Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Geek Girl's Guide to Jane Austen

A Geek Girl's Guide to Jane Austen

In 2009, I spent the year listening to classical music and reading nothing but Jane Austen. I was obsessed! And I didn't just read Austen novels; I geeked out on everything Austen or Austen related. Since that time, Jane Austen's stories have gotten more and more popular. The fact that we can relate to her work even today speaks to the timeless nature of her storytelling. So without further ado, the geek girl's guide to everything Jane Austen!


Read the novel
I've read Persuasion nine times. It's my favorite Jane Austen's novel, and I feel the most overlooked. It's all about second chances, following your heart and forgiveness.
Read Persuasion free on Project Gutenberg >

Geek out
  • Retelling: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
    This is a young adult sci-fi retelling of Persuasion. Does it get better than that? I haven't read it yet, but I've heard great things.

Read the novel
Perhaps the most popular and iconic of Jane Austen's novels, this novel was once titled First Impressions. The main characters, Darcy and Elizabeth both must overcome their pride and rethink their prejudice in order to find love. Read Pride and Prejudice free on Project Gutenberg >

Geek out
There are countless ways to geek out on P&P, so I'm only going to list my faves. 
  • Comic book: What? I just found this. What? Awesome.
My eat-sleep-austen mug!

Read the novel
This is one of Austen's earlier novels and I think it kind of shows. It's not my favorite, but the villains carry this book. They are so manipulative! Read Northanger Abbey free on Project Gutenberg >

Geek out

Gothic novels: Ok, this is when my true geek nature really comes out. To get a full understanding of Northanger Abbey, it helps to read gothic novels from the times (the characters in the book are engrossed with them). I really like the idea of reading the book the characters are reading. If you want to read along with the characters in this Austen classic, check out The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe.


Read the novel
I found Emma to be the most fun and lighthearted of all Austen's novels. Matchmaking goes wrong and I found myself laughing out loud several times.
Read Emma for free on Project Gutenberg >

Geek out
  • Gothic novel: One of the characters in this book, Harriet Smith, recommends a book to her suitor. But it's a real book so you can read it too. If you want to try, check out The Romance of the Forest, by Ann Radcliffe.

Read the novel
This is my least favorite Austen novel. It's dark and the main character's situation is so dire and depressing. Even when it ended, I wasn't happy. BUT...plenty of people feel differently so don't take my word for it. Read Mansfield Park on Project Gutenberg >

Geek out
I personally didn't geek out that much on this book since I didn't love it. But, here's some options.
  • Film adaptations: I watched two film versions, from 2007 & 1999. Both were ok.
  • The play: Some of the characters in the book perform the play Lovers' Vows. I might be worth tracking down. It was a controversial play in the book and it would be interesting to see why.

Read the novel
Jane Austen died before completing this novel, but that doesn't mean it didn't leave its mark. Hypochondriacs in a small beach town are hard to forget!

Geek out
  • Completion stories: An unfinished novel is like a choose your own adventure novel. I love reading these completion stories just to see how different they are:

    Sanditon: Jane Austen's Last Novel Completed
    This is my favorite completion. I've actually read it several times and highly recommend it!

    Jane Austen's Charlotte
    This is terrible! But I still enjoyed reading another version.

    That's all I've read so far, but there are several others detailed here.
  • Welcome to Sanditon: The next YouTube series by the makers of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries will be based on Sanditon and some of the storyline to be crowd sourced! (May 2013)

Read the novel

I can't believe I almost forgot tel. I even named my husband's car Willoughby! Read Sense and Sensibility on Project Gutenberg >

Geek out

The musical: The 1995 film is great, of course, but did you know there's now a musical? Yes, that's right and it's playing in my city! I'm sure if it's good, it will start making the rounds.


This is definitely not the extend of my geekery, but this post can only be so long. Here's the best of the rest...

The Jane Austen Fight Club
This does not get old. May be the best video ever!

Lady Susan
This is my favorite of Austen's lesser works. It's a story told in the form of letters. Lady Susan is a recent widow scheming for husbands for herself and her daughter.

The Letters
I'm not huge on biographies, so I haven't read one, but I did get into Austen's letters briefly. If you watch the film, Becoming Jane (I have mixed feelings about it), there are some allusions to the fact that there may be some semi-autobiographical aspects to her stories. Also, they're free for perusal on Project Gutenberg!

And that's it! Intense, right? Do you have anything to add to my geek list?