Monday, September 6, 2010

Abigail Reynolds' Books (Everything Austen Challenge)

One of my Everything Austen II items was to figure out what the scoop was with Abigail Reynold's Pride and Prejudice variations series.  Why is this such a big deal?  First, Ms. Reynold's books are pretty good and I've enjoyed them but...Second, her books have been self published and now they have been picked up by Sourcebooks and republished.  Under new titles.  It's next to impossible to figure out if you've read one of the books or not.  (Ok, admittedly, reading the synopsis helps some but if you read P&P variations or continuations of any kind, you know quite well--they all run together after a certain point!) So, I took a dive into Ms. Reynold's blog and found her blog post detailing the books. (Posted after I added this mission to my EAII list.)  Here's the lowdown:

The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice = Pemberley by the Sea (I read this one 3/09.)

To Conquer Mr. Darcy (August 2010) = Impulse & Initiative (I read this one 3/09, too.)

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World = The Last Man in the World (I read this one 2/10.)

What Would Mr. Darcy Do? (Coming Spring 2011) = From Lambton to Longbourn (I read this one 1/10.) 

She also adds,  "For the sake of completeness, there is also the unpublished POD book The Rule of Reason = Alternative version of Impulse & Initiative which is only available at Without Reserve and By Force of Instinct will eventually be released with new titles, but I don't yet know what they are." 

I'd also posted a comment on the blog post where Ms. Reynolds details these changes, asking about changes to the books.  Realizing that sometimes (often?) publishers ask authors to revise when they are picked up by publishing houses rather than the self-publishes editions.  Here is her response:

"So far there are no major edits planned for Without Reserve or By Force of Instinct. From Lambton to Longbourn has a new beginning and may have a couple of added scenes depending on the publication schedule (i.e. I'd like to add more but they may not let me). It's scheduled to come out Spring 2011 under the title What Would Mr. Darcy Do?, but I'm hoping that it'll be bumped back a bit in favor of the new Pemberley Variation I'm writing, since I'd rather do a new release than a re-release. I'll keep you posted!"

So here's what I've got to add to my reading list (which, essentially, was the purpose of me adding this to my EAII list).  The jury is still out to see if I'll pick up the "new" versions to look for new bits/edits.

Mr. Darcy's Obsession (New October 2010)
Without Reserve
By Force of Instinct

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mansfield Park (Everything Austen Challenge)

Jane Austen's Mansfield Park from Masterpiece/BBC 2007.

As part of Everything Austen II, I decided to watch the 2007 MP again.  I reserved a copy through the library and watched it during an afternoon in August. 

Thoughts and ruminations:  Billie Piper (Fanny) is prettier than Sylvestra Le Touzel (Fanny in the 1983 BBC version), which I appreciated because I feel like Fanny always gets the short end of the stick.  She's the heroine that seems to fall by the wayside (along with Catherine Morland) and it always irks me a bit.  That said, Sylvestra Le Touzel gives Fanny a bit more depth than Billie Piper.  (Is it the eyebrows?  Anyone else have thoughts on that?)  While depth is good, Sylvestra gives us the quiet mouse performance.  I have always envisioned Fanny somewhere between the two.   In Billie Piper's performance, it feels like you can see her biting her tongue at times--like there's more she wants to say but can't because she shouldn't or because it would be out of character.  I liked Blake Riston as Edmund, but there is nothing new to note.   Is Edmund that easy to portray in a film, meaning that there is not much depth to his character and he is easy to sum up?  I'm struggling on this one.  I think it's time for another read of MP.

One bit they did get right in this film version is Edmund's like (lust? love?) of Mary Crawford.  This bit always makes my stomach turn--for someone so likeable and smart, Edmund's pretty clueless about her character.  Haley Atwell's does a delightful job as Mary--she is as slimy and cold as ever.  Well done.  And let me just say--Mrs. Bertram and Pug are at least tolerable in this version.  This version, however, did seem to chop the plot into bits and leave one hanging or just wondering some.  Suddenly our characters are working on a play, Mrs. Norris' exits without much fanfare (implied and perhaps not as direct as I'd like), Mr. Bertram is back with Tom.   MP is good because it takes its sweet time to get to where it's going and here it rushed into the ending and left us all happy in just a few short minutes.  A bit too Hollywoodized for my taste of Jane.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Adieu, Sweet Summer.

Monday marked the return of full time work until mid-June and I'm not thrilled with this prospect. 

But nevertheless I am reflecting on the glory of summer and all of the wonderful relaxation that occurred this summer.  Miss L and I learned a new routine together--one of baking, going to the park, going to storytimes-a-plenty, one of dance parties to Hey Hippopotamus by Justin Roberts, one of learning to paint and color and discover kiddie pools and watering cans. One of farmer's markets and music classes, one of attempting to use the potty, repeating the word no constantly and finally--one of learning to say the word love and getting a squished up hug thereafter.

Ready to bike!  
We're biking and we're happy!
Making cookies with Mom.
First ear of corn on the cob!  YUM!
Hugging Teddy (teddy bear puppet) from storytime!
Watering can fun!
At the beach, impromptu swimming!
Reading with Mom.

Tutu, car and Elmo!
Lest you think I can't relate Jane to this blog post.  Miss L with my glasses, reading The Annotated P&P. 

At summer's end, I have shed many tears this week as work stress begins and we've sent Miss L to daycare.  My summer pilates/yoga straightened shoulders look pinched again.  I have taken ibuprofen too many times to count this week.  With a sigh and a gulp, I bid you adieu, sweet, dear summer.