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Thursday, September 23

Don't Mess With My Jane Austen!

Jessica Crispin from Bookslut.com gives her opinion on must-read books - books that are currently on the hot lists or on the list of classics that make up our literary heritage. Jessica is not into lists. Neither am I. In fact, I go out of my way to avoid books on the Oprah book list until they are so passé that they become a matter of choice again. I, and apparently Jessica, refuse to read the next literary Flavor of the Month simply because someone else has deemed it to be so.

As I continued to read the article I clucked in contented agreement, until I ran across this passage:
Of course there is no such thing as a must-read book. Maybe you should read some Tolstoy, but then again maybe not, if overly long descriptions of fields don’t really do anything for you, or if you have some problems with the whole woman-has-a-desire-and-so-must-die thing. Maybe you should check out some Jane Austen, but then again, Jane Austen is pretty boring and the whole marriage-as-life thing, I mean who really cares...
Boring? BORING?!! Don't mess with my Jane, Jessica. That's all I have to say.

13 comments:

Alexandra said...

Amen to that!

But in avoiding what everyone else is reading, don't you feel isolated?

I usually can't resist a big hit: I must have my share in the conversation! Even if it's just to rant about how bad it is...

Enid Wilson said...

Our ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) First Tuesday Book Club just re-read Pride and Prejudice.

I think three of celebrities on the panel loved it but there was one woman author (a feminist) who said Pride and Prejudice was boring. She said "Not another balls again!".

Some people just don't get it. It's not about balls and marriage.

My Darcy Mutates…

Vic said...

Alexandra, Actually, once in a while my desire to read something that is inspired by my own tastes coincides with a book that is on the best seller list. I do not read or follow book lists, and often (if the book is not sent to me by a publisher) will review a book months or years after it has come out, simply because I did not jump on the bandwagon.

I don't find it isolating, I find it liberating. While this means I cannot join in on the conversation about Eat, Pray, Love, for example, I am reading other (sometimes worthier, less publicized books) and supporting a lesser known author. It is the same way with me and movies. Call me an odd duck.

Enid, you are right: Those who find Jane Austen boring just don't "get it."

Luciana said...

Boring? BORING? That woman has no idea of what JA is all about!

Yvette said...

Yes, 'that woman' obviously has no clue what Jane Austen is all about.
We must all feel sorry for her. I do. Think what she's missing.
I rarely read popular books when they're overly popular because it makes me feel as if I'm jumping on some bandwagon. I'd rather read them, if I do at all, in my own good time. Unless of course, it's a favorite author of mine, then I reevaluate. ;)

Lisa said...

Someone once told me she hated Jane Austen because there was too much "lace." I instantly thought of Mr. Bennet... and the fact that she clearly had not read any Jane Austen.

Jessica said...

I realize Austen isn't everyone's favorite read (shocking I know), but it is getting tiring hearing phrases like "marriage-as-life" applied to it. Those who say such things are obviously reading above their understanding level ;)

Hungarican Chick said...

The fact that she says it's boring is proof that she has probably never read a JA book in her life.

Wilhelmina Carlotta Johanna Grafin von Marquart said...

I can't believe she said that! It makes me wonder has she ever read any of “Jane Austens” books? I mean her books are so great, and entertaining is a understatement! :)Life with out Jane would be boring and less of a life in my opinion....IE I love my Jane and all her books!

Deborah said...

This woman should stick to something more suited to her reading level. Harry Potter, perhaps...

Dana Huff said...

I stopped reading Bookslut years ago because I felt Crispin had a very narrow definition of what constituted a good book: the ones she liked. She couldn't see any merit in an author or book unless she personally liked it, and that is probably true of most people, but she was openly dismissive. I found it ironic that the blog, at least at that time, worked so hard to promote graphic novels and to fight against the opinion that they weren't real books, but slammed Harry Potter books at the same time. One reason I found it offensive was the implication that adults who read the HP books had a screw loose. The attitude that if a lot of people like it, it must not be good (which is not, by the way, some thing I accuse Vic of doing—I too don't necessarily pick up what's on the NY Times Bestseller list but read what touches my fancy) is annoying. You find that with music snobs, too. "Oh, I liked them until they became popular and commercial." Bleh.

Nonna Beach said...

Well said !

Hit books like hit movies are on my timeline, not the marketplace, as soon as they come out in print or on the big screen. I am also off the bandwagon and don't waste my time with books that are promoted in book clubs, summer reading/beach books, what celebrities/leaders are reading when the subject matter doesn't appeal to me !

foobella said...

Everyone likes different things for different reasons. If you don't have time to look into things in more detail, a book list can benefit you. No big deal. Flip through the list and read what interests you.

As for feminism. Jane Austen is probably the most feminist author out there. Lizzie will marry for nothing less than love, not to secure her family. How is that not feminist?