. Mr. Bennet has five daughters (lovely Jane, clever Elizabeth, plain Mary, silly Kitty, and frivolous Lydia) and no sons. None of the Bennet women can inherit from Mr. Bennet; his estate will go to his closest male relative. Compounding the issue is his vacuous wife, Mrs. Bennet, who singlemindedly wants her daughters to marry well. 

When wealthy bachelor Mr. Bingley rents a nearby estate, he and Jane quickly like each other. Of course, it takes they don’t realize that the feeling’s mutual. It doesn’t help that Bingley has ornery friend Mr. Darcy advising him against pursuing Jane. On top of that, Darcy is the coldest, most prideful person Elizabeth has ever encountered. . . or so it seems.

This work, like many of Austen’s others, formed the definition of the modern novel. Excellent characterization, plot development, dialogue, and slice of life all can be found within the covers of Pride and Prejudice. These characters are so familiar that we can see them in our contemporary lives.

Four Out of Five Pearls.

Places: Great Britain

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Glibness of The Great Gatsby


 

* 1001 Books Book

 

Fitzgerald, F. S., & Muller, F. (1984). The great Gatsby. Clinton, MD: Recorded Books.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald has long been a staple of the high school American Literature courses. When I took English III (Junior year), we only read the first chapter or so of The Great Gatsby and watched the Robert Redford/ Mia Farrow flick. In college, we talked about Fitzgerald’s influence in American Lit. Due to all of this, I decided maybe I should read the quintessential Jazz Age novel. I checked the audiobook narrated by Frank Muller.

In the early 1920s, narrator Nick Carraway leaves the familiar Midwest and Yale for the Big Apple. Nick moves into an humble cottage in the West Egg, a fictitious area in Long Island Sound. Nick’s pretty but shallow cousin, Daisy Buchanan. Daisy lives with her athletic husband, Tom, in the opulance of their East Egg mansion. In time, Nick pays the Buchanans a visit where he meets Daisy’s friend, female golf player Jordan Baker. Jordan shares with Nick that Tom is cheating on Daisy with Myrtle, the wife of the dimwitted cuckold, George. Soon, Nick finds himself swept up in the decadent lifestyle of his cousin.

 

Oddly enough, Nick happens to be the neighbor of extremely wealthy Jay Gatsby. The enigmatic Gatsby throws extravagant parties every Saturday. While he has these events, nobody knows much about him. Nick receives an invitation from Gatsby. As it would happen, Gatsby has carried the torch for Daisy and needs Nick’s help. The lives of the whole cast to a head in a high way.

 

Unfortunately, The Great Gatsby disappointed me. Audiobook narrator Frank Muller voices drones endlessly. I found the characters in this book rather unsympathetic. Of course, Fitzgerald illustrates greatly the obsessive self-centeredness of his characters well. I do trust The Great Gatsby is an excellent record of the life and times of the Jazz Age. While jazz music and the 1920s have long fascinated me, I found I would not have liked being associated with these characters. On the whole, they were a rather unsympathetic lot.

I do think The Great Gatsby has a timeless plot. In fact, I would like to see someone adapt it for another age. Maybe this is the aim of the Gossip Girl television show. Nonetheless, the lack of character identification (at least on my part) left me dissatisfied. Ultimately, I would say the characters were perhaps too much of the gold-plated variety and not the genuine article.

Two out of Five Pearls