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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Time to get a little....AUSTEN-TATIOUS!

Hi there readers!
Welcome back to the site that aims to please your bookish tastes from A-Z...Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.  Just what are those A-Z tastes?  Hmm, that's a list for another day.  ^_^ 

If you know me (and I think some of you do by now), you knew I couldn't stay away for long.  Why?  Oh let me count the ways!  There are so many great books to share.  Reading is a passion.  Blogging is a similar passion though NOT AS intense (*hugs book*)....and all of you! That's right. All of my bloggy, bookish, and non-bookish friends out there that make it a point to stop by and say "hi", leave a comment or well-wishing thought, or simply read what I've shared.  The friendliness of the blogging community is wonderful and I'm certainly glad to be a part of it. ~tear~ _tissue_ *ahem*  Moving forward....

To answer a few questions, yes...I'm still under the weather.  Yes, I send my thanks for all your kindness as my family treads the uncertain surgical-type waters ahead.  Yes, I'll still be reading and blogging and making the most of those crazy lemons.  Oh and yes, there's still a contest going on here at the site you should enter if you have a second (^_^).  Last but certainly not least, YES there is moer to today's post than all of this...hehe....

Today...we're getting a little old-fashioned, a little classical literarily speaking but in a purely HERE AND NOW way.  It's a soon-to-be-released work by a new-to-me author that seeks to join the ranks of the many in the more recent wave of Jane Austen inspired works.  What's that?  You've never heard of her?  *blink*

Just kidding...or rather I know YOU are just kidding because there's simply no way that you could miss all the Darcy this and Darcy this, Jane here and Jane there that's been released in the past year or two.  It's an all out craze...and that my friends is what I pondered when approached by today's featured author.  You see, I'm not opposed to it all though not a fan by true fan standards but I can't help but wonder what moves an author to add themselves to the masses in a case such as this. Alyssa Goodnight came calling with her new book Austen-tatious (releasing from Kensington Books, January 31st, 2012)...and I....I asked.  Curious to see what she had to say?  Read on my on....

Without further adieu....may I present, author Alyssa Goodnight!
*the crowd goes wild with ladylike gloved clapping*


GUEST POST:  Alyssa Goodnight
Latest work, Austen-tatious releasing January 31st, 2012

Question:  What are YOUR thoughts on the "all things Austen" craze in literature in recent times?

Whether you're a fan or not, it is impossible to deny that Jane Austen has captured the hearts, minds, and attention of today's readers and authors. Her six novels, and to a lesser degree, her journals and letters, not to mention the BBC, Hollywood (and Bollywood) adaptations of her work, have garnered her legions of new fans nearly two hundred years after her death. Her work has inspired countless retellings, continuations, and spin-offs, and not only the historical sort. The slate of Austen-inspired works to be released in 2012 include my own novel, AUSTENTATIOUS, in which Jane herself takes a starring role as a modern-day fairy godmother; Nina Benneton's COMPULSIVELY MR. DARCY, in which Dr. Elizabeth Bennet mistakenly assumes Fitzwilliam Darcy and Charles Bingley are a couple; Shannon Hale's MIDNIGHT IN AUSTENLAND, which chronicles a woman's Austen-inspired experience at a country house; Kim Izzo's THE JANE AUSTEN MARRIAGE MANUAL, in which the heroine wonders if it might still be possible to marry for money; and Diana Peterfreund's FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS, a dystopian retelling of Persuasion. And there are plenty more, believe me.

I have my suspicions about the Austen craze, and naturally they begin with the fact that Jane Austen was an intelligent, eloquent, witty writer with a deep understanding of the human heart and mind, a clever sense of humor, and a thorough grasp of character. In her six published novels alone she has given us, as readers and writers--not to mention producers, actors, and directors--so very much to inspire us. Many readers will only ever read a single one of her works--most likely an assignment for a literature class. Odds are it will be her masterpiece Pride & Prejudice. Very few classics are as thoroughly readable as Pride & Prejudice. Reading it feels almost as if you're having a gossipy chat with a somewhat old-fashioned, perhaps slightly wordy by today's standards, acquaintance. (I can tell you I never once felt like chatting with Ishmael, Ahab, or the whale while reading Moby Dick.) The storyline is at once intriguing and relatable: you can't help but wonder whether Darcy will overcome his pride and Elizabeth her prejudice. (And you're not alone if you fall even a little bit in love with Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy...). Pride & Prejudice is, at its heart, a romance. It's a romance that doesn't dwell on life's hardships and tragedies, focusing instead on the vagaries and love and courtship. And still, it's considered a classic.

Many people will tell you that they don't read romances. And yet they love Jane Austen. Pride & Prejudice is the story of two people who meet and immediately dislike each other. As the story progresses, they come to know each other better, overcome their differences, and eventually fall in love. Sounds like a classic romance storyline to me... And her other five novels can be similarly categorized. I think Jane Austen eases the way for readers who might be resistant to the romance genre. They can content themselves with reading a classic. Or, if they've exhausted Jane's offerings, they can move on to the authors who've taken up their pens to continue or expand upon her stories--these novels have a literary bent--they're brushing elbows with the classics. It's the perfect compromise, and everyone's pleased, because who doesn't love a happy ending?

This may explain why so many are willing to give Jane Austen a try, but it does not explain by half why Jane has developed such a devoted, almost cultish following. I believe the reason for that is her characters. A good writer may write any sort of character, but Jane's legacy is six books chock full of wonderful, memorable characters. It is not only Mr. Darcy that we love in Pride & Prejudice...although we do love him. But so too do we love Elizabeth (wonderfully witty and self-possessed) and Jane (lovely and kind), Mr. & Mrs. Bennet (the hilarity is perfection), Mr. Collins (so preposterous!), Lady Catherine de Bourgh (what presumption!), Wickham and Lydia (unbelievable!), and all the rest. They are what makes the book. Without these characters the writing might still be wonderful, but it wouldn't capture us as it does. It wouldn't have us yearning to carry on the stories, to imagine new situations and predicaments for these characters, to hold on to Jane for just a little longer.

AUSTENTATIOUS is my imagining of what might happen if Jane was still hanging around, supernaturally speaking. If she wasn't quite done with romance yet. If she was actively interceding on the behalf of the romantically challenged in the form of a fairy godmother. Fairy Jane to be exact. The book also taps into the Darcy mystique--the idea of a sexy, yet unapproachable man who, against all odds, becomes the stuff of daydreams... AUSTENTATIOUS is, at its heart, a romance--I did learn from the master.

So, why do you read Austen?

Mr. Darcy t-shirt from here; totebag from here


So there you have it.
Well said if you ask me....then again, I'm an outsider looking into the craze.  What about you fair readers?  Do you read the infamous works of Jane Austen?  How about the continuations?  Why?  Feel free to share your thoughts, passions, and ramblings in the comments below!
Special thanks to author Alyssa Goodnight for sharing her thoughts with us today. (THANKS!)  For more information on her current works and those to come, feel free to check out her website, Facebook, or follow along on Twitter.  Her latest work Austen-tatious is set for release January 31st, 2012 from Kensington Books.  Here's a little peek inside the cover....
What happens when an eighteenth century literary darling magically pops up in the weirdest city in Texas? Magic and weird collide in AUSTENTATIOUS, the story of Nicola James, a left-brainer with a Jane Austen obsession and a carefully finessed life plan. A plan that doesn’t include an enchanted journal or an interfering fairy godmother, who just might be the spirit of Jane Austen herself.

When Nicola discovers her journal entries mysteriously whittled down to a cheeky bit of commentary on her life, she’s freaked first, skeptical second, and finally downright curious. She can’t help but keep writing, dueling really, with a two-dimensional fairy godmother she doesn’t totally believe in. Soon, the witty little notes start coming true, screwing with her plans, her head, and her life, and nudging her towards an impossible—and impossibly seductive—romance with a man who’s inarguably wrong for her. Nicola’s torn, trapped between a life that makes sense and a man who doesn’t, with “Fairy Jane” wedged in the middle, relentlessly rooting for another “Mr. Darcy”.

Until next time....happy reading!



Tales of Whimsy said...

So sorry to hear you're still sicky.

This sounds cute. I haven't heard of it before.

Rebecca (RivkaBelle) said...

I am totally a Janeite. I love "original Jane", collect the movie versions (and have strong opinions about such, haha), and read many of the variations/sequels/reimaginings/spinoffs/etc. Why? Hmm...Maybe because Jane wrote REAL people. They're amazing, but they're not always perfect. And her social commentary is amazing. I love the characters. I love the language. I love the stories. And the "extra" books flooding the market? Well, some are better than others of course ;o) But I think it's because we DO love Jane so much - we NEED more of it. :o) I'm writing my own, so...Yeah. I need more ;o)

Alexia561 said...

Pride & Prejudice was always one of my favorite books, but am embarrassed to admit I didn't read any of her others. Need to reread P&P one of these days so I can sigh over Darcy again! ;)

Hope you're feeling better! Hugs to you and your mom!

Melanie said...

I love that Mr. Darcy shirt. I have my own Darcy proposal shirt that I got from Brookish that I thoroughly enjoy wearing. It gets me weird looks from random strangers.

Austentatious sounds neat and different!

I hope you feel better soon.

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