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{A&E} My Obsession with Jane Austen

A few weeks ago, I got into an excited conversation with five other girls I work with – what topic could have excited us so much that we all abandoned our thrilling work and rolled our chairs together to talk more easily? An international obsession: Jane Austen. (click here to read about why LDS women especially love Miss Austen.)

Our conversation started out with a friend’s book recommendation – one which I will also recommend to you. It’s called Austenland, by Shannon Hale. Bookpage, a known book reviewing company, said this book is “chick lit with soul.” (And by “lit,” they mean “literature.”) Chick lit with soul. I’d like to add a few of my own words to that review: “spunk, laughs, and a lot of sigh-promoting paragraphs.” Yes, I’m a “sigher.” You will be too if you read this book.

Our conversation morphed from talking about Austenland to comparing our favorite Jane Austen works: Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility, to name a few popular ones.

So, if you’re a book worm like I am, you need to read the above mentioned books. They truly are classics. And I promise you, Elizabeth, Anne, Fanny, Emma, and Elinor and Marianne will steal your hearts – but don’t worry, it’s a good kind of steal.

If books aren’t your thing, or you don’t have all that oh-so-precious time to sit and read a book, I’ve got a couple great alternatives for you: the movies.

   1. Pride and Prejudice: it’s your lucky day. There are two adaptations. The five-hour, BBC version with Colin Firth (Mmmm), and the 2005 version with Keira Knightley. Don’t ask me which one I like better – I’ll say both.
   2. Persuasion: Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds (Phantom of the Opera) are fantastic together in this 1995 film.
   3. Mansfield Park: Oh Fanny. I think you’re my favorite. Made in 1999 and stars Frances O’Connor as Fanny Price.
   4. Emma: Gwyneth Paltrow is phenomenal in this movie. Made in 1996. Just the all-around classic matchmaking-gone-wrong-but-everything-works-out-in-the-end story.
   5. Sense and Sensibility: The parts of Elinor and Marianne could not have been played better in this 1995 adaptation. Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet are perfect!

One tip: if you live near a library, go look through the library catalog and reserve these DVDs there. I’ve viewed every one of these movies without having to rent or pay money to watch them. Libraries are an Austen fan’s best friend.

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Ashley Jones practices public relations for Deseret Book. She loves writing, emailing her missionary sister, and making/ eating home-made popcorn. 
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