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Jane Austen’s birthday: Bringing changes to VJA in 2012

16 Dec

Happy birthday, Jane!

There are dozens of blogs and websites celebrating Jane today, which is a powerful thing. Think about all of the topics, guest posts, and online games occurring because of her and her impact. This and events from the past few weeks have helped me to re-think what this site should be in 2012.

The spinoff author interviews were relatively popular on VJA, but most importantly, they’re not what I want to host on here.  I may do one every now and then, but they won’t be the main focus any longer. I’ve really enjoyed them, and I hope you have, too.

But now it’s time to try something new and bring the conversation back!

I started thinking about what I like most about Jane and her world, and it’s her books. I like reading them, and I like highlighting the portions relevant to me at the time. It amazes me how new aspects jump out each time I read them.

For me, it’s all about her books. To be honest, I don’t like many spinoffs, and I don’t care to watch many of the movies. They’re excellent, and I highly support and appreciate the creative minds who make them happen, but I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to Jane. Her own words speak to me the most.

So what does that have to do with VJA and 2012?

I’m embarking on an adventure to read all of her novels again next year — shooting for one novel every two months. On VJA, I’ll regularly post comments and invite discussion. I realize that plenty of blogs host book discussions throughout the year, but I want to see if we can take it a bit further on VJA.

Rather than being just a blog about what’s going on in the world of Jane Austen today, VJA will reflect my own ideas in an attempt to uncover life’s truths in her novels. Instead of a hobby that I regularly update (but sometimes neglect), I’m really going to create a goal to post here on schedule and invite you to help me achieve it along the way. As I explore this aspect of Jane’s world with more excitement and passion, you’ll be able to tell. It’ll make for a much better read.

So here’s to you, Jane. A bit different than the post you’ll find on other blogs today, but I think that’s what I’m aiming for. My gift to her is the simple appreciation of her works and how much they continue to impact our lives. I plan to delve into them and investigate the characters, situations, and words we have grown to love.

Want to celebrate her in this way as well? Join me! I’ll create another post soon with a tentative schedule, discussion topics, and other ideas. Do you have any recommendations for me? Which book should I read first? Is there a particular topic I should emphasize throughout the year? Do you want to be one of my regulars?

Where is your favorite reading spot?

15 Nov

It’s time to bring back the fun Twitter questions! I miss those.

Today is slightly dreary where I am, so I’m daydreaming about curling up with a good book and reading. I have so many books in my “to read” pile, as I’m sure most of us do.

Where do you like to read? Post the responses below, and maybe I’ll come up with another fun post idea!

I tend to enjoy my couch in my living room. It’s just cozy enough, but I’m not as tempted to fall asleep, as when I’m in my bed. My roommate often reads in our big chair, and I love the feeling that we’re sitting there together, both enjoying a good book and often sipping on coffee or hot chocolate. I wouldn’t be surprised if we were both reading Jane Austen at some point.

Already mentioned on Twitter:

 

Austenite78 8:38am via Twitter for Mac

@VicariouslyJane My favourite reading spot is my bed!! Or a big armchair I own where I can curl myself up and enjoy my book 😀

 

traceyjoa 9:10am via TweetCaster

@VicariouslyJane curled up in bed on a wintry day last thing at night #perfectreadingconditions

 

tle1011 10:52am via Web

@VicariouslyJane My bed; or, in the summer, the beach or my deck.

Wicked author Gregory Maguire doesn’t ‘get’ Austen appreciation

10 Nov

Entertainment Weekly (EW.com) Shelf Life featured an interview with  Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and his newest novel, Out of Oz.

EW asked Maguire about several books and authors, and he mentions The Diamond in the Window, Maurice Sendak, Proust, and War and Peace. It’s worth the read. I’ve always enjoyed Maguire’s work, but this one caught me off guard:

Stephen Lee: What’s a classic or much-hyped book that you’ve never quite understood the merits of?

Gregory Maguire: That’s an easy one to answer. I don’t get everybody’s devotion to Jane Austen. I think Jane Austen makes great movies [laughs]. For a long time, I would have answered Pride and Prejudice as the book that I said I’d read but hadn’t, but I finally read it about a year ago, and I think Pride and Prejudice has some very funny parts, but to me, it’s about three times too long — and look who’s talking, somebody who writes 500-page novels! The humor in it is funny, but the situations seem to me very repetitive and run into one another, yet almost all the critics I know think that the great writers who I really do admire from the 19th and 20th century descended from Jane Austen — and we must all bow to her and kiss the hem of her garment — but I’ve never gotten it. I think I’m missing the Jane Austen molecule or something.

Wait. Hold up. Really? Vic Sanborn thought the same yesterday on Janeites on the James. I understand that some people don’t understand Austen quite the way we Austenites do, but this really intrigues me.

I’ve tried digging into his comment, and it makes me wonder if people truly read her novels with a modern mindset. How can you not read her work while thinking about life at that time and simply what it meant for her to write and publish novels like these?

Talk like Jane Austen Day is today!

30 Oct

Check out all of the Talk like Jane Austen Day events.

I’m not sure how I will incorporate it into my day, but I will try!

I think my roommate is planning to talk to her boyfriend like Jane Austen all day while they drive back from vacation, which should be pretty funny. I wonder if she can keep it up for 5 hours.

Are you doing anything today to celebrate?

What’s your biggest dream? (May not be Austen-related)

29 Oct

Janeites,

It’s a Saturday, and I’m feeling dreamy. I often set my sights high on the weekend and begin to think about all of the lovely things I want to accomplish in my lifetime. Especially since I changed jobs a few months ago, I’m more adventurous than ever. You don’t realize what it takes to quit a job until you do it.

This post is unrelated to Austen topics, but I want to get to know you as a person, not just a Janeite. However, one of my goals is to write an Austenesque novel, so I can slip that one in and still safely put this post on this site 😀

Post your dreams below, and let’s have fun. Who knows, maybe we can trade dreams and learn from each other! Many of my dreams are skills-related (such as learn how to surf), so perhaps we can begin making connections in other parts of our lives and grow that relationship as well.

—-

Here’s a short list, in no particular order:

1. Find a Mr. Darcy of my own

2. Write a few books, at least one which is Austenesque

3. Learn how to surf

4. Learn how to play the drums

5. Find a way to freelance/become an entrepreneur

6. Become a better craft-creator

7. Learn several languages decently, especially Arabic, Spanish, French, Italian, German

8. Learn some bartending skills (or at least create a few signature cocktails)

9. Travel the world

10. Develop a couple of successful blogs, especially Vicariously Jane Austen

—-

From Twitter:

 

SalonJaneAusten Oct 29, 7:06am via Echofon

@VicariouslyJane Travel, be awesome with the loved ones XD…be creative and all related to that!

 

ih8tweet Oct 29, 10:07am via Twitter for BlackBerry®

@VicariouslyJane One of my biggest dreams is to write a full-length novel.

 

Nancy_Kelley Oct 29, 9:12pm via HootSuite

@VicariouslyJane Publishing my first book–due out within the next 3 weeks. Then, I will move to England.

—-

Do any of your dreams match up with mine? Share them below!

 

 

Which Austen character would you go out with?

28 Oct

A Friday Twitter question: Which Austen character would you like to go out with this weekend? (It doesn’t have to be a date.)

I’m in the mood for fun today. With fall break here at the university (students take today off, but I’m here working), a big football weekend for our school (Florida vs. Georgia) and Halloween on Monday, everyone is ready to play.

Who would you have fun with this weekend? I think I’m going with Emma for now. I’m in the mood to put on a cute dress, run around with a girl friend and make eyes at cuties. Ha ha!

—-

An amazing variety of answers on Twitter today! Check them out:

—-

ModernMrsDarcy 10:15am via Web

@VicariouslyJane Emma. I’m ready for a girls’ weekend and I think she’d be a delightful companion!

 

grannyuser 10:18am via Twitter for iPad

@VicariouslyJane I’d like to spend some time with Captain Wentworth.

 

darbydashwood 10:26am via TweetDeck

@VicariouslyJane Henry Tilney and/or Catherine Morland. The perfect companions to celebrate Halloween with!

 

CraftyAustenite 11:31am via Web

@VicariouslyJane Henry Tilney

 

LuAwwnn 12:25pm via Mobile Web

@VicariouslyJane with Jane! I really need a friend whos calm and nice

 

cbeddes 2:07pm via Twitter for iPhone

@VicariouslyJane A girl’s night out with Elinor Dashwood! We’ll have dinner and go to a late showing of Anonymous. 🙂

 

ana_iris 4:23pm via Snaptu

@VicariouslyJane Henry Tilney. But it *has* to be a date 😉

 

AlysaAKim 9:54pm via Web

@VicariouslyJane I’d feel uncomfortable refraining myself from ripping Darcy’s clothes off so I’d have tea at Pemberly with Lizzy instead.

 

 

Would you say you have more sense or sensibility?

26 Oct

It’s a Whiny Wednesday kind of day, so I’m whining about how I’m not feeling like myself today.

Someone else is making me feel down, but I believe I can make myself feel better. I firmly believe that we can often change our mood depending on our outlook. At this point, however, I’m not sure how to respond to the situation. Should I be more like Elinor or Marianne in this situation?

I think we have a little bit of both in us, but which way do you tend to lean? Do you have more sense or sensibility? How do you define those terms?

Also, this is the place for whines on Wednesdays. Do you have a whine? Let us know below! Maybe we’ll have some advice if you want it.

(Additions from Twitter: 10 p.m. EST)

Austenite78 9:15am via Twitter for Mac

@VicariouslyJane I like to think that I have a balanced mix of both, but lately people are saying I am more sensitive than sensible, so…

IsaBookSoulmate 9:18am via Web

@VicariouslyJane I’m definitely more SENSE 🙂 Eleanor and I could totally hang out and just roll our eyes at people all day long, lol

oxymoronic82 9:22am via Mobile Web

@VicariouslyJane ooh, good question! I think I’m more sense but a strong inner-Marianne that bursts out on a regular basis!

RegencyErica 9:44am via Twitter for Android

“@VicariouslyJane: Would you say you have more sense or sensibility? ow.ly/79omC” I’m the sensibility. @RegencyJenny is the sense.

Alwys_Smthgs 12:06pm via TweetDeck

@VicariouslyJane sense. Although for the record, I think JA’s book was sort of making the pt that we can’t have 1 exclusively. #janeausten

LevRaphael 6:20pm via Web

@VicariouslyJane I’m glad it wasn’t a question about pride or prejudice. 🙂

CAllynPierson 9:16pm via Web

@VicariouslyJane Definitely Sense- I’m not much into sensibility

RegencyErica 9:23pm via Web

@CAllynPierson @VicariouslyJane You and @RegencyJenny both then!

CAllynPierson 9:54pm via Web

@VicariouslyJane Yep, there is no question. I am definitely Elinor.

AlysaAKim 9:33pm via Web

@VicariouslyJane Sensibility I am afraid.

—–

Incredible response on Twitter! Thank you everyone 😀

Would Jane Austen use an iPad?

25 Oct

As I became bogged down in design changes last week, I dropped the daily Twitter questions and the daily VJA network discussion topics.

Today I merge both! For Technology Tuesdays and a random Twitter questions, I give you:

Would Jane Austen use an iPad?

If so, what apps would she like? If not, why not?

I can’t wait to read your responses!

If you were Marianne in S&S and you fell down, who would you want to pick you up?

17 Oct

Today’s Twitter question was a fun one. If you were Marianne in Sense & Sensibility and you fell down, who would you want to pick you up?

I’ll admit it. Mine would be James McAvoy, even better if he said some of the witty lines from Becoming Jane.

What did our Twitter peeps say?

Gwen Hardin
ChickLitGwenGwen Hardin
@VicariouslyJane The automatic answer for most would be Mr. Darcy, but I’d prefer if it were Captain Wentworth.
Maria
@VicariouslyJane My own husband…;-) or maybe Johnny Depp.Because I love my husband.And Johnny Depp..sigh.Right or wrong answer 😉 😉
Mary Moss
melonbuseyMary Moss
@VicariouslyJane Johnny Depp’s character from Don Juan DeMarco could be my Willoughby, while Javier Barden pines from afar!
C. Allyn Pierson
CAllynPiersonC. Allyn Pierson
@VicariouslyJane i would want Captain Wentworth to cross over into S&S- I am sure he knows how to deal with an emergency!
More added Tuesday!

of_berglands 6:53pm via Web

@VicariouslyJane col Christopher Brandon played by David Morrissey, what a gorgeous man!! pick me up..I have pain and need to be comforted

What clever answers. We’re a bunch of Janeites, that’s for sure. Thanks for participating, and feel free to suggest your own questions!

If Elizabeth Bennet were at a party, which character from another Jane Austen book would she interact with?

14 Oct

Today’s fun Twitter question: If Elizabeth Bennet were at a party, which character from another Jane Austen book would she interact with?

Some great responses:

SalonJaneAusten 11:01am via Web

@VicariouslyJane Emma! Girl fight! One is too controlling, and Lizzy is so rebel…. 😛

grannyuser 11:07am via Twitter for iPad

@VicariouslyJane I think she would interact with Fanny Price of Mansfield Park.

margecavani 12:26pm via UberSocial for BlackBerry

@VicariouslyJane I know, for sure, she wouldn’t be friends with Emma. Maybe… Elinor Dashwood?

margecavani 12:28pm via UberSocial for BlackBerry

@SalonJaneAusten Had the same feeling about Emma and Lizzy @VicariouslyJane

margecavani 1:02pm via UberSocial for BlackBerry

@VicariouslyJane Elinor is patient, calm, impartial, a good listener and a smart girl, Lizzy would bond with her immediately

ModernMrsDarcy 5:04pm via Web

@VicariouslyJane I’d like to think she’d hit it off with Anne Elliott. But I’m not sure Anne’s fast enough with the one-liners. #ifonly

You guys crack me up!